The Prisoners (an Excerpt)

June 29, 2008
By Alina Yaman, Tenafly, NJ

Daniel looked around. His breath was visible in the crisp morning air. The darkness around his eyes showed how little sleep he regularly got. He always had more important things to do. Take, for example, what he was doing at that very moment. He was working on a type of portable heating device. At that moment, he was standing in the open field kept a secret between himself and… himself.
He had discovered this marvelous, vast, open field, lined with trees in the far distance and a view of the Hills in the distance. He also planned on keeping it to himself. The shimmering, lush grass stretched over the wide field, the cold air, year-round, sometimes at different ranges of cold - it was all his. It was his sanction; a place that separated his spirit and mind from his body and all other objects.
Daniel looked back at the Academy. The sparkling, white building, rays of sunshine struggling to get shine past its enormous figure held memories of horror and fear. He scowled as he remembered he had to return back to his room before the Leaders went around for the morning inspection. This was a daily ritual in which the Leaders would each personally check that all students remained at the Academy and had not somehow found a way to escape. Most of the students thought this was a pointless procedure, wasting everyone’s time, including the Leaders’. The selective few, including Daniel, who actually understood what was going on, realized why these precautions were taken. Their biggest problem was that it was far too dangerous to warn anyone else. Besides that, anyone who didn’t understand what was going on would not listen to their warnings. This and this only, was why the Leaders could keep control.
“That’s it!” Daniel exclaimed to himself. He had spent the past hour and a half trying to answer the question he had been pondering for a while and then, right before he had to go back inside, the epiphany hit him. He scribbled the thought on a small piece of odd, yellowish brown paper and stored it inside the pouch he always carried around with him, containing his most valuable items.
Then, as he ran back to the Academy’s west doors, he saw the ladder he would have to climb to get back in. This was his most dreaded part of his morning routine. He hated how careful he had to be and how long it took to do so. If he took one wrong step he would set off the alarm and he would get caught. This had never happened to him. Daniel enjoyed doing whatever he pleased, not what he was supposed to. Of course, most of the things he pleased to do were not what you were supposed to do.
Nevertheless, he had to get back to his room, so, as carefully as possible, he climbed up the ladder, stepping over the invisible motion sensor line as quickly as he could. Once he reached the rooftop, he looked around. The sun, originally blocked by the building now blinded him, rising slowly, with grace. The white, sparkling building was always extraordinarily clean. It was a wonder how anyone could keep a place so clean. He looked down at the titanium alloy padlock and spaced out for a moment, remembering back to the time he had been stuck on that very roof for an entire day, attempting to invent a lock pick out of what he had with him, which was basically nothing. For some reason he had not been caught. He forgot how he managed to get back in, but when he came back to reality he remembered the pick in his pocket.
After slowly lowering the trapdoor, hearing the faint click echo in the dim empty room, he climbed down the ladder, jumping the last 5 feet. He landed, knees bent, on the cold, marble floor without noise. He raced into the hole in the wall, just big enough to fit him, and slid through the barely slanted tube, landing on his back in the cot he was given to sleep in. At very moment he felt a draft of wind and heard a slight squeaking as the door opened.

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This article has 1 comment.

on Oct. 13 2008 at 1:47 pm
You've piqued my interest and probably George Orwell's too!

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