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As I sat in my special place, I observed the goings on at, well, I guess it’s my home, as in my place of dwelling. I don’t really know what this place is, but it will never feel like a real home. I don’t even know if it’s on the outside or just a huge building that goes on for miles. There is always a bright blue sky during the day and an inky black sky at night. But never have I seen the sun or the moon. Not even stars shone in the sky. Never have I witnessed the glowing orbs that people used to worship. That whole cities have been built as a tribute to. I have never felt the softness of new grass or seen the majesty of a great ocean or lake.
The only reason I even know these things exist is because of the invisible tower-like structure I was sitting in at the moment. Before I was allowed into this great library, all I knew was this place I was forced to call home. This place with its partially dirt, partially tile floors. The house was like an entire mansion had been cut in half, leaving a gaping hole. The bedrooms for the girls were on the top floor, and the boys rooms were on the bottom.
The other half of this wretched place is all dirt. We have a race track and a school, but other than that, there is nothing. No one has ever ventured beyond that because they keep it guarded closely and feed us lies about how it is filled with monsters, the likes of which we could never imagine. They keep us dumb and imprisoned.
As I glance through the walls of this tower, invisible only from the outside, I saw my boyfriend standing by the cabin just on the outskirts of the racing track. Glancing at my watch, I realized I was late meeting him. After putting away my book and before leaving, I tried the door next to the exit again. I do this every time before I leave, hoping it might be open this time. But it never was. So I continued down the long spiral staircase to the opening in the wall behind a bookshelf in the library at our school. After peeking through to make sure no one was there, I crept out and rushed to the cabin as fast as I could.
He dropped his bag and hugged me tight as I gave him a peck on the lips. As we walked together towards the track I admired him. He was the best looking boy here and he picked me. I knew I could never share the library with him and that he would never get any smarter, but I loved him all the same. So I was feeling extremely happy as I walked towards the track, until I saw the black mark on the bench nearest to the track. I could feel my eyes fill with tears. My best friend had made that mark to claim the seat as her own. The red mark next to it was mine. All the good times we’d had, and now she was gone. One morning I woke up and asked the teacher where she was, and they said they knew no one by her name. Like she was my imagination. No one remembered her.
I heard the whistle signaling the start of the race and turned my eyes towards the field. Every year we had a race through and obstacle course. My year had gone last week, this week it was the fifth years. The teachers took strict notes, like they were studying us. I was anxious for the races to be over. Attendance was mandatory, but I’d considered skipping and taking my punishment rather than face the calculating looks of the teachers faces as the evaluated each child in turn.
When they were over I went to a party in the boys dorms. The beer was running freely. Though we scarcely ever had any new reading material, there was always a cooler full of alcohol ready to be stolen. I was still sulking over my lost friend and decided to drown my sorrows in the skunky beer they had set out. After having one too many, I found myself leading my boyfriend towards my secret library. The door wouldn’t open with him there, but I told him all about it. About my sadness for my friend and my love of reading at the library before everything went black.
I woke up the next morning with a terrible headache on the bench with the black mark. After stroking it sadly for a moment I went back to my room to change. I had just put on a new pair of jeans and a tee shirt when I heard a knocking at my door. I looked through the peephole and saw my boyfriend with a worried look on his face and behind him stood......the teachers?
D*** him! He thought my ramblings last night had meant I was going crazy. I admit it is sweet of him to care, but they’ll take me away! Just like my best friend before me. She had shown me the library the day before she disappeared. Then they had come for her and taken her away for knowing too much. Now they were here for me.
I quickly stuffed my knapsack with a few more tee shirts, some dried food and a container of water I’ve kept ready since her disappearance, ready for anything. I jumped out the window and took all the back routes to the library. After making it into the tower unseen, I grabbed my diary. One I’d been keeping since I was old enough to write. I tried the locked door one more time, and to my surprised, it opened. The inside was filled with books of all shaped and sizes. Some looked older than time itself, others so new they had yet to gain a spec of dust. But I noticed all of these later. All I could see was the note on the desk in the center. It was written in my lost friends elegant scrawl. The two lines on that note were all it took for me to jump out of the second story window and take off running past the last cabin and towards the unknown.
Beyond the end of their world, to the place where you are Free.