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Rebellion This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

The darkness was overwhelming, suffocating. The shackles felt as though they were lined with thorns. Our footsteps were loud, painfully loud, so loud they seemed to be the only sound in the world. The men were rough, and, if I remember correctly, rather smelly, even through the hood. Then again, the smell could have been the hood itself. Who knows how many sweating heads have been under that thing? Too many, that, at least, is for sure. I was trapped in the body that belonged to one of those sweaty heads, and that body was trapped in dark and lonely confinement, being pushed along an invisible passage, hall, or corridor, I could not tell which. My mind, that “tragically” creative thing, imagined a black stone passage leading to some formidable, high-ceilinged courtroom. A grand and stately hall cushioned with elaborate rugs and lined with paintings wrapped in ornate frames, a hall that led to a judge sitting in a high throne inlaid with priceless stones. An endless corridor of glass overlooking vast fields and forests, oceans and deserts, cities and mountains; a beautiful corridor, but nonetheless one that led to penetrating eyes that ignored the splendor around them. No matter what I imagined, it always led to the same place, the place at which we had finally arrived, the place everyone dreaded, especially those with terribly creative minds. I momentarily lost my balance when one of the men shoved me forward, but thankfully, I didn’t fall. They might have considered that a crime too. A door closed, a lock clicked, someone cleared his throat, the hood was suddenly gone, and I did the best thing I could think of: I blinked. In fact I did it several times before I could see anything more than a bright blur of gray. When that tremendous feat was finished, I looked around with my rediscovered eyesight and saw basically the same thing I had seen before: a lot of gray. There was white, too, and black, but the overall effect was gray. The walls were gray, the ceiling was gray, the floor was gray, even the people would have been gray if everything around them hadn’t been gray. Instead they were just a pale beige color. I wondered vaguely if any of them had ever seen sunlight. If they had, they had certainly never gotten a tan. They were probably as trapped as I was, except they were the ones judging, not the ones being judged. Then I spotted the judge himself. He was paler than all the rest put together, his skin a thoroughly unhealthy off-white color. His face was thin and grave. No emotion. Just blankness. Wrinkles were carved into his face, dark crescent moons etched under his eyes. He sat in a chair that could not have been any more comfortable than my grimy little cell, or “holding-room” as they prefer to call it. The chair actually looked a lot like my holding-room. Black, straight, and hard. In contrast to his chair, the judge wore what looked like a white priest’s robe. All the other people wore black and sat in white chairs, and formed an enormous half-circle around him. I couldn’t imagine how frightening they would have been if they’d formed a whole circle. I might have died of terror right then and there. I almost froze to death as it was.

A voice, blank as the faces of my condemners and cold as the room in which they sat, resounded through the air and reached my ears. “Windle Quetioner, the offending party, has now been brought before His Uprightness Stricticus Exacticus, Judge of Creative Criminality. His Uprightness Stricticus Exacticus, Judge of Creative Criminality will now examine the offending party and determine the offending party’s sentence. His Uprightness Stricticus Exacticus, Judge of Creative Criminality now has the floor.” By the time the narrator had completed his second repetition of the judge’s ridiculously long name, I had found the narrator himself. He was a short, fat man with a huge nose that seemed to be the only feature his face contained, as it was the only thing one noticed when looking at it. He must have had a mouth, of course, since he was speaking, but I don’t recall what it looked like; I was too preoccupied with his bulbous nose. Then another voice spoke, and my eyes searched for this second speaker. It was the judge. “Windle Quetioner, did you or did you not create these offensive images?” He pointed behind me and I turned to see a previously unseen man, who was clad in gray robes, presumably to make him blend in with the wall, open a metal box. Naturally, it was gray. The gray man then pulled out the only thing that could have made me smile at that moment: my drawings. They were, I am both proud and sad to say, the only bright and colorful things in the room. He showed me each and every one of them, all that I had ever created, and every single one made my smile wider. The first was a picture of an imaginary castle, the moon glowing victoriously above it, the only conqueror of that great and terrible spectacle. The next depicted the backstage of a play in progress, people running back and forth, pulling on costumes, snatching props from the ground and muttering lines as they stared fixedly at the floor. After that came the library, filled with books and people reading as they readjusted their glasses. Then came the last, my personal favorite: gentlemen in coats with long tails and ruffs that popped out at the neck dancing with ladies in splendid dresses and expensive jewelry. I felt a swell of pride as I gazed at them. Just as I was turning back to show my pride to the judge, the gray man pulled a fifth drawing from the box, one that I had not drawn. It was a picture of an angelic young girl, not more than fifteen or sixteen, her small smile sad but friendly. She could have been from a better era, a better society, but for the telltale gray. A gray room, much like my cell, scantily filled with a gray bed, thoroughly rendered unable to leave by gray bars. She was the only colorful thing in that monotonous monochrome in which she sat, her red hair standing out like fire, her bright green eyes cunning and contemplative as they surveyed me. No, I had not drawn that, and I felt dwarfed by the artist who had drawn it. My drawings were nothing compared to that. Where had it come from? Who had created it? I quickly decided it was better not to think too hard about that. Should I admit that it was not mine? If I did that, they would search for the artist who had drawn it. No, it was best to simply claim it was mine and keep whoever had really created it safe.

I was jerked from my thoughts by the judge, who said, “Windle Quetioner, answer me. Did you or did you not create these offensive images?”

“I did,” I replied proudly, pulling myself up as I faced him.

“All of them?”

Did he know? It was possible he had figured out that the girl was not mine. It was by far superior to the others, but I had always thought that they were interested only in punishing people for things that should not be crimes, not finding out whether or not they had really committed the crimes, or even to what extent they had committed them. I had to be confident about this. Some great artist’s life depended on it.

“Yes, I drew all of them.”

“Why would you commit such a heinous crime? Do you know the punishment for such creativity?”

“Yes, I know the punishment,” I said, relieved that he had bought my lie so easily. “I drew them because I wanted to show you that creativity is not a crime, it is a gift. A wonderful gift that can only brighten this dreary gray world you have created. I wanted you to see that gray is not the only color, rigid order not the only option, that we can have a better world if only you would see the beauty it could be. Compare: is this dull room more magnificent than my castle, my stage, my library, my ballroom? Is it more lovely than the girl? Do you not see that your utopia is the ugliest thing that could ever have been created? How is putting your thoughts and feelings onto paper a crime? The only crime here is that you cannot see. You are blind to everything except your version of paradise. You are the prisoners, not me. I am bound by chains, you are bound by your ‘perfection.’” I stopped, breathless and exhilarated. The judge looked anything but exhilarated. He stared at me. “Windle Quetioner,” he began, “do you have anything else to say in your defense?”

“Only that one day, you will regret your heaven, but I will never regret mine.”

“Windle Quetioner, you are hereby sentenced to 40 years imprisonment. If after that time you have repented of your crimes, you may go free. If you have not, you will serve a lifetime in confinement and hard labor. Your offensive images will be burned. Take the offender away.”

I was led out, defeated. I was crushed not so much by the fact that I had to spend the rest of my days in that tiny gray holding-room, for I would never “repent,” but more by the statement that the drawings were going to be burned. Mine would not be so much of a shame to see in ashes when compared with that picture of the girl, but it was going to be burned too, and that was a tragedy.


His Uprightness Stricticus Exacticus, Judge of Creative Criminality watched the Criminal as he was led away. He seemed satisfyingly distraught. Perhaps in 40 years he would repent, and a Citizen would be restored to the Great Society. Perhaps he would lose that streak of creativity, of defiance. Perhaps. His flimsy talk of the Great Society being dull and ugly was unfounded. Those drawings were an abomination, a dangerous result of a dangerous thing: imagination. If the Citizens began to think they were unique individuals with unique talents, they might create those false talents, and use them against each other and the Nobles. Then the Great Society would come crumbling down, and all people would be floundering for order that they would not be able to find, and all because of their own rebelliousness. His Uprightness Stricticus Exacticus, Judge of Creative Criminality refused to let that happen.



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novella said...
Oct. 24, 2013 at 5:16 pm
Thanks guys!
 
DawnieRaeThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Sept. 6, 2013 at 8:19 pm
Wow, this is really really good! You are such a great writer! great job
 
apage94 said...
Jul. 18, 2011 at 10:13 pm
you're a really great writer, there's a lot of thought behind your words. its well written and interesting. keep it up (:
 
Jbohn said...
Jul. 13, 2011 at 9:33 am
 wow.. this is really really good!!
 
novella said...
Jun. 19, 2011 at 12:53 pm
please give me feedback! i'd love to know what other writers think of my work :)
 
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