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Hopefuls

By , New Fairfield, CT
Hope


The whole world was gray, everywhere. The buildings, the flowers, the sky, and even the people had a grayish hue. This color represented the government-controlled society. Life is dreary and there is nothing to look forward to.
On a cold November morning, I sleepily walked out of bed and grabbed a hot coffee sitting on the countertop. As it slid down my throat, it felt faintly comforting despite its bitter taste. I walked back into my room and got dressed for the day in my regulated clothing. Looking at my gray reflection in the mirror, I frowned. I hated the color of gray because it represented the feeling of worthlessness and no hope for the citizens. That was the opposite of my feelings and wanted to express myself, but it was forbidden. While cursing the government in my head, I thought about how I’d be seeing my friends later. Citizens were allowed to socialize from 5 to 8 p.m. every day so we dutifully met at my house. This group consisted of Alexis, Christina, Max and I. We all shared the feeling of not wanting to dress in gray, to not be suppressed. We all wanted to be heard and we talked about it each day. Another similarity we shared was the desire to see nature. Green and true plants aren’t allowed in our society so we had to temporarily control that urge. They were, truthfully, the only thing I looked forward to. In the back of my head lingered a thought of seeing nature, pure and untouched. I shoved that out of my head because that would never happen with my society.
Later in November, all of my friends came over to my house. I served sugar cookies with milk as we talked. Max interrupted the girl’s gossip by nudging Christina and speaking up loudly.
“I’ve been thinking. Don’t you guys ever feel like there really is more that could happen in this life? Each and every day we wake up, go to work, see each other and go home. Day in and day out, we do nothing!”
“Yeah, I agree with you. The government controls everything we do, even how we dress. I want to do something about it, guys. I really, really do. ” Alexis said quietly but with passion. She had always been shy and usually just watched as we had conversations, so this signified something must be happening.
“Wait, what if we ran away? Then we could see nature like we’ve always wanted and we can escape our society and government,” Christina suggested. After a few moments of letting the others consider the idea she exclaims, “It’s the perfect solution to our problems!” No one knew that this discussion would change the rest of our lives.
During the following meetings we talked more about the subject. We wanted to leave our society in the springtime so we’d have time to find a shelter, a food source, and anything else we would need. Also where to go and how to get there was a problem. Rumors had gone around for the last couple of years that there was a strange unknown wilderness that existed outside of our borders. Everyone agreed that was where we’d escape to. From the descriptions of the gossiping women, there are lush fields of wheat and corn and clear springs that carry fresh water all over. There are big, protective trees that would serve as a great shelter and provide fuel for fires. The animals that ran around innocently didn’t know of humans so catching them would be easy. These scenes of wonderfulness filled my mind on rare nights when I doubted if our plan would work.
At one of the meetings, the problem of how to escape came up. The main problem was that there was a 20 foot tall fence that surrounded the whole community. No one knew how to climb on or over it because the government forbade us to play on it. I thought of how many kids, like Alexis and me, had tried when we were younger to play on it but the Fencekeepers always kept a watchful eye on it. I had tried to distract a Fencekeeper by asking him questions while Alexis would climb the chain-link fence. The guard always spotted Alexis and we would be sent on our way with a warning. That’s how it is, if children are found on the fence 10 years old or younger, they’d get a warning. If you were older than 10 though, one of your free times from 5-8 pm would be taken away. With each offense, the punishment would become respectively harsher. When everyone was trying to think of a solution to our problem, I had an epiphany.
“My old schoolmate’s sister worked at the Passing Center where the people who have died go. The workers there would have to dispose of the bodies, so they’d put them in nature! That’s how we can escape, through the Passing Center! It’s perfect.” My mind reeled with my great idea and how this plan would work.
“If we go to the Passing Center at night, it will be better. Of course there will be guards and surveillance, but we have advantages. We have the cover of night and less chance of the authorities catching us.” Christina replied, her mind obviously reeling with ideas.
“What if Alexis and I distract the guards? Sam and Christina can then sneak in and we’ll join you after.” Max offered.
“But what if all the guards aren’t distracted?” Alexis questioned nervously, her eyes darting to all of our faces. She has always been a worrier and has to see all the possible outcomes to trips. I leaned over and patted her arm and gave her a comforting smile.
“Everything will work out,” I said and with a smile,” trust me.” I looked at everyone and said,
“I like Max’s plan. Once they are in the building, I’ll knock out the guards and go in with Christina. Also, I think we should do this soon, maybe even tomorrow. How’s that sound guys?” I asked.
“That sounds fine, so how about 10 pm tomorrow we meet up at Sam’s house?” Christina said to Max and Alexis. They both nodded, both not revealing their thoughts.
Its 8 pm and the sun’s setting, perfect for our break out. I got off my couch where I was dozing and crept towards my closet by the kitchen. Tucked inside was my government-issued backpack to be used for carrying groceries home from the market on Sundays, although today it’d be used for another purpose. I grabbed it and threw in 5 sets of gray clothes. Next, I walked over to a kitchen cabinet and took 12 cans of soup and food that could be eaten cold. They were large and bulky, but they would tide me over for about 2 weeks.
Once the cans were stuffed in the backpack, I saw the limp pretty yellow daffodil that I had put in a glass of water. I had plucked it off the side of the road and hide it in my house. Flowers are illegal to keep or plant and official landscapers sprayed No-Gro on the ground every week to keep them away. Somehow it managed to live through the poison, but I picked it because I knew it’d die soon from another batch of No-Gro. I plucked it out of the cup and put it in my pocket to remind me what this escape was about, nature. Suddenly, I heard movement coming from the window behind me. My heart raced, have the officials found out? Are they going to take me away? If so, do they know about Alexis, Max, and Christina?
“We are all here, just waiting for you now.” Max’s trusted voice relieved my frantic thoughts and I quickly zipped up the backpack and hoisted it over my shoulder. I climbed out my window quietly and we cautiously tip-toed over to the Passing Center. I spotted 2 guards that were standing near the doorway and motioned for everyone to hide behind some nearby bushes. Making sure we couldn’t be seen, we all relaxed.
“Ok, Max and I will get the guards away from the door and when their backs are turned, Sam and Christina will then walk in,” Alexis said quietly. Then, she and Max timidly walked out from behind the bushes and towards the 2 men.
“Sir, we are lost. It’s so dark and we can’t find our houses. Can you please help us?” Alexis said in a sweet, innocent voice.
“Why are you two out this late?” the guard on the left said suspiciously. His eyes searched her face for lies.
“Oh, it seems that we were sleepwalking. When I woke up, I was standing in the street here and so was she.”
“Were you sleepwalking too, young man?”
“Uh, yes sir. It seems so. I woke up standing over there.”
“Ok, then I will get you back to your houses then. I will help the boy and my colleague will help the girl,” the guard replied wearily. Staying up all night and then having to escort back people back to their houses because of sleepwalking obviously bored him. While they were talking, Christina and Sam sneakily walked through the shadows and quietly went through the door into the center. When Max saw them go into the building safely and without detection, he flicked his wrist. At this signal he and Alexis bolted towards the door. The guards didn’t realize that they had run toward the building until they were 2 feet from the doorway. The guards called out,
“Wait, stop! You must not go in there! It isn’t safe!” By the time they had said the last sentence, the boy and girl had already slipped through the door. The guard ran after them but the only trace of the group was a single yellow daffodil lying on the ground.
If Max and Alexis had listened to the warning, they would have been safe. You see, once the door is opened, the small hallway leads directly into a great, fiery pit where all the dead citizens and the 4 hopefuls had been cremated.





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