December 22, 2011
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I winced as an electric current shot up my arm. I glanced down at the tedious device on my wrist, wondering what I had done this time to activate the little monster. I rubbed my arm tenderly, trying to make it stop twitching, but to no avail. I studied the piece of paper in my hand. I had folded it in such a way as to make it look like an airplane. A simple, mundane action, but the Officials must have thought this was something only a superior mind would accomplish. As if this small process was a pivotal step in becoming an aviator.

I was always someone to watch. Ever since the Great Act of Equality, every human is required to remain average. You cannot be below or above the bar, or you will be punished. Either by getting zapped whenever you mess up, or, the more crucial punishment of the two, you are to be placed in The Talent Wars. The Wars are a simple way to crush anyone who has any sort of special ability by placing impossible obstacles in front of them; setting them up for failure.

This, of course, is one of the only sources of entertainment, considering books went extinct years ago; authors were categorized as too talented, too creative, and too extraordinary. Competitive sports were done away with as well. Anything that someone could excel at was banned; except The Talent Wars. Every year, the public would turn on the television and watch.

They weren’t particularly entertaining to me. The reason being, the conclusion was always the same. No one ever won. The government was in control, and The Talent Wars were their way of reminding us of that. Now, the overall consequence of participating in The Talent Wars as an Extraordinary Participant was the loss of whatever you had been previously capable of. For instance, if you had been very beautiful, then you would more than likely lose your face. If you could run very fast, you would lose your legs, and so on.

All of this sounds very grotesque, but, the contestants swear the process of eliminating their talent was painless. A part of me thinks that this is all a lie to secure their safety. After getting my face removed, I don’t think I would mess with the Officials again either. Of course, I could never voice my opinion.

The mechanism on my wrist, or a Moderator, could only detect what I did physically. My thoughts were safe from the government.
I had always been smart. But there was really no way of them ruling that as illegal, because I kept my mental superiority to myself.

There had been some argument about my appearance. My mother fought the Officials, saying that I was very plain looking and completely average. But the Officer who had reported me disagreed, saying that I was prettier than the typical seventeen year old girl. My mother had shaved my head to make me uglier, but there was still conflict. I am going to court today, hoping that I am proven innocent.

“Jane?” I heard my name being called, and knew it was time to go into court. I didn’t like my name, but my parents didn’t have a lot of options. You could only name your children after the Approved List of Ordinary Names. At least I wasn’t ‘Sue’ or ‘Shirley’.

I followed the woman who had called my name into the large courtroom. I took my seat, and waited for the verdict. The Judge Official looked at me for a long time, before saying: “You are above average.” He said as-a-matter-of-factly, tapping a pencil annoyingly against his nose.

My mouth gaped. This was a surprise to me. I had thought the Officer who had turned me in was a lunatic. I had never been intrigued by my reflection, and assumed others weren’t as well.

I was about to protest against the given verdict, when a man walked into the room. He was an officer (I could tell by the dark blue clothes he had on, unlike the light blue attire all other male citizens wore). He handed the Judge an envelope, and then briskly walked out of the room without saying a word.

The Judge opened the envelope with irritating slowness. When the contents were finally released, he let out a whistle. I thought this deserved a zap from the bulky Moderator on his wrist; whistling was a talent not everyone could do. But I didn’t see him get electrocuted.
He peered at me. An amused expression on his face.
“Well, lookie there! You’re the next Talent Wars contestant.”

Join the Discussion

This article has 10 comments. Post your own now!

Ahmad-Mobeen said...
Jan. 7, 2012 at 11:26 am
Awesome stuff you wrote! Very creative, very addictive! Keep it up! And if you don't mind, would you check some of my work too? =)
Angaliene replied...
Jan. 8, 2012 at 3:45 pm
Thank you for posting! I really appreicate it. ;)
Andy B. said...
Jan. 6, 2012 at 10:43 am
Great story! Very creative! I really enjoyed the beginning paragraph. Cheers!
qui133 said...
Dec. 24, 2011 at 4:12 pm
very good start--take it further! well written and descriptive: this sort of reminds me of a mix between the Hunger Games and the story Repent Harlequin by Harlan Ellison. Google it--it's a great story i think you'd like. and please check out my work--The Happy Place might interest you.
EMis1123 said...
Dec. 24, 2011 at 3:39 pm
This was really good! I've read the story by Harrison and Bergeron, and you do a great job of capturing the same sort of feelings from the original story. I like how you used first person, too. Great piece!
badwriterbetterreader101 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 24, 2011 at 9:49 am
Very well written! this reminds me of a mix between hunger games and Harrison Bergeron. If you haven't read the latter you should really do so! its just a short story but it is very similar to your story here. Keep writing!
musicluvr3 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Dec. 25, 2011 at 5:47 am
That is EXACTLY what I was thinking!! 2 awesome stories, and combined, even better (: I think yu could develop it a little more tho. Great start!!
Ahmad-Mobeen replied...
Jan. 7, 2012 at 11:28 am
Yes, I know it was unintentional, but it has a feeling of the hunger games in it... but that doesn't stop it from shining bright! 5/5 for the author! =D Keep it up!
KK2013 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 23, 2011 at 8:49 pm
Ope, impressive idea! It'd be great to see you take this a little further... And I think that it could really help the piece's development if you created a name for the watch-zapper thing... Just a thought! Loved it!
Hope E. replied...
Dec. 25, 2011 at 2:28 pm
Thank you all so much for posting! I really appreciate it! :) I have read Harrison and Bergeron, and that was the main inspiration for this story. The Hunger Games thing...That was unintentional, haha. Also, the wrist zapper is called a 'moderator'. It was sort of a rebellious title because on the site this was originally posted on the rules were very strict because of the sites 'moderators', and so I wanted to hint at them in a negative light. xD
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