“Dexter, get up man! They are gonna announce the winners soon!” Ty said excitedly. Finally after no response from his brother Ty punched the button on the remote that flung Dexter’s bed upwards, tossing the sleeper from his covers. After being jostled by the bed Dexter’s brain turned on. Or what people thought was his brain. He felt the air rushing by his ears as he was hurled downwards being clothed, fed and pampered during the trip. Once he landed he could hear Ty shouting with glee that he had been able to get Dexter moving. Once both boys thudded to ground level, they hopped into the waiting craft that would transport riders to any destination in the city.
“Liberty Hall!” Ty shouted a little too loudly.
Along the edge of a ravine, Dexter was rapidly running. Dexter knew he had escaped at just the right moment. The Choosing was going to take place and he was eligible to be a winner. But that was not what Dexter had in mind for his future. He couldn’t be a winner or else he would never get the chance to do what he wanted, to save mankind, or what was left of it. Ever since the Royal Council decided that every thirteen years they would choose a new trainer, Dexter had seen town folks change from kind and loving to full of hatred and evil power. But there was nothing he could do in terms of talking about this evil. He and everyone else in his town were raised to accept life the way it came. The changes made by the council were “the best for everyone”, so no one dared to speak against it. He would have to fight alone. This was the one thing he and his brother could not agree on.
Dexter never thought of the consequences when he came up with his brilliant plan. Obviously people would notice he was missing but not if he had a replacement. He inched along the ravine glancing back over his shoulder every now and then. He took mental pictures that would be saved in his brain in case he ever needed the information. The rush of the water soothed him slightly because he knew at this precise moment Ty and he would be going to the winning assembly. At this particular time he longed for his taliflyer, which would’ve helped him gain distance from his dark town. But he knew if he had the help, the Paratines would be able to track him down. He was a long ways away from his destination, Smileyville.
Dexter wished desperately that things could return to the way they were before the Royals had decided to start the Choosing. Everybody and everything was at peace with one another, but now… the souls of the people had changed. The sense of power gave the chosen people satisfaction, but did the Royals realize that this wasn’t helping anybody? They had no clue, as long as the people were listening to the council nothing was wrong. Dexter felt ashamed that he thought everything was going well when the first was chosen. He learned soon enough, when his own mom and dad were taken far away and never came back. Word was that anybody older than 50 was taken and thrown into the forest to defend himself. The first Chosen declared that older people were only holding the fresh generations back. They were to be banished.
The boys rode silently, each in his own thought bubble. Suddenly Ty shouted, “Oh I just can’t believe you aren’t excited to learn the winners! I hope it will be me, but then again I will miss a lot growing up in normal society. I mean if I won I would be whisked to the Royals to train. However if I did win it would clearly be a lifetime opportunity. I… or you… could be chosen and then we would be part of the council who would get to make decisions and rule the area for decades. Oh what power I would have!”
Dexter just stood awkwardly next to him and replied robotically,
“Yes, that would be cool. I guess.” Ty missed the lack of enthusiasm and continued rapidly, until they arrived at Liberty Hall. Ty hopped out of the vehicle and Dexter followed slowly. As they ambled into the huge white building, with soldiers keeping a watchful eye, Ty high fived all his friends. Once inside they had to go through intense security before they were led to their seats.
“My goodness, can you believe how close we are to the stage? Maybe Aisha will be here and we both can fight for her heart!” Ty joked. Aisha was the legendary woman of the town. No one really saw her except on rare occasions, usually when the kingdom was in a dire situation. Her every step had a sense of superiority. Her small figure with her crystal blue gaze only added to intimidation. However, every one knew that she was a key decision maker with the council. In fact, it was her choice of who would be the winner in the final decision.
“Man, don’t be so tense, it’s nothing to be nervous about. If you don’t win, you’re not missing out on much.” Ty tried to reassure his twin brother.
Dexter limped along but soon realized he would have to rest for the night. Both physically and mentally, he was exhausted. After walking a few more paces along the ravine, he found a trail that led him to a grassy patch in the forest. He dug a little trench for himself and settled in. But he didn’t get much of a rest. He thought he was hearing footsteps growing closer and closer but then he realized they weren’t a figment of his imagination. He cracked open his tired eyes and came eye to eye with a giant slobbering Dalmatian. Dexter jerked himself to a sitting position.
“You thought you could hide from his nose,” a tall angry man snarled. At “his” the big pooch turned towards his master. “Get up, you’re coming with us.” Dexter rose slowly and as his eyes adjusted to the dark, he made out about seventeen Paratines in triangle formation. The one with the dog shouted to the sky. A low whirring could be heard as a Royal’s aircraft landed.
The aircraft opened its doors and sucked both boy and soldiers into its opening. Dexter found himself in a chair with his arms and legs strapped down.
“What the- what am I doing here?” he shouted to no one.
A screen lit up as soon as he spoke. “You are here because we wanted to make sure you weren’t lost. Because, no offense, but if you’re sixteen and your sleeping in the trench far from any town you might be a little cuckoo,” the smiling face on the screen replied. Dexter let a sigh of relief escape; he thought they had suspected him. Suddenly the screen fuzzed but Dexter could still hear what was going on.
“Keep the one you found, don’t let him escape.” A voice crackled. “The winner wants to have a word with the boy.” Why would the winner want to have a word with me? How would he know what I have done? My brother doesn’t even know and he’s fairly sharp! Dexter panicked.
Ty stood in his suite on the Royal Ruler’s transporter. He was on his way to his new home after a tearful goodbye with his friends and brother. But he wasn’t too sad because he had power now. After hearing a message from another royal transporter he demanded to be brought to that one. He had a hunch that something fishy was going on when his brother merely said “Bye” at the end of the ceremony. He knew his brother wasn’t big on goodbyes. But this goodbye was just weird, no “good luck” or “write soon” or “call soon”.
“Sir, the transporter is heading this way and we could meet in the middle,” a portly server announced startling Ty from his thoughts.
“Yes, yes very good,” Ty replied, “oh and send in an order for me. I need food if I am to be on duty for this long. I would like a plate of cheese, pork, green beans, and a huge slice of cake from the ceremony,” Ty did a dramatic turn and sat down into a plush seat. The man nodded and fled the room.
Dexter waited anxiously on the other transporter. The screen awoke again and startled him. “Get up, and go down the hall and towards the double doors. Wait outside until instructed to enter,” The face told him.
“Um, I am tied down.” Dexter replied.
“Right, er, we’ll address that.” The face said sheepishly. The leg and handcuffs popped off and Dexter started down the hall. When he entered the room at the double door he was led to a chair facing a desk. The swivel chair behind the desk turned and Dexter turned green.
“I thought I would find you here!” Ty crackled gleefully. He made a menacing leap at Dexter and pointed his finger in his face. Dexter attempted to jump out of his seat to defend himself, but before he could do so a Paratine flashed to his side and forced him to sit down. It was as if the Paratine sensed what his next move was going to be. Immediately his arms were chained to the seat and his legs to the ground. Ty resumed his menacing position and said, “I knew there was something wrong with you. I just couldn’t place my finger on it. I found it strange, when you, someone who normally talks constantly, suddenly choosing to speak only when necessary. Walking oddly was just another thing to add to my suspicion. Suddenly you walked like you were just born, not sure of how to move your legs. And there I thought you were just a nervous little boy waiting to see who would get chosen, but in actuality you cloned yourself. Why would you do that to yourself?”
“I did this because I didn’t want what is happening to you happen to me!” Dexter spat. “I figured having power would go to anyone’s head and I was right. It happened in the past with the other winners and it’s happening now. What is wrong with me, you ask? Well I’ll tell you. I want to save mankind- “
“Silence, you will never have the chance. The only thing destroying mankind is people like you. Ignorant people. But now, with me in power and on the council, I will make great changes,” his brother snarled. Ty smiled eerily at Dexter, “In fact I have an idea already of how to rule. What would be better than having your rulers know everything about you? I believe having a chip installed in everybody’s brain will help them begin to trust the Royals and councilmen. You know what they say… trust is granted by knowing. You trust me because I know you really well cause we’re brothers. In fact I know everything about you! And you trust me, right.” Ty glared at his brother.
“I used to when I never thought you would become like this, “ Dexter said pointing his finger at his brother and then around the fancy room.
“If that’s how you want to be. Perhaps to punish you for committing this serious crime, you should be the tester. In fact you will be under my surveillance until we get the chips made. You can be the first one to try it and see how much better you respect and trust the Royals and me”