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The Breeding House By Helena Fox-Sellers

On the night before my “ Graduation” I escaped.
The school that I had been going to was an all girls school, no dangerous males allowed inside. There we no windows on the south side of the building and a ten foot high wall and moat surrounded it and cut off view to the outside world. Miss Towline explained that it was for the greater good, so we wouldn't get eaten by the big cats or kidnapped by strays that had survived the plague.

My name is River. When I was 3 my Mother died of the flesh eating plaque that had taken out most of the adults on the planet. The day she died was just like any day until she started coughing up blood and I, as a 3 year old had no idea what to do. She beckoned me over to her side, and told me a secret. She told me to “ Trust no one” and she laid still.

I thought that she had just fallen asleep, so I curled up next to her body. When I awoke, I was being shaken my neighbor who had come over to check on my mother, but found her dead. The coughing had done the deed.


The wall...
No one in the Ballard’s institute for girls had really remembered being outside of the wall and the only ones that had been out of the wall were 18 when you graduated and went to train to be lawyers and doctors for the new world, in the building with no windows.


I have climbed the wall many times, and when I peek over I see nothing but empty plain and a road leading to the faceless building in the south, the one side the institute did not have windows, no way to see what was on the other side.

One time when I was climbing up the wall, a stone fell out and crashed to the ground with a loud “ Thump”. I picked it up and thought, “ Maybe a secret passage to the outside world wouldn't hurt’. So I Made a passage, by taking out large stones in the wall and covering it back up to hide it with a thick veil of ivy. Every night for a month I climbed out of my window to take a stone out of the wall and threw it over the wall to get rid of the evidence. The night before my graduation, Alana my best friend fell through my passageway and into the moat. Alana, as well as I, and most of the girls at the school, had been there since we 3 to 5 years old so we never taught to swim.

I waded in after her, but I saw her on the other side of it, drenched to the bone and doubled over with a coughing fit. I flailed about and finally made it to the other side. “ What are you doing? Do you know how dangerous it is out here?” I yelled. “ The only danger out here are the man snatchers,” she said “and I don't know if they exist if they do at all”.

The strange windowless building glistened in the moonlight as we both stared at it. “ Race you there” she whispered. And we ran until the windowless building, wasn't windowless anymore but just that side that was facing the school didn't have windows to block out “something” inside. “ Let's peek in” Alana said quietly. I gave her a boost because the windows were at least 7 feet tall and both of us were short. She gasped out, covering her mouth and fell to the ground in a heap. “ What is it?” I exclaimed. “ Look” she said and gave me a boost. I looked in. This was NOT a place to train to be a doctor or lawyer or some other useful thing. I recognized some of the girls on the cots. Felicity was there, an old friend who never wrote back after she graduated 2 years before. In that room were about 30 rows of cots, strapped down to the cots, were all of the graduated girls I knew. And all of them sported heaving, swollen, ready to burst, tummies. They were all pregnant. I gasped for air. “ We have to run,” I said. And we ran.



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