The Mower

December 14, 2017
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I looked over at Ethan when we heard the speakers blaring. 

"Attention, all students please report to the gymnasium."  This was a routine for us. Every day, the same announcement would come on. We looked at each other knowing that some of our classmates wouldn’t ever come back. Throughout the hallways, there were so many guards who were all dressed in the same white outfits and gloves. They were surrounding us, looking for anything they could note us for. 

Signs lined every wall splitting us up within our grade levels. The seventh and eighth graders were cluttered together in the corner closet to the front, the freshmen and sophomores were in the back corner, and the juniors and seniors took up the majority of the right side. When all of this started a few months ago, they made a new school system. The grades from kindergarten to sixth grade were put in a school and seventh to twelfth grade were put in another.  I heard her heels clicking on the old gym floor as she walked up to the microphone. This happened every time, almost 10 students were taken every day. I knew that when they left, things would be different. None of the teachers had been taken yet, only the weak. 

" Chris Larkin, Milly Marcel, Kyla Vilma, Nicole Hellen, Marcius Ruslan, Dominic Frank, Maren Stanko, Chase Ceder, Marina Tolga, and Rachel Tolga please come forward."  They stumbled up to the front, feeling all eyes on them. These were the kids I'd known my whole life. Tears streamed down their faces and everyone could hear the loud sobs coming from them. Each kid was given a yellow jumpsuit and 2 guards that never left their sides. You could see the stains covering the clothes they were given. It was the last time I saw any of them. 

Buzz Buzz Buzz Buzz Buzz

My eyes fluttered open when I heard my loud alarm clock. I thought about how maybe they'd decide not to come to take anyone today, but I knew I'd be wrong. I sat in my seat for first period. Beep. I heard the speaker come on. "Not again" I thought.

"Good Morning Students. Tomorrow after school there will be a meeting for any student looking for any help with school or stress. If you are interested, please sign up today at lunch."

The day moved along pretty quickly. So many people went up to the small table near the trashcans to sign up for help. I knew that this had to be a trap. If they knew that you couldn't handle everything going on, they'd get rid of you. I sat at my table with Ethan and some of his football friends, none of us were happy here. Ethan and I always talked about our future together. One day, we'll be out of here, free from this mess. 

The guards make it seem like it's a good thing for people to go when really, it's not. No one knows what happens to the people who are taken.  They say that too many kids have overcrowded the Earth and the guards tell them that the place they will go is better. 

Today when I get home from school, my mom is in the living room watching tv. I can feel that something is wrong, something had to have happened. I walk over to the kitchen to get a snack, and then I see him. It's a guard. My heart drops and I feel almost as if I'm about to throw up. My mind is racing with the constant thought that he's here to take me or SISTER.  He makes eye contact with me and then says "Go ahead and get some food. We have to wait for SISTER to get home before I can talk to your whole family." I can't even say anything to him. I'm not hungry anymore, so I just sit down at the table. My parents both walk in acting like everything is fine, but you can see the fear in their eyes. 

"Good Afternoon Sir. How can we help you?" My dad says calmly.

"Well I'd just like to talk to you and your family about everything that's been happening lately." The guard answers. They never show any emotion. 

"Should we be worried?" My dad replies. 

"No. No one is being taken as of this moment. This is for a presentation. All of the guards have now been assigned a family and I'm your guard. You can call me Richard." He says. As soon as he's done talking, my sister walks through the door. 

"Kimmy is that you?" My mother says. "Come on over to the dining room Kimmy."

We had a talk with the guard. He was going to be staying with us for a few months to monitor us. We were sent back to our rooms, so I walked up the long tall steps and pulled a book from my shelf. I flipped to a random page and began to read The Mower by Philip Larkin. 

" The mower stalled, twice; kneeling, I found   

A hedgehog jammed up against the blades,   

Killed. It had been in the long grass.

I had seen it before, and even fed it, once.   

Now I had mauled its unobtrusive world   

Unmendably. Burial was no help:

Next morning, I got up and it did not.

The first day after a death, the new absence   

Is always the same; we should be careful

Of each other, we should be kind   

While there is still time." 

Should we really look at things like this? I had a weird feeling and I knew that something was going to happen. The next morning when I woke up, the guard came into our house with another guard at his side. They walked up my steps and went into my sister's room. Why? Why her? She was such a good kid and she didn’t deserve this, no one did. She was dragged down the carpet steps. I tried to run after her but it didn’t work. Another man came from out of the kitchen and grabbed me, trying to hold me back. Through the window that was left open, I saw her get thrown into the car. The tears were streaming down her delicate face. I thought that was the last time I'd ever see her, but I had to find a way.

The next day at school, 10 more were taken away. I had to figure out a way to be one of them.  Today at lunch, I signed up for the program and I was scared Ethan would find out. As I went to our lunch table, I saw him sitting down at his seat. It was almost like I was invisible. I hadn't even told him about Kimmy and I wasn't even sure if I was planning on it. I knew that he would do anything for me and my family, but I didn't want him to give everything up for me. 

I tried to do anything I could for them to flag me. I had already got in trouble for one thing and I knew that signing up for help would be another flag. Ethan is really worried about me. In 6th period he asked me if there was something going on. I told him that I was fine and I was just tired, but he knew I was lying. Ethan drives me to and from school everyday, but most of this time he doesn’t get out. Today was different. We pulled into the drive way and he walked me up to the door and came inside. My mom welcomed him and he sat down with us at the couch. I looked around in search of the guard from yesterday, but everything looked normal. It didn’t even seem like he’d been here. I was so relieved because I knew that Ethan would be worried. Ethan and I walked up to my room and sat on my messy bed. My room was always the only room clean in the house, so he definitely knew something was wrong. 

“What’s wrong Willow? You’ve been acting so weird today. I just want to know what happened?” he said.

“Kimmy. They took her yesterday.” I said back to him with tears in my eyes.

He didn’t even say anything to me. He just pulled me into his arms and hugged me. I knew that he would help me but I really didn’t want him to risk his life for me. “Willow, we will get her back, I promise. I will get her back, no matter what it takes. Tears streamed down my face. I couldn’t handle this anymore. It was almost like I wanted to be taken too. I immediately burst into tears and began sobbing. His long arms were attached to me and I knew he’d never let go. My mom came upstairs to us. She’s been so calm and she’s covered up all of her feelings, you wouldn’t even know anything had happened just by looking at her.

Buzz Buzz Buzz Buzz Buzz

Today I was going to break my parents hearts and Ethan’s. I was certain that they’d take me because they know how weak I am now. Everything felt the same today, they made the announcement and we all went to the gym. I felt scared, but ready at the same time. We walked into the gym and the signs were there. Ethan and I stood together with our fingers intertwined. They began to list the names: “Anna Morefield, Bryan Douglass, Freddy Champ, Emma Swan, Nick Alt, and Willow Hall, please come to the front of the gymnasium.” Ethan and I locked eyes as my hands slipped away from his. This was the first time I’d ever seen him cry. As I walked away, we mouthed I love you to each other. We got changed into the yellow bodysuits and they pulled us outside. The bright sun almost blinded me, I was thrown into the car by two guards, the same ones who took my sister. Darkness, it was the last thing I saw.






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