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The Generation Code
Author's note: I've always wanted to write a dystopian fiction and now I am.
The doctor eyed me with cold, metallic eyes. He would occasionally jot down notes that made me want to bite my nails. Chills scurried down my back at the sound of the click every now and then. I was numb and cold with anticipation. Thoughts that raced through my mind just made me want to crawl into a hole and climb into a fetal position. He counted out numbers and every number he said just ticked off another thing on the check list. I hated it. Everyone had to go through it; it’s not just me being a freak.
He assessed me with expressionless eyes. I knew he was waiting for me to make a mistake, to slip up and ruin everything. But, I’m a Mikaelson, and I’m a survivor. If my ancestors can survive the apocalypse, then I can survive the tests. Still, they were the tests that would give me life or take it away.
When children are born, they are first taken to the government facility known as the Generation Continuation or just the GC code. The infants are looked over for the first month of their life and checked for malformed children or any that could be a damage to the society. If all signs are clear, the child is shipped off to the Family District. There they are given back to the parents and put in homes.
When children turn five, they are taken to the Educational District. There children 5-17 learn the manners, the social norms of society, and our history. Unfortunately, our history only dates back to 2043, the beginning of the Apocalypse of the Nations. Anyway, we are separated by ages and learn general education. Then, when we reach a certain age, we are given a new set of structured learning. We are given a job that will benefit society. I have yet to be given a job and I’m older than most.
When children turn seventeen, they are no longer considered children. We are adults. Adults of our age are tested for fertility. The government wants to know who can carry on and give birth to new generations. If we are infertile, adults are sent to the Wilds, where all hope for them is lost. So, now, as I lay on the cold table, waiting for the results, I’m shaking on the inside in fear. I would most definitely be dumped in the Wilds. I have no special skills to give anybody if I wasn’t able to bear children.
I hadn’t even realized the doctor had left the room and I only noticed when he entered through the sliding door. “Samara Mikaelson, thank you for your time. We will have your results brought to you by the next month as others are also being tested.” He didn’t say if I was fertile or not or if I had any diseases. But I suppose I would find out by the month. “You may now change back into your clothes and please have exited this room by the hour, if not less. We have more patients to be reviewed. Thank you again for your time, Miss Mikaelson.”
Once the doctor had left the room , I quickly changed into my standardized school uniform, it being the only thing that I had with me. After that, I quickly made my exit as I wanted to be as far away from the hospital lab. Heads were nodded to me in greeting and in politeness. I made my way out of the building and stepped into the dull light. Rain was trickling down from the sky. I ran to the carriage that had dropped me. Now, I just had to wait for the rest of my group to come out of the hospital, once their tests were done. I listened to the constant pitter patter of the rain hitting the carriage roof. I just starting dozing off when I heard the door slam shut and saw my friend Camille getting in the carriage. She started to say something, but then she saw that I was going to pass out in the seat and decided to wait to tell me after I got a little sleep.
The next time I woke up was when I felt the bumps as we made our way back to the school that had become like a prison house to me. Rolling hills passed through my eyes. Whenever I was out of school, I used all the time that I could to watch the world through a window. Right now, the beauty still astounded me, until I saw the looming gates of the building come into view and I started feeling the familiar resentment at entering the school. Then I heard the lock of the gate click behind us and I knew we trapped again. I hated it. Make that check two of the millions of things that I hated about this society. Sometimes, I wish I wasn’t a nationalist, and lived in their ‘perfect’ society of the survivors, but I am and I do.
Then, everything was ‘perfect’ again. Gorgeous water fountains welcomed me into the school and beds of flowers that sprawled across the campus winked at me as they danced in the wind. Park benches invited me to get out of the carriage and to sit down. The air held a certain amount of serenity in it, but it felt like a mask. Because behind the serenity hides the unmistakable stench of hated teachers and work.
When the carriage rolled to a slow stop, I bounded out of it and ran to the clean, fresh water in the fountains. I threw off my shoes and slipped them inside the cool water. My onslaught to the water made little waves that lapped my legs. If felt like I sat there forever, soaking in the sunlight. It was peaceful enough for me to fall asleep.
“Miss Mikaelson,” Mr. Ross barked out at me. I felt myself jump two feet in the air in both surprise and guilty pleasure. “What have I told you about putting your filthy feet into our water.” Mr. Ross isn’t my favorite teacher today. I took my own precious time taking one foot out of the water at a time. Then I slowly walked away from the fountain. Once I passed the corner, I dashed up the stairs to the dormitory. I was kind of peeved off that I couldn’t just relax in this giant, extravagant prison. I just wanted to take a little break from this hectic week. The eye tests, the hearing tests, the GC test, my teachers giving me grief about assignments that I need to complete, my mother calling me to wish me ‘good luck’ and all of that stacked up in one week was kind of making me want to scream at the top of my lungs, or rest my feet in water, but no, that’s against the rules.
When I stormed through my door, I almost ran into the maid. She gave a little shriek and dropped the clothes she was carrying. “Aneta, how many times have I told you that you don’t need to do this for me,” I hear myself say. “I’m not a princess, I don’t need someone to care for me.”
“Well, Samara. The schools been saying that I’ve been lacking in certain areas of the school, and they almost fired me. I have to do this now. I have to be seen coming out of your room with cleaning supplies or clothes or whatnot,” Aneta, one of my best friends was saying.
“How about we make another arrangement then. I have everything cleaned, and the clothes will be in a pile all ready for you to take them. And you can sit and talk with me instead of having an extra break time.” I was quite pleased with this new arrangement too. I actually liked taking her work time to chat with her. We started the new deal the next day because Aneta had already taken enough time in my room.
I heard the usual rap on the door indicating that Aneta was there. “Miss Michaelson,” she called to me. I stayed quiet so that she would come in the room and talk. The door slowly opened and there stood Aneta, with a bright red mark on her cheek. She walked in the room and quietly closed the door. I noticed small tears escaping her eyes.
I ran up to her and pulled her into my arms. “What happened!” I half screamed, half asked. She had never shown up to my room hurt.
“Relax, Samara,” she assured me. “It is more shock then actual pain. Just a dull sting, nothing more.” She saw my questioning face. “It was Patricia, the little princess.” No words were needed to describe Patricia’s pettiness and demands. The aging women patted my hand that I had clasped in mine. She squeezed my hand and said, “It is nothing to worry about, dear.” Some gray hairs had slipped from her bun, framing her face. Her kind brown eyes held mine as she walked us to my bed.
“What’s bothering you, my dear?” Aneta was like a grandmother to me. She always was there to comfort me. She has been in charge of my floor, the floor that houses me, since I was six years old. She’s always been the one to take care of me, and two other girls. She’s read me bed time stories, cared for me when I was sick, and helped me grow up.
“It’s this whole week. Everything about it, it’s just been crazy. With all of these tests,” I said the word with disgust leaking through my voice. “The whole thing is just so ridiculous. The tests, this life, this place. I hate it. But the Preservationists, they’re so much better. They don’t care about these tests. I bet they don’t. I wish I was one of them.”
“Be careful about what you say, Samara. The things you say, they’re dangerous. I was a little girl when the hybrids escaped and the country was separated. I might even say I agree with you. I wish my family chose the Preservationists but we can’t say these things in this building.” Aneta left the room quickly after that, saying she had to attend to Lizzy, the other girl that Aneta cared for. The students were called down to dinner later, and I moved my feet in the familiar path of walking that would take me to the Dining Hall. I threw on a new outfit, dark jeans with a black blouse. I braided my hair with nimble fingers and lastly slipped on some black flats.
As I bounced down the steps of the stairs, I passed some of the girls from my age group. Snickers erupted from behind. I heard them all the way down to the Dining Hall. I glanced back to see who they were coming from and saw the face of the drama queen, Patricia Dixon. They were talking about one of the girls ahead of me or they were talking about me. I started walking slower and tripped one of the girls. She stumbled in her freakishly high heels. “Hey, hey you. Sammy,” she sneered my name. “Apologize.” She held her voice high and proud. Her eyes looked like a snake’s, cold and venomous. And so I apologized.
“I’m so, so sorry that you can’t walk straight. I can show you sometime if you want. I wouldn’t want you to trip one day and get hurt because that would be such a shame.” I then walked off and I heard her irritated gasp. I felt like I was walking away from a bomb; whether it’s exploded or not, I’ve walked away from something that’s going to go off and be, well, disastrous.
When I arrived at the Dining Hall, I made my way through the salad bar and once my plate was piled high with food, I plopped down at my table with Camille. She looked at me, and launched into a story full of life. She made exaggerated hand movements, her face contorting into funny faces when she was saying something funny, or twisting into a sneer when she talked about the evil parts. She was born to be an actress from one of those old movies before the Apocalypse. They don’t make those anymore, it wastes money, but the school still shows the ones that survived the apocalypse.
I started listening to the story about what her dream was about, how she was saved by the heroic, handsome Jeremy Botts. How he rescued her from a tower like she was Rapunzel. How he rode away from the tower on a white steed and that when they were running into the sunset, he kissed her. It was very gooey and sappy, which has never been my kind of thing, but if Camille wants to dream about that, then by all means, she should dream about her lover.
“Well, Camille, Jeremy’s right over there,” I waggled my eyebrows. “Make your move, Rapunzel.”
“Should I? I don’t know,” she looked over at him. “He’s so....” She trailed off.
“He’s so handsome, charming, perfect. His eyes, don’t get me started on his eyes,” I put on my best Camille voice. “Isn’t that what you said just two minutes ago?”
“Yes,” she squeaked.
“Well, then. Go get him, girl.” With that, I gave her a shove off the bench and she looked at me over her shoulder before squaring her shoulders and marching over to Jeremy. I turned back to my food, and shoveled food into my mouth, taking in great amounts of the delicious mashed potatoes and corn. She was walking back towards me by the time my plate was empty. She had on a huge smile, and she looked like a cartoon. Her face was that comical.
“Can I assume that it went swimmingly,” I smiled up at her.
“Yes, yes you can assume that because it’s the truth.” Her smile lit up her whole face. “In fact, he told me that he‘s been interested in me for a while, and he was just about to ask me out!” She squealed at that last part. You could tell she was excited.
“Well, my dear friend, I must be off, because I am so terribly tired, and I want to sleep.” I exaggerated my last word and, with a final flounce, I left the dining hall and went back upstairs to my bed. Thoughts swirled through my head, making sleep impossible even to imagine.
My head was full of, did I pass? Am I going to be rejected? What’s going to happen to me? I hated not knowing what was going on with my life test. It’s almost as if the waiting seems like a mockery from the scientists.
Days passed without word from the doctors, and as each day passed, I grew more and more anxious. I wish my days would blur just a little, but everything was in clear, slow motion. Every tap of my pencil or scribble on my paper seemed like a test in and of itself. What I ate for dinner or breakfast would determine my fate. It sounds stupid, but that’s what I thought. Two weeks passed, and still I waited. School seemed like such a ludicrous thing, when I waited for the rest of my life. English tests came and passed. Math units zoomed by me. Science lectures went in one ear and out the other. My history classes seemed droll and unexciting, despite the face history was my favorite. My regular weekly piano lessons were the most preposterous thing that had seemed so important then. It’s funny how one thing that had been the reason you lived, was now something you looked over in a blink of the eye. I’ve even stopped writing as much, because whenever I put the pen to paper, my mind and hand drifted only to writing words of the test. Is it possible to obsess over something so consequential? Aren’t I supposed to be happy that I finally am able to become a part of society, but all I can do is worry.
A light knock on the door tugged me out of my thoughts. Maybe this could cheer me up. My weekly game of cards with my friends. I watched as my friends filed into the room. First Camille, second Jared, then Josh, then Sarah, and finally, Tiana. They all smiled at me, and laughed as we enjoyed the nights festivities; cards and candy was what the night was all about. Josh began to hate me around the second game of Scum, when he became the scum of the night, and me king.
“Guys, well, girls really, what happened to you during The Test?” I whispered, for some reason afraid that something could happen.
“I was scared, I wasn’t comfortable, but there’s one reason why I’m so happy tonight,” Camille said.
“And what is that? I’m trying to talk about something serious,” I said.
“It is important. First, I got the results. I’m good, and just ten minutes later, Jeremy Botts, the one and only, asked me on a date,” she squealed.
“I haven’t gotten my results,” Tiana stated, her voice small and seemingly insignificant.
“Neither have I,” I echoed, sounding just like Tiana, although in my voice, I sounded defeated. Camille was the only one keeping the group in high spirits after that. Tiana’s face was scrunched tight, in deep thought. Then her eyes went clouded, and she excused herself. I hugged her goodbye and she left to go to her own room. I didn’t know that that was going to be the last time I ever saw her.
Finally, I heard the tired yawns of the guys. I peaked at the clock behind the giant of Jared, and I was surprised by how late it was. The clock read 1:40.
“Holy-” I jumped out of my chair. “You guys got to go, it’s way past curfew!” Josh nodded at me once, not really paying attention to what I just said. Jared glanced at the clock behind him, and his eyes flew right out of his head.
“Josh, we have got to book it.” He hauled Josh out of his chair, and shoved his feet into his shoes. Jared did the same. They gave me a quick hug, and then fled from the room. I watched them from the window as they loped through the streets towards their dorm.
“They’re hilarious,” Camille said, imitating their walk.
“Oh, absolutely, couldn’t get funnier,” I laughed with a trill like joy.
“Honey, I, like them, must leave,” she started getting her shoes on. “But don’t you fret, and don’t you frown, because I will be back.”
“Whatever,” I drawled the word. We laughed together, trying to stay quiet, afraid of bringing the dorm police a-running. She kissed me on the cheek, and with a flourish of her hat, she closed the door silently behind her.
I threw on my pajama’s and stumbled into bed. My eyes were burning, and when I closed them, I slowly drifted to sleep.
The sun in my eyes slapped me out of sleep. I gripped the clock in my hand and peered at the blurry, disoriented numbers. 12:37. Wow, talk about a good night’s sleep. I jumped into clothes, brushed my teeth, and went about my business. I biked to the campus library and checked out probably a new record of books that are allowed to be checked out. I went to one of the campus cafes and bought a smoothie and bagel. Afterwards, I went to some of my classes and got caught up on some work.
After the tiring day, I got back home at around 7:30; the sun was setting when I crossed the threshold. I went straight to my small kitchen and put the smoothie in the fridge. Tired and exhausted, I decided to take an early night and go to sleep, read a book, or something. At first, my mind didn’t grasp it, but then my eyes zoomed to the white, pristine card that lay on the desk in the living room. Slowly, I lifted the card and I held it in my hands, reverently. My name was elegantly sketched onto the card, the ‘S’ a long loping letter and the others small. The ‘M’ was the same way.
I slipped my finger under the flap, and silently, guardedly, I ripped the flap open. I gripped one piece of card with my thumb and index; pulling it out, I saw one word printed on the card in loopy letters.
I reread the word, and it swam in my mind. Infertile....infertile...infertile, The word felt like a curse in my head, repeating itself, over and over again, never leaving my thoughts. I dropped to the ground, my knees turning to liquid, my legs becoming to weak to hold my body up. My head hit the ground, but I didn’t care. My world became a pit of black, and stars were rearranging themselves in my head. I opened my eyes, and I sunk my face into my hands.
I felt numb, because with that one word, my whole life changed. There were no dreams of becoming a biochemist, or maybe a teacher, or a neurosurgeon or anything, they were grabbed, yanked, ripped away from me. My future was nothing, and I knew I didn’t have much time left.
I used the table to pull myself up off the ground, and wiped my eyes of the tears that had fallen. I stuffed my pockets with mementos, and, perched on a stool, I yanked on my soft under jacket, and then slipped on a woolen coat. Then I remembered where I was being sent, where the rumors were. The Wild.
I burst into my room, and slipped on cargo pants that could change into shorts. I tore my shirt off and grabbed a tank that I slipped over my head. I put back on my jackets and I grabbed the wads of emergency money. Lastly, with the room left in my multiple pockets in my pants and jackets, I stuffed protein bars and bottles of water. I tried to hide the waters as best as I could.
Finally, I stood in front of my vanity mirror and gave myself the once-over. I saw myself truly in that moment. What I really looked like. For so many years, I was a girl who buzzed by in life, not taking a chance to stop and look. I never had to face the fact that I didn’t exist. Because, if you weren’t in society, then you didn’t exist. I looked at the new me. Gone was Samara, the girl that had dreams, that had friends, that was a student at Cottonwood Utah University, gone was the girl that was ignorant.
That Samara was dead.
From her ashes, the new me was born. Sam Phoenix. I decided to name myself anew, because I was not going to die an ignorant, snared girl who relied on the mercy of society. No, I was going to die a rebel of my own society, but that’s another thing that I’m changing now. Samara would have died, Sam won’t.
My face held a smirk and the girl that stared back at me, was free. Her vibrant green eyes were rimmed with fading red circles from crying. Her wild hair that was impossible to tame framed her face in caramel waves. Her body stood proudly and ready.
I heard the distinct sound of wood cracking. I felt the vibrating floor as the door slammed into the ground. Footsteps pounded, filling my ears with the sound of boots smacking on the floor. My bedroom door slammed open. I barely had time to turn around before I was grabbed. I was in a panic. My head cracked against one of the guards and I fought nails and teeth. I bit on the men’s arm and I kneed on another one in the groin.
They finally grabbed ahold of both my arms and secured them in behind my back with a zip tie. Two guards on either side of me gripped my biceps, picked me up and carried me out. The whole time my legs were flailing, my head shaking side to side, like a rabid dog, flinging out curses that would have made my mama shudder.
We crossed the threshold of my door and they got a cloth over my mouth. The chloroform invaded my senses and blackness descended on me.
The pounding of my head woke me up minutes, hours, days? later. The bump of the roads were harsh to my body and I was bouncing along with the other four girls in the carriage with me. There were guards with old looking guns from the time of the apocalypse. There hooded faces made me want to laugh, even in the severity of the situation.
“Where are we?” I asked the guards. They said nothing.
“Are we almost there yet,” I taunted the guards minutes later.
“I have to stop, bathroom,” I said again, hoping I could get away. The guards were just annoyed with me. I had been peppering them with child-like questions and complaints for the past hour; one of the guards had a watch.
“I’m thirsty, can we stop by a store?” I put on my best whining voice and complained like a three-year-old.
“Shut up, no talking,” the guard spoke to me, irritation pouring from him in waves. I smiled at that one.
“Oh, I’m sorry, am I being annoying,” the girl across from me shot me a look that screamed at me Shut up, shut up, shut up. I looked back over to the guard, let’s call him cranky pants. Anyway, Cranky Pants backhanded me. My head smacked to the side. I whipped it back around again.
He spoke again, “I said, shut up.”
“I’m sorry, what did you say? Do you want me to speak up?” Sarcasm was filling the small carriage. Then that small carriage door opened. My eyes widened to the bright, blaring sunlight. I glanced at Cranky Pants. His face was lifted up in a sneer.
“It’s your stop.” He unlocked the chains that held me to the bench and threw me out of the coach. My body hit the reddish dirt with a thump. My stomach flip flopped as I did the throw-me-out-of-a-carriage-stomach-flop. I lifted my face out of the dirt, my neck muscles craning. I snarled at him, a very unladylike thing to do. He flipped me off, and sent a small, arrogant wave before the horses were flying away, leaving a plume of red sand and dust behind them. Then, they turned sharply into a door that had been raised to let them back into society. They must be dumping us five girls in different places so that we would be completely alone, alone to die.
The road that they were driving on was a small patch of road used to dump the infertile and disease ridden individuals that failed the tests. I looked up at the wall that barricaded me from society. My stomach churned again, and before I could stop myself, I retched onto the ground at my feet. I avoided hitting my combat boots that I had thrown on before I had been locked out of my own house. I could be happy that I’d always been stealing stuff from my friends. Boots, clothes, I hate the dresses they make us girls wear. I liked to stay comfortable in Josh’s old clothes that he usually gave me. I frowned at the idea of never seeing him again.
I wiped my mouth on the back of my hand and then wiped that on the wall. Oops, did I just vandalize society property? I thought, my mind twisting itself into a sneer. I was kind of angry right now. Finally, tearing my eyes away from the barrier for the last time, I gazed ahead at the reddish desert that is my new home, if I was that fortunate. My new grave, if I was that unlucky.
The beating sun drove nails into my back as I walked away from the shadow of the wall. I rolled up my pants into shorts and continued trudging. I thought to myself, to pass time, as I began the the trek into my new life.
My name is Sam Phoenix. I am seventeen years old. And I am going to survive. I’m going to fight my old government everyday by just living, by living in the wastelands. I live, I breathe, and I trek through the home of the Hybrids. I AM in The Wild.