Author: theDeadTree PM
Trapped in a city of 3 million flawless humans, ruled by a perfect system in a perfect society, one boy learns just how an obsession with perfection can destroy everything worth living for. Largely inspired by the novel 1984.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Adventure/Drama - Chapters: 18 - Words: 24,882 - Reviews: 36 - Favs: 11 - Follows: 9 - Updated: 02-29-12 - Published: 09-10-11 - Status: Complete - id: 2950980
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
I stared out into the distance, staring at something I knew I'd never have. And if I ever tried to get it, I'd have to sacrifice everything I have and everything I've ever known. I leaned against the railing and watched the trees swaying in the wind that covered the towering mountains that surrounded the domed city I live in. The city I always have lived in and I always will live in. I could almost touch the glass that separated me from the rest of the planet. There's something so strange and mysterious about the outside. Maybe it's because the outside is the only place where you can't get to, and the one place the system can't control.
The system is what keeps this place running as smoothly as it does. The system keeps everything perfect. The system is perfection at its finest. It's what created the society I live in and it's what controls everything. And I mean everything. Everything within these glass walls. It controls how we act, what we do, what we look like, how we think; everything. I sighed heavily. Everyone is identical in here. Every single one of us looks exactly the same, we all have the same personalities and experiences; we're all clones of each other. Three generations, each precisely twenty years apart. There are one million people in each generation. Three million people here in this dome. I belong to the youngest generation currently in existence…not that it makes any sort of a difference.
The system rules through fear mostly. If you disobey the system, you will be considered a threat and be dealt with accordingly. Nothing can get in the way of the perfect society that has established. Everyone is perfect. Everyone is equal. Which is a total lie and everyone knows it, but anyone who points this out is considered a threat and dealt with accordingly. First you'll be forced to undergo what the system calls 'education' and what the rest of us call a lobotomy. If you fight that, then the system will consider you a real threat and delete you from it. In other words, if you are not perfect, you will die. If you resist or protest, you will die. If you do anything not already approved by the system, you will die. Thus how the system rules through fear.
People accept it, though. If you obey everything you are told, no harm will come to you and you will lead a peaceful life until your generation gets to the age when the system declares you too old to be of any use anymore and deletes your entire generation. Still, some life is better than none. Or so people say. I'm not so sure anymore.
Which is why I'm here, staring out past the dome instead of heading back to my room like I should be. If I stay much longer, I'll be out past curfew and that can only lead to an education. A shiver went up my spine at the thought. I sighed and started heading to one of the several dull grey buildings used to house all three million of us. It wasn't a far walk, you never stray too far when it's so close to curfew. Like I said, people obey the system out of fear. People don't try to escape because it takes a lot to leave everything you've ever known. Also, it's been made quite clear that there is not intelligent life out there. You'd be on your own, with no survival skills what so ever. Yeah, you'll be free to do and say whatever you wanted, but when death within the first twenty four hours is a certainty, it suddenly becomes a lot less attractive.
Everyone is silent; no one talks to anyone else. When everyone looks the same, there's not much point in keeping relationships. The only people anyone really associates with are the people you share your room with. And the person I share a room with is in no condition for social interaction. He was educated a long time ago, so long ago I can't really remember the last time I had a real conversation with him. Like everyone else who's been educated, he's been recruited into a group of law enforcers that make sure everyone obeys the system and that anyone who tries to break out is swiftly captured and dealt with. It doesn't happen often, but it's happened before. Three people from my own generation have vanished completely, and no one knows what happened to them. People shrug it off and say they were deleted. I don't think so. None of them had been educated or anything beforehand, and then one day, one vanished. Disappeared. Then, two months later, another disappeared. A year after that, a third. It's been nearly three years since then, and no one else has vanished. The system is still wary and the law enforcers generally keep a closer eye on our generation than any other. Worried we'll get ideas, I guess. Human beings are hard to manage in great numbers at my age.
I eventually arrived at my building and get in one of several elevators with at least six others. None of us spoke; none of us ever looked at each other. We were all perfectly identical, we all had the same short dark brown hair and the same bright blue eyes; the only one who was different was a boy with a small electronic device behind his ear. The rest of us avoided him especially. He was clearly someone who had been educated, and the device was how the system controlled his thoughts. I stared ahead, wondering how many more of this generation were going to get educated before we met the end of our time. I wondered vaguely what education might feel like. I know what it does; I'd have to, what with sharing a room with someone who's been through it.
Before I could think about it much more though, the lift stopped and the doors opened to my floor. I got off and headed to my room. I opened the door and slid inside silently, to find my roommate leaning over the sink, a pained expression on his face. I didn't bother to ask what was bothering him – I already knew. It frustrated him that the system didn't allow him to remember his life before he was educated. It frustrated everyone who was forced through the procedure. He knew I couldn't tell him because that would be threatening the system and the perfection of everything and get me educated too. So we did what we normally did – we ignored each other's existence completely. I went straight past him, sat on my bed and sighed. I had to be careful when I did talk to him, which was a rare occurrence these days. I fell back on my bed and stared at the ceiling. People used to be so obsessed with being perfect. That's how the system came about. People wanting a perfect life, a perfect society full of perfect people on a perfect new planet since they trashed the previous one. Efficient and beautiful. That's what this is supposed to be. Efficient, yes. But beautiful? Beautiful was out there, outside. A grey, almost colourless city of three million perfect people under one perfect system is not beautiful. A world where people live in fear of a machine is not beautiful. And yet it is. Because it has to be. The beauty of what the human race has done to themselves.
I need to stop thinking about this before I voice my opinions accidentally and get myself educated. That's a lot easier said than done. That's how my roommate got educated. It wasn't anything all that serious, but it was enough for the system to consider him a threat. He threatened to corrupt others, also known as me, so he had to be educated in order to save me. It was stupid, because I already have my own negative opinions on the system. Opinions the system is unaware of, and would stay unaware of. And it kills me because I know that I can't make other people realise the truth without putting my sanity and memories at serious risk.
Obey the system at all costs. Don't speak out; don't go against the crowd, and whatever you do, don't be different. Don't be unique. If you're unique then you're not the same as everyone else. Which means you're not perfect. Which means you will be deleted from the system for the sake of absolute perfection. This is what happens when people are obsessed with perfection. You get to a certain point where everyone and everything that isn't completely flawless is destroyed. But isn't this supposed to be a world where everyone is equal? It is. Everyone who is perfect is equal. Everyone who isn't is eliminated. And even so, people still look down on those who have educated.
"578149." I heard him whisper over and over again. "578149."
I sat up and ran my fingers through my hair. His muttering didn't concern me; it's how he realises his identity. As much of an identity you can get in a world where everyone is the same, at any rate. He turned around to face me, probably having felt my gaze on his back. I shrugged innocently, but he didn't drop it.
"Don't you usually ignore me?" He asked.
Again, I shrugged. "You stopped paying attention to my existence first."
His eyes narrowed suspiciously, but I knew he couldn't pin anything on me that would be worthy of an education. Not even the system can read my thoughts, and I haven't said or done anything wrong or imperfect. So I just stared back, unsure how to proceed. It our first conversation for the first time in months.
"The system is perfect." He told me after a short silence. "You know that, don't you, 927826? Flawless."
I nodded. "I know."
And with that, he went to his bed and said nothing more. I fell back against my pillow and welcomed the darkness that swirled around me as I slipped into unconsciousness.
Again, I found myself staring out past the dome into the wild, dangerous world of outside. Water poured from the sky, I watched it hit the dome and slide to the ground. I wondered what rain felt like. I quickly dismissed the idea. I'll never know, so what's the point in wondering? Something like a shower, I expect.
"Beautiful, isn't it?"
I whipped around and found myself facing a girl. That's all I can really tell you. She, like every other girl I've ever seen in my life, had long wavy brown hair the exact same shade as mine, and bright, ice blue eyes. She was flawlessly beautiful like every other person in existence.
"Who are you?" I asked. Like I'll remember. I don't know why she's talking to me; we'll probably never run into each other ever again. But a few minutes of social interaction with someone who isn't educated might do me some good.
The girl smiled and didn't answer. She leaned on the railing next to me, watching the water stream down the dome with me.
"Makes you wish you were out there, you know?"
I looked around wildly in case anyone was listening, but the place was deserted. The girl saw this and laughed quietly.
"I'm 226453, by the way."
"927826." I replied quietly.
"Doesn't it bother you?" She asked me suddenly, completely changing the subject.
I stared at her. "Doesn't what bother me?"
"The numbers. The fact that you don't have a real name."
"Forget it." She sighed and started walking away.
I ran after her, intrigued and somewhat confused. What was she going on about? She can't be crazy, that's a flaw and would've had her educated or deleted. But what if she is crazy and has managed to slip through the cracks, like I have? Like so many other people have?
"Hey!" I yelled after her. "Hey, wait!"
She stopped and turned. "What?"
"Who are you?" I asked again, but this time I wasn't asking for her number. I wanted to know who on earth this girl was. She talked like…I couldn't really describe it. Like she had no fear for the system. The girl smiled.
"My name is Ebony."
And with that, she was gone.