A Dystopian Story
I woke up in a strange place. I wasn't in my room or bed anymore but my blanket and doll were here beside me. I sat up and looked around. My parents were here too.
"Hey Audrey" my dad spoke.
"Where are we?" I asked. I barley saw my dad look at my mom. It was dark in here.
"We're in our shelter. England's gone to war with China." He told me.
"We grabbed as much as we could in the amount of time we had" my mom spoke handing me my bag of many notebooks, pictures, and other things she knew I couldn't live without. I noticed that she too had a bag of things.
"Why are we at war?" I asked. I hadn't heard a thing about war all summer.
"We're not really sure" dad answered. "We just have to wait it out here until the government officials tell us it's safe to do something else." I nodded my head even though they couldn't see me and I snuggled back into my corner with my blanket and doll
I was sixteen years old, living in England with my parents. I know that a blanket and doll were a little ridiculous for a sixteen year old, but I couldn't part with them. I'd had them since they day I was born. I was an only child. My parents pretty much spoiled me.
We stayed in that shelter for two weeks before the bombing stopped long enough for us to pack our things and leave. I remember looking at my almost empty room thinking about how much I was going to miss this place. We left most of our furniture behind because it was too big and heavy to carry with us. We moved to Miami Florida, where we'd be clear of the war.
"Audrey!" my mom called up the stairs of our new home.
"Yes mum?" I poked my head around the corner so she'd see me.
"We have to register you for school." I sighed. Public school. In America none the less. I wasn't going to fit in. I'd been a private school girl since the age of five. My English was British English, not American English. My parents didn't understand this.
"Let me finish getting ready" I replied as I rushed back in my new room. My Auburn hair clung to the sides of my head, my pink t-shirt was wrinkled from where I'd been laying in the floor drawing, and my white skirt was relatively short.
"Audrey! Come on!" mom called again. I slipped on my sandals hoping that my outfit was acceptable
They were staring at me. I know they were. I was the only kid in this school not wearing one of those ugly class badges. I wasn't sure why they were required, other than they told what grade you were in. I would be a sixth year at my private school this year. Here I'm called a junior. Stupid name if you asked me.
I finally made it to my first class without being late. The teacher was named Mrs. Gretta. Another thing I wasn't used to. At my private school, teachers were called Professor no matter what gender they were. Here, they're called Mr. or Ms.
Mrs. Gretta called out our names, one by one to see if there was anyone missing. I sighed. I missed my private school. This was science class. At home, this class bored me. Since it was only the first day of school, we only went over rules and this thing called a syllabus. Even though I knew things were going to be different, the one thing I hadn't expected was that everyone acted alike. There wasn't a single kid who made jokes. It was almost like they were aliens.
At lunch, I sat with this girl named Ginny. She was in my science class and she seemed nice enough. I noticed that she wasn't wearing her badge anymore, so I decided to ask her about it.
"Hey Ginny" I said
"Hey! You're Audrey right?" she asked
"And you're from England. Is that right too?"
"Yes. I was wondering…" she cut me off
"That's so cool." She gushed "I've always wondered what it was like to travel and live in a different country. And the boys! They're so hot!" I shook my head. Just because the boys were cute, didn't mean they were worthwhile.
"I have a question" I interrupted while she paused to take a breath.
"I'm so sorry. I'm being rude. Its just that its not every day that we get a new girl from a different country. What can I do for you?" she asked
"Why aren't you wearing your pin?" at the time, I didn't know that it was specifically called a badge.
"You mean my junior badge?" she looked around and then dropped her voice to a whisper. "These things control your mind without you knowing it. They prevent us from free thinking. I somehow managed to figure that out the summer after my freshman year." She told me. I wasn't sure what freshman year was, but that didn't matter.
"I also figured out that if you pin it to your jacket, and then take the jacket off the effect doesn't work. This keeps me out of trouble for not wearing it." She held up her jacket to show me that the badge was there.
"Where's your badge?" she asked. I dug around in my bag for it.
"I think it looks dumb, that's why I'm not wearing it." I told her.
"Smart Girl" Ginny smiled. "Here, put my jacket on, see what the effect does" she passed me her jacket. The moment I put it on, I immediately forgot my private school. When I tried to think about it, I found myself thinking about the history homework I was assigned last class.
"Makes you want to scream now that you know it does that doesn't it?" Ginny asked. As a matter of fact, I did want to scream, but nothing came out when I tried.
"Take the jacket off Audrey" I quickly did as I was told.
"Why do they do that to us?" I asked as I put my head down on the table. I had a headache now.
"It's the government. They want us all to think and act the same so we can be equal." She replied I was going to ask her more, but the bell rang. I pulled out my schedule
"What's your next class?" she asked pulling out her own schedule
"Math, 2300 building"
"Me too! I'll walk with you"
After school when my mom came to pick me up I had Ginny in tow. She said that her older brother knew about the badges, but he didn't approve of her not wearing hers since it was "required" and we decided since my mom didn't know anything about the new government that it would be safe to continue our conversation at my house.
"Hey mum, I have a friend with me, is that alright?" I asked as I climbed into the back seat of the car. This American car was weird, the steering wheel was on the left side, instead of the right.
"Yes dear, that's fine. It's nice that you've made a new friend here already" she beamed.
"I'm Ginny" Ginny said as she climbed in beside me
"It's nice to meet you dear" Mom's accent was still just as thick as mine.
When we got home Ginny and I went directly to my room. Most of my stuff had been organized and unpacked by now since I didn't have that much to begin with. We put our books in the floor and climbed up on my bed.
"So, the government wants us all to be equals right? That sounds like a good idea, but why do they have to use mind control?" I asked first. Ginny sighed and pulled her long blonde hair up in a ponytail.
"I'm not really sure why. All I know is that when we started middle school, we were told that we had to wear class badges for the rest of our school lives to prepare us for having to wear them when we started working in the outside world."
"Wait, what's middle school? In England, we called them years. When I was eleven I started year one, and since I'm sixteen now, instead of this being "junior year" I would be a sixth year, and then before I was eleven, it was called primary school." I told her. America was driving me crazy and we had only been here for a month.
"Middle school is when your first year would start. And then high school is when your fourth year would start. Make since?" I nodded my head.
"I guess they don't trust us to make piece among ourselves without them getting involved. Jason said that he didn't have to start wearing the badges until he was in the seventh grade." Ginny said
"Well," I pondered, "what can we do about them? We cant just not wear them or we'll get in trouble right?" I asked
"Right. What are you thinking?" She questioned.
"Do the teachers have badges?" The answer to this question would be a big part of my plan.
"They have two. One has their name and picture on it, and the other has their job title. I'm not sure which one controls them, probably the job title" she replied still curious as to what I was up to
"Well, if we could convince them to take their badges off, then maybe we could get them to help us convince the other students to take them off, and then we could be a free thinking school" I said. It didn't sound easy, but it didn't sound too hard.
"That's an excellent idea! Only, do you know how difficult that's going to be? Most students and teachers wear them all the time." She said. She didn't sound convinced.
"It'll work, we're the only two current free thinkers in the school. You have friends right?" I asked
"Yeah, but I've never told any of them about the badges" she admitted. That seemed odd. She'd probably known them for years, but she'd only known me for a day.
"Why not? I mean, I would have told my friends" I replied
"Well, I told Jason first, and after he reacted so badly about it and then promised he'd keep his mouth shut as long as I kept wearing mine I didn't want to tell my friends. Their parents have badges and everything too. You can't get away with not having one, even over the summer, they mail you badges that if you're out and you get caught not wearing it, then you could get in serious trouble." Ginny said. I thought about this for a moment.
"We need to start with the school. Summer just ended, so we won't have to worry about that for a long time." I replied carefully. "Will you tell your friends? I think this might work if we really tried" I didn't understand why the girl let her friends all continue to be brainwashed. Unless she just didn't care about them, then that was understandable.
"I guess I'll have to. I love the idea, I'm just not so sure that we, two average teenage girls could do something so big" she said
"We can do it Ginny. Just tell yourself you can and you will. Tell yourself you can't and you won't" That was something my mother told me as a primary school child
The days faded into weeks, and then months, and slowly, if you looked around school, you could see less and less badges. Ginny had gone to school the next day and told as many of her friends as she could without getting caught and slowly they had each told someone else.
"It's working!" she gushed to me one day at lunch.
"I can see this. We just have to make sure that we stay on the quiet side of things" I said. A girl named Lily joined us at our table.
"Hey guys!" she said. She was Ginny's best friend, aside from of course now, me.
"Hey Lil" we replied. Lily was very bubbly. She was the captain of the varsity cheerleaders, she was the president of the Alpha Club, and she was junior class president. This girl was exactly what we needed to get the teachers on board with our plan.
"So, what's the deal for today?" she whispered. We knew she wanted to know if today was the day that we needed her to slip into the teacher's lounge and leave a few hints here and there for the teachers to try taking their badges off.
"What's your after school schedule?" I asked. My English was improving, I was catching on to more slang and American terms, but I refused to give up my accent.
"I have cheerleading practice until four, the alpha club is meeting today at four thirty in the teacher's lounge, and Mark's taking me out for dinner after the meetings over at five fifteen." She said. Her boyfriend Mark was just as important. He was the football captain, and senior class president.
"Who's the last one to leave after Alpha club's over?" Ginny asked
"Usually, Mrs. Hall, but I think she's actually headed out a little early today. She said something this morning about how her baby's sick, so she can't stay long for the meeting" Lily replied. Perfect.
"So you'll be the last one out?" I asked just to make sure. She nodded her head. I looked at Ginny and nodded for her to tell her the plan as I dug around in my bag for the supplies Lily would need.
"Mark can either wait, or come help you, but after everyone is gone, Audrey has little cards that you just need to place all over the room where they'll be found. The only catch is, you have to leave when everyone else does, and don't let anyone know that you're going back "after something" or else it looks suspicious on you." Lily nodded her head as I handed her the cards. She quickly tucked them away in her own bag.
"Do you really think this will work?" she asked
"Yes, don't doubt yourself. The moment you do, is the moment we're in trouble." I replied. I was really good at handing out little pieces of advice, they were things that I as a child had been told by either of my parents for one thing or another.
We were sitting in math class the next day when the principal came on the overhead speakers.
"All students are to report to the auditorium immediately" he said. I looked at Ginny. What's an auditorium? I wondered. She must have seen it on my face as she simply just said
"Follow the crowd, stick with me" she said. We walked across campus and somehow or another Lily found us through the crowd.
"I wonder if it has to do with the cards" she whispered. We shrugged our shoulders.
"Where are your badges girls?" Ginny asked. "Put them on. We may need them to keep from blowing our cover" she whispered. We pinned them to the front of our shirts where anyone could see them. I hated wearing mine. I always ended up thinking about the projects that I needed to do whenever I thought about home. When I thought about our personal badge project, my mind would turn back to Science, and I'd think about what our assignment for the next day would be.
"Students of East Miami High" The principal started as soon as we were all seated. It got quiet quick. "It has been seen, and reported that someone here is trying to corrupt our learning and style" he began. "Whoever has decided that students and teachers should stop wearing their badges either needs to stop this mess now, or we will figure out who's behind this and they will be expelled from all Florida school systems. To avoid embarrassment, you don't have to come forward now, but we would like it if you did come forward privately and explain to us why you are disturbing our learning here at East Miami." I tried to look at Ginny and Lily and I'm sure they tried to look at each other and me, but our focus was brought right back to the principal.
"You are dismissed" he said, and all the students rose and headed back to class. When we were lost in the crowd, free from all teachers, we quickly rid ourselves of the badges.
"What are we going to do Audrey?" Ginny asked. I could tell she was scared.
"Meet up at my house afterschool today" I replied. That was all I could reply before Mrs. Gretta caught up to us.
"Audrey, Ginny, Lily!" she called. We turned causing a few students to tumble over and around us.
"My classroom after school, understand?" she said. We nodded our heads and watched as she walked away. There was something about her that made me stand still for a moment longer than Ginny and Lily. I was still staring after Mrs. Gretta when Ginny and Lily noticed that I wasn't with them.
"Audrey? Are you alright?" Lily asked waving a hand in front of my face. She was holding her badge in that hand.
"That's it!" I exclaimed. Ginny and Lily looked confused. "Mrs. Gretta wasn't wearing her badge!" I urgently whispered to them. They seemed to understand as much as I did. She wanted to tell us that she knew we were behind it.
The three of us nervously approached the science room. We knew she was in there, we knew what she wanted. I took a deep breath and went for the door knob. The other two followed behind me. Mrs. Gretta was sitting at her desk smiling at us.
"Good afternoon girls" she said
"Good afternoon" we replied.
"I'm sure by now you're all smart, and have figured out that I know that you three are the ones who have been convincing students to ditch their badges." She started. "I won't tell anyone about it. I don't know how I as an adult became sucked into this either, and I'm amazed that three teenage girls could figure this out. Especially since you Audrey haven't been here your whole life. No matter what the principal said today, don't stop your efforts, I'm going to help you convince the teachers and other staff members to do the same." We looked at one another and all was silent for a moment until the door opened and the principal himself came in.
"Why hello Mrs. Gretta, girls" he said
"Hello sir." Ginny, Lily and I said.
"How can I assist you?" Mrs. Gretta asked.
"Well, I was wondering if you're done talking to these three lovely ladies, if I couldn't have a word with you?" he asked.
"Yes, I'm done. Ladies, remember what I said, if you keep this behavior up I'll have to punish you" she said to us. We assumed that she meant if we didn't keep it up then she'd be angry.
"Do you think that these three are behind the badge ordeal?" the principal asked turning to look at us. We all held up or jackets that held our badges. "No, I'm sorry to accuse you girls. Have a good day" he said. We walked out of there and as soon as we were clear of the building we made a run for mom's car.
We kept doing what we could to stay under the radar and get others to take their badges off, until we were cornered. We were sitting at lunch talking about how it seemed that there were only a handful of students who were still wearing their badges and how about half the teachers now had quit wearing theirs when the assistant principal overheard our conversation.
"I need you three to come with me" she said in her evil voice. We looked at one another gravely as we stood up and began to follow.
"They didn't do it!" a shout was heard from across the room. The assistant looked around and there standing up in the middle of the lunch room was Ginny's brother.
"Excuse me? I've just overheard them talking about it" she said, the room had gone quiet.
"I said, they didn't do it. That's my sister and her friends there, they're good kids, they'd never do something like this." He replied. Several other students stood up too.
"These badges were dumb anyways, without it on, I have more time to do other things outside of school. My studies haven't dropped since I stopped wearing it, my free time has increased" one girl said. The room exploded with shouts of agreements. The assistant principal took the microphone from the podium in the middle of the room.
"Shut up!" she growled through it. All was silent once again. "Fine, don't wear the stupid things, but don't blame us when the authorities want to know why our school has the biggest bully rate, the biggest fight rate, the biggest student accident rate. Those badges are supposed to help keep peace in schools! You've seen on the news all the reports about shootings in schools, those kids weren't under control. Here in Miami Florida we're aiming to be the number one school in America, but we can do it if you brats won't cooperate!" she yelled and then threw the microphone on the ground and stomped off.
It was a year later and the peace had kept on the high side of life, while the violence kept on the low. Students weren't being forced to wear the badges any longer and Ginny, Lily, and I were the most popular seniors in the state. The government soon learned that they didn't need to control us to keep the peace, they just needed to let us have our free will. If we wanted to be violent, that's what jail cells and police were around for. Sure there were still other states that had their own version of mind control, but Florida was mind control free, thanks to the three of us "teenage girls" who originally thought they couldn't change anything.
Authors Note: I wrote this story originally as an assignment for my Junior lit class. The assignment was to write a dystopian story that was 2-3 pages, 300-500 words... well... that didnt quite happen here. 9 pages almost 4000 words. I got a 98 on it only because I didnt edit it before I turned it in :P
Thanks for reading, and if you'd kindly click the review button and tell me what you think I'd be very happy :)