An Unfortunate Exchange

Chapter 1

"I think I found it." Guy announced, from his chair, stirring the large white rat that sat upon his left shoulder from her shallow slumber. Another boy seated across the room on an old red leather couch lifted his head from a flimsy, paper back book and carefully blew blond strands of hair from his deep set grey eyes.

"Found what exactly? I was reading for the duration of your explanation." The blonde claimed, again lowering his glance to his novelette.

"The pattern to the district experiments." Guy explained.

The blonde grunted dismissively.

"No really. I think I have it. They can't be drawing numbers out of a hat up there after all, that's not the way governing bodies operate."

"And how would you know that?" The blonde questioned.

"I actually attend class, thank you." Guy defended, sinking back into his chair and absent mindedly stroking the white rat's head, returning his attentions to the wall of papers and district maps. The country that's image was so patriotically displayed upon the pin-point poked through white wall was one of a new country, one who's shape had been altered so many times that even the copy mounted on the wall only a week prior was obsolete. The district's testing's had left various scars on the earth's scabbed over surface, like volcanic rock split open like dried up skin. No green brightened the canvas, and no mindfully painted rivers graced the eyes, only buildings of different depths and clusters of crimson clothed bodies filled the lens of the satellite that had taken the images that had later been pieced together into the single figure upon the wall.

The blonde across the room suddenly tossed the book over his shoulder and swung one leg over the edge of the couch, bringing himself to a seated position.

"Something wrong?" Guy questioned, exhaling with annoyance.

The blonde only grunted again and approached the paper laden wall with heavy, noisy feet, glancing over the image half-heartedly.

"So who's getting fried next?" The blonde inquired.

"Honestly I'm stuck between the west district 3, and west district 8." Guy admitted with a shrug.

"But the pattern is…" Guy gestured with his index finger, drawing a sort of crescent shape in the air above his head. "There." The white rat followed her owner's finger briefly before again resting her pink eyes and lowering her heavy head.

The blonde tilted his head. "Like a circle." He observed.

Guy nodded. "Yeah, it's a lot like a circle."

Both young men aloud the room to sink into a comfortable silence, both observing the wall with tilted heads.

"Aren't we in west district 8?" The blonde questioned.

"Last trimester we were." Guy recalled. "Since then it's changed. Now we're in district 6."

The blonde merely nodded.

The wall speaker suddenly cracked and fumbled alive as an announcer's voice came over the district's intercom.

"Congratulations!" Stated the voice, as excited as a game show host.

"Your district has been selected for the mass testing of our new classified substance. We thank you in advance for your support and participation. The information gathered from these studies will improve the life of those generations to come, and of those in other districts as soon as six years from now! Survivors will be compensated for family members lost if proof of genealogy can be traced. Again I'd like to personally congratulate all of those within district 6, and to again thank you for your patriotism!" And with that, the transmission ended, and the world went dark…