It Was a Midnight Dreary

Six months. That's all it took to become part of this terrible community.

How did this happen? One day I was sitting in my families unit then it rung. The gathering bell. But why were they ringing it so late? It was midnight. It's the worst sound ever. It means all family units have to meet in the town's center and wait to see what terrible thing they wanted to do now.

If you were late you were assigned extra chores that were almost horrid. I am not even going to mention them because if I were I would probably be assigned to them.

After the seventh family was assigned, everyone started to come almost early it felt like. Today seemed different. They walked into the center circle and said that who's ever name they were going to call to come stand up front and when done to follow them without hesitation.

"Harold Jefferson. Mary Prescott. Jesse Marigold….." Then that moment it hit me. They were calling everyone from my class and age group. I grabbed my Mama's and Papa's and looked at them with worry then they looked at me with the same letting me know that they just figured it out as well. "Hope Mikealson." My heart dropped. I stood and walked to the front. I stood there waiting for what they were going to do with us.

Were we being punished? Guess I am going to have to find out. Then they motioned to us to follow them. We walked into a room. All thirty kids my age and from my class including me. Great. This is going to be living hell.

"You're all probably wondering why we've gathered you here today and that's because you are not going to be living with your parents and families anymore. Our society is run by you marring someone you are most likely to marry in the future. But we are trying something new." My heart again dropped. "We are going to let you pick who you are going to marry. And if there is any problem we go back to picking. Understood? Yeah? Good. Now I suggest you start looking around ladies and gentlemen for your future soul mate. You may start at our new teen social hours which is 6pm to 11pm. We will obviously be checking on you every now and then. And the social is mandatory. I suggest you take this opportunity instead of sitting talking to your so called friends. You have a half hour till it starts. My last suggestion is that guys don't be shy. You may go" finally her rant was over.

We walk out and I run to my parents and pull them into a giant hug and we hurry back to our unit. I tell them everything while I'm getting ready for the social. I curl my hair put makeup on and put on a decent dress. I kiss my parents goodbye and leave for the center of town again.

Three minutes later we are waiting for them to start it. One of my old friends from when I was a toddler walks up to me. We were friends because we don't have baby sitters so our mothers had to take us and our mothers were the seamstresses of the town.

"Hey Luke! How's it going?"

"Well you are the only girl I talk to and we are practically best buds in my book. So why don't we make it look like we are going along with what they say and act like we are 'talking' while we plan on how to get out of this town together."

"You got it darlin'" right then they said we were having a dance and music started playing.

"Hope, can I have this dance" then he winked at me.

"Of course." I said taking his hand and smiling with blushing cheeks.

"So I propose that we say we want to get married and then we get out of here on our honey moon. They'll leave us alone for a few days because it's our honeymoon so that's when we get out."

"Luke that sounds great, but wh-what about our parents?"

"My dad beats me. My mother died a couple years ago. We can try to sneak our parents out of this forsaken hell-hole but I can't promise anything." He looked down at me with sincerity in his eyes.

"Should I tell my mom and dad then?"

"Of course. I know how close you are to them and we are saving them. So we have to."

"Then maybe we should put it to the test. We have a show to put on." And I winked back at him.

He got down on his knee and looked up at me smiling. He took my hand kissed it and I put my hand to my mouth because I did love the kid even if it was fake.

"Hope Marie Mikealson, will you marry me?"

"YES! Yes, Luke, Yes!" and I pulled him into a hug.

He whispered "I meant it."

"Me too."

They stood up, clapped, called us to the front, and said when the date was. After that we went to my unit to tell my parents. And they were mad at first but we told them our plan and they were on the verge of tears and they saw a way out for all of us and agreed.

Three weeks later~

"Hope do you take Luke to be your lawfully wedded husband?"

"I do"

"Luke, do you-"

"Don't even have to ask. Yes."

"I now pronounce you man and wife. Luke you may kiss your bride."

The next few days went quick. We made everything look normal. On the last night we called my parents it was time and we ran past the guards to the gates and climbed and ran. Like it was life and death. Because to us, it was