Alex awoke to the sound of clattering boots on the cold concrete of his dorm hallway. He slowly pulled himself up in his bed as he stared at the three figures moving across the floor, so in sync that they looked like a single menacing entity in the darkness. Just like every morning before, he waited until he could no longer see them, then counted twelve seconds before bracing his eyes. A wave of light flooded into the hallway as the huge blinds covering the windows adjacent to his bed were dropped. As the blinds were dropped one by one the hall filled up with the moans and groans of the other boys in the dorm waking up. Alex shared his sleeping quarters with around twenty other boys between the ages of 5 and 14. It was only three months until his 15th birthday when he would finally become a man by the Colony's standards and move to the adults' dorm. He turned his attention to the bed across from his own, where his best friend was still fast asleep. He couldn't understand how Doyle could sleep through all of the noise, not to mention the Sunday morning light that was slowly starting to warm Alex's skin.
It was a fairly quiet Sunday morning once Alex and Doyle got outside of their dorm, which was no more than a small, repurposed warehouse. Despite Doyle's reluctance to wake up they were always the first ones out of their dorm on Sundays. The exact opposite was true for weekdays. Being two of the oldest boys in the dorm they had no interest in socializing with any of the other children. Instead they've always been one another's only friend. They strolled through the gates that led to the rest of the compound, playfully bickering along the way. As they entered the main block of the compound they saw that people had already been pouring in from their other respective living quarters. As was customary they were all gathering for the Sunday morning meeting that was held in the square. Alex and Doyle rolled their eyes at each other and drifted off towards the eastern wall of the compound. Although it was mandatory for all residents of the compound to attend morning meetings, they always snuck away to a spot where they wouldn't be found by watchful adults.
A few yards from the eastern wall stood an imposing building that was strictly off limits to anyone in the compound. It was one of Alex and Doyle's favorite spots to spend time in. They dared not actually go inside the building, instead squeezing into a type of pocket between the building and two smaller buildings next to it.
"I'm telling you, Alex, there's something weird going on with doctor James," Doyle said as the two boys settled themselves in. "When I went to the bathroom last night I walked by him and his eyes were all red and he smelled funny: like some sort of chemical or something," he said.
"James always smells like some sort of chemical. You're imagining things again," Alex said mockingly as he lay down on his back and looked up at the sky. The moon had not been completely chased away by the morning sun yet.
"I would like to know what he's always doing in his lab so late at night though," he added. Doyle shook his head and lay down next to his friend. They both stared at the fading moon for a while. They could faintly hear someone speaking through a bullhorn in the square, indicating that the morning meeting had begun.
"I want to see what the outside looks like," Alex suddenly said. Doyle looked over at Alex, surprised, and saw that he was still looking up at the sky. It looked to him like Alex was deep in his own thoughts. Doyle thought that he was probably just thinking out loud. He looked back up to the sky. The moon was completely gone.
"Yeah," said Doyle.