Silent whispers and dancing shadows of the long, rich brown colored arms of an old oak tree stretching out above me. The soft, cooling sensation that spread throughout out my body from the chilled air that circulated itself around The Northern Corner.
Long, chocolate brown ringlets curled down pale skin as wide and soft jade green eyes locked on the horizon far away from the courtyard in which held myself and a few other of the many residents of Sector 21-B, their rustling as more of the cold swirls of wind blew through.
The sunlight's rays began to diminish as the bright light sank away below the horizon and signaled the end of another day in The Northern Corner. My legs moved on their own as they pushed my body upwards and off of the cool metal bench from which I was sitting on only moments ago.
The limbs of the oak tree still moving ever so slightly as I made my way forward. The silent, tranquil courtyard being left behind as I made my way back to my hallway. The dark gray colored walls passing by in a blur as my feet followed the familiar path on which I have taken almost every day of my simple life.
Men and women dressed in simple black clothing moved up and down the depressing hallways. Their faces contorted into an emotionless facade as they walked around. My eyes merely passed by them as I made my way back to my home complex. The white tiled floors suddenly seemed interesting to my mind as I passed by another guard, this one a man. And I knew him.
"Kieran Blaire!" A loud, gruff voice called out as I shuffled my way down the halls. My feet froze in their place and, against my wishes, turned back around to face the owner of the voice; a guard named Leon Kane. My eyes stayed locked on the rules below my feet as I heard his heavy footsteps approach me.
"Yes, Sir Kane?" My own, voice, quiet her higher pitches than his, spoke. A slight waver in as I pronounced each word. With my head still lowered, I raised it up ever so slightly so he'd know I heard him.
"You're hair," his deep, low voice uttered out in an even, flat, and calm tone. My green eyes widened as I realized my mistake; my hair was not tied up. My hands moved quickly and searched my pocket for my silk, indigo colored ribbon.
A soft swatch of material brushed up against my fingers as I yanked the strip of fabric out of my pocket. Then, reaching my pale arms behind my head, I began the task of tying my hair back into a low ponytail with the blue ribbon. I slowly moved my arms back to their resting position at my side and looked up at the guard slightly.
"Good," he muttered in a voice that was almost inaudible before giving a slight nod. But, before he left my side he turned around and gave me a sick smile "Good luck with your sister."
Confusion bloomed in my head before realization kicked in and my black dress shoe covered feet practically flew off down the hall. My eyes followed along the doorways that lead into each quarters, each with a number and the last name on the dark gray colored door.
"Please let him be wrong!"
My eyes locked into the gray door that was labeled with my name and quarters number. A piece of white colored paper was stuck in the file holder that was on the door. My hands shook as I reached for the paper.
Dear Miss Kieran Blaire,
This note is regarding your younger sister, Kirin Blaire. She has been caught in the library after hours and has not completed her homework, please meet her coordinator in Sector 21-B's Schooling Center.
Sir James Carter.
I could feel the tears begin to form in my eyes. Whether it was of relief or happiness that she will otherwise be fine, I wasn't sure. A soft sight escaped my lips as I began to fumble for my keys. Once I found them, I slipped the key into the bronze metal lock. The locked clicked once as I pushed the heavy door open and stepped inside.
The dull cream colored light turned on as I stepped into the main room of our quarters. Slipping off my rough, itchy, pale gray jacket, I moved to hand it up on one of the coat hangers by the front door. Moving deeper into my home, I placed my simple gray school bag down on my plain, black metal desk. Then, I made my way to my bedroom so I could change into my casual uniform.
Once I finished dressing, I turned back to the front door with the note in my hands. I grabbed my purse and hung it around my neck and shoulders before opening the door and stepping back out. Hearing the lock click behind me, I turned my back on the door and made my way for the sector's schooling center.
The slight click of my dress flats echoed across the white tiled flooring as I made my way down the hallways, this time in the opposite direction of my quarters. I reached a pair of large, white double doors where an intercom button waited for me on the gray walls. Stepping up to I pressed the button and waited for an official or guard to response.
"Yes?" An emotionless feminine voice called out from the speaker. I leaned into the microphone and felt my lips began to move as I answered.
"I'm Kieran Blaire from quarter number 20213-" I strayed to say in as flat of a voice as I could muster. The woman let out a soft sigh that could barely be heard over the speaker, before the door opened with a click and she answered me.
"Come in," she told me before the interim switched off with a faint click. Placing my hand on one of the white doors, I pushed with my weight and it swung open. Stepping over the threshold I moved my way into the Schooling Center of Sector 21-B.
A young female guard stood next to the doors. Her hair was the color of rust and her eyes were a pale gray color. She wore the standard guard uniform and stood with her right hand ready on her belt for her punishment baton With her name tag reading "Genova Gray".
"Name?" She asked me an annoyed tone of voice when she saw me walk into the hallway. Her eyes held the same annoyance as her voice and she looked ready to punish me for any reason whatsoever. I straightened up my body and kept my head lowered slightly.
"Kieran Blaire, Ma'am," I told her in a soft, calm, and respectful tone of voice. While still keeping an eye on me, the woman slowly reached out one pale hand and picked up a black color tablet and tapped the on button. She ran her fingers along the tablet's edge, scrolling through the pages.
As she scrolled, my thoughts started to drift. I kept wondering why Kirin has been acting differently lately. And of course, I had to start thinking of The Tower and the awaiting trials.
"Will I even be considered? It would mean a better life for Kirin and I,"
"If I survive that is.
"What would Kirin do if I'm dead? Would she be taken care of?"
"Why is she acting weird? Is it because of the trials? Is she worried I'd leave her?"
"Are you here for Kirin Blaire?" Her voice, which once again held an annoyance in her tone, startled me out of my thoughts. My eyes stared at her for a moment
"Y-Yes ma'am," I finally answered, my voice shaking a bit as I spoke to her. I lifted my head up once more to see her send a glare my way before tapping on the tablet. She placed it back down before grabbing her scanner out of her pocket.
"Cuff," she grumbled out at me as she gestured towards my arms. Slowly and nervously, I stuck out my left arm and waited for permission to move. A soft beep was heard from the scanner and she moved it away. The guard than gestured for me to continue down the halls.
"Go!" She barked before turning her attention back to the doors and waited for another person to step through. Not wanting to anger her, I swiftly moved down the hallways towards the coordinators offices. I had been there plenty of times during my life, mostly for myself than Kirin. Which brought of the question in my mind once again;
"Why was Kirin in trouble?"
After more turns, I saw the doorway that led into the coordinators offices and I moved over to enter them. Another guard was waiting behind there for me. The male reached for another tablet, practically a duplicate of the one the previous guard had used, and looked up at me.
"Name of yourself and who you're here for," his voice was formal, professional, yet it didn't sound unkind to me. He even offered me a small smile as he turned back to the tablet and awaited my response to him.
"I'm Kieran Blaire and I'm here for Kirin Blaire," I stated in my best attempt to keep my voice flat. He raised an eyebrow at me, probably from my dreadful attempt, but scrolled through the page nonetheless. He found the names and tapped on them. He offered me another smile as he grabbed the scanner and motioned for me to give him a cuffed arm.
I just stared at him for a moment, my green eyes looking straight into his blue ones, before I slowly reached my left arm out and let him scan the cuff that was locked on it. He put the scanner down and gestured towards the hallway. His smile never leaving his face as he moved.
"Coordinator 18's office," he said to me. His voice sounded kind and soft, yet still it held an air of professionalism in it. I was impressed that a guard would - or could - be like that. My lips were tempted to be pulled into a smile of their own, but I resisted. I was worried that I would get punished for being disrespectful and I definitely didn't want that to happen.
"Thank you sir," was the response I gave. My voice as flat as it could be as I spoke. I turned to leave and head into the adjacent hallways. I wandered down the hall, looking for the right office, when my thoughts drifted back to the strange acting guard.
"Why did he smile at me?"
"Why was he being kind? They've always just been strict and a little harsh."
My thoughts were cut off when I heard the crying of my sister in the office to my left. I had almost passed by it while I was deep within my thoughts. I slowly turned back around to face the door and then knocked.
My heart pounding and my body got tense. I wanted to go in and hug my sister. To tell her that it will all be fine and that I'll always love and be there for her, but I just couldn't. If I didn't follow the laws, I could be executed and that wouldn't be good for either of us.
"Come in," a male's voice sounded from behind the door. His voice was deep and commanding as he spoke. He was definitely a coordinator. I slowly pushed the door open, it moved with a loud creaking sound. Kirin, my sister was the first to come into view. She was sitting in a chair with her hands in her lap as she cried.
Then the guard came into my line of sight. He was standing at my sister's right side with a stern look on his face. At the sound of the door opening, he gave a slight glance towards me. I paused - frozen - in fear as I took in the sight before me. My sister has had her cuffs locked together as she sat in her seat with her head down. I pushed the door open further and the coordinator had came into view as well.
"Come in Ms. Blaire," the coordinator said as he took notice of me standing in the doorway. I gave a slight nod, before stepping inside of the tiny, confined office. Standing silent and still, the coordinator let out a sigh before adding "and please shut the door behind you," in an annoyed tone of voice. A light blush came to my cheeks as I turned around and shut the white oak door behind me. I then returned to my previous posture; ridged and silent.
The coordinator let out another soft breath of a sigh and then gestured to the empty chair in between my sister and the guard. With more of the rosy blush going to my cheeks, I moved to sit in the chair and sat there in an awkward manner.
I took a side glance at my sister as she sat there. Her head was lifted up enough that I could see her rich chocolate brown eyes that held evidence of her tears. Then I snuck a glance at the guard. He was a young man with black hair and pale gray eyes. He stood on the other side of me with one hand on his baton and the other on his hip as he stared at my sister and I.
My eyes quickly shot to the coordinator as he cleared his throat to get our attention. My sister's head snapped up as she stared at me for a moment before her eyes also landed on the coordinator. I knew she didn't want to be in trouble and I didn't want that either. But, here we were, and all I could do was try to keep her from getting into even more trouble.
"Now, let's get on to the business at hand," he started as he looked into my sisters eyes and gave her a sick smile. A shiver shot through myself and I could tell that my sister felt the same thing as I did.
"Kirin here was spotted within the library this morning after the allotted time," he said as he gave me a hard look. His voice echoed his belief that this was a serious offense and I had to hold back my tongue. Instead, I gave a nod, before sneaking a glance at Kirin, then giving my attention back to the coordinator.
"She also hasn't turned in her homework for today or yesterday yet," he started before pulling up a page on the tablet and showing it to me. "See?" He asked me in a commanding tone of voice. I gave another nod and he moved the tablet back to his side of the desk.
"Now, of course the official punishment is an hour in the cells and no dinner," he started to explain once again and I knew where he was going with this. His voice turned almost giddy as he spoke. He was enjoying punishing my sister and it took all my strength to not get up and hit or to yell at him. He gave my sister and I another sick smile before he asked me a question that made me nauseous.
"And now, What would your punishment be for her?" He asked in his sickly sweet, and yet commanding voice. I knew I would have to answer with caution, less it be deemed too light and a then harsher official punishment would be delivered for her. I stared at the desk in front of as the clock ticked the time away. The coordinator let out an annoyed sigh and then slammed his hands down on the desk with a lot of force that it made my and I sister jump slightly.
"Well, Ms. Blaire?" He asked in an annoyed tone of voice. I lifted my head up slightly and cold see the annoyance, hatred, and even amusement in his eyes as he spoke to me, "Well, what will it be?"
"I'll make her write sentences and review the rules of the corner," I replied firmly to the coordinator as I took a glance at my sister to see her reaction. I could see her face as in an flat expression so that no one could read her thoughts or emotions. I hoped that she would think the punishment was lenient enough, yet was strong enough for the coordinator's harsh tastes. I looked back at him to see his face in one of disappointment as he looked at me.
"And? Anything else Ms. Blaire?" He asked me in a harsh tone. I could tell he wasn't pleased with my punishment ideas. I racked my brain for anything else I could think of that wouldn't be too bad for Kirin to handle.
"Remember, anything I deem too lenient will earn you a punishment as well as a larger one on your sister's part," he said with a dark gleam in his eyes and a smile on his lips. I continued to think as hard as I could. Then he turned around to the clock and began tapping his watch to signify that my time was running out.
"And a rap with the baton," I said finally in a rushed tone of voice. I saw that my sister jumped slightly at my words and then her head snapped to meet my own. Her brown eyes were wide and contained fear at my words. The coordinator's face broke out into a larger smile and he seemed to beam at me.
"How many will she receive?" He asked me in a cool and careful tone. My eyes snapped back to his as I selected a number in a careful manner. I kept going back and forth in my head between three and four, but I had a feeling that wouldn't be enough for him. Yet, I didn't want to make my sister be in pain.
"Seven," I said as calmly as I could. It was a struggle to not look at Kirin and apologize to her profusely. But, I knew I had to resist it, less I get us in even more trouble. The coordinator looked at me with an expression of surprises written on his face. Then his lips slowly began to curl into a cruel smile as his eyes reflected the enjoyment he was receiving from this scenario.
"Very well Ms. Blaire, you may go back to your quarters," he said in a surprisingly flat and even tone as he began to move to stand up from his chair. "Your sister will be brought after her punishment," his voice now held a thin sliver of enthusiasm as he nodded to the guard.
My legs moved quickly as I stood up from my own seat and stumbled over to the door. The guard grabbed my sister in a harsh, rough manner before practically dragging her out of the office and down the halls to the cell blocks. I stared at her retreating form before turning to head back to the quarters.
I stalked back through the pale gray halls, my flats once again clicking on the white tiled floors as I went. My legs moved with a speed that I didn't know I could muster as I almost flew done the hallways. My mind kept going back to my sister and then to the trials.
"If I enter the trials, I would have the chance make a better life for Kirin and myself. Then maybe she wouldn't act out."
"But, if I loose the trials, I won't see Kirin ever again."
"I won't see anything ever again really."
"But, I must try. I have to do this for Kirin. I just have to! She's the only family I have left and I'm the only family she has left. We take care of each other."
"But what if-"
"No, I've made up my mind And there's nothing anyone can do change it. No more use worrying about the future."
"I'm going to sign up for a change to compete in the trials,"
"and, I'll win..."