“I...really am going to..die”
The young girl laid there, sprawled out on the green summer grass, clutching the area of her shirt where she was wounded. The girl groaned in pain as she tried to inch closer to the weapon that was knocked from her grasp, but she knew she couldn’t make it in time. Her pursuer was coming.
And he carried a plastic bag of acorns.
“Prepare to die, you scum! You can’t defeat me and my bombs of death!” The little warrior came prancing in on his horse made of air, declaring his victory. “Struggling is useless against the Acorn King!”
A shower of acorns rained down on the girl as she giggled, “Oh no! I’ve been hit! The bombs are exploding everywhere! BOOM BOOM BOOM!” Dramatically she rolled around on the grass, playing out her comical death.
“That’s three deaths to one! I win- again!” The boy laughed as he rode around her body. “For someone who wants to become a soccer player, you sure aren’t good at winning.”
“And for someone who wants to be a doctor you sure aren’t good at helping others”
“Oh, shut up and help me gather these acorns for our next battle.”
They learned early in life what it meant to be content with what you have. When they were kids the two made use of anything, and, to parent’s dismay, collected whatever they could find- frogs, sticks, wrappers, leaves, cloth, marbles- and created an exciting game out of it. Often times the neighbor’s doors were banged on and two loud voices could be heard shouting for their friends to come out and play. Together, they all raced across the streets looking for new adventures and mischief to get into. They lived without a care in the world.
When the little boy and girl grew and started to experience the life of teenagers, they took to the forest behind his house. Competitions were held to see which of them was brave enough to beat their record and venture even deeper into the dark and menacing woods. Of course, this charade soon came to an end since the game usually concluded with the girl running out of the forest with tears streaming down her face. The two soon moved on to the phase of princesses and knights. The great cardboard fortress was set up down by the stream, which they claimed served as the home for their magical dragon. Naturally, he always insisted on being the noble prince, and she the fair princess. Together they fought goblins, also known as their parents, rescued citizens- those poor squirrels- and protected their cardboard kingdom from the outside dangers.
The children had made a pact: he would always travel over to her house in the morning and they’d walk to and from school together. They always sat in the same classes and helped each other with the homework when it didn’t make sense. For the most part, they enjoyed school, even though sometimes they didn’t quite understand what the teacher meant when she said, “You all need to focus on finding your inner talents” or “Always remember! Our government has the first flawless system in the world! Be proud!” Later at home, their parents would always find a way to dodge their inquiries about the meaning behind the teacher’s words by telling them that ‘you’ll understand when you’re older’.
Now we both fully understand. We understand that getting older means having your innocent and carefree life ripped away from you as easily as it was given. We understand that our lives will never go back to cardboard forts and imaginary friends. He and I are living in the cold and bleak future.
Highschool didn’t just mean having more privileges or getting your license- it determined what the rest of your life would look like. All throughout our four long years we constantly had ideals, expectations, and pressure piled up on our backs. “Be the best of the best” was plastered on the bulletin boards all over the school, quoted by teachers, and shoved down student’s throats. We have to be the best of the best.
Or else the system will label you useless.
To the majority of students, graduation was in no way something to be excited about. What they read to you at the ceremony was what wrote your life in stone and told you what you’re worth. Your job, your income, your status, even you lifespan- as we soon found out- was determined by the governmental system. Your grades, behavior, physique, and score on the end-of-the-year exam was all taken into account and processed. No one could dare to pass through high school effortlessly and afford to be given a job at the dump- or worse yet, no job at all. No job meant no worth in society, and when society has no use for you, you’re quickly disposed of. They always needed new guinea pigs in their laboratories to test on. Until they become useless, that is. But no one cared about the lives of ruined experiments.
He and I had to give up on our dreams long ago, so as we stood facing the large crowd on that stage, all we felt was the growing tenseness as the time grew nearer. Not a single student was smiling, and no parents dared to speak. The whole auditorium held their breath as the names began to be called and the metal chokers were begin fastened around each student’s neck.
The ceremony had started.
And our futures awaited.
As I looked up at the dark sky with my arms stretched wide and the cold drops of rain streaming down my face, I realized that this was my last night. It felt odd. I knew this day would come, but now that it's here I feel...empty. I feel nothing. Should I be begging them to let me stay or relieved that my time has finally come to an end? Should I be screaming? Terrified? My mind flashed back to him. What had he felt in his last moments? Was he scared? Did he tremble at the thought of leaving me alone?
The cold water had long ago soaked through the white uniform that now clings to my pale skin. I stood there, on the grey cement with the tall glass building looming behind me, completely lost. I could already picture the masked men in the yellow suits grabbing hold of my arms and dragging me to the tiled chamber. I wonder how my bloody corpse will look on their cameras. I've seen others a dozen times. All mauled down by their guns or suffocated from the gas. It's a fifty-fifty chance either way, and I'm taking my guess with the guns. The executioners seem to favor them.
I can't resist and I can't run- they made that clear the day that I was forced into working at this company. If they have no use for me, then no one else will. "Society is better off without a person like you", "This is the system's perfect judgement", "There's no room for it to make any mistakes", "Your time is expired". I've heard those words a dozen times, but not once had they ever been directed towards me. I never understood the terror of having the metal choker unfastened from your neck. I didn't understand why they struggled against the Yellow Suits grip to get back the cheap metal that measures their life span. We all knew it was futile to attempt to try and escape- we were trapped lab rats working for the company until our time is up and our usefulness is gone.
And now it’s my turn.
"I'm not scared!" I yelled into the black night. Laughter erupted from deep within me. "I've already accepted my fate long ago! The company can't scare me! The system can't scare me! I'm not.."
The laughter soon gave away to tears as I desperately struggled to keep myself together.
I was terrified.
"I..really am going to...die.."
Author Notes: Thank you for taking the time to read my story! I appreciate it.