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Silence

SILENCE!

Stela Apostolova

1.

My grandfather’s   house has creaky steps. Each of the steps of the staircase that leads from the living room to my room creaks differently. I slowly walk down the steps and  see him on the round wooden table. I smile sleepily and sit by him.

He smiles back , but weakly.

“Good morning Frances” , he says. He is reading the daily newspaper. I can tell that the news aren’t good by his saddened expression.

“Good morning , “ I say “ What happened?”

“Another uprising.”

I stiffen. He doesn’t say where it happened and I don’t ask. That is the 11th uprising this week and it is only Wednesday. I know uprisings are the reason why hundreds of lives  are lost every day but I still think that keeping us on one place with strict curfews , horrible crime consequences can be exhausting for the countries with the toughest jobs. And the people that are infertile of having kids are executed momentarily when the government body find out. The high government says that this is needed for lasting peace and human usefulness and we have to believe them.

“ Soon , everything will be fine, “ I say , “Today is the Collecting.”

The Collecting. Today is the day when two people , one for positivity , and one for intelligence , will be chosen. They will be given the task to visit uprisings and solve the conflicts to restore the peace.

“Yes , “ my grandfather replies, “We would finally get to live peacefully again. Eat now. You don’t want to be hungry when you get to school.” He taps the plate before me , where a small lettuce-and-tomato awaits me. I carefully unwrap it before I eat it.

“ Come on” , I say when I’m done.

“I’ll be waiting for you in the car.” He then gets out his chair and walks out the door to our parking lot.

I clean up after myself and stop by the mirror before I leave. My  foggy green eyes stare back at me. I’m wearing the required school uniform that is a plain black shirt supported by matching pants. I brush my straight black hair and put it in a neat ponytail , just like I am expected to every day. I put on my school jacket and tie my shoes. Then I take my book bag and leave the house , locking the front door before I go.

The cool morning air stings my face when I walk to my grandfather’s car. The morning is bright and sunny today , not a cloud to be seen in the bright blue sky. I hope that’s a good sign  considering the Collecting today. I take my seat inn the back and put on the safety belt.

The local school is really close to where we live so it doesn’t take long to get to it. Before I go , I hug grandfather tightly. He is the only one that is left to me after our country’s uprising years ago.

It will be different now because the uprisings will finally be stopped.

As I walk to first period English , I wonder who will be the two people that will be chosen to be the world’s peace instruments.

2.

We don’t talk about English today. Our class teacher , Mrs. Vanoncinni is pacing around her small podium , shaking her shortly cropped blond hair. She’s explaining how this day will be remembered , how big the chance is that positivity and intelligence will save us from suffering. She tells us stories of the war and shares how she was watching while her sister May was dying from a gunshot during our uprising. Her face twitches and her eyes water with tears. I realize that she is desperate for the world to be changed , for the innocent lives to be saved. I agreed with her just like everyone else , I had lost my two parents the same as she had lost her sibling , though I had never actually got to know my parents since I was a baby that would’ve become an orphan if not for Grandfather.

“Okay , kids,”, Mrs. Vanoncinni says in an excited voice , “now you will form a column and move to the school field. You have to be quiet and follow direction obediently because we will witness the Collecting!”

The class gets up to form the column as they were told to. As I move , I bump into someone. We both mutter quiet apologies and then I turn around to see who is it. I give a small gasp. It’s a tall , handsome boy with thick dark hair and strikingly blue eyes. He smiles a little but I continue to apologize under my breath. I do that every single time I see him and I don’t even know his name. I’m feeling warm blush creeping up my neck and my head embarrassedly.

We walk out the door across the dim hallway and then outside to the field. After our teacher takes us to our assigned place between two more English homerooms, she hurries to the place where the school staff sit, with the principal sitting on the front. No one speaks but people look around nervously. Then , I see that there is no screen on the mobile proscenium stage’s wall  to see the two people that are chosen to be Collected , only a big camera.

“Oh my God!” , someone says anxiously.

I bite my lip to keep myself from shrieking. No screen means only one thing. The two people chosen to be Collected are students from this school.

§§§

The crowd is buzzing with talk. Girls are talking rapidly in hushed voices. Boys are yelling protests like that they are merely in high school and threatening that their parents would protest officially against minor children taken for piece recovery tools. I need to close my eyes. The loud noises are making my head ache and  my heartbeat is fastening, I can feel it thumping in my ears.

“SILENCE!” someone yells in a microphone. I notice a slender grey-haired man standing on the stage. His scream is so loud every talk disappears into thin air. Everybody is suddenly quiet.

“ Ladies and gentlemen! We are appreciating your concern but we do not think that there is any need of it right now. Your school should be honored that two of your great students are chosen to be instruments in creating lasting peace and improving our world. We ran tests , monitored the progress and psychology of every person existing! We are honored to present our final decision here and now. One person from the student body is selected for positivity. The other is selected for intelligence. After these qualities , both young people are chosen to be kind , reassuring ,and courageous. They will be expected to also learn from each other. Now , let us share with you who are they!”

The man then sits on a chair on the back of the stage. From the chair next to him  emerges a younger man with sandy blond hair and starts talking as soon as he receives the microphone.

“ There comes the moment where you have to listen closely. If you hear your name , walk to the front of this stage! Now , let’s start!”

He walks over to the left and unfolds a piece of paper. I see a woman crawling behind the camera , ready to film. When the sandy blond man starts speaking again , my stomach ties into a knot but I continue listening anyway.

“The first person we will announce will be the person whose highest vital quality is positivity. This person shall be Ryan Nesbit.”

I do not know who Ryan Nesbit is so I watch as a lean tall figure approaches the stage. Then the boy turns around and my heart sinks to my feet. The blue-eyed boy. The one who I bumped into this very day. He is going to go stop uprisings. He would never return here again. I feel like I will scream or cry and I don’t even know why , I wasn’t even friends with him. I bite the inside of my cheek , lifting my head up with expectations for his sad , worried face. But he only smiles. And that’s when the crowd explodes in applause.

§§§

Guards come from the back of the stage and surround Ryan. I can see he is still grinning. He looks quite positive which I guess is good since that’s what he was chosen for. For one crazy moment I think he’s looking at me but of course that can’t be true.

“Silence , please , “ ,the announcer says. He raises his hand as a math teacher would normally do. That would usually make me smile but not now.

The huge pool of students sitting on their plastic chairs went quiet and the man continued.

“The second person that will be announced is chosen for the right amount and mostly type of intelligence that would be most useful to help peace be restored. This person should be Frances Shredder.”

No. That was not me. It was a mistake or a person with the same name. That simply could not be me. I’m sure of that so I duck in my chair and don’t do anything.

“Frances Shredder. Frances Shredder , please kindly walk to the stage.”

He is so repetitive and sure he is right. Although I feel like throwing up , I walk to the stage to prove that it was a mistake. Me , a fifteen-year-old girl that hasn’t even graduated high school . I couldn’t be chosen for intelligence. I mean to tell him but I feel like my tongue is tied. Instead , I slowly walk next to Ryan. The guards surround us and produce a shield that looks like a bubble around us from small , identical pistoles. It has a thin middle layer separating us. The students on the field start clapping , jumping around , and screaming good luck , but my ears are deaf for that. All I can do is stare.

 

 

3.

“These two young people will be the difference between destruction , and life.”