Here is the sandbox that
you have all been waiting for you get to read this week. 🙂 I rewrote Chapter 1 from the perspective of *drum roll* an Auroran.
One week. Her time is up. Clutching her clipboard to her chest, the Auroran walks to the prison’s door. They told her to watch out for this one. She can be too smart and strong for her own good. A rebel. But no matter. A week in isolation should have done the trick. The Auroran punches in a code, and the door opens. The student sits in fetal position, on the breaking point though not yet broken. Good.
The student’s head lifts up to examine the Auroran with wide brown disbelieving eyes. “Come with me,” the Auroran orders.
The student peels herself off the floor. “Come? I’m leaving?”
The Auroran resists the urge to roll her eyes. For the smartest young individuals in the Outskirts, the students sometimes asked the most infuriatingly simple questions. “Yes. Up now. We don’t have all day.”
While the student eyes her suspiciously, the Auroran jots down a few notes. Untrusting. Confused. Take advantage of the latter quality.
“Are you my imprisoner or my liberator?” the girl asks.
Amused by the question, the Auroran smiles and answers, “Both.” Then she turns and walks down the hall. The girl will follow.
“Where are we going?” the student asks, stumbling behind.
“Save your questions for later.” When they reach their destination, the Auroran turns to face the bewildered student. “I’m going to explain everything to you in a condensed, brief manner, so it would serve you well not to interrupt. Your name is Lacey Gorse.”
The student steps back. “No.”
Again, the Auroran finds herself wanting to roll her eyes in annoyance. Uncooperative. Some hint of identity left, she jots down. “I told you no interruptions. Your name is Lacey Gorse. Your past was bleak with a grey future, so when the Aurorans offered you a chance to take the Evaluation, you readily accepted. Since you scored among the top twenty percent, you earned yourself a place at the Auroran Learning Institute, commonly known as ALI. Your results are here.”
The Auroran makes pauses her recital to hand the student her Evaluation results. They were impressively high, especially considering they had to take away any points for emotional strength. If the results reflected her true performance…
“What’s the Evaluation?” the student asks.
“An accurate measure of beauty, intelligence, personality, creativity, and strength. You just completed the final part.”
“The prison… and the memory loss was part of a test? Does that mean I can have my memories back now?”
The Auroran ignores the student’s hopeful stare as she recounts the planned response. She was told to expect questions like this. “The prison was a test of emotional strength, yes. The memory loss I’m afraid was an unfortunate side effect.”
“Why… how did it happen?”
There’s one question the girl will never receive an answer to. “I’m afraid I don’t have time to explain.” The Auroran checks the timer on her electronic board. “When that door opens in thirty seconds, you will begin your life at ALI.”
“What do I do there?”
The Auroran bites back a sigh. Why can’t the students understand their only job is to finish their childhood then take their place as world leaders, mending all the problems the previous generation left behind? Instead of voicing her opinion she says, “You learn. You live. You’re liberated.” The door opens. “Come now. The assembly is waiting.”
She walks up to the front of the stage, undeterred by the students’ expectant and confused stares. “Students of ALI. Today Lacey Gorse will be joining you.” They’re surprised, of course. No one prepared them for this to happen, because the Aurorans had only recently determined that Lacey would be able to join their number.
“Now we know you thought no one else would be joining, but these are unusual circumstances,” the Auroran continues, silencing the crowd. “You also need to know that Lacey has unfortunately experienced amnesia, which may cause some trouble to her adjustment, but we’re sure we can leave her in your care from this point on.”
There. Her job is done. The Auroran walks off the stage and through the door, ignoring the new student’s desperate eyes following her. She feels no guilt. If the student was incapable of taking care of herself, she wouldn’t be where she is now. Even if she is an anomaly.