It’s the time of the week when we all post our assignments at the last minute! With this sandbox, we were supposed to write about our main protagonist or antagonist in our novella giving a speech. I did, well, you’ll see…
With sweating hands, Lacey drags her feet to the front of the room, trying not to look at the seated students who will soon be her audience. She doesn’t want anything to do with this public speaking class, but an Auroran teacher told her it would be a good idea, since everyone should have to step out of their shell.
Keeping her hands steady, Lacey glances down at the speech they gave her to deliver, then meets the expectant eyes of the audience. None of them take notes of any kind, and most don’t appear as if they plan on paying attention. They are here to learn how to speak, not to listen. Clearing her throat, Lacey reads the words planned for her.
“There was a time all of you inhabited the Outskirts, a place dominated by anarchy.” Out of the corner of Lacey’s eye, she sees a boy doodling on the edge of his paper. They’re not interested, since they’ve all heard this information before. Discouraged, she presses on, explaining how the only communities in the Outskirts had tyrants for leaders, the adverse living conditions, and the overall lack of any hope.
“That is why the Aurorans gathered young people to take the Evaluation.” Lacey pronounces each word with precision. Although her audience doesn’t care, there’s an Auroran sitting at the back of the room, watching her with a hawk-like gaze and taking notes on her performance. “With the world in the state that it’s in, our hope lies with the next generation. Thus, the Aurorans selected the most talented young people the Outskirts have to offer in order to prepare them to take positions of leadership and bring change when they come of age.”
That doesn’t make sense, she thinks as she continues. They expect next to nothing of us today, yet they expect us to change all of the world’s problems tomorrow. Problems we didn’t cause.
After giving a tirade about the improved living conditions for students, Lacey reads the conclusion. “At Auroran Learning Institute, we all have the opportunity we deserve. Everyone is treated equally and given complete freedom.”
Lacey drops the paper, immersed in her own thoughts. She doesn’t notice the next person standing up to read the same speech. “That isn’t true,” she mutters.
“What?” a person from the audience asks.
“That isn’t true,” she repeats in a louder, bolder voice. A few heads snap up. “How are we free? We can wear whatever we want, so long as we wear what they tell us to. We can do whatever we want, so long as they approve of it. We can be whoever we want to be, so long as it fits the mold they have planned for us.”
Lacey keeps talking, growing faster and louder with each sentence. She can’t stop herself. “Why am I taking this class? Not because I want to, but because they think I should speak out more. They force the timid to talk but not the loud to listen. Is that being treated equally?”
There isn’t a single person in the room not paying attention now. “And what is the point of the Evaluation? To put people in boxes and categories, to decide who deserves the better treatment. Then those of us who are lucky enough to be categorized as good enough have all the expectations to fulfill and orders to carry out.
“Our lives may have been horrible before, but are we happy here? None of you will honestly answer that because we aren’t allowed to! We–”
Before Lacey can say another word, she feels a cold hand wrap around her wrist like a metal shackle. She whirls around to find their Auroran supervisor standing over her, a blizzard of fury in his eyes. “That would be quite enough, Miss Gorse.”
Dun dun dun. On that lovely note, I’m ending my sandbox. I’m not planning on putting this in my actual novel, but I hope you gained more insight on the conflict I’m trying to develop. If you’re reading my novella, I’d appreciate it if you give me feedback on how well I’m portraying this conflict. (You can tell me I’m failing completely. It’s okay. After all, this is only my first draft.)