A soft chime resounds through my ears. The morning bell woke me up. I smiled sleepily, sat up, and stretched. Today, like all day, was going to be perfect.
I rose out of bed, feeling the smooth wood floors beneath my bare feel. I reached down and touch my toes to wring the last races of sleep from my body, then softly padded to the closet of my room- a small space on my wall which held only as many clothes as I truly needed- and selected a dress for the day. My usual pale blue gown had thin straps to cover keep it up, as well as a modest neckline. While it wasn’t skin tight, it was fitted to my torso, then flare out at my waist and fell down to the top of my knees. My dresses were all almost identical, as was our custom. Nobody dressed different from the way they always did- everybody in common blue clothes. I suppose it kept things quiet, ensuring there were no interruptions to our peace. Personally I preferred the gentle light blue colors, though everyone had their own preferences, of course.
The Colony was a gathering of people with talent in every single field. Some of us were teachers, others artists, or doctors, or musicians, or farmers. But everyone here was honest and kind. Peace was important to us and we care for each other so there was no reason to hate anyone. We shared our talents with each other, we helped each other. That was how we functioned, by cooperating. There were no disputes, no fights, no bursts of anger. Everyone was content to work together. We had known each other for our whole lives, and that made our societal bond similar to that of a family.
After taking my morning shower and preparing myself for the day, I headed to the gathering hall. Every section had its own hall. It was were the roughly 100 people of each block came together for the morning announcements, as well as to eat our meals. I was in Sector 2, which was beside the east side of the dome. Sectors one through five bordered the walls, and Sectors six through nine were closer to the center. Sector 10 was were the head leadership lived.
“Good morning, Leonora,” Gabriel, one of the chefs of my section, greeted as I picked up my meal. It was a Friday morning, so we were all eating French toast, which was one of my favorites. “Good morning, Gabriel! Thank you for the food!” I replied with a smile. The cooks had an important job and they naturally did it well. I went to my seat and ate my breakfast, making small talk with my neighbors. One woman was pregnant with her first child, and she was talking cheerily with some of the experienced mothers, listening closely to the advise they’d each received from the doctor. A few seats down, some older gentlemen, both teachers, were discussing the best ways to help children hone their talents in the classroom. Once we all finished eating , the announcements came on.
“Good morning, people of the Colony. Today there is some construction occurring on the exterior barrier. Please do not be concerned by any noises that may occur. Thank you, enjoy your day, friends.”
While the construction mildly confused us, we didn’t question it. No one questioned our leaders, after all. We knew they had more information pertinent to Colony management, which meant they could solve any problems which might arise. After we all cleaned up the hall, we filtered out proceeded go to our talent work.
Talent work was what each citizen practiced daily; it was our job. We strived for perfection in our fields, so that the colony could benefit from what we could provide. I was a dancer, so each day I would head to the studio assigned to me, and dance my heart out. Today, like every Friday, once I was done, I’d head to see Dr. Lucy, who was in charge of our weekly check ups. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I’d head to the Sector 2 garden to meet with other women my age. Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays I would head to the dance classroom area to help teach the younger dancers of my sector. On Sundays, I would have a rest day where I’d go to the pools to swim laps, and spend time with my peers.
I walked to the studio I was assigned to and changed into the provided gear. Everyday I wore a deep blue leotard and pale blue shoes. Today there were pointe shoes laid out for me, an indication that I was to practice ballet today. I changed quickly, feeling more at home in my dance gear.
The studio was completely mirrored. Four cameras sat on the ceiling recording me from each corner, so I could watch later and correct myself. One wall had the electronic panel where I played my music and watched myself dance. Another wall had a smaller panel which allowed me to bring a barre out at whatever height I needed. The floors were a sealed wood, and despite my daily work, they were so well maintained, that not a bit of wear could be seen. I knew this room. Every section of the barre, every floor board, every inch of the mirrors. I loved this space- I felt free here.
The music the panel provided me was to a familiar routine. It was gentle and slow, but very technical. By now though, it was perfect. I practiced it often, and had performed it for the other citizens several times. Everyone loved it. I was told it showed my grace and beauty. In fact, a leader once told me the perfection of the routine was an example of the very reason the colony was created. I was so flattered by that. I had reached the goal of a citizen, and I was overjoyed.
The Colony tells us that we should strive for individual perfection while maintaining social balance. No one was greater than anyone else, as we all served the Colony and each other. That was all I knew, and I thought it was all I would ever need.
The alarm, a singing bell, followed my last move. I was sad to stop. I loved to dance. I wasn’t even tired. Years of practice had made it difficult for me to become tired from dancing. I wasn’t sore or achy, even after hours upon hours of dancing. But I was satisfied that my routine was still looking the same today as it had the last time I’d practiced. The routine had occupied my day, but now it was time to move on. After cleaning myself up, I headed to see Dr. Lucy.
Every week, the head doctor of each section would meet with each citizen to ensure they were healthy. In such a tight society, which depended on every person, there was no room for illness. Dr. Lucy was our head doctor.
I knocked gently on the doctor’s door and waited patiently for her, she was a busy person after all. A moment later, the door opened to reveal Dr. Lucy. She was a kind woman in her forties, with brown hair and hazel eyes, and she wore a pair of blue scrubs. The Doctor was very wise and insightful, and everyone knew she’d never judge us, so we told her everything, no matter how embarrassing it may seem. No one every concealed things from her, so she knew exactly how to help everyone.
“Hello, Leonora, dear. Come on in and sit,” she greeted me warmly. I smiled and nodded, and entered to office. I sat in the patient chair, which was a plain grey chair with a chute next to it to place used medical items. Beside that was a counter stocked with basic medical supplies in on top, and more below. My weekly shot of immune booster was resting on that counter. The immune booster helped keep us healthy by keeping our systems strong. We chatted for a while about how I was feeling, and then she began prepping me for my shot. She asked my about my day, questioning me about any potential aches. Meanwhile she was disinfecting a spit on my arm and opening the shot’s package. She carefully removed it. a moved towards my arm.
But then it happened. A series of bangs began. We both stopped for a moment then remembered this morning’s announcement. It must just be all the construction. Without much thought we refocused on the matter at hand.And then a different sound came. A loud crash that shook the entire colony. It sounded oddly like glass. Dr. Lucy straightened, then stood up looking concerned. Moments later her phone rang. All the doctors had phones, as well as the leaders, but no one else did. there wasn’t a reason we’d need them.
“Yes?” She answered quickly. “Yes it’s me. — What?!— I heard you. — Ok, I’m coming now.” She turned to me. “Leonora, please head straight to your apartment. I have to leave. Something urgent came up.” The she rushed out. I stood and headed to the door. I was so dazed that I bumped the counter on my way out. I didn’t even noticed the still unused shot rolling off the counter into the chute, completely forgotten.
The hallways were different somehow. Though there was no panic, people seemed confused. Nothing like this had ever happened; it made my neighbors and I uneasy. Section leaders walked purposefully through out the hallways and into workspaces, telling everyone to head to their apartments. We all agreed. We didn’t want to disrupt anything, or make the section leaders more upset. They were such wonderful leaders after all- no one wanted to create a fuss.
I returned to my little home, and pondered the event. Before I could think about it too much, something strange happened. My thoughts stopped. It was like I was trying to say something and the words wouldn’t come. It felt as if I were trying to remember something, but couldn’t grasp the memory. The thought was right there, but it just wouldn’t materialize.Almost like something was blocking it, preventing it from forming. I’d never experienced this, and I was baffled. It was odd, and confusing, and different. I wasn’t used to different. My life was consistent, as it should be. A new feeling erupted, and I couldn’t place it. I had no name for it, no prior experience with it. Perhaps I’d talk to Dr. Lucy about it next week. For the moment, it was best to forget about it.
Though I didn’t- couldn’t- forget about the feeling, my body suddenly seemed to lull itself. Lying in bed with a good book now sounded wonderful. I could drift off into a fantasy realm, and forget all about this feeling which made my head hurt.. No confusion, no crazy thoughts, I could feel at peace again. What a brilliant idea that was.
I went to a closet were I kept my books, and selected a favorite of mine. Though I’d read it often, the familiarity seemed important. Things should stay predictable, and the book would help me come back to predictability. I knew every page- and could probably recite most of the book off the top of my head.
I dove into my reading, desperately trying to make that unformed thought dissipate. Strangely, it refused, pressing into my mind. What was happening? My head felt funny. Just then the intercom buzzed. “Dear residents- due to a construction error, there it a small filtration issue in your sector. It will be fixed soon. Dinner will be delivered tonight. Apologies for the inconvenience, we look forward to seeing you all tomorrow.”
How odd. Our construction workers were talented, like all of us. How could they have made such a severe mistake? It didn’t make sense. None of the workers I knew would ever make an error so drastic that it would prevent us from meeting for dinner. I shook my head. Everyone made mistakes, and maybe this was an issue that was rarely seen. The workers probably didn’t know that much about it, and so the erred. Of course. That had to be it.
Dinner was quiet. It was just me after all. Was doing my best to occupy my mind. If I pondered anything too long, I’d start trying to grasp that memory. I froze. A memory. Somehow, I’d just realized I was trying to remember something. Earlier, it seemed it was just a thought. But now, I knew it wasn’t. Suddenly I was scared. I’d never been scared, and that made me more scared. I decided it was time for bed. It would all be over in the morning, and then I’d be back to normal.