BEEP BEEP BEEP Andra’s alarm rang. She woke up with a start. Today is the day, She thought. Today is the day Marie gets released from detention. Andra rolled up her sleeping bag and put it into the closet. Everyone else was doing the same. The teacher went up to the front of the room.
“Does anyone have any ideas for the next production?” A small child raised her hand. She was new and just finished testing. Andra wasn’t sure where the tests were held. No one was. All she knew was that when a child was born, they get tested until they are old enough to walk and talk, then they are placed in a club that suits them, and they live there for the rest of their lives. “What is your idea, Lilly?” The teacher asked. “Teletubbies!” Lilly replied. Everyone scowled. Everyone hated Teletubbies. “Does everyone agree with Lilly?” The teacher asked Even though she already knew the answer. “Yes, we agree with Lilly,” everyone said. Disagreeing was against the law. Disagreeing meant you got sent to the counselor, and then detention. That’s how Marie got sent to detention. And if you said no, you were sent to the Principal’s Office. Andra was curious about what it was like in the Principal’s office, but she didn’t want to ever go up there. She heard rumors that it makes you crazy. You would get so crazy you would commit suicide and jump off the school building. No one has ever said the N-word in years. But the Board of Directors, the Government of some sort (The only reason Andra knows what government means is because she likes to read.) has a good reason for enforcing these laws. Disagreement leads to conflict, and conflict leads to arguing, and arguing leads to fights. Fights lead to war, and war leads to world domination and doom. Since most disagreements start with the word no, The word was illegal. A singing voice filled the room. The Thespian Bell. It was time for the thespians, like Andra, to go eat. There were other bells of course. A dinosaur bell for the historians, a page turn for the readers, an explosion for the scientists, and so on. You weren’t allowed to talk to people in other groups because different opinions and interests can lead to conflict. Now that the other clubs have been cleared, the thespians could go eat. The cafeteria was big, and it had a special machine inside that would hook up to your brain and make you whatever food you want. Just the way you like it. Andra ordered bacon Mac’n’Cheese. Suddenly a girl with brown hair with orange and green highlights, ivory skin, and a nose piercing sat down next to Andra. Andra smiled. “Marie!” They hugged. Andra and Marie were sisters put in the same club. It was a super rare occurrence. “Hey, sis!” Marie replied. “How was life on the stage?”
“It was good,” Andra told her. “Except for the spring production. We’re doing Teletubbies.” Marie put her head against the table. “Well, that sucks.” Andra nodded. “I know. How was detention?” Marie sighed. “Same old, same old. Almost no food, always getting yelled at, and we are kept in tiny boxes with bars on them. I’m just glad to be out.” Andra nodded again. “Right, and this was your third time being in detention?” Marie smiled. “Nope, fifth.” Andra gasped in surprise. “Your fifth time in detention? Marie that’s terrible!” Andra exclaimed. Andra lowered her voice to a whisper. “If you keep this up, you will get sent to the Principal’s office!”
“I won’t! I’ll stop before I go too far.” She put her hand on Andra’s shoulder. “I promise.” Andra nodded. “Ok.” The bell rang, and everyone went back to the auditorium. Once they got back. The teacher sorted out who the performers were going to be, and who was going to be in the audience. Marie was going to be in the audience and Andra was going to be a performer. “Great, now I get to watch you embarrass yourself.” Marie teased. Andra just smiled and rolled her eyes. When it was time for bed, everyone got out their sleeping bags, brushed their teeth, and put on their pajamas. The evening announcements came on. The announcements didn’t really do anything, but remind everyone not to go outside. Andra looked out the window. She saw monsters, darkness, and madness. It didn’t look anything like the land her books were set in. She looked away. Who would be foolish enough to go there? She wondered. The announcements clicked off, and everyone went to bed. When she was sure everyone was asleep, Andra snuck to her secret spot, got her books, and went back to her sleeping bag. She was reading about Akilah, the world’s best female detective. Akilah was on a case about billionaire Robert Richards jumping off a cliff and committing suicide, but he was actually murdered. “Watcha doin’?” Marie asked. Andra quickly tried to hide her book. “Nothing!” But Marie wasn’t fooled. “You were reading! And you’re afraid of me getting sent to the Principal’s office! If anyone catches you, you’ll get sent for sure!” It was true. If you were caught doing another hobby, you were sent to the Principal’s office. Andra hung her head in shame. “Hey, don’t look so glum. I’m proud of you! My little sister is finally growing up!” Marie said. When that didn’t work, Marie put her hand on Andra’s shoulder. “You know, sometimes I keep track of age.” Andra looked up in surprise. Keeping track of age was a waste of time. Why keep track of how old you were? It doesn’t matter as long as you can function. Marie nodded. “I’ve been keeping track ever since I could count.” Andra had a question bubbling inside her, and she couldn’t stop herself from asking it. “How old am I?” she asked. Marie grinned. “You would be about 14, and I would be around 21 years old.” Andra nodded. Marie nodded as well. “Andra? Could you tell me some stories? I want to know what they are like.” Andra was glad. Now, she could share the experience of stories with her sister. Andra told her many stories. Fairy tales, folk tales, mystery, history, you name it. Andra told stories until they both fell asleep.