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Where would we be without books?

By Lucy Purbrick All Rights Reserved ©

Horror / Scifi

"To die will be an awfully big adventure."

As I stand here, about to go onto the stage, I am not afraid. Many would be, if they had to act in this grotesque performance. That would be the normal reaction. But I was never normal, and I won’t start at my own public execution.

“Saffron – McKellar. Stand – On – The – Stage.” A pair of hands roughly pulls me up onto the synthetic platform as my name is called out by the speaker. Nobody makes speeches anymore, like they did in my books, unless it’s an incredibly special occasion.

I stand on the plastic and stare at the news screens around the square, where 3D images of me are shown. I don’t look particularly special; just a mixed-race teenager with dark corkscrew curls and eyes the colour of dark chocolate. I wear the clothes of judgement – a plain, white, cotton affair, consisting of a t-shirt and loose trousers. My feet are bare, and the only adornments I have are a dog tag with my data engraved on it and a crown of golden roses, which I chose as my one item of colour to wear.

The idea is that The Master of All Things will judge you only on what your soul is like, so you can’t bribe him with finery or riches. You choose a colour to represent what you believe in, and you receive an accessory of that colour. Most choose white, grovelling to Him for forgiveness of their sins. The rest usually pick red or black, out of defiance, with the occasional person opting for blue or green in a hope for peace in death. But here I am, peculiar again, choosing yellow – the colour of hope – to wear as I die, slowly and painfully.

You may not consider it fair to execute 14 year-olds in your time, but society is strict about reading fiction in 2649. Apart from the Librumelior, our holy book, there are no other books with stories in them. The politicians decided that reading fiction gave the general public too much freewill. People are taught to read, sure, but reading facts off of screens is the only reading they do.

My parents, when they were still alive, were high up on the social ladder, and rich, enough to not be bothered by anyone. They home-schooled me, tutoring me themselves, and I learned of what it must be like for you – for reading to be a pleasure, a necessity. For there to be great buildings called libraries, which inside held shelves upon shelves of books, meticulously ordered by the names of their authors or the topics they covered. That’s why I ended up here – I built my own library.

It was an old warehouse, the one I had lived in since the “accidental” fire that destroyed everything I knew. I was 12 when it happened, and it took another year for the idea of going back to the ashes, to rescue my parents’ collection of books, to occur. Since they had been in the vaults they suffered no damage, just smelled a little smoky, so I began to lend them to close friends. Word got round, and my secret library was established.

But it’s all gone now, because of a traitor, and it’s my time. I gaze up to the gunmetal sky and hope my parents are proud. As the syringe penetrates my light-brown skin, I manage to get out my last words before the drug sets fire to my blood, tortures me, kills me. They are whispered, and are from my favourite book, Peter Pan.

“To die will be an awfully big adventure.”

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Roger A. Fauble: Excellent read, the only thing not to like is that I could only read it at home on my computer. I'm a character reader, I get into the characters, their story, who/what they are. In this story characters are introduced and developed allowing you to really get into them. Next the story is develop...

PaulSenkel: If you like Arthur C. Clarke's Odyssey, especially The Final Odyssey, then you will probably also enjoy this book. I definitely did.It does, however, address a more adolescent public than the above-mentioned book.I enjoyed the story and finished it in a few days. The overall situation on earth an...

pikagirl311: Katie Masters has definite skill when it comes to plot work and characters. The story is well-paced and pulls you along with the tide, keeping you hooked until the very end. The only reason I did not give it five stars across the board is due to a few minor quibbles with misspellings and such lik...

Ravenhawk: Kim I was sure I wrote this before. But since both my computer and my internet connection has been futzing around so much, I'm surprised that I'm able to write this even now. basically you know I adore this story, I've told you as much before. I cannot fault it in any way at all, except that I wa...

Mark-Mikkel: Got directed here by the author herself. Started reading it, schoolday turned into a day of reading. I really like the apocaliptic world she has created. There are some oddities in the writing tho, but I guess they are because she did have to do it for NaNo (which she wrecked, good job!). In the ...

_JosephJacobson_: I don't understand why this has such low ratings. I really enjoyed it!I think that the whole idea behind the plot had something very special and that was something that I really enjoyed. It was new, unique. I think that some of the writing was a little strange in places but overall it made sense ...

Chris Rolfe: BOY!!! I sure love what Aer-Ki Jyr did with this series. IMHO he captured the essence of what stargate is all about. Thru out the Stargate stories Aer-Ki wrote Stevens and John Shepard some of the main characters in his stories are pursued by a corrupt I.O.A.. All the while Stevens is changing in...

Ben Gauger: Kudos go to wordworrywill, author of Kings and Things, an otherwise imaginative tale set against the trappings of the royal set, but then again I don't imagine there'd be many authors who invoked the names of Oprah Winfrey, Vladimir Putin, Jeff Bezos, Beyonce and Steven Spielberg, As for the plot...

AlexaDria: Well I'll be darned! I don't remember the last time I enjoyed a story/novel/book/thing that much! I enjoyed it so much that I finished it in a little over 10 hours... oops! I honestly can't wait to find and read the next one! I want more!!!

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