I wake up to the automated voice in my head saying, “get up, get up, get up,” over and over again. It happens to everyone in my town, yet no one seems to know where the voice is coming from. I stand up and the annoying recording stops. It can sense changes of movement, so if you were to lay back in bed, you’d simply be greeted with a slightly louder version of, “get up, get up, get up.” I walk over to the dressing station and stand in the long tube that dresses you in the same bland uniform each day, then go downstairs with the rest of my family. “Good morning Emma,” my mother chimes as she walks down the other staircase that is across the sitting area. I sit down at the table, and as soon as my rear end touches the seat, a chute drops a steaming plate of eggs and bacon right in front of me, along with the proper silverware. I take a sip of the orange juice that was also delivered with the meal and start on the eggs. Once I have cleared my plate, the chute sucks the empty plate back up and drops down my daily dose of medicine. I swallow the small pill, then walk to the door, where my rucksack is placed on my shoulders, then leave for school at the exact same time I do every day, 7:30 on the dot. The car was already outside waiting for me, and all of the other students were getting in their cars as well. At exactly 7:33 all of the cars took off for school at the exact same time. In seven minutes, the cars pulled up to the front of the Education Center and all of the students got out. Within minutes the school day started, and that’s when everything changed for good.
The principal, Madam Rose Hemington, walked into our classroom, heels clicking against the cold marble floors of the Education Center. There was a small girl trailing behind her, looking like a scared puppy. “Class,” Madam Hemington started, “this is our new student, Paisley. She came from The Outside.” Our class oohed at this information. We go to The Outside once a year for a field trip, but had never met anyone from there. She was already sporting the mandatory uniform of a white polo shirt and dark jeans with white sneakers, but her hair was fiery red, opposed to brown, and her eyes were bright violet, whilst everybody else’s were either a shade of green, brown, or a combination of both. She had much paler skin than most, but everybody’s skin is different here anyways, so she didn’t stick out too much in that department. “Why don’t you sit here, next to Emma?” She gave me a sweet smile, then got out the standard textbook everybody used until they were 18, old enough to move out and into the apartment complexes across the forest. Teacher Maddie moved on with the lesson, but everybody kept glancing suspiciously back at Paisley and I.