Scarlett Hill, Grade 6
Not so long ago, I lived in the best house in the best street in the best town. I had everything I could possibly want, but then it all changed. The old Government was overthrown and another one was elected. They called themselves NEW – the New Exemplary World. They stated, in one of their many new decrees, that children over the age of 5 are to be taken to the New Reformatory Centre (NRC) for a proper education in the ways of the world. Of course, when my family heard about this they were shocked. So, my parents asked what this entailed, and they got a reply saying: The children who are taken to the NRC are to be there, with no holidays home or visits from family, until their minds are properly shaped and reformed or until they are 18. Anyone who does not comply with this, will be sentenced to a year in prison and 6 electric shot treatments, immediately followed by reformatory counselling. My parents decided to put in some precautionary measures to stop me from being taken; they would be at home all day with me and they had alarms on their watches that told them when anybody other than them and me entered my room. They had pressure pads in the hall, and did background checks on my nanny, the cook – Mrs Enie, the butler – Mr Belldon and my tutor.
A month later, when it seemed that everything had died down, my mother and father went over to their friends’ house for supper, leaving me in the care of nanny, Mrs Enie and Mr Belldon. Everything was normal, we had supper, nanny read me a chapter of a book and I went to bed and listened to the sounds of the night.
I woke up with a jolt, there was something covering my face, I tore it off, feeling panicked. I screamed, and a recorded voice said, “Shh, you are in a safe place. Don’t worry, you will soon be reformed, and all will be well.” I began to cry and scream and yell, but the recorded voice just kept on repeating.
A while later, long after my tears had dried up and my throat was hoarse from yelling, the van I was in pulled to a stop. I heard doors slamming and looked up to see two figures opening the back door of the van and hauling me out with rough hands as I blinked in the sudden light. They dragged me across a courtyard to a formidable building and knocked on the door. A woman dressed as a nurse opened it and said, “Welcome to the NRC. Let me guide you to your room.” We followed her to my cell-like room. I was pushed in, the door locked behind me as I collapsed onto my bed. In the distance, I could hear children singing:
“Lady bird, Lady bird,
Fly away home,
Your house is on fire,
Your children will burn…”