Briella dreams of a life upside, a life that she's long been taught no one could live in. After the threat on an uprising she's sent to the upside, the place no one has lived in for decades. It's up to her to make sure everyone stays alive.
I can feel the sun warm my skin and my fingers dangle in running water. It makes my heart race and seems unnatural and natural at the same time. Birds chirp around me and bees buzz around flowers. The scene before me is beautiful and perfect.
“Briella,” mother whispers, her hand soft against my arm. “Quit daydreaming, it’s time to get to work.”
My scene fades behind my eyelids. I want to ignore her. I wish my world would come back. I want to imagine sunlight hitting my face, the water running through my fingers again. Imagine the things I read about in secrecy. Instead I face my mother.
She’s a pretty woman. Copper hair curls wildly around her face is often held back by a clip. Her heart-shaped face hold few wrinkles which is an achievement in our country. Her eyes are her prettiest feature, almond shaped with long eyelashes and so dark blue they looked violet.
“I don’t want to work.” I state.
My body automatically shifts to do her bidding, the book hidden in my lap falls to the floor.
Mother’s eyes widen. “Put that away. What if I would’ve had a friend with me?”
“Mama.” I begin.
“Don’t start. You know the rules, those should be hidden. Damn your father for ever teaching you about them. Now get your things together.”
Mother would be prefer Father kept me in the dark like most children in our culture. Long ago books were outlawed, children began staying home and learning became unnecessary. The only thing we learn is a trade. Father is a peaceman and Mother a seamstress. Very few ever stray from their family trade.
Father’s side of the family has always been peacemen. We’re pretty up there on the social ladder, Grandfather, had been chief of peacemen. My older brother, Anthony, is nearing the end of his training as a peaceman.
I’m supposed to be training as a seamstress but it doesn’t interest me. I’d much rather be at home reading about the old days.
Many years ago at the threat of a nuclear war, our government secluded everyone deep below ground in connecting bunkers. No one was allowed to venture up top. After weeks of waiting the government told people that the world was no longer the way it had been, the only way we could survive was to stay below.
Things were great everyone was equal. In the last few years are food has begun to dwindle, people are beginning to steal what they need. The ones that need the most are those in the orphanage.
I hear mother down the hall. Gathering my sewing kit I tuck a half finished dress into the open top.