The World We Know
By Sarah B.
“Only the Perfects will survive,” said the poster with the smiling size four, perfect curves, blue eyes blond. She was a Perfect. No vision or hearing problems. Beautiful long blond hair. Crystal blue eyes. The right height. The right weight. Perfect.
Under the giant poster was a more recent one announcing that the next selection was to be in two days.
A young girl stared at the poster in the pouring rain. She was wearing a black cape with a hood covering her hair—protecting it from the rain. She pulled out some of her hair from under the hood and compared the color with the one in the poster. She sighed.
“I guess I’ll need to dye it again,” she thought as she trudged home. She no longer knew the real color of her hair—it was just never blond enough.
All up and down the sidewalk were many posters much like the smiling blond. All of them were promoting the Perfect. Men had to have the blond hair and the blue eyes—nothing could be wrong with them. No disfigurements and no people who were slow in the brain.
The rain poured down harder and the young girl ran into a store to wait for it to let up. She was already soaked and knew she had to get home and dry off before she got sick. A small pang filled her stomach as she thought about the possibility of getting sick.
The store was a small clothing store with sizes no smaller than a two and no bigger than an eight for the women. There was no extra large and no extra small.
There was a courtesy eye test in this store so she decided to check her eyes while she waited for the rain to slow. She stood the required distance from the poster and covered her left eye and began reading. “P…E…Z…T…C…2.” She switched eyes. “S…B…3…R…V.”
Her hair wasn’t naturally blond, but at least she could still see, unlike her younger sister who was taken away two years ago. No one cried; it was a way of life. Flaws were looked down upon and were said to poison the human race. Some people got away with things, like the young girl and her fake hair, but her sister could not be saved.
The rain let up so the young girl continued on her way home. She passed a young man rending a poster—a giant poster—like a mad man and throwing it into a puddle. She paused and wondered if she should call the proper authorities, but decided not to get involved. Protesters to the Perfects were becoming more and more common, but the authorities quickly detained them. If they were able to think and act like that then they must be flawed, fallible humans, and it is better to go ahead and take them out of the gene pool.
The young girl thought of herself as partially flawed, but she had learned that there were secret ways to hide flaws—to look and feel equal to others so that she could pass another selection.
She passed Mrs. Rockenborger who was most certain to be taken away this time. The poor woman gained ten pounds for every ounce of food she ate. She could no longer fit into the largest size available; therefore she had to make some rather obvious modifications. She was trying to hide her flaw like the young girl, but unfortunately it wasn’t going to work—her fate was decided the minute she was conceived.
The young girl made it to her home and marched up the rusty staircase that led to her family’s small apartment. She opened up the plain white door and stepped in. The apartment was standard—one living room, one kitchen, two bathrooms and four bedrooms. Two of the bedrooms lay empty, but life once existed in them.
Her mother walked in from the kitchen and said, “Where have you been Elvina?”
“Just out. The rain held me back,” she said absently, “Do we have any dye? There’s a selection in two days.”
She took off her cloak and hung it up, hoping that it would dry. Her mom walked over and held a clump of her daughter’s damp hair.
“Yeah, I’ll find some. How are your eyes?”
“Fine, mother,” she said with a sigh.
Her mom examined her eyes and skin complexion on her face—one small pimple, but that could be fixed.
“Go get changed. Your father will be home soon. Supper is almost ready.”
“Okay,” said Elvina as she plodded over to her room.
Two days later, everyone was out in the streets on a bright sunny day waiting to go through the selection and get on with their everyday lives. The only good thing about the selection that people saw was the fact that all businesses were closed down and all schools were out. No one had to work; no one had to learn; they just had to make it past the selection guards.
Elvina saw one of her friends sulking back towards his apartment. Across his shirt was a giant black spray-painted X. Her eyes widened a bit and she called out to him. He came over and explained that he didn’t make it this time.
“The Selectionist who examined me checked my eyes more carefully than others,” he said nonchalant. He stuck his finger in his eye and moved the blue contact revealing the true pale green iris. He shrugged and gave Elvina one last hug and then continued on his final trek to his apartment to gather some things for his journey.
Elvina’s stomach scrunched up a bit as her friend left. If he couldn’t pass then how could she? She began to get nervous as the line slowly moved closer and closer. What if she didn’t make it this time? What if they noticed her hair wasn’t really the bright golden blond that it resembled?
Her mother put her hand on her back and pushed her forward with the line.
Mrs. Rockenborger passed by them with a similar X across her shirt. Her face looked a little saddened and solemn. She was trying her best to put on a smile, but her attempts were not working.
Before long, Elvina was standing before a female Selectionist naked and a bit cold. The Selectionist was examining every part of her body making sure it was up to par with the standards. She had to open her mouth and show that her teeth were nice and straight. She had to stick her head in a box while a laser did an eye check for her. Every inch of her body was searched. Finally, the Selectionist allowed Elvina to put her clothes back on and go on with her life. She had passed.
During that selection, mothers had lost daughters; fathers lost sons; brothers lost sisters; friends lost friends. But life went on. They had flaws and had to be taken away. Life went on. Selection after selection, life went on.