Mother’s Betrayal by Leasah Hutchinson

I excitedly jumped out of bed and ran to my closet. Today will be one of my milestone makers and maybe even the best one. Today will mark the end of my fifth and last year of schooling. Which means, in two months, I will receive a permanent work assignment. If everything goes as planned, I will receive a level 10 job. That would be my best accomplishment, and I believe I’ve worked hard for a position that high. Since I was four, I’ve been in work training camps and internships. Usually someone of my family status would not be able to start work training until they were ten, but since I received a scholarship I was able to start sooner. 

I grabbed my bag from the Robo Nanny and ran straight towards the door but was stopped by my mother. She is a tall woman and very beautiful, but not the smartest one in the world. I know that sounds stuck up, but she’s not. I mean, she was on track to being a level 12, but gave it all up for my father. Don’t get me wrong, I love them both, but I wish they wouldn’t have chosen to take my father’s level. He is a level 2, which means we are bottom of the barrell people, but not quite rock bottom. 

“MOM,” I groaned, “I don’t want to be late!” 

“Sweet heart, you won’t be late. You’re always 30 minutes early, and if you leave now you’ll be an hour early.” She tries this every morning, but I am always determined to head to school early. 

“Mom, I need to head to school early. Can’t you understand just this once,” I groaned as she handed me my breakfast. I saw her roll her eyes at me. I’ve never understood how carefree my mother is. She took my father’s level and ruined her chances of a good life, and she always talks about how messed up the world is. We’ve gotten a citation once because she said something about the government out in public. You aren’t allowed to talk bad about the government out in public or alone, but they won’t give a citation if you’re not causing a scene. I was furious at her and still am. 

“You shouldn’t be disappointed if you don’t get a high level job,” my mom said as I finished my breakfast and began to leave. “It won’t matter in a couple of hours any way.” She smiled when she said this, and I couldn’t understand why or what she was even talking about. I forgot about the whole thing once I arrived at school. 

Once inside, I sped to my cube and placed today’s chip in my brain reader. Today I was to learn about the history of our great nation. It started with the great bomb, but I already knew about that, so the chip fast foward to the nations upbringing. The few survivers of the bomb built a captiol and the great wall around it. They started to build technology to protect themselves and in just one year they invented the brain reader. Before the brain reader was invented, the whole system was a mess. Kids had to go to school for 12 years, and they had to actually go in person and have real people teach them. The reader picked up my confusion and explained it again. Once the brain reader was invented, kids went to school three years once they turned two, and then two more years once they had turned sixteen. The chip dinged once the lesson had reached its end. It’s hard to believe 2 hours had passed by, but this meant, in just five minutes, I will receive my final work position. 

The cubicle walls started to sift apart and a tiny projector appeared. I jumped back as the projector shot out an image of our President, Jim. 

“Today is a big day for all of you. I know many of you are anxious to get a higher level job, but everyone should remember that every job is important, and without lower level jobs our world might not exist. I am pleased to say though that many of you are going to be working at the farms, which as you know is a level 14 job assignment. I also wanted to remind everyone that even though you are getting these jobs, there will always be lower back up jobs. That means you should still be following the rule of this great nation and remember that nothing is permanent unless you work hard at it. This nation thanks you and your parents for your service. Good luck.” The projector disappeared and a little envelope shot down my mail tube.

This was it. It is finally time for me to shine. I ripped open the envelope cover. 

“Ding.” I raised my head to look at the projector. It flickered a little, and then an image shot out. I gasped as I saw my mom standing there beginning to talk. 

“Today is a great day for this nation,” there was a short pause, “to fall.” I heard everyone gasp as I had done earlier. The camera shifted to show our president who was laying on the ground in what looked like blood. No, that was blood. I screamed and everyone in the building echoed my scream. “I know many of you are worried about what will come next, and I am happy to say that you will get to decide. Tomorrow we will have a vote to decide whether we will keep living under our government’s control or open the great gates and run away into a life of adventure. You will still be able to live in our nation if you wish, but our government will be changed back to a government that dominated the world, The United States of America.” 

I closed my eyes and imagined this was all a dream. She couldn’t get away with this, and if she did, our world would be destroyed. If she was caught, my whole family would be executed. An execution hadn’t happened in 100 years. Oh God! My little brother was only 9 years old. How could she do this to him? Is he ok? Is my dad ok? Did they know about this? One of my questions was answered right away when I saw my father appear beside my mother. 

“Citizens 16 and up will be allowed to vote,” he began his speech, “It does not matter what level you are. Everyone will be allowed to vote, even the leveless. If it is decided that we wish to continue living this controlled life, then the rebellion will step down and cause no more trouble. We have faith that everyone will make the right decision for our great nation.” 

Both my parents disappeared. I heard the people around me screaming, but they were not sad screams, they were happy that this was happening. How could they possibly be happy right now? I tucked the envelope into my book bag and ran out of the school. I ran down the street and out into the countryside to  my house. I must have ran 2 miles when I finally reached my front porch. No officers here, yet. I opened the door and screamed for my parents, but there was no sign of them except for a little posted note: 

Dear Emmy, 

I wish we could have told you about this, but it would have been a risk that we could not have taken. Your brother is with us and is just fine. Please don’t worry honey. Everything will work out. I know that eventually you’ll see that this is the best thing we could have ever done for your brother and you. 

We are sorry, 

Your Parents. 

What the actual heck is going on. I tried to call their ports but they refused to answer. I paced and paced the floor until the Robo Nanny came into the room. I had forgotten all about her. 

“Have my parents sent any more messages?” 

“They sent a message for me to cook you dinner, and that is it ma’am.” She handed me my steak and mashed potatoes with gravy. My favorite dinner, but I wasn’t going to give them the satisfaction of knowing I ate. I tossed it out the window. 

“Ma’am are you not going to eat?” 

“No I am not,” I said angrily. I saw Robo Nanny head outside to clean my mess. I felt bad she had to do that even though she is only a robot. Trying not to think about her or my parents, I went to my bedroom and got ready for bed. Tomorrow will be the downfall of our nation. and who’s in charge of it? My parents. I laid my head on the soft pillow and started to cry. For myself or for the life I was so close to having. The life of my dreams, where my three kids ran in the huge yard and had everything I never had. I would be a high enough level to get them a dog and to marry a man that would be able to support them as well. No matter which side of the vote the citizens picked, it would destroy all my plans. 

I woke up the next morning a little dazed and confused. It took me a minute to remember the disaster that happened yesterday. I still couldn’t believe it. 

“Ding.” The main port went off. I ran to the living room and read the message on the screen: 

Hello Citizens, 

In just one hour, at exactly nine o’clock exactly we will be voting. Thank you! 

I stared at the screen for a while and then went to eat breakfast. Halfway through eating my eggs and toast, I started thinking. Should I vote against my parents? Would they be mad at me? If I don’t vote for them, I’m voting for the government that will kill me? Would I get a lesser sentence for voting for the government?
“Ding.” It was time to vote. I walked to the living room and over to the port screen. It was a simple voting system. You put in your information and your thumbprint to confirm your identity. Once I was confirmed to be Emma Rodgers, two boxes popped up on the screen. One was red and had black letters that read, End the Current Government. The second box was blue with black letters that read, Stay with Current Government. I stared for a few seconds and looked at the choices. Do I choose my parents or my death? Either could kill me, but I was willing to take a chance on a new perfect life. My finger hit the red box and sighed with relief. 

It felt like days for the results to come in, but in reality it was only five hours. My parents popped up out of the projector in the living room. They were dressed up in level 13 clothes. I stared at them trying to decide if they actually would help everyone, or if I don’t know them at all. 

“The votes are in,” my father started, “We are pleased to tell you that the government will fall and gates will open tomorrow. We won by 10,000 votes. We thank you for your service to this nation and hope you build a life just for you. Goodbye and Goodluck.”

That evening they sent a port ship for me. I packed the bare minimum and climbed into the silver machine. I checked my bag one last time to make sure I had everything. Once we took off, I pulled out the white ripped envelope that once held my future. It took me a while to open it but once I did I smiled to myself. My shoulders fell in relief and I knew I had picked the right choice. 

The paper read: 

Trash Worker- Level 1 Job. 

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