GENRE: YA Speculative Fiction
I’d woken with a jolt early this morning, peace-keepers beating on my door. I thought we still had one more day, but my parents’ Grace Period to raise me was over. They had prepared me for much, but not this—how could they? While a Customized would be thinking about blowing out candles on their sweet-sixteen, I was trying to decide which of my parents to feed to the flame. Before I’d be allowed to leave the balcony room above the Pit, I’d have to choose which of my parents would die for me.
I dug my nails into the bloodless skin of my arm, not removing them until they left deep marks. I couldn’t really feel any pain. It was vague, a distant sting to a nervous system that no longer belonged to me. My consciousness seemed to float above my body, but it couldn’t escape, and neither could I. I remembered how I used to wake screaming when I was a little girl, plagued by guilt over a choice I hadn’t made yet. Now that that choice was before me, I was too numb to feel anything.
My counselor tapped her clipboard with long fingernails. She was sitting somewhere behind me, reminding me that she was still there—and that I was still wasting her time—every few minutes when she shifted the order of her crossed legs.
After a long silence she prodded me yet again, “Fayten, it’s been another hour.”