1 comment


Caddie wiped her forehead with the back of her sleeve. The profound heat that shone overhead was deathly. Caught in it for too long, and you would either get fried to death, have your skin burnt away, or worse.

The metal chain bracelet around her wrists matched everyone else’s. Most often in the heat, it burned marks onto your skin. Several scars still marked her wrists in experience. This world was not one to be messed with.

The chain was to help keep all the citizens in the community. The community known as Bristol. The chain had a small tracking device that kept track of each and every citizen, shown on Their monitors, which took up approximately four buildings. The community had grown twisted, the Rules changed constantly till everything was literally set in stone, and the community became its own downfall.

The tales of the community never died, however. Old days were cherished, old diaries, journals, and even photos that hadn’t been confiscated came out. Wisers told of the glorious days, the days that the community of Bristol thrived. Caddie could remember stories of the fruits, vegetables, plants, and animals that covered the ground.

Things that were red, juicy, and grew off of vines had been tomatoes. Long, curved, yellow-greenish things had been bananas. And Caddie’s assigned Wiser had a favorite. Fat, purple things that grew in her garden as a little girl.

An eggplant.

But such things did not grow here anymore. Since the sun rebelled against the earth called Ling and its evil people, their sins grew, and became a crooked staff of cruelty that reigned over each and every person who lived in Bristol.

Caddie was given a four bedroom home, just as everyone else. She had a female adult and a male adult, and one sister. The adults were called June, and August. But Caddie was called Caddie, and her sister Andale was called Andale.

In every home was a scroll that was put onto a wall that could be seen when you first walked into the house, and could be seen from the dining and living room.

The Rules.

1.) You must go inside before five o’clock P.M.

2.) You must be indoors until seven o’clock A.M.

3.) You must go to your assigned place for the day and stay there until release.

4.) No shoes will be worn or given to anyone until they reach the age of six.

5.) When eating, gloves are to be taken off.

6.) In any matter accept for the acceptations, you must keep your gloves on.

7.) No gloves while bathing.

8.) No gloves while reading.

9.) If you lose your gloves, you are immediately banished, no exceptions or waiting.

10.)       Failure to follow these directions result in banishment. You must never leave the community unless banished. Resistance of banishment will result in a brainwash, and continued banishment. Further resistance will end with a punishment unknown to most.

But the gloves could not cover their chains, however. And the gloves kept their hands very white. Every week, they were required to clip their nails short. And sleeping with gloves on wasn’t very comfortable.

Neither was stirring a giant, boiling vat of tea. Caddie’s job was to make tea, every day, from eight to four. She had no breaks. In the tea room, it was hot, and steamy. Her friend Jamie said it was like a sauna in several layers of clothes.

In the tea room, Caddie and her fellow workers had their normal clothes on, but they were required to wear several layers of protective clothes that were washed daily. First came the clothes that kept hot tea from burning you if you were pushed into it (this happened often).

Next came the layer of clothes that protected the tea. If you fell in, the tea could still be used due to the clothes disinfectant protection. Made from a special fabric, it was designed to keep bad germs from sticking to them. Lastly, you were required to wear two hats. One to protect you from the boiling heat, and the next to keep the tea clean.

Caddie pushed open the doors to the tea room office. After slipping on the layers of fabric, she clipped her also disinfected cloth identity tag to her pocket. After yanking the hats over her dark, short-cropped hair, she pressed the password into the keypad and entered the steamy room.

Daniel sat at his desk in the obedience office. He twiddled his pen back and forth, then rolled it in between his thumb and forefinger. He repeated it, staring at the file placed before him.

It was just like every other file. A crisp manila folder, several paper clips poking above the edges, holding the profile picture in place. A few papers were laid neatly inside, paper clipped together and paper clipped to the folder to keep them from sliding out.

A man cleared his throat above him. Daniel looked up sharply, startled by his presence.

“You gonna look at that?” the man grumbled.

Daniel shrugged and set it aside. “Later, I guess. How can I help you, sir?”

“I mailed that there file information here,” he said, pointing to the folder Daniel had so carelessly shoved aside. “I was called in for a conference.”

“Of course,” Daniel said, pulling his reading glasses on and peering at his computer.


“Samuel Walters,” the man coughed.

“Alright. You were to meet with Mr. Clarkson?” Daniel confirmed, scrolling through the information.

Walters sighed and leaned on the counter. “Listen, kid. I have a conference, and I’m late. Now will you just let me through?”

Daniel eyed the man uncomfortably and took off his glasses. “Alright. But this is highly unusual, a late conference.” He stamped the man’s hand.

“Right through door seven. Marsha will take you to Mr. Clarkson.”

Walters stared at Daniel for a bit, then nodded and left. As soon as Walters was through the door, Daniel relaxed. People like this came through here every day, and not one of them gave Daniel such an uneasy feeling as this.

A few minutes after staring at the file, Marsha clicked through door seven and over to Daniel.

“Was that man weird or what?” she asked, a puzzled look on her face.

“You noticed it, too?” he asked, swiveling around in his chair to face her.

“Who couldn’t?” She poured herself some coffee. “That glare was enough to freeze Atlanta.”

“Hey, Caddie! You’re with me today!” Jamie yelled over to Caddie.

Caddie smiled and made her way through the mess of people, vats of boiling water, herbs, and Mr. Dee Dee.

Mr. Dee Dee was a nervous, stressed out guy. Skinny as a beanpole, as quick as lightning. “Oh dear, oh dear! Someone’s missing, missing, missing!” he wailed.

“Excuse me, Mr. Dee Dee,” Caddie interrupted politely. “I think I’m the one you’re missing.”

He blinked at Caddie for a few times, then flipped through his papers. “How can that be? How can that be?”

“I, uh, had some trouble with my suits” Caddie lied. In Bristol, you were free to do whatever you wanted except things against the Rules. But if there was something they weren’t happy about, you met in conference.

“Ah, yes. Fine, fine. You’re with Jamie, Cadee,” he grunted, folding his papers back into place.

“Uh, Caddie. But thank you, sir!” Caddie corrected, continuing to make her way over to Jamie.

“Hey. You’re on the left, Caddie,” Jamie instructed, stirring the steaming liquid.

Caddie took the huge spoon and stirred, sniffing the steam. “What’s this one?”

“Didn’t Mr. Dee Dee tell you? We’re on ‘herbal’,” Jamie rolled her eyes. “So. Why were you late?”

Caddie kept her eyes on the tea and cleared her throat. “I had trouble with my suits.”

Jamie leaned on her spoon. “You know what?”

“What? What?” Caddie asked nervously, stirring faster.

“You’re beginning to turn into Mr. Dee Dee,” Jamie laughed. “And by the way, you’re a terrible liar.”

Caddie smiled weakly. “At least I won’t get called into conference again.”

“Caddie, you were late again, weren’t you?” Jamie asked, picking back up on her stirring.

“No. Well, yes. But not at first,” Caddie groaned. “I left early and got stuck in late traffic.”

Jamie giggled. “Yeah, sneaker to sneaker pedestrian traffic jam.”

Caddie laughed. “I was running, and everyone else was walking, okay?”

Jamie got serious. “But you know what the Council said. One more late day and you get moved.”

Caddie looked away. “I don’t want to talk about it.”

“I know you do, but if you ever need to, I’m right here,” Jamie sighed.

Daniel rubbed his forehead. “It was highly irregular, but I let him on. This case seemed pretty deep!”

“If you wanted to have me talk to him, you could have called me up on the intercom, saying that there was a late patient who wanted to come up. And then you could send him up! But without any okay from me, and in the middle of a secret meeting is not okay, Sawyers,” Mr. Clarkson stormed, running his hands over his mostly bald head.

“I’m sorry, sir. It won’t happen again, sir,” Daniel apologized. “If you ever want to let me know that you’re having a meeting, go ahead and let me know, for once.”

“I’m sorry too, Daniel,” Mr. Clarkson sighed. “How much did you read of that file?”

“Not much,” Daniel admitted.

“She’s to be brainwashed. But there’s little chance that it’ll work. We’re going to have to try our last resort. The Council’s most prized pet. Ere. Read that name on the page, please. Out loud,” Mr. Clarkson instructed.

Daniel opened the file and read the name to himself breathlessly. It couldn’t be. There was no possible way that she had done anything wrong! He thought.

“Well, Sawyers?” Mr. Clarkson pushed.

Daniel swallowed hard. “It says, sir…Ann Sawyers,” he said hoarsely, as if he had a wheezing cough.

“And what did she do?” Mr. Clarkson asked firmly.

“Kissed a boy freely, but not the man she was assigned to. They’re wrong! She’d never do that. Ann’s too good. And she was saying how much she liked her Assigned!”

“I’m afraid she did. We caught it on camera,” Mr. Clarkson sighed.

“I’m afraid this is a great shock to me, sir. And I’m positive you’ve got it all wrong,” Daniel said thinly.

“I wish, Sawyers,” Mr. Clarkson said softly. “Read who she kissed.”

“Abraham Clarkson,” Daniel read. “Tell me. What’s Ere?”

“Ere is a monster that was created by the Council to destroy the minds of disobedient humans and put an obedient mind inside of them. Odd and strange, and even the Council doesn’t agree with it. But Ever was the one who created him, and he reigns supreme,” Mr. Clarkson explained.

His mind flashed to a message he received earlier in the month.  You and another girl were seen walking together yesterday evening. Brainwash is not capable of helping you. Ere is our last resort. See you soon, the Council.

The girl could have only been Caddie, a gracious girl he had met just walking on the street every morning and afternoon. He had to warn her.

“Sir? Can I have the rest of the day off?” Daniel asked. After receiving permission, he ran to the tea room.

“I need to see Caddie,” he panted to the front desk lady.

She eyed him suspiciously but called Caddie out. She stripped off her work clothes and came into the lobby.

“Please excuse her. Goodbye!” he took Caddie’s hand, dragging her with him.

“Daniel, what’s happening?” she cried.

“We’re going to get our minds destroyed if we don’t get out of this community now,” Daniel panted.

“Why did you come for me?” Caddie coughed beside him.

“Because I…care for you, Caddie,” Daniel admitted.

Although Caddie’s face was red from running in the heat, she could feel her face blush. “Then I guess I do too, Daniel.”

They stopped, an enormous creature looming above them. “ERE!” Daniel shouted, pulling Caddie back.

“Come on, there’s a place he can’t go, we can escape!” Caddie cried. In between two rock formations there was a slim passageway that she knew she would be able top squeeze past. After the passageway, they could run through the barrier that kept things out but not in.

“No. Only one of us can leave. Go, Caddie,” Daniel answered, backing away from the beast.

Caddie ran. Although everything inside of her wanted to turn around and bring him with her, she knew it wouldn’t work. After running through the Community barrier, the heat was immediately gone, and Caddie found a rock and hid behind it, sobbing as she heard Daniel’s screams. It had all happened so quick, and Caddie felt helpless. Had she and him not met...

January 13, 2020 23:07

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

1 comment

Unknown User
13:06 Jan 23, 2020

<removed by user>


Show 0 replies

Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in the Reedsy Book Editor. 100% free.