“You have to admit most of the things they tell us don’t really connect up after a certain point.”
“I was wondering when you’d start with the questions again,” Sara said as she sat up and looked down at me.
I watched as she settled her chin on her knees, and her brown eyes met mine.
“It wasn’t a question. It was a thought,” I replied.
“Maybe they’re just trying to protect us by being purposely vague about what happened to get us here?” Sara suggested, and I could hear in her voice that she believed everything they had ever said. I also knew arguing my view was pointless and would only cause her to scorn me more. I had no stable ground to stand on, and we had both been taught the same things. If she didn’t doubt them, then there really wasn’t a reason I should.
“I guess,” I finally replied.
Sara tilted her head at me, and I felt my pulse rushing through my ears.
“You’ve never given in so easily before,” she said.
“I’m just sick of fighting,” I replied as I tried to keep my chest from heaving. I could feel a cold sweat beginning to drip down my neck as she stared at me with scrutinizing eyes.
“I know you haven’t been helping the Gatherers.”
I kept my eyes up on the sky and didn’t flinch, although every muscle in my body wanted to. I held my composure as I replied, “I didn’t realize I’d been made one.”
“You have a choice to be whatever you want,” Sara said, and I sat up and turned to face her.
“We don’t have choice, Sara! Eventually, I’ll be told I have to marry Trevor, pop out babies and become the Cook,” I replied, my jaw tight.
Sara’s returned glance was just as hard.
“Do you honestly think anything good could’ve happened to get us from a civilized place with telephones, cable and malls to this—the middle of nowhere?”
I looked at the rows of identical four room houses in the distance. Inside was a general living area, a room for the parents, a room for the children and a bathroom. Each and every one was the same, just like the duties of our society. Mothers with children under ten worked in the daycare. Children started school at five and remained in school until seventeen or eighteen, depending on their birthday. Women without children were divided between Gatherers and Cooks. The men did whatever they did—we were never told what they did, and no matter what, they never told the women what it was.
“I don’t know,” I finally replied, the glare from the solar panels burned into my eyes, and I had to look away.
“What else is bothering you?”
“I was just wondering what Trevor was doing,” I answered as I pulled at the dead strands of grass beneath my hands.
“Probably training with Billy,” Sara said, and my head shot up.
“Training?” I repeated, watching as her face turned red then went white.
“You know for hunting and stuff,” Sara said, quickly recovering.
I let my eyes fall to the grass I was pulling at. If I pushed, she wouldn’t tell me more, but things started to make sense as I thought over some of the men in our family unit. Billy was just a few years older than us, and as soon as he graduated he started disappearing with the other men. He also began to ripple with muscles Sara and I drooled at, but he became more and more distant with time. Trevor also started to fill out his stick-figure frame, not like Billy had, but he did have some definition which he hadn’t before. He wasn’t ignoring me like Billy had, though. He was more attentive, coming to see me every night and calling me babe. I tugged a little harder on the grass. I hated being called babe, and I wasn’t a fan of his increased attention either.
“So are you going to tell me?” Sara pushed, interrupting my thoughts.
“Tell you what?”
“What you’ve been doing all this time?” she asked.
I ran my hand through my hair before replying, “Are you going to tell me what you’ve been doing?”
We stared at each other until she broke into a small grin that made me feel guilty.
“You know you can trust me, right? We’re sisters,” she said, and the look in her eyes made me feel like she did care.
It caught me off guard. It was a feeling I hadn’t felt in a long time. I never truly felt it from my cold father or mother, and sometimes I felt like Trevor was just following orders.
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