Tell A Tale in 500 Words

Dissent By Lauren Butler

I was awake before she even came into my room and shoved her clammy hand firmly over my mouth. My heartbeat synchronised with her pulse that I sensed in her palms. The only source of light was the dull November moon flooding through my curtains, yet I was able to make out that Harriet was wearing the kit we’d both packed in our rucksack in case something like this ever happened; black hooded coat, black jeans, and Dr Martens. I liked my old ratty canvas shoes better, but Harriet insisted boots would be a better choice for the amount of moving we were about to do.

As my eyes were focusing, several screams could be heard from across the road. “Don’t. Move.’’ breathed Harriet. She lifted her hand from my face and crept to the window.

“Are we really doing this?’’ I panicked.

“You promised you would come with me, Minnie. It’s either that or end up like Mum.”

I flinch, as I tend to do when Mum is mentioned. Harriet knows this and hates it. She backs away from the window, careful not to move too suddenly, and pulls me up a little too roughly from my bed. “Mum’s not here. She was carted off to those prisons they call Fertility Centres and ordered to pop out children until she’s no use. Now I’m about to turn sixteen and it’s going to happen to me. Eventually you. Unless we go. NOW LETS GO!’’.

There are sanctuaries to escape to, Harriet says, but they’re right on the coast. Sanctuaries for girls and women like us, who wish to be exempt from the control of Men. Who don’t want to be used for childbearing. In this world, there are few of us left, so Men say we have to do this in order for our species to survive, and don’t fulfil any other societal need. So that’s why we’re taken to these Centres. These sanctuaries aim to revolutionise the way the world works, by overthrowing Men and recruit us in secret. All of this came into effect three years ago. Mum was taken only two months ago, so it’s been just me and Harriet ever since.

The Men have told everyone time and time again we WILL die if we try to run, as there are cameras everywhere you turn, up and down the country. So that is why we are dressed as black as the night.

I’m up, I’m dressed and I can’t feel my legs. Somehow, we have to get to the coast, which is a three hour drive, and I dread to think how many day’s walk. Harriet has ordered me to kill as many people as I can, to take people down with me if I die, and I don’t believe her until tonight, right now, as I double check my rucksack and find a gun.

She opens the front door and the screams filter into the hallway. “For Mum?” Harriet asks.

“For Mum.” I decide.

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