I lived in a metropolis, one of the many throughout the world. They're always bustling with life, flashing with neon signs, and a very tall, very high voltage electrical fences is installed around the perimeter, boxing you in with no escape. These cities were created for 'safety purposes,' the government says, but I didn't believe that. The rest of the world does...and that is very dangerous.
It's like believing what you read on the Internet; Tails Dolls are real, a Bigfoot ransacked a local camping ground and ate all the camper's food, or that Aspirin cures cancer - ridiculous things like that. The evidence of lock down has been obvious for years, but no one will acknowledge it. People just rationalize, rationalize, rationalize.
What am I talking about, you're wondering? Well, it should come as no surprise: the government has locked us away in these vast, exciting cities so that they can control us. They distract us with the thrills of big city life. I mean, why do you think they wanted to restrict civilian use of guns? No doubt you've thought it was 'for safety purposes,' right?
Why do you think Verizon releases a brand new iPhone every other month? Because it's got 'instant connection to Wi-Fi,' or because it 'downloads apps at faster speeds,' or because it's got cool mini games you can buy and play whenever you're bored? Why do you think religion has slowly been disconnected from society and stomped on in school? Because there is - or are - no God(s)? Because it's inappropriate?
Honestly, I've got no idea when this internal revolution began. Hell, I can't even remember what city I used to live in - was it Romano or Escondido? They're all just one city now, one big motion of confusion. However, I do remember when construction began.
My brother Davis and I were biking to school when I noticed that most of the streets were blocked off. By the next week, there were No Detour signs hammered into the roads that led to other towns. I thought it was strange, but I was stupid...I rationalized.
They could be repaving, I thought reasonably. Or maybe they're going to set up a new road. Of course, they could just be widening the lanes.
Then things started to get...weird.
One day, my grandfather was reading the paper, something he did everyday. He called my brother and I in and gestured to the top article:
''New Electric Fencing Unit!
Last Friday, the Supreme Court met to discuss an issue that has eluded solution: How do we make our country a safer place? After three days, the court finally came to a heavy decision: restricted gun use. They also came to the conclusion that an electrical fence be placed around several city perimeters to stop vandalism and convict escape.
The new jails are to be walled in inside on the outskirts of these 'Metropolises' and will be heavily guarded. If any crime should occur, the suspect/convict/delinquent will be unable to escape justice. Also, illegal aliens will have no route into these giant cities. They are to be kept clean by staff...''
Davis and I stared at the passage for several minutes, trying to absorb what we had read. No guns, not even for hunting? An electrical fence surrounding several cities? Jails walled in inside - with all those civilians walking around just miles away? How was this supposed to work? And why had the Supreme Court decided this? I mean, sure, the question had been on everyone's minds for years, but how did they come to this resolution in just three days? Why now? I mean, why ever? Why all of it at the same time?
Later on that day, my friend Marik from down the street dropped by for a visit. The iPhone 6 had been delivered to his house just the day before, but the damn thing was already battered and broken in his hand.
I gaped at him, shocked. "You've had that thing for twenty hours and it's already screwed up? Man, what did you do?"
"Listen, dude," Marik snapped. He began talking very quickly: "I realized something yesterday. I went to the mall, and some chick was scanning her Master Card to pay for some stuff from off her phone. I had an epiphany, and I thought, how could she be scanning her card from online? And then it - it hit me, like BAM - the government is tracking us!" I continued staring at him. He sighed and said, "No, dude, check this! How else could she have scanned her card? How else would the payment go through unless someone knew how much she'd spent? Her phone was being tracked by someone - someone who was keeping track of her payments!"
"So, you think that it's the government?" I said slowly. Marik was always coming up with absurd conspiracies; his imagination didn't seem to have a limit. "That's legit."
"No, really!" he exclaimed callously. He shoved the iPhone 6 recklessly into my hands. "I broke it with a sledgehammer last night. I was gonna come over then, but pop was up all night watching football rewinds." He pointed accusingly to a small, squared red disk. There was an opening where it looked like a USB could be inserted into. "That's the tracker. It's the same my dad's got in his GPS."
I narrowed my eyes suspiciously at him. "How'd you know that?"
He shrugged. "I kinda broke it, too. But that's not the point. The point is that the government is tracking us through our phones - maybe even our computers!" Then he scoffed. "But you're a girl, you probably have no clue what I'm saying." I glared at him.
I never saw him after that. His parents had begged for an investigation that night. The police promised they would look into it, but Mariks parents hadn't heard a reply since. The only evidence of his kidnapping was the broken iPhone 6 under his carpet and the debris from his shattered bedroom door. I was distraught.
Three days later, construction began immediately. I hadn't slept a wink all night, and I woke up in a daze. What Marik had tried to explain seemed logical the more I thought about it. It's funny how you actually start listening once someone is gone. When I walked out front, I froze. There were some construction men who were taping the street right in front of me. I knew that this was the beginning.
The next Tuesday, my History teacher, Mr. Rayfield, announced that there was a new policy in all school's nationwide: Religion was not to be discussed. It was weird - one main part of history is religion; the Buddhists, the Egyptian mythology, the Greek mythology, Jews, Catholics, Islam.
I thought he was joking, but he made it clear that he wasn't. He said the government had resolved that religion was only a tool to separate people and their beliefs. They said it was a dangerous factor that could cause insult towards those who were religious and to those who weren't.
But how was it dangerous? I wondered.
By the next month, the fences had been built. They loomed over me and I felt claustrophobic. The Metropolis was 'a success' among the residents. They really believed it would protect them from the outside world, and in the meantime, they could party their hearts out from dusk till dawn. There were attractions everywhere you looked; shopping centers, amusement parks, theaters. What more could you ask for? The cruel thing was that...no matter who you were, no matter who your friends were, you were opposed if you questioned the purpose for living there. People were ridiculed, ostracized, and ignored until the rebels submitted and the city was...happy.
Way too happy.
One night, I had to know. I just had to. I swiped Davis' iPhone 4 and crept into the basement. I jammed a screwdriver between the ridge along the top and cracked it open. I searched the wire frames for several minutes and finally discovered what I was looking for: a small, squared red disk. Hastily, I rushed back to my room and dug out my USB from one of the drawers. I inserted it into the hollowed space and waited.
Not even a second later, a yellow light appeared on the USB's loading bubble. Usually, when plugged in to a computer, the light would turn green. After a minute or so, the light flashed and was gone. I hurriedly ripped it out of the disk and slammed into the computer outlet.
Coordinates appeared on the screen. I hadn't even pressed the On button - done anything that would have turned my computer back on. Yet there was this catalog that was downloading like crazy.
'Aug. 23, 2013'
''1:20 AM: Bedroom
8:00 AM: San Pasqual High School
12:00 PM: San Pasqual High School
2:00 PM: Wal-Mart Parking Lot
4:00 PM: Home''
The list went on and on, uploading so quickly I thought my computer would crash. I felt sick; the damn disk even knew when my brother had skipped class. I took the disk back to the basement and destroyed it with the hammer, being very particular as I picked up every piece and chucked what was left into the kitchen garbage can. Then, I assembled the iPhone 4 and snuck it back into my brother's room.
I woke up in a daze. It was nearly three in the morning according to my alarm clock. I groaned and rolled over, trying to fall back to sleep again. After an hour, I sighed angrily when my stomach growled ferociously and slid out of bed. Sleep would not come to me. I walked to the kitchen to scour for food or milk.
When I stepped inside, the atmosphere was suddenly clustered. I shrugged it off, since there was too much on my mind already, and opened the fridge. I strangely felt as if I were being watched, but thought nothing of it. After all, it was four in the morning and I was a little off from last night's resolve. Besides, I had already come to terms that I could possibly be observed at any time of the day.
Technology was logging everyone's actions, stalking and keeping track of their surroundings. Guns has been prohibited because the government - I assumed - didn't want to risk a revolt. As for religion, it was hindered so that the people's minds would be open to a new form of god. Some were content because they truly believed the government was protecting them, but some were forced to feign their happiness so that the government would not suspect them.
I had been pretending to be happy for months without knowing the reason why; Marik disappeared without a trace; religion was banned in schools; the Supreme Court had acted and created these new regulations simultaneously; no one questioned it. It was because we were being manipulated. We were bending to the government's rule.
'We the People' didn't exist anymore. It was now 'They the People.'
And I was afraid.
I had closed the door with a slice of bread in one hand when I noticed it in the magnet mirror on the fridge's cool metal door. I only had a few seconds to look - it was tall and wide, standing like a predator behind the backyard door. There were large bolts on its arms and legs, holding it together, and its eye sockets were empty, occupied only by yellow stains. It glimmered in the early dawn, and I realized it wasn't human.
It was some sort of robot. Its metallic, steel figure was rusted heavily. Its makeshift jaw was loosely hanging on one side. There was a large dent in its knee and it slumped forward slightly, as if waiting to be wound up.
And it was staring at the back of my head, motionless, soundless. My heart flew into my throat and my thoughts came to a complete halt, the way they would on a roller coaster. How long had it been standing here watching me? Where had it come from? What the hell was it?!
I thought about running, about screaming, about throwing something at it. For a second, hope possessed me as I wished it to be my imagination.
It made an abrupt move, as if trying to stand straight, and then crashed through the door, barreling towards me. I opened my mouth to shout for my brother, for my parents, for anyone - I was startled, terrified, but I couldn't make a sound. You know how those people say they were so frightened they couldn't breathe? That's exactly how I was. I couldn't even move. My feet were practically super-glued to the ground. I should have never gotten curious.
I didn't even have a chance.