Stories from Refuge – 12 – “They don’t want to tell us what really happened back then.”

(c) Serjio74 |

(c) Serjio74 |

Refuge: an underground city built to save people from an apocalyptic world. But how will its people save themselves? Read the stories in any order, or start with the introduction at part 1.

Reconciliation Council report B-12, submitted by Councilor Booth
F.Y. 100.4.23

We’ve been reading the reports in Section 19, Grade 9, Miss Booth’s old classroom. She brought them in for us to read so we could learn about what life was like under the old Governing Council, since we were little children and we don’t remember it, and most of our parents won’t talk about it and neither will the other teachers. But it’s been a month since the last report and there haven’t been any more. Miss Booth said the dialogues stopped because something went wrong, that maybe it was a bad idea after all, putting people together with their attackers, that we’re not ready to face something like that.

She also said she might get in trouble for showing us the reports. People keep telling us we’re lucky, that we were born at the right time, that we never had to live through the worst of it, that we’re too young to know how bad it got. And they don’t want to tell us. Miss Booth got pulled out of our classroom the first time to work on new history books, now that the Governing Council can’t tell us what to read, and some of the teachers thought there should be new books that tell the truth. But the rest of the teachers said we shouldn’t read them. Section 20, maybe, with the older teenagers in the trade schools, but not us. They don’t want to tell us what really happened back then.

But they don’t know. They don’t know that we did see it. The really little kids, maybe they didn’t. We tried to protect them. Marsha Allen’s little brother, he’s Type 2 and her parents wanted to keep him, they were sure they could teach him things, and she would wrap him up and carry him in her backpack, pretend he was her doll in her parenthood training exercise, since he was so quiet. Commanders heard about it one day and they searched the classrooms, and we all passed him back and forth under our desks so they wouldn’t find him. Joey Cruss is a recessive, someone way back in his family couldn’t afford blending treatment and he came out big and dark, and everyone bullied him, not just Commanders but people all over Refuge, kids and grownups and even some of the teachers. The Commanders didn’t do it nearly as much as everyone else. Tom Pattel’s dad did some illegal things, we never found out what, but when the bots broke into his living unit to arrest him they almost killed his whole family, because his dad got a hold of a weapon from somewhere, and Tom had to drag his mom and his little sister into a cupboard so they wouldn’t get shot.

So we’ve seen it. You can’t protect us from it. But we want to know more. Where did the Empaths go, and who are these new ones? Are the Commanders all Aboveground, and how are they staying alive? All the teachers say no one can live Aboveground, no one in Refuge even wants to go back anymore, but we know people are going out there, and they’re bringing things back. We figured out A.M. was talking to someone Aboveground, and she said she didn’t smuggle anything in so she must have a brother or someone up there. Are there really still scientists out there, and can they cure the Grays people? Can they cure paramania? Did they cure cancer and clean up the air so we can all live out there? We’ve seen pictures of the sun in one of history books, they made it look fiery and scary, but we’ve never even seen it and we’re not sure you’re telling us the truth.

But the people in the dialogues, they’re telling the truth, and we think you should let them keep doing it. We think you should start the dialogues again.

Students of Section 19, Grade 9

©2016 Michelle M. Welch

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