In a command economy a group of teenagers find out the truth and rebel.
|Sara, man-hunter recruit
This day of the year 2020 is my birthday. I've had nineteen of them and the government says I will be a good man-hunter. I know I will be because they said so. A man-hunter is someone in a special division of the military sent on top-secret missions. The statistic of getting chosen to be a man-hunter is one in a billion and there are only thirty slots in that division with five people to a unit which means that there are six units and each unit is special in its own way. I am happy that the government gives us jobs because I have no idea what I would have wanted to be if left to my own devices. My closest friends Morgan and Jake were also chosen for the man-hunters, which is extremely surprising considering the possibility of actually becoming a man-hunter. Think of it; three people chosen from one town with those chances, either some people retired and they needed replacements badly, or they died and they need the replacements or something almost inconceivably possible is that they are making a seventh unit. I also heard about two other people being chosen for man-hunters as well.
“Mom, I am happy that I finally get to give back to the country. After all they have done for us it is the least I can do.” I stated emphatically.
“I know, just be careful. You know that I do not want you to get hurt.” My mother replied, sounding sad.
“I know, mom.” I retorted to her that day.
We have to report on Monday of next week and we're all about the same age which is cool. Everyone loves the order that the government gives us, so that we don't have to worry about the small things. In the past things were chaotic and no one knew what to do about anything in the year of 2012. In 2012 I was eleven years old and new order began. The United States was the last to convert to order, but it did and everyone was glad of it, although it meant that we could no longer vote for the president or any other political position from then on but from what I heard from the old folks is that the last presidents were flushing the country down the toilet with their programs to make the country a better place with tons of jobs.
The first day at the man-hunter headquarters they told us that we got our own barracks when we were ready. Though, right now we have to share an entire building with about one hundred and sixty others. The thing was we have to prove ourselves to become a man-hunter, so a lot of the people we are sharing barracks with will be eliminated from the program. I do not know what becomes of them after they are taken out of the program, but I do know that when you are out of the program you are never seen again. The not being seen again is not really that hard because they could just relocate you with a new identity and have facial reconstruction done to you so no one knows it's you. I don't think that they just let you walk away, because they teach you some pretty hefty stuff. I mean we had already started survival lessons, first survival, then to the combat part of the training. It was no big secret that we will no doubt have to kill people, but my friends and I try to look at it differently. We tried to see it as helping out society, like garbage men only we take care of the people that are murderers, serial killers and all the other types of killers. We try not to think about what that will make us, to try and justify what we will be doing. The days dragged on as we complete our survival unit. Already twenty people had quit and seven had been taken out. They had us dig trenches; not small ones for only one or two people like a fox hole but large ones that could hold twenty people and all the equipment that they would ever need on a mission plus a few extras.
It has been quite a few weeks since I had the nerve to write about the goings on, since another person was also keeping a journal, their journal taken away and burned on their chest. They told the rest of us that if we hand over any journals or diaries we will have no punishment, I am no fool I saw the look in their eyes, they would punish those who had journals and they did. I keep mine hidden, for the sole reason that those who were punished were not given anything for the pain and some died from their injuries. This is not what I thought training would be like and I think I don't want it if we cannot even send letters home to our families. I miss them and the others miss their families as well. I train hard to get the thoughts out of my head that could get me killed and I read the books that they give us to read, although I would enjoy a good fictional book like you could read before the switch. We learn what they want us to and then when we are to practice with each other, which they never watch, we teach each other what we learned before this, what we learned on the streets of our neighborhoods. Things may have been alright for the adults but there were gangs that the government could not control and we had to deal with them and get away before they decided to draw a knife or gun. We were fast, strong, agile, witty, and intelligent; no wonder they picked us for the man-hunters.
They were checking for journals again, so I hid this under the floor boards, while they were checking the rafters. That is strange because the last time that is where I hid my journal. Oh well, at least I stay a step ahead of them. Ohhhh, before I forget, the trenches they had us dig are starting to be filled in. I went to check one of the filled in trenches, not because I was told to though, I got sick over what I saw and knew I had to show my friends that I trusted. In those filled in trenches were the bodies of every person who quit, washed out, died, and even the families of everyone in the program. I saw my mother, she was close to the top and that is all we looked at was the top layer. We were all sick, although we had to go back to training in the morning, because we snuck out while we were supposed to be in bed. There is no rest for the wicked, but who can say who are the actual wicked ones here, for I have no idea who those are, us or the ones running the program. I don't know for certain about the others, but I am having these wriggling, squirming doubts in my mind about the rightness of being here.
I could not sleep soundly because of nightmares, so I decided to check it out and a few of the others went with me, and what I saw was so horrifying it made my nightmares seem like fluff in comparison. Hell, there was no comparison; it was my nightmare only on steroids. They shot a young boy who did not happen to be dead but stunned when he tried to get out of the trench. The look on his face, blood trickling from the wounds and welling from his mouth as he died, and then the breaking of his neck to make sure he was dead is emblazoned in my mind. Bodies piled on top of each other in no particular fashion merely thrown in one after the other so limbs become entwined and falling at awkward angles, and on some it looks like there is dried vomit on the corners of their mouths while others have holes in their foreheads. It sickens me just thinking about it to write in my journal so that others will know of this inhumane, contempt of human life. I saw my mother, she was desperately clutching onto a roll of paper. I had to see for myself if it truly was my mother or just someone who looked like her and find out what was so important that the paper had to be buried with her. The others looked out for me to make sure the instructors had finally turned in for the time being before the next rotation of instructors came onto the watch and start filling over the bodies. When the time came I took my chance and, oh God, it was my mom and I had little time to get back so I snatched the paper from her hand and closed her eyes. We got back just in time before they checked in on us to make sure everyone was asleep. After they left we read what my mother left behind and it made my blood boil at what they did to her. I don’t know about all of the others but I will not stand for their way of going about just deleting people from existence like that and then having us dig the graves of our parents and siblings if we had any. I hid her makeshift journal, the roll of paper, in my journal and hid it with one of my friends.
The instructors are persistent to find my journal, because they came right out and said so to my face, though they can't find it and are still searching for it. Then they gave me forty lashes to my back, they said it was because I was starting to slack off. Everyone knows that I do not slack off, ever. I wanted to scream my lungs out, but I knew to do so would bring even more lashes so I settled for crying, they only gave me ten more for that versus the forty more for screaming. I was glad my resolve held, but they gave me no medical attention and the others were forbidden to help me tend to my wounds and they left little to no skin on my back. I managed to crawl to the barracks and my true friends helped me with my wounded back so that I would get better; we knew what would happen to me if I did not make it through the injuries. I was glad when the scabs started to form and hated it when the instructors patted me on the back for making a swift recovery, at least that is what they said. The look in their eyes said differently and I knew that it would only get worse for both me and the others.
“Jake, I do not like the way every single person hides their true face and conforms to this….this dictatorship that does wicked things to the people they wish to erase. I wish that all things could be like they were before the change.” I confided.
“I know. I do wish that as well, but what can we do. We are only kids and now we have no families to go back to.” Jake blatantly stated.
“We could escape, train ourselves up, and change things ourselves. It would be a long and tedious task but we could do it. Besides we are not just kids; we are the kids that will help to shape the future. We are the kids chosen by the government to become the elite military force which puts an end to any uprising, but instead of ending an uprising we are starting one and they will not be able to end it with us since it will spread to others in the States and in other countries as well.” I had spoken quickly and feverishly, but I knew that we could somehow manage to do it.
After I got completely healed we decided we had to put a stop to this, we had to leave and come back when we were stronger and better and bring these people down. It was my job to get the wire cutters which was not that hard considering that is one of the things that they teach us and they don't lock the equipment because they think we are all in bed. We spent a few days planning, but we had to get everything we needed to get on one night otherwise they would have locked the equipment up on us.
After we had all the equipment we made our escape, twelve of us total. We left our barracks with nothing personal other than if we had a journal, to leave those would mean certain punishment for those that stayed behind. Our way to the fence seemed like an eternity, for we did not wish to be caught or to alert the guards that we were making a permanent leave of absence. The wire cutters we borrowed without permission were used to cut the fence at the bottom and not very high up either so as to not make too much noise. I think all of us ended up with scratches from the darn thing, heh, better that then the alternative. We dared not try to climb the fence for at the top it was laced with barbed wire and would have been really noticeable to the guards that make the rounds of the complex. All twelve of us made it out without a hitch. When we left we were not sure as to where we would be heading, but Marcie said that she had seen some mountains to the south. This is where we made our way to, is the mountains, south of the training facility after leaving false trails that lead to the north, east and west. We even made our tracks obvious to the south for as long as in the other directions so as to not point out the way we were going. It was hard going, but the time we spent at the facility had us in shape for the long haul. After we made it to the mountains we searched for a natural shelter and found a cave to stay in after making sure no other creature lived in it besides us. It is easier to hide in a shelter that is not manmade, since it would have taken even longer to set up camp and we were exhausted. Jake made a fire so we could cook food to eat from what we had managed to take with us and keep some warmth. Those mountains were cold and the air seemed frigidly so.
Once we are used to the conditions in the mountains, we resume training and teaching. The subjects that we taught each other were not from a text book, they were from the streets of which we lived. We learned a lot even before we were entered into the training program. We took some of the books that we had to read back at the encampment so that we had something to do in our free time other than crack jokes about all the animals and ideas that popped into our heads, tell stories about our pasts, sleep in shifts, and eat the animals that we hunted and cleaned. Most of the time we spent though was quiet, because we all were thinking of our families that were murdered just for being our family and trying not to dwell on the nightmares we have about the mass graves and the journal my mom left. I read that thing over and over till the words were etched into my mind; she served pinwheels and lemonade so as to hide the fact that she was scared out of her mind. God damn it, I miss my mom so much.
At first we wanted revenge, but the cold, thin mountain air saw to it that our heads cooled off in a hurry. We then called it a cold rage and we were meditating about what we should do and how we should do it. We decided that a path with the least amount of bloodshed was the best course of action and we would bide our time until we were ready to take down this falsetto government. We would not dismay our parents by becoming like the people who murdered them.
Months had gone by and we had trained like madmen. We felt that we were ready to go fight them and were confident that we would defeat them. We even found a woman named Kane, who was a failed candidate from the program; the instructors thought they had killed her apparently not. She gained our respect and trust.
“Everyone, listen up. We are going back, but instead of us learning there we will teach the teachers that we are a force to be reckoned with and we will live to make the future for our children a bright one.” I projected over them, they listened, and they cheered even Kane. We later voted her one of our leaders because we knew we would have to split our forces after we take over the complex that was our training grounds.
The day we arrived at the facility we were surprised to see that fighting had already broken out, we rushed down ready to fight. When we breached the fence that they fixed after we left, we found that the other trainees were fighting a losing battle. We lent a helping hand, knowing that we were made much stronger in the mountains than we would have in the program. We had the advantage over the instructors. We did not kill them, though they did kill some of the trainees. We held them prisoners, being as nice to them as we can because we are better people than they are.
Now that we have the instructors suppressed, we will move on to another area and we will liberate the country piece by piece. We call ourselves Rebels for a Just Cause; they call us traitors for an illusion, but we know the truth of what goes on behind the closed doors of the current government doors and we will make sure every citizen knows of the betrayal of individuals in prominent government positions. We will never surrender to them, what was it that guy in the Revolution said? I believe he said, "Give me liberty, or give me death." That is exactly what they will have to do because we will never back down or give in.