Written for the 'Run Boy Run' challenge. A short story of 502 words.
He never measured up to the desired standards, no matter how many ‘disciplines’ were meted out. No, at a very young age he just knew he was never going to fit. There was nothing more to do than to bide his time, trying and failing to avoid the radar of his elders and betters.
He would escape. It was just a matter of ‘when’.
The community were like clock-work sheep, following a prescribed pattern. Get up in the morning, shower, breakfast, go to your place of education or employment and plug yourself in. Then return home in the evening, get changed, dine, plug yourself back in until retiring at the 11pm curfew.
He couldn’t help being as he was. His curiosity was insatiable; he wanted to know what existed elsewhere and this marked him out as ‘different’ and most certainly ‘undesirable’. He had two choices. He could either accept things as they were and bow down to the stringent rules, or he could run.
There was never really the slightest doubt of which one he would choose.
It would have to be during the hours of darkness when all the good citizens were asleep in their beds. The streets would be deserted apart from the guards. But were there guards? He’d never heard them mentioned. In a society that was based on Conformity there would be no need of them, would there?
He slipped from his bed and peered out of his window. There was nothing but a dim glow, a slight hum. His world was sleeping. His intention had not been to go, not that night; he’d only planned to check things out, weigh up his options. Instead he hastily packed up his bag, put on his school uniform which was his only day-time outfit and he ran.
At first he kept his pace slow and steady; stealth was far more important than speed, at least until he had escaped the outer walls of Conformity. He’d seen the walls once on a virtual excursion. His inquisitive eyes had picked it out, a small gap in the wall.
He found it easily, pushed his bag through, wriggled his body through and found himself in a darkness much deeper than any he had ever known before. For a moment he paused in terror. Should he go back? Should he return and relinquish his desire to know and become just another member of conformity?
No! He would not give in.
He ran and all around himself found horrors that drove him onwards. His feet thundered almost as fast as his pulse. He could not give in, he was what he was – himself!
As he ran a strange thing happened. It took him a while to understand but nature was on his side. From out of the earth sprang creatures that looked fearsome but he knew that appearances can be deceptive. They urged him on, eased his passage, hoping that he was the one they sought – the knight that would conquer the corruption of Conformity.