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message 1: by Anna (new)

Anna This is the first chapter of my book, Terminator. Please tell me what you think, criticisms included please!

Chapter I
The morning light streamed through the forest trees as I tread along the path to the goat pen. The cool wind blew my long, black hair and dress and my feet squished in the thick mud. My new job as a fourteen year old was to feed the chickens, but my sixteen year old lame sister Hazel was sick so I had to do her job of goats. Each child in our community, once they turned ten, had an assigned group of animals to tend to. I was fourteen so I did chickens with the other fourteen year olds. Even in the other communities, which had different focus projects, jobs were given to the ten year olds. Our community was the poorest: community number 29: farm animals. The group on the other side of our wall was community number 28: science. 28 was one of the richest. We just had farm animals, but still I loved it. Everyone said I had a knack with animals. I couldn’t wait until I was seventeen and I could tend to the horses or when I was an adult and I could train horses. As I approached the pen the goats bleated in hope of their morning meal. I didn’t like goats, but I couldn’t resist the babies. I reached through the fence and stroked the littlest one’s head.
“Hey little goat.” I said. “I’m hungry too!”
Then I remembered that my mother had almost finished preparing the morning meal with the other women when I had left. I had to hurry in order to make it on time. I hurriedly dumped the bag of grain into the feed trough and filled up the water bucket.
“Bye goats!” I yelled to them as I ran back down the path.
As I made my way to the chicken coop, I thought about what I needed to do today before school: feed the goats and chickens, sweep after the morning meal, and get baby Anya dressed. Tomorrow I had dishes after the meal. Ugh! I hated dishes. All of a sudden I remembered: Terminator Day was tomorrow. I wouldn’t be doing dishes.
The Terminator was what everyone dreaded. I usually couldn’t bear to think of it, but out in the calm, quiet wood it seemed to be okay to face my fears. Each week, the Regime sent one of the fifty two communities into the Terminator. The Terminator was a giant obstacle course, filled with anything deadly you could think. And that wasn’t the only thing: after two hours, the Terminator was flooded. The goal, when it was your community’s turn to go in, was to make it out before the floods came. If you didn’t, well, I didn’t like to think of that. Our community’s week was usually the twenty-ninth week of the year, which was this week. I had gone in twelve times already, but I could only remember seven times. The horrible part was how many people died. There were ten families in each community, but each year each community lost about five to ten people to the Terminator. Even our family had lost a child: Rowan, my brother had died five years ago in the Terminator when he was six. I still cried whenever I thought about him.
All of a sudden I was jerked back to reality when I heard my friend Taren calling my name. Taren had been my friend since I could remember. We did everything together.
“Willow, Willow!” he called.
“I’m coming!” I yelled back. I jogged the rest of the way to the edge of the forest. Taren was standing there, holding his box of feed. His dirty-blond hair hung in his eyes as usual. He was always pushing it out of his eyes.
“I’ve been waiting forever for you!” Taren said impatiently. “Where have you been? Why did you come from the goat pens?”
“I was feeding the goats for Hazel. She’s sick.”
“Oh! I bet you liked that!” he said teasingly.
I laughed. Everyone in our community knew how much I hated goats. Taren and I both loved horses, and we couldn’t wait until we were seventeen and could tend to and ride them. After school we often ran to the corral to watch the seventeen year olds ride them.
As we walked down the path to the coop, we passed some of the other fourteen year olds going to feed the chickens. My friend Alexa walked toward us. Alexa was a beautiful girl, with long, blonde, curly hair and big brown eyes. She was very sweet and kind too, never saying a rude word about anyone.
“Hey Willow, hey Taren!” she said in her soft voice. “I just finished collecting eggs; have you yet?”
“Nope. We were just going to.” Taren answered.
“Oh, okay. Well, see you later!”
“Yeah, see you later!” I yelled back.
We walked together into the coop and began to collect eggs. Even though I liked horses better, I had to admit that gathering the different colored eggs was pretty cool. Even Taren loved it.
As we gathered the eggs, we got on the subject of the Terminator.
“So, are you scared? About tomorrow?” asked Taren.
“Yeah.” I said slowly. “Are you?”
“Kind of. I’ve been training a bit.”
“You have? How?” I asked, surprised. I didn’t know that anyone in our community had been training.
“Well, I’ve been swimming in the pond a lot and I’ve been doing exercises with Asher and Autumn.”
“Oh. I am really scared.” I admitted. “I am so scared someone else I love will die! And you know about the whole water think. I am gonna do horrible in the training.” I shuddered. My greatest fear was of drowning. “Why does the Regime have to do this anyway?”
The Regime was our government, run by a committee sort of thing made up of fifty-two people, called Premiers. The head Premier was a woman named Pamela. She was the one who made all the decisions for our communities.
“You know why. Ever since the Famine, the Regime knows that there’s a possibility that there won’t be enough food for everyone. So they have to get rid of some people.” Taren sighed. I could see tears in his bright blue eyes. He also had lost someone in the Terminator: his father just two years ago.
“Yes, but why so brutally? They could just tell people to stop having babies.”
“Maybe they want it to be brutal, I don’t know. Maybe they think it’s cool.” Taren sighed.
“That’s so sick! Why would they like watching people die?”
“People can be wicked sometimes, Willow. That’s how things are.”
We finished gathering eggs and then raced back with the other fourteen year olds to the central gathering place where we ate every morning. Since tomorrow was Terminator day we had to do a special training exercise in order to prepare. We had just got into the gathering place when I saw them.

message 2: by Mary, 'Emperess of the World' (new)

Mary (Literarypiesociety) | 112 comments Mod
I love the idea of this, but it seems a lot like the hunger games, so I would encourage you to make it different.
I wrote a book once that seemed a lot like The Lord of the Rings and now as I work on editing it I am having to change a lot of this to make it less like The Lord of the Rings and more like my own story.
Also, when the people in 29 become adults, are they allowed to pick what animal they want to work with, or do they only get to work with horses? Just curious. :)
Oh, and one more thing, remember show don't tell.

You are a great writer, keep it up!

message 3: by Anna (new)

Anna Thank you! I am working on making it not so hunger games-ish. :D When you turn eighteen you get to pick a certain animal that you take care of.

message 4: by Mary, 'Emperess of the World' (new)

Mary (Literarypiesociety) | 112 comments Mod
Aηηα wrote: "Thank you! I am working on making it not so hunger games-ish. :D When you turn eighteen you get to pick a certain animal that you take care of."
Awesome! I would most defiantly pick horses. ;)

message 5: by Anna (new)

Anna :D Do you think I need to change anything at all in the first chapter?

message 6: by Anna (new)

Anna And here is the second chapter:

Chapter II

Hundreds of officials surrounded the gathering place. Armed soldiers stood around the tables as the nervous women served food. When Taren and I slowly walked to our family’s tables the soldiers came up to us.
“What are your names and identification numbers?” one of them asked gruffly.
I glanced anxiously over at Taren, “Um, I’m Willow and my number is 4239.”
“I’m Taren and my number is 8675.” He said confidently.
The other guard wrote something in a little book he held. “Go to your tables and sit down.”
I looked over at Taren who must have mirrored the look of confusion I must have had. I walked quickly to my table where my Mom, Dad, and Anyah already sat, looking equally confused. Hazel was probably still in our living unit resting.
Speaking of our living unit, all of these were plain, low, brick buildings that all had a varying amount of rooms depending on how many people lived in the family. Ours had three bedrooms: one for Hazel and I, one for my parents, and one for Anyah. All the units surrounded the gathering place. The latter was what it sounds like: a large grassy area where we gathered to eat our meals and do other activities.
All of a sudden over a loudspeaker one of the soldiers was talking.
“You might be wondering why we are here. Well I am here to tell you. There have been rebellions in communities 50, 51, and 52.”
Rebellions! There had never been a rebellion that I could remember. And the fifties? They were the richest communities as their focus subjects were banking, law, and soldiers. Why would they rebel?
The soldier went on, “As a result of these rebellions, the Regime has ordered that all the soldiers in the state must spread into the fifty two communities and keep peace. The scheduled Terminator day tomorrow for community 29 will still go on. Please go on with your daily activities as usual.”
I looked back to my family. My mom and dad looked very worried. Baby Anyah gurgled happily as usual. I smiled sadly at her.
“Dad, why did the fifties rebel?” I asked.
He looked down and paused before speaking. “I, uh, don’t know, Willow. Their Terminator day isn’t for so long. I don’t know what would incite them to rebel.”
My dad looked over at my mom, who had already been looking not so well leading up to this week. She looked like she had been crying for a long time. He held her hand.
“It will be okay, Fiona. We will come out okay. Hazel and Willow are strong; they can make it. Willow can get us a high score. Right Willow?” he asked me. I nodded reassuringly, although I didn’t feel assured.
“That’s not who I’m worried about, Phillip. This is my first year with a baby. How will I get Anyah through?” Her voice broke.
My dad was quiet. He looked tired and sad. Just then, the food server for the day, Taren’s mom Regina, brought the plate of potato pancakes and eggs to our table. I scooped Anyah some and then served myself. I had to fill up for the big day tomorrow.
A woman with long, straight, graying hair sat at the head of a long, large table in a large room that overlooked a walled city. Also at the table sat about fifty other people who all looked to the woman at the head of the table. She was talking to them intently.
“It will work. The past years have been minor compared to what we could do. We need to do this! Only this extension can accomplish what we need. She didn’t overcome the last one, she won’t this time.”
A man interrupted. “But what if it doesn’t work? What if she does overcome it? What if the same thing happens that happened that happened fifty years ago?”
“Yes.” Said a woman with dark curly hair and glasses. “They could resist it. And why her? She is just a child.”
“We have already discussed this!” the head woman exclaimed. “You know the capabilities she has! We can’t let her be! I know we thought she would be fine after the boy died, but it isn’t working.”
“I agree with Pamela.” Another man said. “We must go through with the plan. We can’t let number 4239 live.”

message 7: by Mary, 'Emperess of the World' (new)

Mary (Literarypiesociety) | 112 comments Mod
I don't think so. I think it is great! :D

message 8: by Anna (new)

Anna Thank you so much!

message 9: by Anna (new)

Anna Chapter III
I hated the day before Terminator day because it was usually a training day for the kids. That was another thing the Regime did: they only allowed the children to train. It was relatively easy. But I was deathly afraid of water and that was what the training usually consisted of. All the kids my age, there were about fifteen of us, were grouped together and herded towards a giant swimming pool that was brought for the occasion every year. The whole training session consisted of each kid getting a turn to practice swimming, jumping, climbing, and exercising. The training officials gave us each a letter grade; A was the highest and F the lowest, sort of like grades in school. Whoever got the highest grade, they and their family got a head start into the Terminator. Whoever received the lowest went in last. But I didn’t understand why the Regime even cared to give us grades. They wanted us to die; why even bother? Hazel had a lame leg so she usually didn’t do well in training, if she even did it. I knew my family counted on me to get a high grade.
I went and got the special suit I was supposed to wear for training, and put my long hair into a high ponytail. I then found Taren and we got in line. We were in the very back, and even worse we were behind the last person I want to see: Lauralee. Lauralee was the worse bully in the community. She was mean to all the kids younger than her, and even some who were older. Even she knew about my fear of water and she loved to taunt me.
“Oh no!” I whispered to Taren. “Let’s get out of here.” But it was too late.
“Hey, idiots!” Lauralee sneered and tossed her black hair. “I bet you’re scared for tomorrow!” She began to laugh. “‘Oh no! The water’s gonna kill me!’” She said in a mocking voice.
“Shut up, Lauralee!” Taren said. I was glad he was standing up for me, because I already felt weak with fear and I didn’t feel like defending myself. “Ignore her Willow. You don’t even have to pay attention. She’s probably scared too.”
Lauralee glared. “Shut up! You-“She was interrupted by an official over a loudspeaker.
“We will now begin the Terminator training. The first in line will please take their turn.”
Lauralee glared at us and then turned to face the front of the line.
“What a jerk!” Taren muttered angrily.
I looked at the front of the line. Landon, one of my friends who I had always had a bit of a crush on, was going first. He climbed onto a platform that stood over the water. He looked fully confident in himself. I wish I had that confidence. Then I could get a high grade. I watched his entire training in order to know what to expect. Thankfully Lauralee decided to ignore us the rest of the time.
I was so nervous. I didn’t think I would be able to take my turn; I felt nauseous and I thought I was going to throw up. I looked over to the other side of the field where the adults and little children stood to watch their children and siblings train. Little toddlers were running around the gathering place lawn, laughing and playing. I thought I could see my mom over there too, holding Anyah, and I felt a bit reassured seeing her.
My thoughts went back to a few years ago when I was about eight. It was the day before Terminator day, same as today. I was in line for training, and I was fully confident in myself. My sole purpose that day was to help my family. When it was my turn I stepped up and eagerly dove in. But something was wrong. For some reason, I still don’t know why, I couldn’t swim. I really couldn’t. I got dragged under and I couldn’t get back up. I pushed against the bottom but my body wouldn’t go up. Finally, after I had given myself up for dead, I felt someone pull me up, who I later found out was an official. Because of this, I got a terrible grade, and my family had to go last into the Terminator. That was the year Rowan died. I still blamed myself for his death and I had been deathly scared of the water ever since that.
All of a sudden, I heard my name called over the loudspeaker.
“Willow Hunter, number 4239.”
I froze. I couldn’t do it. I would drown like that time before. I should have trained like Taren. I felt him push me forward.
“Go! You can do it!” he said reassuringly.
I slowly walked to the platform leading up to the large pool. I can do this, I told myself. I need to do this for mom and dad and Hazel and Anyah. I need to do this for Rowan. I can’t let it happen again. Hazel can’t train. That means I need to be the one to get a good grade. I stepped on to the platform.
“On your mark, get set…jump!”
I willed myself to jump and my body followed. I splashed into the water and pushed my feet against the bottom and popped back up. I began to swim across the pool as fast as I could with my head above water. I couldn’t swim under water; I thought I would drown. But I knew more that I needed to get a high grade in order to be able to help my family get through the Terminator…alive. I couldn’t let them die like Rowan.
At this point I was starting to lag. I had only made it about halfway across the pool. I knew that in order to go faster I had to swim underwater. I had to face my fear. I slowed a bit, bit back my fear, took a deep breath, and then dove under.
The water felt like a thick curtain against my face that I had to push through. I felt my heart thumping fast, but I willed myself to keep going. You will be fine. You can do this. A few more yards. Keep going.
My body began to feel like a brick that was going to sink at any moment. I needed air. I pushed my feet down and pushed against the floor of the pool. My head popped above the water. I gasped for air, and looked ahead of me. Only a few more yards. I can make it.
I pushed forward. Finally I felt the side of the pool in front of my hand. I stood up and gasped for air. I looked around. I could see Taren cheering for me. Even the officials sitting on in their booth on the side of the pool looked impressed. Did I really do that well?
I pulled myself out and walked to the official’s booth where we were supposed to get our score. I had never got a score better than a B. Unfortunately we weren’t graded on the other training activities. I was pretty good at the jumping and dodging part.
A pretty, young female official gave me a slight smile. “That was impressive. You went the fastest out of all the trainees your age. Good job.”
I was surprised. Not only because she said I was fast, but because the officials barely ever complimented the trainees, let alone speak to them. They usually just coldly gave out scores. Plus I thought that they weren’t supposed to talk to us. And I must have guessed correctly because an older male official glanced at the female official warningly.
“Thank you.” I said uncertainly. I was usually very nervous around the officials. We in 29 didn’t know much about the Regime, considering we lived the farthest away from their headquarters.
The male then handed me a slip of paper. “Here is your score. Please move over to that fenced in area where your grades will be recorded.”
I eagerly unfolded the paper. I gasped at what I saw. An A! I looked back over to where Taren was getting ready to jump. I smiled and gave him a thumbs up. He smiled back.
I walked over to the fenced in area happily. I felt like I was walking on a cloud. I can do this. I can get my family through.
I joined the line of kids who were all waiting to get their grades recorded. Then I watched Taren do his exercise. He was already doing great. How could I have done well enough to get an A? I really didn’t do that well.
As I contemplated, Taren walked up.
“I got a B+, Willow! What did you get?”
“I got an A!” I said perplexedly but excitedly.
Taren’s mouth dropped open. “What!? No offense Willow, but you didn’t even do that great! Why would they give you that high of a score? They didn’t even give Landon an A!”
“I don’t know! That’s what I’m trying to figure out!”
Landon, one of my friends, and childhood crush, who was also fourteen, walked up.
“Did I hear you got an A?” He asked me in a shocked voice.
I blushed and Taren nudged me. “Stop it Taren!” I whispered through gritted teeth. He loved to tease me about Landon.
“Yeah, I did.” I finally spit out.
“Well, good job then!” He said with a warm smile.
“Well, I should go find my bro. See ya!” Landon jogged away.
Taren giggled. “You act so nervous around him! He’s not that good-looking!”
“Stop it Taren! I know who you like, and I could tease you too, but I don’t!”
Taren blushed and was about to retort. “I-
I heard someone clear their throat. I looked up. The official at the booth was looking at me expectantly. Then I realized that it was my turn to record my score so I scooted hastily up to the booth. The official took my paper and glanced at it and then looked at me.
“Pa-“ She stopped short and her eyes got wide. “What is your identification number?” she demanded.
“Uh, 4239.” I said nervously.
The woman wrote something in a book in front of her.
“Wait here.” The woman walked over to the grading booth. I saw her whispering with the two officials over there. I looked back at Taren.
“I don’t know what’s going on!” I mouthed.
He shrugged and smiled. I looked back at the officials, to see them staring at me. I looked away. What is going on? What did I do?
The woman walked back, eyeing me the entire time. “You may go.” She said suspiciously.

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