Teen's Utopian Society ~ bookclub discussion

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message 1: by Lauren, The Dreamer (last edited Oct 31, 2011 04:19AM) (new)

Lauren (lauren-sky) | 513 comments Mod
"A synonym is a word you use when you can't spell the other one." - Baltasar Gracián

This month, your writing piece has to include at least one of the following phrases:
• "The lightbulb switched on"
• "You and I know"
• "Someday it will be like this"


How to set out your entry...

Name:
Genre:
Title
(optional):
Description
(optional) :

*ENTRIES CLOSE ON NOVEMBER 24*



message 2: by aprille (last edited Nov 17, 2011 05:03PM) (new)

aprille (aprille43) | 3 comments Name: Aprille
Genre: Short story
Title (optional): Literary Abandon
Description (optional) : A world in which books are banned and reading is heavily frowned upon. After all, ideas and opinions only get you shot.

The rain began to fall steadily as the young man hurried down the street. He could see his house, but as though sensing that he was closing in on his destination, the rain fell to the earth harder, drenching him.

He reached the front door, pushing it open and stamping his feet in the hall. From beneath his jacket he pulled his prize; a ragged, tattered old book that had cost him half of his weekly pay.

But it was worth it.

Silently, he slid down the corridor, reaching the sanctuary of his room. He slipped his shoes off, and settled on his bed, prying open the old pages of the book and began to read.

Each word soothed the growing uneasiness in his heart. Slowly, he felt himself slipping into another world, and within minutes was lost in it.

Time flew by as he read. He read so long that he didn’t notice the time growing closer to dinner. A knock on his door sent the book into hiding beneath his pillow, and he called out a hesitant:

“Yeah?”

His father entered and immediately noticed the glazed look in his eyes. A quick glance revealed the books ratty corner hanging out from under the pillow.

“You’ve not been reading again?” He asked, lowering his voice so that his wife wouldn’t hear.

His son sighed.

“I can’t help it,” He mumbled. “Ignorance isn’t bliss for me.”

The father stepped into his son’s bedroom, softly closing the door behind him.

“You know your mother would have a fit if she knew,” He said gently, perching on the bed next to his son.
The younger man shrugged.

“I don’t care. I’m eighteen now. What I do is my choice.”

The silence rested heavily as the father rested his hand on his son’s shoulder.

“What else have you got?” He asked finally.

The son smiled, handing over his old copy of H.G Wells’ The Time Machine.

Together they read in silence.

The next day on his way to the shop where he worked, the son saw two uniformed officers throwing a man from a store.

“Stay out!” The owner shouted after him, slamming the door.

As the officers strode away, the son hurried across the street to the fallen man.

“Are you ok?” He asked.

The man shook his head, slowly sitting up.

“These folk, they don’t understand. We’re sheep to be governed. That’s the way they made us; to turn us into the perfect money trees. We are nothing without our ideas and they will exploit that at every turn. Someday it will be like this. That’s why they took the words.”

“Not all the words have been taken,” The son replied, and with a quick glance around, handed the man the book he had finished last night.

The man accepted it, and clapped him on the shoulder.

The two went different ways, content in the knowledge that another comrade was out there fighting the ignorance.

The son stepped into his workplace and was immediately greeted with the furious face of his manager.

“ur a reader!” He shouted angrily. “I knew it! U was no good from the start.”

The son turned to leave, knowing immediately that he had just been fired. His owner had a strict ‘No reading’ policy, even though it was his choice what he did in his spare time.

The owner of the store grabbed his shoulder and spun him around.

“U mark my words, boy. Opinons and idears only get u shot. Don’t expect us 2 be lettin’ u come back here.”

“I wouldn’t want to,” The son replied, and left.

Another week, another job lost.

The son wandered the streets, eventually resting beneath an old rusted fire escape. On a whim, he began to climb, eager to leave a society of illiteracy behind him. On the roof of a tall building, he found a door. Wiping a dusty window, he peered inside and caught his breath.

Books.

Stacks of them. Rows of them. Begging to be lifted down and read.

A sharp blow to the window shattered it, and the son crawled through, pulling books from their resting places.

Struck by an idea (for he couldn’t possibly carry them all) he stood on the edge of the roof, and flung his arms wide.

Books tumbled earthwards, fluttering as though trying to fly.

On the ground far below, a young boy glanced up, distracted by a shadow. A second later, a book landed in front of him, sprawling out like a broken bird. The boy picked it up, curiously peeling apart the pages.

“Come!” His mother commanded.

With a last glance skyward, the young boy tucked the book into the folds of his jacket and hurried after his mother.


message 3: by ~❤Rikka❤~ *living is just a symptom of dying* (last edited Nov 10, 2011 07:27AM) (new)

 ~❤Rikka❤~ *living is just a symptom of dying* | 159 comments Name: Rikka [Erica]
Genre: I'm not too sure... short story? fiction?
Title: In A Cruel World


I look out of the window where once I saw a clean shining city. Now, I see the little things I missed before. There was the man with the crippled leg, lying on the filthy blanket on the roadside. I see the factories chugging out black smoke that slowly rises up into the air. I see the dark silhouettes staying out of the streetlights, lurking in the shadows of the night. I see the island I had come to in hopes of a new life where everything would be pure, sink slowly under the waves of sin like the great city of Venice slowly drowning in the sea. The beautiful island I once had such high hopes for, was slowly dying, suffocating under the blanket of filth and hate and greed and sin we all brought from deep within ourselves… Gradually succumbing to the darkness each person carried in their heart...

It was so long ago. A little grubby beggar boy and his sister stood in my shop. Their faces were streaked with grime, mud caked their nails, months of sleeping on the ground was evident on the clothes that hung on their skinny frames. I kept a careful watch on them. You never know when these beggars might steal something from right under your nose. The young girl held her brother’s hand tightly, as if afraid to lose sight of him. She kept jerking her head around as if she could feel they were in danger, occasionally giving strangled yelps of fear. I pitied the young girl, whatever could have happened to make her so terrified? Her brother stroked her arm, trying to calm her, concern evident in his eyes.

The little boy’s eyes landed on a teddy bear with delicate crystal brooch pinned to its dress. The brooch was carved in to a bouquet of lisianthus flowers to represent calmness. He picked it up gently and showed it to his sister.

“Look, mei mei, it’s pretty.” He said softly, using the Chinese words for younger sister.

At the sight of the bear with the brooch, the young girl instantly quieted. She reached out a small skinny hand to touch the exquisitely crafted crystal flowers when Paula, my assistant, saw them.

“Excuse me, but do you have enough money to pay for that? If you don’t, then get your grubby fingers off the merchandise!” she said rudely, fixing them with a steely glare.

“Sorry, we’ll go” the boy mumbled hastily, placing the teddy bear back on the shelf. The little boy’s sister cowered behind him, staring at Paula with indescribable terror, her eyes wide open, the colour drained from her gaunt face. Quickly, they scurried out of the shop, the girl casting a wistful look at the teddy bear.

“Paula, you didn’t have to be so rude, they were only looking,” I said sternly.

“Oh come on, you and I know if you’re nice to one of their kind, next time you step out into the streets, you’ll be swarmed with filthy beggars wanting money from you!” Paula’s lip curled in disgust as she talked, showing her obvious distaste for the two.

Shaking my head and sighing heavily, I looked sternly at her. “Nonetheless, I don’t want you to show this kind of attitude to anyone in my shop, got it?”

Rolling her eyes, she replied sarcastically, “Yes, ma’am.”


***
After that day, the two little siblings came often to stare at the bear through the window, always leaving with determined expressions on their faces. Paula warned me that I should be careful of those two as they might steal something but I waved her protests away. I did not believe they would stoop so low to steal. Besides, they were only children, still innocent of such things.

There was a time however, when the two little beggars did not come at all. A week passed and they still had not returned. Not thinking much of it, the duo slowly slipped my mind as I busied myself with other, more pressing matters.

A few months passed and it was Christmas when the little boy finally came back. The first thing I noticed was his tear-filled eyes. Next was the lack of the his little sister

“What happened?” I asked.

“ Please, may I have the bear with the brooch? I’ll pay for it.” The little boy shoved his hand in his pockets and pulled out a few crumpled dollar notes and a handful of change

The tremble in his voice worried me. I pulled out a stool and gestured for him to sit on it.

“Sit and tell me what happened.” I said.

At this, the little boy sat down and burst into tears. It turns out the little girl, Lohla, had wanted the bear so much, they decided to get jobs as newspaper sellers to raise money to buy it. They had been selling newspapers outside a wet market when someone had kidnapped Lohla while the boy was selling a newspaper to an old lady. By the time the old lady had counted out the money and paid him, Lohla was gone. He searched frantically for Lohla in the market but it was in vain.

Dejected, the little boy had gone back to the abandoned boat they had turned into a makeshift home in hopes that she had run back to their ‘home’. It was in their ‘home’ that the little boy found a faded picture Lohla had drawn of him, his face enclosed in a clumsily drawn heart and his name written across the piece of paper. Overcome with sorrow, he set out to find her. After months of searching, it was only recently that he had found her in a dumpster, delirious and sick. She was so skinny her skin seemed to hang off her. The boy had brought her back to their little ‘home’ but his efforts were futile. She had died in his arms, screaming and sobbing, so delirious she had not even recognized him.

At this the little boy began to cry in earnest, uncontrollable sobs shaking his body as he bawled his eyes out. My eyes rested on the teddy bear from all those months ago. Covered by a thin layer of dust, children had walked right past it in favour of shinier, fancier electronic gadgets and toys. I plucked it off it’s shelf as the poor boy behind me cried his heart out. I dusted it off and dropped it in the boy’s lap.

“Take it,” I said. “After all that you’ve been through, it’s the least I can do.”

He stared at me for a moment, momentarily silent. Then he hugged me tightly and continued crying. He looked up smiled through his tears. That smile, full of innocence while the horror of his ordeal lurked behind his gaze, stabbed at my heart. He walked slowly out of the shop, clutching the teddy bear tightly to his chest with his grimy little hands as if it would kill him to let it go. He was so young, yet he had to fight his way through life, always afraid, caught in a web of fear, wondering if one day he might go to sleep and not wake up, wondering if one day the monsters from his nightmares might catch up to him and drag him down into that deep dark abyss, take him into a place where he could never get out… Yet as I watched him walk off, I saw something in his eyes, a small spark of determination to never give up, to never stop fighting in his battle against the cruel world he lived in

For indeed this world is a cruel place, where everyone has a tiny monster living within them.A haunting memory that follows them and torments them with regret, a shameful secret that they try to hide away but can never forget, or maybe a anger that slowly consumes them and burns them till it is all they can think of.

Only one thing comforts me.Whatever that monster within is, we can choose to fight it. We can choose to stand up and apologise to that person we hurt with our words and actions. We can accept that no matter how embarrassing that little secret is, it is a part of who we are. We can forgive that mistake that person made. We can leave it all behind us and start again, a clean slate to fill up with our story.

Or we can succumb to those monsters within us. We can let ourselves slowly be eaten away by those negative feelings until we are nothing but a husk of who we once were, a shadow only capable of shame, anger, revenge, and most of all, hate.

In this cruel world, everyone has a choice to fight or just give up and surrender themselves to the monsters they hide within themselves. What do you choose?


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