The giant steel gates of Nova scream open in protest, they have been sat to rust for a year and have become old and tired.
The crowd surrounding me sweeps me forward like a tsunami, gathering us together as one. My eyes flutter back to the armed police surrounding us with their black body armour with guns slung across their bodies. For as long as I can remember I have been told these people are here to protect me but not once have I ever had any interaction with one.
Looking up I notice women and children peering out of their windows, their glossy white rooms taunt me with the thought of a better life.
But today is the day I will be marked creating an invisible divide between me and the "non-rebels".
My name is Lila Martin and I am the last Martin of my generation.
My mother and father were so called "borne rebels" their blood line had been rebelling for centuries. When Nova decided to put a stop to it they sentenced all families who had rebel blood flowing through their veins, no matter how young or old, to live on the outside in Miris. However my mother and father never got to see it killed before they could even reach the outer ring, leaving me alone and orphaned.
We are the captive state.
Once a year all those who have turned 16 are gathered together and brought to Nova, the heart state, to be marked.
We approach a large building, which seems to climb forever into the sky, as if Jack had planted his magical beans in the future. Already I can hear the beep of the detection devices that have been placed outside the doorways. They are to stop any active rebels from carrying any bombs or weapons inside.
I know, much like everyone else in Miris, that as much as Nova would like to believe they have eliminated every active rebel, there are a few who will slip through like sand through fingers.
My turn has come to step through the detector and the beep for clear sounds and I carry on through the doorway.
I watch as people's names are called one by one, a girl beside me clings tightly onto her twin brother as his name is called and he desperately tries to reassure her. My mind wanders to the thought of having a sibling or perhaps even a relative but I am interrupted by a voice calling my name,
"Lila Martin." I look up to find a boy that looks only slightly older than me stood in black guards uniform giving me a stern look.
I stand up and make my way towards him.
I follow him into a white room with a single chair and a computer beside it.
"Lie down." He commands gruffly. I do as I'm told and watch as the boy fiddles with the computer.
Suddenly my name appears on screen, alongside a photo of me and smaller writing written underneath. His eyes shoot open in surprise when he reads something but quickly collects himself and shuts it away.
"What was that?" I question feeling utterly confused.
"Nothing. Now give me your arm." He demands brushing off my question.
From underneath my seat he reveals a chunky looking pen with a sharp needle end. He connects it to the computer containing my information and begins to fiddle with a setting on the pen.
With my left arm in one hand and the strange looking pen in the other he begins to create my mark.
A horrible searing pain spreads quickly from my finger tips all the way up my arm making me believe for a few moments that I may truly be on fire. But as quickly as it began it is over and I peer down to find numbers and lines written across my wrist in a pattern.
My arm feels sore and numb as I am escorted out of the room, I somehow manage to tug my sleeve over my mark trying my hardest to conceal it from the outside world even though everyone here knows what has happened to me.
I end up gathered with everyone else in a large circular room, a few moments after the chatter dies down and the walls that curve around us transform into a 360 degree screen.
An older, rather sophisticated, looking woman appears and there is silence as she begins to speak,
"Welcome to Nova my name is Anne Blackwell and it is a pleasure to have you all within our city's walls. I am sure by now you have all received your marks and are eager to be out of here."
My heart sinks in my chest realizing that tomorrow we have to come back here and be assigned our jobs. I pray to Nova that I don't get an awful one like community or general..
"I'm sure you all know and understand why it is this is done. But for history's purpose I shall repeat it. Only 15 years ago the country was separated into four rings, each one was made to have its own purpose."
"Nova is the city, the heart of the country. Iona houses the government and those who create each law. Exeo is where our food is reaped and water imported. Finally we have Miris also known as the captive state created to keep rebels from destroying our country. Each ring has its own purpose made to keep all rebels at bay."
"Tomorrow you will return here for our Futures Ceremony and after that you may enjoy your new life. Good luck to you all now and in the future."
My eyes scream in protest as all the lights turn back on at once. But I can't help but shake the growing pit in my stomach. How am I supposed to fit in when I was born to stick out?
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