Cloud Nine

Aaron had lived in Mediocrity all his life- figuratively and literally. Mediocrity acted as a purgatory for people hoping to transcend to Cloud Nine, or an area where you proved you should not be banished to The Ground. People blessed with the opportunity were treated to an induction day before choosing to take The Cloud Nine Pill and ascend. People called it a cylinder of pure euphoria. Aaron himself had been chosen for this Utopia, much to the delight of his family, and had accepted. How could he not? Aaron stepped into the unknown with his lifelong friend, Spencer, jumping out of his skin when the elevator sent them shooting upwards with immense velocity as the norms of Mediocrity were reduced to ants in seconds. Spencer paced gleefully around the glass; his emerald green eyes glistening with exhilaration, matching his radiating blond hair. Meanwhile, Aaron’s wide, mud brown eyes were cast down in horror, his home diminishing beneath his feet. “This is it Aaron.” whispered Spencer, as he tried not to spoil this perceived perfection: “Our new home!” Side by side, Aaron and Spencer followed the smooth artificial voice guiding them to the induction room. Spencer babbled, mostly to himself, about the intricate behemoth spires twisting; stabbing above them, shining, golden, in the glistening light. He marvelled at their similarity to the simple grey ones in Mediocrity, and yet their seeming different, perfect quality. Aaron gasped at the cacophonies of citizens before him: they seemed so similar to himself; yet their faces shone with vivacity and beauty, as if they’d been edited artificially. He was wrenched back to reality when the inductees, huddled like excitable penguins, cheered as they were led through a darkly lit cuboid corridor. Buzzing harmoniously, Aaron and Spencer’s district were led through a maze of corridors, being assured their ‘new life was about to begin’. Gawping, Spencer hopped in glee as a screen projected a two sided image, demonstrating the genius of the fabled Cloud Nine Pill. Spencer had been taught all his life that if he behaved well, he’d be sent to the heaven on Earth, and now here he was, tantalisingly close to fulfilling his dream. His eyes were glued to the right screen with the rest of the inductees, which depicted a joyful child hitting a pinata, giggling as sweets spewed out its colourful head. Concurrently, Aaron gaped, fixated; terrified at the dark mirror on his left, depicting a rat’s spine being splintered sickeningly by salvo-like blows. Aaron stared at the white cylinder in his palm. He couldn’t do it. All the other inductees had practically skipped out of the room after ingesting their joy- Spencer had been the first. As he trembled Aaron realised to himself that all these people had something in common: they’d been conditioned to look to the right by their superiors, and never face the reality of the left. He couldn’t do anything. Sitting, silent, Aaron could merely gaze into his palm, unsure of what to do.

by Alex, Age 16


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