Caged Birds | Teen Ink

Caged Birds

November 12, 2016
By burningpizzavoid SILVER, ROYAL PALM BEACH, Florida
burningpizzavoid SILVER, ROYAL PALM BEACH, Florida
5 articles 0 photos 7 comments

I place my hand against the cold metal scanner and watch the doors of my station open. Emma turns her head to look at me. "You're late again. I've been letting it slide, but if it happens again I will have to report it to the Society." "Yeah, I know. It won't happen again."


My computer is already started up since the scanner starts up everyone's computer once it reads their handprint. I begin sorting people's profiles into groups by physical features and some of their characteristics. It's training me to do this for the future, when it's actually my job. This is how people get assigned to their job, their homes, and eventually their spouses.


Bored, I glance up through the glass ceilings, through the dome that encircles everybody in our country who is still alive. I see a small bird flying close to the outside of the dome. In an instant, there is a faint sound of a shot firing and it drops to the ground. I return back to my screen.


The hours pass as slowly as they possibly could. When I go for lunch, I sit outside instead of the cafeteria where I normally sit. I see another bird get shot down, but this time it's a larger one. They tell us that even though animals are surviving outside the dome, most of them still carry the Virus. Nobody knows exactly what the Virus is, but it managed to wipe out millions of people.


The Virus is the reason we are assigned to our spouses. The Society says that some genes are more prone to it than others. That's why they choose who reproduces with whom. It's why most of our food is manufactured instead of killing animals and eating the meat.


I look at the people in HAZMAT suits going outside the dome to clean up the bird, and at that point I don't feel like eating anymore. I remember the last time I saw people in HAZMAT suits. They were cleaning up something much larger that time though.


It had been maybe 3:00 in the morning. She was my neighbor. She tried to run off with a boy she loved, not the person assigned to her. They shot them both multiple times in front of their families. The official announcement was that somehow they had gotten the Virus. I would have believed it like everyone else did, had I not watched it happen. Maybe if I hadn't seen how they cleaned up the bodies, and washed the blood off the street.


Since then, I've begun to wonder if the dome isn't for protection at all, but rather for control. If those people that somehow end up with the Virus were actually murdered because they wanted to be free.


As I'm heading back inside, I hear another gunshot. I don't look. I don't want to see it.

The author's comments:

I wrote this while helping someone with their AP literature assignment for a short story containing a contextual symbol. It is my first time writing a story with this kind of genre, so it isn't that great but I'm proud of it anyways because I did it. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

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This article has 1 comment.

on Dec. 17 2016 at 3:01 pm
befreepls BRONZE, Franklin, Wisconsin
4 articles 0 photos 3 comments
Interesting concept