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“Out of the darkness and into the sun. But I won’t forget all the ones that I love. I’ll take a risk. Take a chance. Make a change. And breakaway” (Breakaway; Kelly Clarkson)
Andrew Murphy once said, “Your are confined only by the walls that you build yourself.” My name is Shay, and I’m breaking down the stereotypical walls that the inhabitants of my world have created.
Hello. My name is Shay and I live in a city called Uglyville, where I am known as an “Ugly” and watch dutifully as those who are more attractive than me look down on me like I am nothing more than a wad of gum on someone’s shoe. There was a time where I wished to be one of those self-absorbed morons, but times have changed. I've changed. You may think that I’m crazy, but in order to understand me, you have to know my story.
I came into this world on September 9, in the suburbs of New Pretty Town. As a littlie, I lived an effortless life. I made friends whose bonds I thought to be unbreakable, and I was taught the most important life lesson of all: you must be pretty. Back then, the thoughts of being pretty consumed my every waking moment. I fantasized about what fun I would have atop of Garbo Mansion with my exuberant outfits and gorgeous appearance. Every night before bed, I would stare out and watch the lights of New Pretty Town flash in the distance. My time as a littlie passed by quicker than a sudden strike of lightning, and one day I found myself being the age of twelve and traveling to my new home, a place called Uglyville.
Upon arriving at the dorms of Uglyville, I already had friends, an ability to figure things out, and a motive that would bring me to New Pretty Town, but something seemed...missing. I was already bored of Uglyville and longed to turn sixteen. It was at this time that my teacher informed us that we would be learning about the history of Rusties, a group of humans who had managed to almost completely destroy the world. The topic had intrigued me and a few of my classmates. Their names were Croy, Ryde, and Astrix. For the next three years, we studied the Rusties, only knowing the information that historians had bestowed upon us. It wasn’t until we had found out all that we possibly could that we decided to do something insane; to sneak out to the place where the Rusties had once lived, the Rusty Ruins. Abandoning our interface rings, eight of my friends and I took our hoverboards and road across the river. When we arrived, we traveled farther than anyone was willing to go. As we diverged deeper into the Rusty Ruins, we were dumbfounded by the wreckage that the Rusties left behind. During our expedition, we crossed paths with an Ugly boy who introduced himself as David. He claimed to be a runaway that managed to escape Uglyville before his sixteenth birthday. After a while, my friends and I said a farewell to David, but it was not the last time that we would see him. As often as we could, we returned to the Rusty Ruins and were greeted by David. Once we had visited him for quite awhile, he informed us of the Smoke, a place full of Uglies who did not want to go through with the surgery. The Surgery. The surgery wasn’t something that I had thought about for years. David began an elaborate rage about the surgery and how people shouldn’t have to change from their original appearance. My friends and I grasped onto every word and agreed with every statement. We grew to despise the surgery and called it “inhuman” and “unnatural.” We wanted to escape the surgery and join David and the other runaways in the Smoke. As each of our sixteenth birthdays approached, we escorted each other to the Smoke, until I was the only one left. As I returned from dropping off the last of my friends, a surprise awaited me on the journey home. I was riding my hoverboard back across the river when I heard the faint sound of sirens and saw the flashing lights of hovercars. Reluctantly, I dismounted my hoverboard and started to walk through the water. As I traveled slowly through the river, which was aggressively pushing me backwards, I prayed that the wardens could not see me through the darkness. Suddenly, I spotted a black figure standing in the water. I froze. What would happen if I were to get caught? Would they ask me where I was? Would they know about my friends? About David? Questions violently swirled in my brain, giving me a migraine.
“I’m sorry,” the figure said. Their voice cracked, and they sounded as terrified as I felt. I walked towards the figure and realized that she was a girl, no older than me. In addition to that, I realized that the girl was ugly, just like me. With a sigh of relief, I walked towards her, and I believe that you know the rest.
September 3rd- 5:00 PM
Six days. In six days I will turn sixteen. I will be put in a car and driven to a hospital. I will go into the hospital and when I come out, I will no longer recognize myself. No. I will not give in, and I will not betray my morals and that of my friends. I will keep my promise to my friends and to David, and I will join them in the Smoke. Most importantly, I will try my best to get Tally to come with me. Rapidly, I grabbed a knapsack from beneath my bed and began filling it with survival items, such as sleeping bags, a position finder, and water purifiers. Estimating that it would take two weeks, I packed just enough food for Tally and I. Finally, I grabbed my hoverboard and packed it away with all of my other items. Before exiting my dorm, I removed my interface ring from my finger, and placed it on the end table. I walked out of my room with ambition, and I never looked back.
September 3rd- 6:00
My arms were tired. After many failed attempts to scale the building in which the dorms were located in, I managed to climb to the top without falling to my death. I crawled atop of the roof tiles, eagerly searching for Tally’s room before someone noticed that I had disappeared. Finally, I had reached a room with a familiar view. I peered in the window and saw a girl with frizzy brown hair looking out at New Pretty Town. Tally. I started to climb down, praying that she would not be startled. She wasn’t. When she saw me, her face lit up brighter than the lights that came from New Pretty Town. She opened her window and I climbed through. Without hesitation, I started explaining my plan to Tally, not even thinking about whether or not she would actually join me. She looked beyond confused as I pulled the different items from my bag. It wasn’t until I told her where we were going that her facial expression changed. She immediately shot down my idea and said that she wasn’t coming. That was that, but just because Tally doesn't want to join me in the Smoke doesn’t mean that I’m not going. We said our final farewells before I climbed out her window and down the side of the building. However, I knew that this wasn’t goodbye. Before leaving, I handed Tally a piece of paper that had directions to the Smoke. They were directions that only Tally would be able to figure out. Maybe she’ll find the Smoke. I hope she finds the Smoke.
September 3rd- 7:00 PM
This is it world. This is my last journal entry before I leave this place and head for my new home. A home that will treat me as an equal. A home that won’t try to change me. A home that will make me feel loved. I don’t know when I will arrive at the Smoke, but I hope that it will be soon. I want to see my friends again. I miss Tally though, and I wish she would leave this world full of fake promises. I hope that she’ll follow the directions that I left her, but I know that I can’t guarantee that. I have to go now. This is my last chance to escape, and I have to take it. Goodbye Uglyville. Goodbye New Pretty Town. Goodbye river. Goodbye bridge. Goodbye interface ring. Goodbye Tally. Goodbye old life.
- exploring the Rusty Ruins
- pulling pranks
- being different
- learning about Rusties history
- using survival skills
- living dangerously
- meeting up with David
- figuring out ways to cheat the electronic systems that have been established
- hanging out with Tally