I strolled down the street with Abigail, a smile lighting both of our faces. We waved to everyone as we went by.
Behind me, a man screamed; a warden had grabbed him and was bashing him with a baton. He yelped in agony, one, two, five times, before crashing to the ground in a fetal position.
They wheeled him away to go to the quarries, or somewhere else, even.
My smile twitched. "Ignore those who fail," my mother's voice said, so I did my best to push it out of my mind. After all, he probably did something bad to warrant that much violence.
Or did he?
By the time the sun was setting, we both went home for a night of relaxation.
I perused my bookshelf, wishing that we had something entertaining (the rules banned books with "graphic violence" in them,
which was basically any violence) and selected a volume of free verse poetry.
I sat on the chair, sinking into the cushion, and wished I could sit in a position other than straight down (women were not allowed to show any leg past their ankle,
so the skirts effectively couldn't be raised) and tried to get comfortable as I could in the itchy woolen dress,
A knock at the door. I answered.
My stomach dropped. A warden.
"Miss," he said, his smile not dropping, "we saw you crying last night. We can't tolerate that kind of behavior in this society."
A tear rolled down my cheek. "Please," I whispered, "don't make me go to--"
"We regret that we will have to send you to the institution. Two months, and you should be already better."
He patted my shoulder, and a squadron of guards rushed in, forcing me against the wall and clicking a pair of handcuffs on to my wrist.
"We look forward to your recuperation and reintroduction," he said, and they forced me into the car.
Perfection has a price.