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Grade
9

Prohibited Penmanship

 

Quinn had woken up in a place that was completely unfamiliar to her. This place was filled with a vast amount of tan waves, spreading as far as the eye could see. There were no trees, at least not like the ones Quinn had ever seen in her lifetime. The only forms of present life were ones that were a murky green color and had spikes, and others that grew close to the ground.

Many miles away from Quinn was the place she used to live before she came here. That place was full of many good memories for her. However, Quinn had done something very bad there. As Quinn walked around the far-reaching mounds of sand, she remembered the first time her father had begun “the teachings”.

Her dad had taken her down into the basement of their brick house. The basement was full of items that she was unfamiliar with. There were round wooden pieces of wood with sharp, dark tips to them. The dull lanterns on the wall illuminated hanging pieces of canvas that had various drawings of landscapes on them. On one of the canvases, there was a picture of a place that had a pathway leading into a place that looked like it was completly trees. There was another that pictured something similar to where Quinn was wandering at that moment.

“What is all of this for?”, questioned Quinn.

“Shhh! What I have to show you now is very important, but we must do it quick!”, warned her father.

When her father showed her how to position a pencil, and taught Quinn a few of the simplest letters, Quinn wondered what the point of all of this was. She could type very quickly, and the tapping of letters on the keyboard screen was much easier than the cumbersome dragging of the pencil.

It was not very long after her father’s first writing lesson, when Quinn could write all the letters in the alphabet with ease. Still she wondered what the point of all of this was. It would be much easier to just type everything that she was writing.

A few months later, Quinn’s father told her the reason behind why she needed to learn how to hand write.

“The world we live in today monitors everything you type at all times. It is very important that you learn to write by hand. One day this skill will come in handy.”

A few days after that, Quinn’s parents went missing. She assumed that they were just going on a day trip, until she found a note from her father.  

 

Quinn:

If you find this, it means that they found me. Please, be hesitant to show anyone that you can write. Don’t let the wrong people find out, they will turn you in, just like they have turned in me and your mother.

 

This left Quinn with overwhelming feeling of fear, excitement and anguish. Her father was gone, she was now considered as a threat by the government ruling her, but she also possessed something very powerful. However, hiding was something that Quinn was pretty good at.

After her father left, two government officials decided to investigate Quinn’s nearly empty house. Luckily for Quinn, she had buried most of the writing supplies the day earlier, but they took the remaining pens and pencils that she had neglected to tuck away. From under the bed Quinn noticed that the two guards were very different in appearance. One was young and tall with straight brown hair and vibrant green eyes. The other guard was older, portly, had a balding head of gray hair and gray eyes that seemed to droop. As she hid under her bed, she heard the conversation of the two government officials that were searching her house.

“We have to find everyone else who he taught this to. I know that there are more of them and they need to be stopped.”, explained the older guard.

“Why does it matter? These people are just teaching the art of writing to their friends. It should be harmless.”, stated a younger guard.

As the older guard explained the dangers of those who could write, he seemed irritated. He spoke in a condescending voice, like his companion should have known this already. “It is of the best interest that we contain the efforts of those who seem like they could be a threat to this society.”

Why would writing by hand be a cause of trouble, wondered Quinn.

As she walked to school that day, she noticed something very peculiar. All of the school children were gathered around a piece of canvas similar to the ones that Quinn had first learned how to write on. There were black marks on this square cloth, which resembled letters. All of the kids were shocked because they had never seen anything like this before.

Quinn’s head swarmed with questions. She wondered who had written this, what it said, and if that person had been taken away like her father. She decided that she had to find this person, whoever it was.

The next few days were filled with trying to find more about who this person was, how they had learned how to write, and if there were more of them. Quinn also wanted to know more about this “revolution” that the older guard who had visited her house the other day was talking about.

A sudden anger boiled up from Quinn. Why had they taken my father? He never did anything to deserve this! Quinn had always had a hard time controlling her anger, but this time she could not take it any more. She ran out of her house, retrieved all of the art supplies and threw them into the nearby pond. She screamed, “I did not deserve this, my father doesn’t deserve this, go ahead and take me too! I don’t care!”

“What do you think you’re trying to do, get caught? Don’t you understand that they will do to you whatever they had done to your father?” A boy with messy brown hair began talking to Quinn.

“Who are you, how did you find me?”, questioned Quinn.

“My name is Asher, they took both of my parents when they found out. They almost took me too, but luckily I ran away in time. I live with a group of kids. We are all seen as threats, so we wander from place to place. I assume that they want you too, and that’s where they took your father. What’s your name by the way?”

“My name is Quinn. But how did you find me here?”

“Well, it was pretty obvious, I heard the yelling. Anyway, let me show you our group.”

When Asher lead Quinn to his “group”, she saw a large group of disheveled kids who looked like they all ran away from home, which was exactly what they all had done. The group was full of kids like Quinn and Asher, orphaned and seen as a threat.

Asher explained the intentions of the kids to Quinn. “And I was just so tired of living alone, I found another kid like me, who led me to this group. All of us are orphaned and basically live here. We try to gather more kids like us, so that one day we will have enough to invade the local office, and possibly set free all of those who are held captive. So what do you say, are you in?”

Quinn was persuaded to join the group of kids who resisted because she realized that as an orphan, she had nothing to lose and she was intrigued to see what would happen. She also had a glimmer of hope. She marveled at the possibility of getting her father back.

“So, Asher which one of these kids put that canvas that had handwritten words on it by the school?”

“Oh that was me. One of the reasons why it is so dangerous to have people who can hand write and use other forms of art is because of the freedom it gives us. It is very useful. Since they don’t monitor what we hand write, we can write of resistance without them knowing, and use it to recruit more people.”

Quinn wanted to learn where her father had learned to write and who had taught him, but her thoughts were interrupted by Asher.

“The first attempt at a revolution will take place in two days. You can help me break into the holding cells. That way, you have the best chance at finding your father and breaking him out.”

The next two days went by very slowly for Quinn. She could hardly wait to see her father once again. When it was finally time for the break-in, Quinn and Asher broke in surprisingly easily.

They snuck around the back, broke a window and climbed through into the holding room. It was almost too easy.

“Quinn, I can’t believe it’s you!”

Quickly, she ran over to her father. “Dad, why are you here, what did they do to you?”

Her dad told her about how he and Quinn’s mother had both been a part of the resistance. “The government had gotten weaker with every resistance attack. It’s not long until one attack will finally break them.” This was true. The attacks had become much more frequent, and after each one the guards had a harder time recovering.

“Go quickly, and make sure they do not catch you. I can tell you, it is not fun being where I am now.”

“I found the keys! Said Asher triumphantly.

“Not so fast!” Asher and Quinn had been discovered. Their only choice was to escape while they could.

With the keys still in his hand, Asher ran out of the central building, Quinn following just him a few steps behind. Both of them ran out of the building as fast as they could. They knew that one faulty step could lead to imprisonment.

As Quinn stepped out of the building, she looked back at the building. The previously beautiful and elegant architecture of the building was engulfed in flames. Both her parents were gone from her life forever.

She and Asher both knew that the only place that they could run to was the desert miles away. It was not likely that the officials after them would find them there, and there was a chance that there were other people in the desert who could help both of them.

Quinn had only read about deserts in the textbooks at her school. The book described the desert as a place of waste, and not a good place for humans to live. But Quinn didn’t care. Her only chance of survival was based upon whether or not there was even other people outside of the isolated society that they lived in.

The officials were catching up, and both Asher and Quinn had a long way to go before they would reach the desert. Suddenly, Asher tripped on something.

“Go without me. If they catch me, I don’t want them to take you with me. Go find outside people, I know that they exist. Tell them about this community and that we need help.”

Quinn had woke up in a place that was completely unfamiliar to her. This place was filled with a vast amount of tan waves, spreading as far as the eye could see. There were no trees, at least not like the ones Quinn had ever seen in her lifetime. The only forms of life present were ones that were a murky green color and had spikes, and ones that grew close to the ground.

 

It was weeks since she and Asher had ran away. Without any food or water she was weak, starving, and dehydrated. In the distance, she heard many voices of villagers.

 

State
IL
Zip Code
60060