A Short Story by Elliot Speckhard
“Come on, get up Aidan!” My mom said as I lumbered out of bed. “You’re going to be late to the Ageing. You know how important it is.”
As I got out of bed I started to think how exciting this will be. After this Ageing I will be 14. “Only 4 more years,” I whispered to myself. As I started to walk downstairs, my mom yelled again, “Come on! You need to be ready by 11:45!” I glanced at my watch. It was already 10:38.
I made myself breakfast, and as I ate it hungrily my sister Janice stumbled down the stairs. She just turned 8 and 2 Ageings. She hated the juice Immatures must take. But being an Immature isn’t all bad, and when you become 12 you have to start getting shots. Trust me, those are no better. Janice tiptoed up to me and asked, “Where are mom and dad?”
“Mom and dad already left for work.” I reminded her. “Remember? Parents don’t have to legally take care of their kids and they don’t take it lightly.”
“Fine,” she replied as she started to make herself breakfast.
We started the short walk to our Ageing ceremony, waving to some friends along the way. Janice turned to me saying, “They are really lucky because their parents take care of them.”
When we got to the Ageing it was 11:16 AM. Whenever someone says that something starts at 10:00, they really mean 9:30. That is one of my least favorite “rules.” You have to get to everything 30 minutes early or you are looked down upon. Everyone is perfect. I have had a few friends that went “missing.” The Adults say they go missing but everyone knows that if you aren’t perfect you are killed. Everyone is supposed to have brown hair and brown eyes, but I was born with blue eyes. The doctor luckily didn’t tell anyone, and he saved my life.
The Ageings are always held at the last Friday of a month. Today is special though. Every December you get a double dose of “age.” Most people don’t like the December dosing though because you get really sore and have trouble sleeping for the next few nights. They begin the process with the youngest kids, and then move on from there. Since I am almost 14 years old, I am towards the middle section.
There are a number of other “rules” that apply to us. For example, once you turn 50 and can’t do anymore work you “go missing.” But for every “rule” there are also people to whom the rules don’t apply. The only people that are older than 50 are the Agers. They are the ones that give out the age.
As I sat in my chair, I started to drift off, daydreaming about later today. Suddenly, I was jolted awake by the Ager announcing my sister’s name. I watched in awe as she took 2 doses of juice without a flinch. I was going to definitely tell Mom and Dad after this–if they even care.
After that, I waited and waited until they called my name. “Aidan Fletcher come to the stand,” the Ager called. As I went up the color of the age inside the syringe looked different than ever before. Because I was just turning 14 I thought that there may be a different kind of juice inside.
As I went to sit back down I started to get a headache. Again it was a double dose month and I just aged 14 . My headache went away almost as quickly as it occurred. Once I got home I was so tired that I fell asleep on the couch.
I was awoken by the sound of what I thought to be my parents coming home, but when I opened my eyes it was the “carriers.” I was confused when I saw them because their one and only job was to carry the dead from place to place. After I saw the empty stretcher and the surprised look on their faces I knew what was happening—from the strange color of the syrup, to my instantaneous headache, to my immediate tiredness.
Someone attempted to assassinate me.