It’s that time. I want you to meet Amira who has been captivating me for the past several months. She is merely 17 years old. Remember when you were 17? It’s a strange time in your life when you are standing in two words. You are still a child, but also learning what it means to be an adult. Unsure and insecure.
Let’s see what Amira is doing for her 17 birthday.
From Forbidden: Amira’s Journey (The Community book 1)
I have never been around males until today, my seventeenth birthday. Today to recognize the passing from childhood to adulthood in the eyes of The Community, I will be assigned my job that I will hold, hopefully, for the rest of my life. Standing in line, I’m surrounding by males and other females who are also celebrating their seventeenth birthday today and I feel strangely aware of every single move my body and eyes are making around the room.
“Next,” the woman at the head of the line says in a melodic voice and the line shuffles forward two whole steps. The woman is dressed in a long black gown with a white scarf draped around her neck, which reaches all the way to the hem of her cotton gown. There is a moon-shaped pin made of silver and pearl, a very precious material, clipped to her shoulder. I know that she is a neophyte priestess of the order of All Knowing just from her vestments and the fact they have been in charge of my fate since I was born.
Nervously I scratch the back of my neck, keeping my head down, but sneaking a look to my left at the male in the line next to me. His hair is short and his body seems strong compared to the softness that has become my form, and that of all the females around me, as I’ve entered adolescence. His shoulders are broad and his shape narrows at his waste. There is hair growing on his face, although it appears to be neat and kept, as though he wants it to look that way and I can’t understand what the appeal might be to him. He glances my way, I turn away embarrassed as he notices me staring at him. I make myself busy with inspecting my black Mary Jane shoes as they contrast against the white tile of the floor. My cheeks grow hot from embarrassment.
“Next,” the voice calls again and the line shuffles forward. There is only one person in front of me now, Penelope, one of my classmates. We have been in the same class for as long as I can remember and always celebrated our birthdays together. Today we celebrate our adulthood by standing in line together.
I was raised at the east rearing farm where female children are educated by priestesses from the All Knowing from the time of birth. All females are instructed in the ways of The Community. I don’t know my mother or my father. Men and women are kept separately. Childbearing is a compulsory part of being a citizen of The Community for females. It makes me nervous because I don’t know what it will be like to have a child and what it will feel like to have the child taken away before I can even give him or her a name.
“Next,” the voice says and I’m broken from my thoughts about what will be expected of me in the next year of my life. I focus on the here and now, trying to be brave in the face of all the things that will change for me after today. I’m finding it rather difficult to find my bravery inside, but I know that I have to try.
“Identification,” the neophyte says with a practiced gentle smile that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand on end. I hold out my left arm, wrist facing up. It’s where all members of The Community are implanted with an identification chip. It not only identifies me, but my family lineage. It has always been the way of the All Knowing to keep extensive family trees so females are not bred with someone who is too close to them genetically. This helps The Community avoid any major birth defects and only produces the strongest offspring to carry on. The neophyte scans my wrist and a small family tree pops up in shimmering blue in the air between us. I try to peer at what it says, but I’m still unable to read anything that would give me a clue to who my parents were or are. I fear it will always remain a secret, locked away inside the records of the All Knowing for me to never find out.
“Amira Ten,” she says in a bored tone as though that name is just another in a long line of people she will see today,tomorrow and for the rest of her life. I feel as though my name is as worthless to my identity as the identity of my parents. It is merely a name I was assigned by the rearing farm headmistress when I arrived as a newborn. The “ten” signifies how many others were named Amira prior to me, but I know I’m not the last. Names rotate through the population as the All Knowing finds them favorable. I know at least three girls named Susan, so it must have been a very favorable name among the priestesses when my generation was reared.
“You have been assigned…” the woman clicks through several things on the shimmering blue screen in front of her. “pilot.”
Welcome to The Community Amira.
Until next to remember, The Community is watching!
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