By Zahra, Year 12

Written as part of Factory Feedback

My umbrella shines bright red amongst others, exposing my identity. This place where I live is considered dystopian. Here the government tracks down every move of its citizens, not allowing one to have their own voice and feelings. Whenever I open my eyes here, I am faced with the gloomy weather hugging me. It’s been like this since childhood, I have never seen the sun shining down on this state. I have tried to come up with many scientific explanations since I was a kid but none of them seems right, except the thought of “what if the weather is trying to represent us, whose suffering?”. That made sense when i was a kid but now it makes sense less and less. 

This place is cruel. Many suffer here including my soul. 

As I walk through the robotic crowd of people, I see a kid with his parents trying to make sure that he’s properly behaved, showing no emotions as if he’s a robot. I’m blessed as my parents taught me that feelings are the most important part of a person otherwise one will be empty without them. I’m blessed but also cursed as both of my parents  have been taken away from me due to expressing themselves as they wished. Leaving me behind alone in the empty cold house which only has warm memories of my childhood.

I’m next, I have also become a target for them as I have refused to leave my opinions and emotions behind so I wander through crowds of people hoping I won’t be caught but this red umbrella gives it away, revealing what type of a person I am. Us the citizens have to always carry our umbrellas as they protect us from the unexpected acidic rain. These umbrellas are given to us by the government who distributes it among us hence these umbrellas have the ability to tell who’s the ‘criminals’, by turning blue if you’re a “good citizen” and turning red if you go against the laws such as by expressing yourself. These umbrellas also have voice trackers which allows the government to spy into our everyday conversations, that’s why everyone is so lifeless. Up until now they have successfully suppressed every voice and expression threatening the government. I get glared upon as I walk past this crowd of people grabbing tightly on their navy like umbrellas. This makes me feel like a rabbit amongst wolves,… who are waiting to attack me. However that’s not all. I also get stares of envy wishing that they were also able to express themselves but they have lost the ability to do so.  

“Catch him, don’t let him get away!!” said the officer while running to seize Zake. My thoughts get interrupted as I hear someone from behind me. I turn around to see who it is that is shouting and faced with a special officer from the government running towards me. I started running through the crowd for my life knowing that if the officer catches me I’ll no longer exist in this world. I ran to the tall dark castle near me which we are banned from entering, hoping there’s a spot to hide. As I hurriedly rush in the building while trying to catch my breath, a scent of dust hits me. I started sprinting up the stairs hoping to find a spot to hide, my eyes slowly adjusts to the darkness around me, allowing me to see what’s in the building. This place looks abandoned. The furnitures here are all covered up with a piece of cloth. Suddenly I hear a person’s shallow breathing. I try not to make any sounds knowing that it could be the cop who’s after me. I crouched down whilst going up slowly on the wooden stairs to make sure that I wouldn’t be caught. Now that I have finished climbing the stairs I am faced with a hallway which is filled with many rooms, I rushed to the last room on my right and slowly opened the heavy door. The door makes a creak sound in the silence while I try to open it. 

Suddenly my surroundings changed into a tunnel as I stepped into the room. What happened just left me both confused and too scared to move. I started looking around my environment and in the end of the tunnel I can see bright light shining in. After a few moments I finally mustered up all of my strength and courage and started walking towards the light whilst trembling. I am astonished as I reach the ending of the tunnel. Outside of this tunnel, I can see something bright shining down and people walking around while happily expressing themselves without holding any umbrellas. I guess the bright thing was the sun as my parents used to describe how the sun looks to me during my childhood. I picked up my steps feeling mesmerised as I walked towards the crowd of people. I started questioning everyone around me about what has happened.  And these are the answers which I heard, “Are you ok? There’s not such a place with that name”, or “Your in Australia, a democratic country where you are free to act however”.  Their answers left me both delighted and dumbfounded. My whole life, I never knew that another place or country actually existed. This whole time, I have never known I was lied to. This angered me as I finally understood why that castle was off limit and anyone who entered there was tortured or worse murdered.

Factory Feedback was created with, and generously supported by, the Dusseldorp Forum.

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