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The World Outside

by larry c nickell about a month ago in humanity
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finding the real world

the first steps from PR55

Chapter One

Nobody can hear a scream in the vacuum of space, or so they say.

For me that is one more good reason I will never go to space. I like my life here in building PR55. We are totally self-sufficient and there is no reason to ever leave. Well, almost no reason. On my sixteenth birthday, I had to commit to a month away from home. A time to learn about the Earth, nature, people from other buildings, bla, bla, bla. So, today is my day to leave the comfort of my parent’s home and experience the world – Yuck!

Dad is working today so my mother is taking me to the departure floor. We live in floor 425 so it will take about 30 minutes on the round-a-bout to get to the ground floor. There are 20 of us for this outing and they are all there when we arrive. I know most of them, especially my secret love, Carbol. She is a little shorter than me with long blond hair and the face of an angel. She smiles at me when I arrive, and my imagination goes into overdrive. Mom talks to the other parents and leaders. I am sure she is grilling the three leaders for the umpteenth time. I am an only child and that has been a political problem for mom and dad. “Every family shall create two offspring to replace the aging population”. The way I see it, I am the only one that makes it possible for another family to have three kids. Somebody should be celebrating but all I ever hear is that I need a sister.

Senior Moss is stepping forward to do what he does best, talk. “Ok people, lets make sure you have everything you will need:

1) Blankets

2) Fire starters

3) Sat phones

4) Laser triangulators

5) Two pairs of boots

6) Good socks

7) Holographic maps

8) Survival books

9) Water purifiers

He droned on. The first time I read this list I wondered just what kind of wilderness is the rest of this world? Why would anyone want to leave safety and most of all comfort to learn that the rest of the world is crap? I know what I want to do with my life, I am going to be a engineer specializing in electrical systems. I don’t need this month-long demonstration of alternatives.

“Dustin Junior, did you remember to get it all?” Moss smirked because he knew I was not listening. Carbol grinned at my discomfort and that was ok.

“Yes, Senior Moss. I have it all here and I have checked it twice”

Moss smiled at my mother in a curious way “Good. Then we are ready to leave on the adventure of your life. The first day we will be hiking to the lake to camp and meet the other Juniors from Buildings PR44 and PR46. There will be a total of 60 of us together for the next month. Questions?”

Did he really expect anyone to ask? We all looked around and said nothing.

“Okay, say goodbye to your parents and let’s get going”

I gave my mother my best smile and hugged her long enough to see Carbol get in line. I let go and walked up behind her. I would follow her all month if I could.


We walk through the door and the sun is so bright I have to use my neutral density filters so I can see. The ground is rocky and bare. It appears that the rest of the world really is crap. I wondered what it would be like at the lake. Surely there is something green there. The biggest difference outside was the smell. There is no smell. In our home, there are smells everywhere. Machines, people, food, pets, green plants, and some that I have never identified. That is what happens when you have over 100,000 people living together.

We are all in good enough shape to walk most of the day but the path we took is up and down. It was not like the training we had done. At least the vegetation changed from brown rocks to some grass and trees. When the lake is in sight, we are all ready to lay down. But, no, Senior Moss is dragging out the tents for us to set up. There is only one building here and it is a kitchen. You would think that they could put in some dormitories too? No, too easy. It is necessary to suffer. I am really surprised that he did not expect us to catch our food and cook it too. I did not know that was for later!

“PR55 gather around here and let me tell you our plans.”

Sitting around a camp fire was kinda nice. We could see PR55 in the distance. At least the top floors that were lit up. I was able to snag a seat next to Carbol. She actually gave me a little laugh and leaned into my shoulder for an instant. Wow

“Please listen up. There are some changes to tell you about. Normally, we would all stay together but this year, we will integrate with the other buildings and form small groups for the exercises. In the morning. You will get your assignments to each group. Senior Abbot, Senior Moores, and my self will also split up as leaders of different groups. You may not have any of us in your group so remember you are representing Building PR55. Do it well!”

I looked at Carbol with a stupid grin on my face and said, “I hope we are in the same group.”

“Me too.” she replied with the sweetest smile I have ever seen. Wow

We are sitting side by side, watching the moon come up over our home. I notice a streak in the sky and thought it is a shooting star which I had heard about. The next thing I see, PR55 exploded. The entire top of the building is suddenly crumbing and in flames. There is a fire ball that is enormous. Soon there is only a glow in the sky where my home once stood. All we can do is sit there holding each other and whimper. Everyone who was ever important to all of us is dead.


About the author

larry c nickell

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