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Status: Positive Part One


I was born to a woman who never loved me. She didn’t bother to give me a name when she was filling out the paper work at the children’s bank. I was marked as Baby 214. When they adopted me, my parents were told little about her. She kept clean during the pregnancy and drank very little. What mattered most to them was that she waved the one-year retrieval rights, which came at an additional fee. If they could fork over the two hundred dollars, I would be theirs (as-is). The contract was unconditional. She could never come back to claim me, not that she ever tried.


When I was older, I looked through my records and found out the woman had been a gambling addict. Her reason for transferal was checked as “to acquire additional funds.” Funds for what? I didn’t know. It basically said my mom sold me for fifty bucks and a bus ticket. I’m glad to know I was worth only so much to her. My parents would never allow me to feel like I was sold and bought in the way I actually was.


My parents named me Blue because of my eyes. I always thought they were anime-like, but to them I was their little Blue Belle. I don’t remember much about our lives before we moved to the compound. I do, however, remember the night we left. It is one of my oldest and most distinct memories. It’s something I didn’t come to fully understand until recently.


One night my father woke me up and told me to put on my warmest clothes. We were going on the trip we’d talked about before. Daddy grabbed the suitcases, which had been sitting by the front door for over a week. Outside, sirens were blaring accompanied by blue and red lights. A voice screamed reports I couldn’t make out in the commotion. I caught the words “evacuation,” “concentration,” “president,” and “decree.”


Daddy wrapped me tight in my favorite blanket. We left our house for the last time and headed for the buses marked “Families.” Daddy presented the man with papers, including one I knew to be my adoption receipt. The bus was filled with other families from our neighborhood. Mothers and fathers tried to quiet their crying children. Like them, I too was scared.


We squeezed onto one of the available seats. Soon the bus was full. A man in uniform came to tell us we were being relocated to a new facility called the Southampton Reserve. There, we would be protected and given everything we needed to make our new lives. I tried to look outside the window but it had been blacked out. I noticed for the first time that we were separated from the entrance by a chain metal door that was now being closed by the man in uniform. The driver took his place before turning towards the passengers. He looked as if to say something, but then move to shut the door. The man in uniform pulled a black curtain across the separation fence. Other than the lights on in the bus, we were left in total darkness.


“Daddy, where are we going?” I asked.
He patted my hair. “Hopefully, it will be someplace safe.”
Father, who I called Papa, held Daddy’s hand and said, “We’re together. That’s all that matters.”


I fell asleep on the way to the compound as many of the other children did. It was quiet when we arrived early in the morning. Like before, a guard opened the door and escorted our group out. People were standing here and there; no one really looked like they knew what we were supposed to do next. Daddy reached out his hands as a woman came hurdling towards us.


“Trevor!” she called. Grandma Ruby hugged Daddy. She had been by our house only a few days before. I could tell they were surprised to see her. She turned to Papa and me next. He let me fall into her arms while asking how she came to be there.


“I can’t just let them take my boys away,” she explained. “If they think there is something wrong with you, then there must be something wrong with me, too.”


“Mom, you didn’t have to,” began Daddy, crying.


“It would only be a matter of time until they sent me away. If I went voluntarily, I could choose which compound I wanted to go to.” She then looked Daddy deep in the eyes. They held hands as she spoke. “You know what this is, Trevor. They’re trying to find someone to blame. Parents are a clear choice.”


“Ruby,” said Papa, hugging her and me, “If the decision was yours alone, then I’m glad you made it.”
“I did,” she said.


The compound was a self-reliant city cut off from the rest of the world. We lived a green lifestyle not because we wanted to but because we had to. Room was scared and everything had to be “reduced, reused, and recycled.” We took in most of our power from the basic elements of wind, sun and water. Housing was provided for us right away. Grandma Ruby was one of our neighbors and a member of the agricultural team. She was a former scientist who pioneered the use of growing food without soil. Most of the land was taken up by housing or offices. In the center of town Papa worked for the High Council. Daddy was a doctor who found work in a clinic.


There were only a few of us at first. Same-sex families were mandated to live there. We soon welcomed newly married couples and even singles. Then the teenagers slowly started to move in. They were mainly runaways who had no where else to go. We offered them a home off of the cold streets.
Finally, after a few years of fighting, the sympathizers were forced to relocate. I was happy to see my Aunt Jolisa again. Daddy and Papa didn’t fare as well to her arrival. She had been on the government’s black list for years. She was a sympathizer and therefore an outcast.


“I have been marked for segregation,” she said. She had showed up that afternoon on our doorstop. She was my Daddy’s sister. Papa’s family disowned him when he came out. We never heard anything from them. Aunt Jolisa caught my parents up on what was going on outside, “Since I’m a high-up in the Organization for Free Rights, I knew they were going to target me.”


“What was their excuse?” Papa asked.
“Did they need one? They said I was just as bad as being a fig.”
Daddy raised an eyebrow, “Fig?”
“New slang,” she replied, sipping tea.
Papa sighed. “I think they’re running out of words.”
“Why are you here, Jolisa?” asked Daddy.


She finally told them. “Treason. I gave a speech and wrote pamphlets informing people of the new genetic testing the government is doing on fetuses. They found me and marked me.” Her hand drifted towards the inside of her wrist. I knew what she was feeling. Upon arrival, we were all marked with the same UV print, a circle with a line across it. It was permanent and so were our places in society. My parents quickly asked what the government was doing. Aunt Jolisa shook her head. “They’re pre-screening babies for what they’re calling gene-x. It’s the gene they say will determined if a person is gay or not.” Daddy and Papa didn’t move. “Women are being given two choices; they can terminate the pregnancy, or give the babies to the new children’s banks being built in the compounds. There is no in-between.”


“So, if you test Positive you’re automatically marked for segregation?” asked Papa.
“Or worse,” replied Aunt Jolisa.


As news began to circle, things grew darker for us. Some people still had family and friends on the outside. We weren’t allowed to have televisions at the time or to get newspapers. Soon, babies began to arrive and things looked brighter. A new children’s bank was established. Papa relocated his job to help with the infants. The bank was soon renamed the “Children’s Hope Center.” It was a place where children weren’t bought and sold as they had been in the outside world. They were well cared for by families and sometimes singles wishing to expand. Once the genetic testing was extended, we soon had children of all ages arriving. They were the ones the children’s banks wouldn’t take.


If a mother brought in her child for trade and they tested Positive for gene-x, then they were sent to the compound without compensation. This angered many.


We didn’t mind. Everyone, Positive or Negative, was allowed to relocate to our particular compound as long as they carried with them the understanding that, once they were marked for segregation, they could never enter the outside world again.


By the time I was in school, we had established our own forms of media. We had news stations which allowed us some insight into what went on past the iron walls surrounding our compound. My parents continued on with their jobs. I grew up to be a teenager who remembered little to nothing about life away from our community. When I was ten, they established a new rule which allowed visitation between compounds. There were several set up around the country and even a few over seas. It was a better fate to be segregated from the Negatives than to be massacred as they did in some of the other countries.


In school we learned of their fates. Every year, they would gather the Positives and claim they were being sent to compounds much like our own. However, they were put on buses, driven to a remote area, unloaded and then murdered in various fashions. Some were given poisoned water. Many were shot. We even learned of one case where the Positives were left in the locked bus, in the summer heat, to die. The more I learned of the world outside, the more I realized how much like hell it was. It was a place of hate, discrimination and fear. Growing up, we had nothing to fear. We had already been sentenced to a life of segregation. What more was there to do to us?


I thanked God everyday for our life on the compound. We were safe and never without want. Our community provided for itself. Children were required to finish all twelve years of school before learning a skill or going to one of the compound’s universities. If jobs weren’t available, then they were created by the High Council. Housing was provided for those in need. We cultivated our own food and imported little. Everything we had belonged to the community. Living in the compound was like living with family. We had to look out for one another. There was no other choice. Our community never experienced internal violence or major crime of any kind. We had no reason for it.


Sure, the compound was nothing like Stepford. We had problems. We also had no other choice but to deal with them. What else could we do? There was no where else to go. We couldn’t return to the outside world where our “lifestyle” was deemed to be intolerable. The compounds were like a safe haven for anyone who had lived a life in the shadow of hurt and discrimination. Sometimes I wondered how a place founded out of hate could be so happy.


When I was fifteen, I was put into an experimental class with the other Negatives my age. We were taught about the outside world, its culture and people. I felt it was one of our more pointless classes. I’d been taught the history of our country as well as others. I’d even had the chance to learn French. However, my classmates and I lived in a world that was limited. We were marked as segregated. We didn’t think there was a chance we could be reintroduced into the outside world, the Negative society. We’d been told it was impossible.


However, my class, entitled “The Survey of the Negative Culture,” was given an opportunity to be the first people to leave the compound. My parents were cautious at first. The PTA met to discuss the matter. It took six months to approve a one-hour field trip. I wanted to go. I was curious to see if the outside world was as I remembered it.


It was a sunny day in May when we lined up at the gates. I stood in front of them just as I had on the night my neighborhood was evacuated. The iron walls were great, over a hundred feet high and too smooth to grasp at any angle. There was a watch tower built upon the top walkway every few feet. The guards constantly patrolled from every angle. They acted as if they were meant to keep us in. We saw them as guarding us from those outside. No one had ever tried to escape. What was the point?


At the first door, my classmates and I were called forward one at a time.
“Name?” asked the guard.
“Blue Belle Stevens,” I answered.
“Status?”
I turned to the man, face twisted. “What?”
He grew impatient. “Are you Positive or Negative?”
“I’m a Negative,” I told him. There were many children like myself who had come to the compound with their parents. I knew most of them from our neighborhood and church. Before the compounds were built, families of Positives were assigned to live in certain parts of town. This made it easier for them to round us up for relocation. It also made it easier for us to be found by our enemies.


I walked along the line behind my classmates. As if automatically, we exposed our right wrists to the scanner. Each of our UV brandings was marked with our information, including our gene-x status. I had never before thought deeply about its significance. The lined stopped with the scanner started buzzing and the alarmed flashed. Jackie, a boy from my class, was drawn aside.


“What’s going on?” I heard Mrs. Andrews ask.
“Are you aware that this boy is a Positive?” the guard asked her. He narrowed his eyes while holding Jackie by the shoulder.
“No,” said Mrs. Andrews.
“Sneaking out a Positive is a federal offense,” the guard told her.
She fumbled for a moment before saying, “I don’t understand. Only Negatives are in this class.” She turned to Jackie. “Jackie, is this true?”
His lip started to quiver. “No. I don’t know what’s going on.”


Jackie came from a family of Negatives who hand moved to the compound last summer. It was later revealed they moved here so as not to be separated. His parents kept his status private. Often times, those who were born into the compound didn’t know their status or simply didn’t care what it was.


Jackie was taken in for questioning while we were escorted into the change-out area. The guards gave us jackets to wear with “Southampton Reserve” and “Status: Negative” on the back. The front had a strange symbol I had never seen before. It was a pink triangle drawn upside-down. We were used to seeing rainbows throughout the compound, but this was different.


I recognized the bus as soon as I saw it. It was one of the same that had brought us to our new lives on the compound. I saw myself as a baby being locked behind the gate blocking us from the door. The curtain was pulled. The windows were blacked. And so, for the first time in ten years, we left the Southampton Reserve for Segregated Homosexuals.


When we arrived in town, they lined us up in single file. Then, the guards came through to wrap chains around us. We were connected at the middle with little room to move. They told us we were not allowed to speak to anyone. My heart was pounding. A few of my classmates were changing their minds when they released the lock on to the gate and drew back the curtains. We squinted and hissed like vampires in the morning. Once I stopped seeing spots, I looked outside the front window.


There was grass, sky, trees and clouds. Everything appeared to be much the same as in the compound. However, as soon as we took our first steps off of the bus, we knew this was a different world. Two armed guards accompanied our class of fourteen and our one teacher into the town’s welcome center. I had no idea where we were. The names meant nothing. A decade of segregation had wiped my memory clean.


“Welcome,” said the bright-eyed escort. She stood next to our teacher, looking like any other woman I had ever seen before. The only difference was her forced smile and shaking hands. “We’re not allowed to tell you where we are exactly, only that this is a rather rural area.”


“Why can’t you tell us?” asked a boy from my class.


Her smile faded. The chains around us clinked as we waited. Finally, our teacher stepped in. “It’s for security measures. No one is to know the exact location of the compounds. Giving away the name of the town would compromise security.”


Another student spoke up. “It’s so no one can get in or out, right?”
The teacher nodded. “Something like that.”
Our escort straightened her jacket. “Now you’re all…here.” She twitched a bit while we whispered to one another. “We are going to take you on a tour of the town. Keep in mind that many of our inhabitants haven’t been in contact with, um, your kind in several years.”


I turned to my friend Trixie. “Our kind? What are we, another species?”
She leaned in. “Might as well be.”
The escort became nervous at the sight of two girls coming in close contact with one another. She came over and, without touching, said, “Let’s just separate here.”
I shook my head at Trixie. She shrugged.


I wish I could say the trip was beautiful and inspiring. I really wish I could. We were given a quick tour of the unknown city by our escort. Our teacher managed to persuade the guards to remove the chains, but the jackets stayed. We were cast in the shadow of a pink triangle, which everyone but us seemed to recognize.


The town was much like the compound. The only difference was that we could walk to the edge of town and not be greeted with an iron wall. There were no walls, no guards (except those with us), and no restraints whatsoever.


We were introduced to places called grocery stores. At the compound, we had a community food source, but nothing like what we saw. There were rows and rows of different sorts of foods. Some we had never heard of before.


When asked what they did with the excess food, our escort replied, “Well, when it spoils, we throw it out.”
I couldn’t believe it. Trixie stepped up with her hand held high. “You mean you wait for the food to go bad and get rid of it?”
The escort’s smile faded. “I wouldn’t put it like that.”
“Why make so much food if you can’t eat it all?” asked another student.


The escort then asked an honest question. “What do you do with your extra food?”
I was the one to answer. “We make sure everyone gets what they need,” I said. “We have food banks for dry goods that are open for everyone in the compound to use. We have markets for fresh produce.”
“You must have extra or not enough.”
“What we don’t use on people or animals,” said Mrs. Andrews, “we save or export to other compounds that have shortages.”
The escort looked thoroughly stunned. “How efficient,” she replied.


We followed our teacher to a local school where we would be meeting with a class our age. The building was a lot bigger but more run down than our schools. The walls needed painting and the books in the little library looked frayed. Many were out-of-date.


We sat in the cafeteria opposite a group of strange students. They gawked at us in our jackets. One boy with a bowl haircut pointed to the triangle and said, “They’re wearing the fag sign.”
“That’s because they’re a bunch of queer kids,” said another.


Either their teacher didn’t hear or she didn’t want to. She was introduced as Mrs. Turkle and winced as she heard our teacher call herself “Mrs. Andrews.”
“Mrs?” repeated the teacher.
We knew Mrs. Andrews was married to a man and a mother to a Positive daughter. To be polite she simple answered, “Andrews, yes.”
Mrs. Turkle asked, “Well, what have you kids seen today?”


No one wanted to answer. Normally, I’d be willing to speak up. The tension choked me into silence. Our teacher answered for us. “We’ve learned about department stores and how you buy and sell groceries.”


“They don’t know about supermarkets?” laughed a girl with blonde curls in an ugly pink shirt. “What are you, retarded?”
“No,” giggled a second blonde, “just gay.”
“Our community works as a unit,” said Trixie with a glare. “We share what we have to avoid wasting anything.”
“Yeah, they all share AIDS, too,” murmured a boy in a jersey.
“HIV and AIDS were cured four years ago, dumb ass,” I yelled. “And we’re Negatives- the same as you.”


The blonde in the ugly shirt stood up. “Why don’t you go back to your reserve where you belong?”
When Trixie confronted her, a boy called out, “Don’t get too close, Brittney! You’ll catch the gay.”


Mrs. Andrews stepped up. “Everyone have a seat. This is no time for name-calling. Please, Mrs. Turkle, control your class.”
“My class?” she said. “They wouldn’t have to defend themselves if your class hadn’t confronted them.”
“Defend?” snapped Mrs. Andrews. “We came here to build a bridge, not face homophobic slurs! This entire exercise has been ruined.”
“They should have never brought you freaks here,” said Mrs. Turkle. “I don’t care how much money was promised! Your kind is nothing but trouble.”


Screaming and threatening ensued. My parents would have been ashamed at my actions. My Aunt Jolisa would have been proud. I took a chunk of blonde hair from the girl in the ugly shirt. She used a word to describe my Daddy and Papa that I dare not repeat. Even our teachers were engaged in a shouting match. Mrs. Andrews called Mrs. Turkle ignorant. Mrs. Turkle then called Mrs. Andrews a dike.


Outside, the guards accompanying us on our trip were taking a smoke break. They heard shouting and rushed through the doors, leaving the red cherries of their cigarettes to burn out on the pavement. The school’s principal joined our guards in breaking up the arguments. If they had waited a moment later, serious violence would have erupted. By this time I had the blonde by the hair and Trixie was pushing her friend to the ground. One of the bigger boys from our class had been hit with an insult about his mother and was about to hit back with his fist.


“This trip is over,” said one of the guards while pulling the boys apart.
As we walked out of the school, I asked Mrs. Andrews, “Can we please leave here and never come back?”
She looked at me in the same way my parents had the day we left. “Yes, Blue. We’re going home.”


And so we did. Our parents were waiting to comfort our crying and ease our stress. Trixie met up with her mothers. She was still red-faced and steaming. I fell into my Papa’s arms, sobbing. “It was horrible. That world is evil!” Aunt Jolisa and Grandma Ruby were waiting at the house. When they asked me how the trip was, I said, “The world outside was nothing like I remembered. The people are just as ignorant and intolerable as before!”


The experimental class was canceled at the end of the year. We joined the other Positive students, who wanted to know all about our trip. They were just as shocked at our experience as we were. Aunt Jolisa later told me that we couldn’t blame the Negatives for the way they acted. They were raised to believe Positives and anyone associated with them were immoral. Such people needed to be segregated from society so as not to pollute those who were considered acceptable. I was raised in a community where we were taught tolerance and love for one another. Their ideals made no sense to me. We were human beings, no different from anyone else. We wanted to live a comfortable life with the ones we loved. We created a world where people were able to look past the differences. If we could do it, then why couldn’t they?


When I graduated from school and wanted to move on to college, the Negatives living in the compound were giving a choice; we could stay within our segregated communities or attend college on the outside. I talked it over with my parents. They said they would support whatever decision I made. I thought about it for many days. During this time, I returned to my experiences with the outside world. Out there I was seen as a sympathizer, a faggot lover or a queer child. There were talks of relocation to a larger territory, and establishing a nation of our own. I wanted to be a part of the movement. I wanted a life where I wasn’t defined by my status, where I could stand under a flag of all colors and know there was a place for everyone as opposed to just some. I wanted to know I lived in a world where my children and my family would be accepted.


I wondered if my mother ever knew what became of me. Did she know I would live a life amongst Positives? Life in the compounds would continue. As time when on, the terms Positive and Negative meant less and less until they symbolized nothing more than a boundary between the ones on the outside and those within. We were no longer prisoners to our status. We were all truly Positive.

Blue Stevens is a teenage girl struggling to find her identity in a world divided between Positive and Negative, Gay and Straight. She's spent ten years living on the Southampton Reserve for Segregated Homosexuals, a contained community cut off from the general population. Join Blue as she tries to find her place as a positive person living in a negative world.

Author's Note:
I was inspired to write "Status" by some of the people from my advanced writing class Fall semester who tried their hands at describing a scifi future where the world has been changed by some random attack. I see a scary future as one where society attacks itself. My history teacher once said she was afraid of a future control my texters (that's all people do in that class). I'm terrified of a world divided by hate.
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:iconrue-in-flowers:
Rue-In-Flowers Featured By Owner May 12, 2010
God, this has all the makings of an awesome book, can't wait to read more. I looooooove it <3
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:icondaisylikekim:
DaisylikeKim Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2009
This is amazing! :D
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:icondillwerner:
dillwerner Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2009  Professional Writer
Thank you so much! I can't wait to expand on it for the book edition!
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:iconmakisstyle:
makisstyle Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2009
very well written, nicely done
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:iconjamessnaith:
JamesSnaith Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2009
This is an amazing bit of work. The concept and ideas are scary - because there is still chance that such a future as this could happen. Tollerance and understanding are things we as human beings are still guilty of not learning on mass.

I love this work because it speaks a truth about the way we still see our society, and the fact that a "difference" can still label or mark someone so that we don't have to treat them the same. Sadly we are - in part - living that now.

I hope this story serves to warn people, rather the be warning of what is to come.
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:iconwhildchild:
whildchild Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2009
This is amazing. Its well writen and very interesting.
Reply
:iconkneelingglory:
KneelingGlory Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2009
:clap: Yes! I've been waiting for a story like this to come along. Your character is well narrated and the situation (sadly) not unbelievable. Especially if you listen to half the rants the religious right goes on.

The only bit I saw that could use some tweaking is your reference to "Stepford" (meaning the Stepford Wives, I assume). If your character was cut off from the rest of the world, she wouldn't know about Stepford. Maybe you can just say "the community wasn't perfect" instead. It's the same meaning and leaves the authenticity of your character intact.

Again, excellent write! :) :+fav:
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:icondailylitdeviations:
DailyLitDeviations Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2009
Your wonderful literary work has been chosen to be featured by DLD (Daily Literature Deviations) in a news article here: [link] .

Be sure to check out the other artists featured and show your support by :+fav:ing the News Article.

Keep writing and keep creating.
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:iconshamelessdaydreamer:
ShamelessDaydreamer Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2009
wow, i love love love this for so many reasons. my only complaint is that there were a large amount of small typos (like the couple mentioned by *tiraldan. but i love the creativity and depth of detail in this story. i can't wait to read more!
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:icondillwerner:
dillwerner Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2009  Professional Writer
Again, I apologize for those mistakes. I don't see them anymore after going over the pages so many times. I'm extremely thankful for the comments!
Reply
:iconshamelessdaydreamer:
ShamelessDaydreamer Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2009
lol, don't apologize, i completely understand, things start to blur together after a while. and you're very welcome. i'm loving Status. :heart: has to be the best fiction i've read on here in a while.
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:icondillwerner:
dillwerner Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2009  Professional Writer
It must have typed that in when I was formatting it for submission. The final mark-up only says "we." Again, thank you for the comments! I always have those little marks that need erasing. I'm so glad you like it. I hope you'll like the third part, which I'm working on right now. :w00t!:
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:icontiraldan:
tiraldan Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2009
This is a truly great and thought-provoking piece! I found only two 'weird' sentences:


"He looked as if to say something, but then move to shut the door."

I'd change that to read "He looked as if HE WERE ABOUT to say something, but then moveD to shut the door." (The caps are mine, to show what was changed.)

"I we lived a green lifestyle not because we wanted to but because we had to."

You need, here, to either delete the 'I' or the 'we' at the sentence's start.


Other than that, I really liked this piece. Nice work and keep writing. :thumbsup:
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