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Okay, I've finally decided to start on a book or short story. This is only chapter one. This is set in the future - perhaps 40 to 50 years from now. Somewhere within I'll state the year, but probably not for a few chapters into the story. Actual story title and chapter titles are yet undecided. My target audience is youth (teenagers). I haven't decided where to submit, but my husband is encouraging to just "get started on it." Please be honest with critiques - suggestions re: tense, dialogue, descriptions, etc. are welcome and asked for. Also I would like opinions if you think this would appeal to youth. Thanks.
Friday, A Regular School Day
“Krista, not now.” Her mother sighed at the questions being asked by her daughter. “Your father is having those people for dinner tomorrow and I have to finish all the details.”
“But, Mom, it’s just one more question about the Declaration of Independence. It just seems silly that I have to learn it and recite it before I can pass seventh grade.”
“That’s the law, Krista. Above all else, we must obey the law set down by this government. If not, we face going to jail or losing our homes.” Krista’s mom looked a bit sad, but said nothing further.
“Well, I think it’s a stupid law. Maybe I can change it when I grow up.” With a quick kiss to her mother’s cheek, Krista left for another boring day at school.
Krista was the only child of parents who were always busy doing things. Her father worked for the government and often had famous people come to visit. Krista didn’t know what he did, but he must be important because they had a big house and two brand new cars.
“Krista, it’s your big day. You get to recite first in class,” Danny teased her. “I got it right the first day of school, remember?”
They laughed together as they took their assigned seats, sitting up straight in their starched school uniforms.
Mr. Dunst’s briefcase clattered to the desktop. “Today we will hear several recitations of the Declaration of Independence. Remember you are required to know this word-for-word before you can move up a grade. Krista, you’re first.”
Krista recited the Declaration of Independence. “When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which Mother Nature entitles them by their evolution, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men have evolved equally, that they are entitled to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness, as long as those pursuits meet the rules set down by this Government. In order to secure their ongoing evolution, the People may alter or abolish any law and institute a new Government which guarantees safety and happiness, in harmony with our evolution.
“We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress assembled, according to our own evolved intelligence, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these United Colonies are Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.”
Mr. Dunst smiled and said, “Well, done, Krista. You have a good memory and will be an asset to government in the future.”
Although Krista recited the words, she felt as if something were missing from them. This didn’t seem long enough to be such an important document; one which actually instituted freedom for an entire country and people. She continued to ponder this as she grew up.
Krista was always the troublemaker in class, with her friends, and at home. She could often be found questioning everything, to her teachers’ consternation.
“But Mr. Dunst, how do we know that dinosaurs really looked like that? No one was alive then.”
“Krista, that’s enough. You don’t need to question everything. Just accept it as fact.”
“Mr. Dunst, you told us to ask a lot of questions. I just don’t understand how scientists can say these things when they weren’t there. You taught us that witnesses are important to every event.”
Mr. Dunst sighed deeply. How could he force her to believe something that he didn’t even believe. “Krista, just accept it as fact. Some day you’ll understand.”
(C) 2006 Virginia Lutz
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