Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Fire-fighter (10/05/06)
TITLE: Rejecting Extinction
By Rick DeMille
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Ms. Hillary mumbled, loud enough for the microphone to pick up her words but not so loud the students could understand. She turned to the class, smiling tolerantly at her new student.
"Fire-fighters, David, not Fire-MEN. The term 'firemen' has sexist connotations, and was outlawed after the Progressive Revolution. That expression has been banned for two hundred years."
The demon-child David was older than her other students. He and his family had just been captured and it was assumed his educational skills would be non-existent. It was strange that he knew about the Twin Towers, the other buffoons in fly-over country didn't.
The Teacher continued. "Besides, class, fire-fighters are no longer needed," Between the coasts, anyway. She corrected herself mentally.
She sauntered to the window and pointed past the rusting remnants of a small town.
"There, do you see the blackened section on that mountain side? That burnt area was caused by lightening. Lightening is Nature's way of cleansing and renewal, and firefighters would interfere with the environmental purity of Nature."
David raised his hand again, waiting patiently to be called on. Annoyed, she mumbled into the microphone again, only her ACLU Monitor could hear. "He's acting like this is a real classroom."
The Teacher heard a chuckle, then the scornful comment in her earpiece, "And like he's really supposed to be learning something."
Sharing her Monitor's contempt, the Teacher turned back to the recalcitrant student. "You have another question?"
"Yes ma'am, I thought fire . . . fighters, saved people? My great-great-grandfather was one, he died rescuing people in those two buildings you showed us. And I'm sure they weren't destroyed because America was being too greedy."
The teacher was speechless, stupefied. History and family tradition were strictly forbidden; by now her Monitor would have sounded the alarm.
"David, how dare you! Where did you hear such awful things?"
"From my parents, they have - had a book about it."
"A book? They had a book, and they let you see it?"
"Next to the Bible it was my favorite. I used to read it all the time."
Ms. Hillary's head was spinning, things were out of control. He could READ, and he'd read the Bible. This couldn't be happening!
Her instinct was to protect the other children. She grabbed David by the arm, dragging him mercilessly into the hallway.
"You will NEVER mention that ghastly book again."
David blinked, confused. "The Bible? It just tells us to love God and do what's right."
The Monitor arrived, breathless, clamping a hand viciously over the boy's mouth.
"I can't believe I'm haring this!" Turning to the Teacher, "I've called the guards; we must keep this one from doing more damage."
The teacher moved her face mere inches from the terrified teen's. "Not another word!"
David nodded in wide-eyed terror, but the Monitor kept his hand in place. You can never be too careful.
The Teacher looked to the Monitor for support. "I've never seen a Christian before, I thought they were extinct."
The Monitor looked cautiously around the hall, and assured they were alone he whispered to the Teacher.
"I've seen several. There's a big problem, the number of Christians is growing - and it's not just the ones sneaking in from Canada and Texas."
The Teacher grimaced. "But the Progressives won. It took decades, but our media resources discouraged the reactionaries and Christians enough that we began to win the elections. Once we could appoint judges it was over for them." Shaking her head, "At least that's what we've been told."
"That's what everyone thought! We eliminated them from the cities and made Faith a crime. We control the schools and only educate the barbarians enough to perform the menial tasks they were meant for. We still search out Christians and hold them for reorientation - but nothing seems to work."
They heard a gasp and turned. David was cowering as two uniformed men locked handcuffs around his wrists. As they marched him off, the Teacher shook her head.
"Christians, I just don't understand."
"It's unbelievable," The Monitor sighed. "Repressive actually. They let their lives be governed by some old book. 'Do what's right,' as if right and wrong really existed."
The Teacher smiled sympathetically. "There's hope we can free his mind. It may take years of reorientation, but he's young, he may learn to obey."
"At least now he's being governed by the wisdom of the truly educated."
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