by Olivia Hunt, aged 12
2013 GOLD WINNER, 10-13 Years Old
Watch Barney Harwood read 'Your Life' during the 500 WORDS 2013 grand final.
Download a free MP3 of the story read by the BBC Radio Drama Company (right click and choose save as / save target as)
I sit up as the alarm rings through the dormitory. 6 am. Up and dressed by 6:15, along with all the other girls. My label says 1068G. That's my name, has been for three years now, ever since the flood. Our town was destroyed, they said, and the rest of the world just seemed to disappear, so we moved straight into the vaults.
Breakfast is at 6:30, as it's a 15 minute walk away. The place is vast. As I enter, I notice B, my only friend here, across the room. Most people here don't have friends. If they do, it's usually with the person above them in the dormitory, but I can't ever seem to get a word out of the girl above me. In the night I hear her whisper her parents' names into the darkness. None of us see our parents anymore; they have different time schedules. Sometimes I see my little sister standing in the queue for the canteen but I don't think she recognizes who I am anymore.
It was by chance that I met B, or 1069B, to give him his real name. We were queuing to get in here after the flood, and he was opposite me in the line. I smiled at him and he smiled back; we've been friends ever since.
I push my tray of food along the canteen, and sit by B, whose plate is full. I glance down at mine. Porridge. Eugh. We eat quickly in silence. We don't talk much, sometimes dream about escaping. Only ever dreams, though.
After breakfast, we head down to our jobs. As I exit, something catches my eye. A flashing, like a camera recording. I shrug this thought off and head to textiles. That's what I do, repair outfits and bed sheets and make new things. It's hard work, but at the end of the day we always come back to our evening meals, which are usually pretty good. And I get to see B. But today, something is different. A guard patrolling the corridor catches my arm, and warns me that we're all going to the main hall. This is odd; we only go there for ceremonies. I follow him inside and sit. The room is packed with people. The hall is silent, before a hollow, expressionless voice rings out.
"For three years now," the voice begins, "You have been of great scientific use to me. But that time is finished. You are worth nothing anymore." The lights blink out as the gas valves hiss open.
"And that, folks, is the last ever episode of Your Life, where we explored the effects of underground living. Next week, tune into our new reality series, Watching Us." A family snuggles close as the credits begin rolling. Thousands of metres below, two terrified children lock hands in one final desperate human motion.
With a careless flick the TV screen turns blank.