Normally the same few people get put on stage; the same citizens who don’t abide by The Government’s law, but occasionally there’s the exception of others who have strayed from the path. Tonight, the exception is a boy and girl who both can’t be over the age of ten. The two lines face their audience and as the Area Leader approaches to mount the stage, the gathering claps for him.
Christopher Stone, son of Stewart and Bethany Stone, the barbaric founders of the PPA. Rumors and assumptions are all anyone has of that family. Nobody even knows if he has siblings. The only member of the Stone family that anybody in Area 38 has seen is Christopher himself. From a distance you can’t tell how pale his skin truly is. On the giant screens flanking the stage, you see that he’s whiter than the average citizen, but until you stand next to him you won’t know how close his complexion resembles a ghost. Jackson’s stood that close once and he’ll never forget that night.
“Welcome to the Gathering my brothers and sisters.” Christopher’s voice is projected throughout the room of City Hall as he extends his skeletal arms out.
“That’s new,” Joe whispers. Usually he just says “Welcome” without the whole brother and sister thing.
“He doesn’t believe that we are his brothers and sisters,” Jackson whispers.
“Nah, he’s just sayin’ that ‘cause he’s ‘bout to do somethin’ horrible. Get on our good side and all.” And Joe’s right.
“Do you think--?” Joe cuts him off, but nods his head, to answer the unfinished question. They both know who will be punished the worst.
“Tonight,” Christopher continues, “I have the heartbreaking responsibility of reminding you all of the law. There are your typical drunks that infringe on the law by attacking PPA members,” he says walking in front of two middle-aged men and pushing them each with his bony finger. As he does, four of the PPA privates on stage beat the two men senseless with their fists, elbows, knees, and feet. They’re both unconscious within a few short moments.
He continues down the line of citizens. “There is the individual who tries to seduce the members of PPA.” He now touches a young lady with the same white finger and two more PPA privates, one of them being a woman, beat her. “There are the citizens who complain about being too frail to work.” He doesn’t attempt to lay his finger on the crippled and injured couple, but four PPA privates take their turn beating the aged citizens.
He finally stops his waltz and stands in front of the little boy and girl. “And then there are the thieves of the community.” A long moment passes as if he wants everyone to take in the cruelty of what’s going to happen next. He pulls out a 13-inch metal rod from within his coat, and his long thin fingers wind around the handle. There are no more PPA privates on the stage to beat these children. That doesn’t matter to Christopher. He planned it that way, he personally wants to punish these two; and he does.
Not being able to watch, Jackson shifts his focus to the dark, wooden floor in order to save his eyes from the awful sight. However, there’s nothing to save his ears from the children’s screams and cries for help. If he covers his ears, they’ll see him and then he’ll be up on stage instantaneously for not learning of the consequences in a proper manner. He would even walk out, but the guard at the exit would shoot him if he did.
The cries abruptly stop, but the sound of the rod bluntly hitting flesh doesn’t.
This whole thing is wrong. Everybody in this room knows it but nobody does anything about it. What can they do? They can’t prove that what the PPA is doing is evil and barbaric. They only feel it. Jackson can feel it, and it makes him sick to his stomach.
Finally, it ceases.
“What is the law?” Christopher demands. Jackson looks up to see him wiping his bare knuckles and rod clean with a black handkerchief.
In unison, the gathering says, “The law states: one, no disrespectful acts towards The Government or the members who uphold it. Two, praise The Government by our actions and with our words. Lastly, live, work, and if needs be die, so that The Government may continue to prosper and bless.”
Change affects everyone and it is no different for Jackson. Living in Area 38 for as long as he can remember, he knows of no better way to exist than under the tyrannical rule of Christopher Stone, son of Stewart Stone from The Nine of The United Governmental Areas, aka The UGA. This all takes a dramatic turn when Jackson finds a red, metal box buried in his yard, filled with illegal artifacts—journals, a Bible, CDs, etc.—that are from a man of whom he has no recollection of: Mica Rouge.
The year is 2036 and Mica, unlike Jackson, does know of a better way of life but is torn apart as he sees his country, The United States of America, crumbling from within by group known as The Political Mafia. The Mafia has infiltrated levels upon levels of governmental resources and it is up to Mica and a vigilante group known as The USA Division to stop them and their dark Utopian vision. To their demise, and at the country's expense, The Division fails and has no choice but to watch The Constitution dissolve and transform into The UGA.
In a final stand, having not given up hope, Mica and what is left of The Division, give one final fight in Colorado, or better known as Area 38. However, all is lost as The Division is betrayed by one of their own, Stewart Stone. Mica is left with no choice but to hide in exile, leaving what little history he can of himself and the great United States of America, with his wife, long time friends, and newly born son in hopes that they will one day finish what he could not.
Jackson, having found this legacy twenty-seven years later, decides to start the war that will end The Nine, and he with an outcast group known as The Raiders, begins his fight with Christopher Stone in Area 38. Filled with betrayal, unity, despair, hope, hate and love Area 38 follows both Mica and Jackson in their attempts to restore what they believe to be true freedom, and where one fails, the other rises to the seemingly impossible challenge.
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Genre – Dystopian Thriller
Rating – PG13
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