The Cinder Rebellion

A Social Science Fiction Story

By Widow Shark

A/N: The Cinder Rebellion is a ferociously loose adaptation of Cinderella by the Brothers Grimm. This was just another school project; it was for my Sociology class. It may be taken down and expanded later, but I'm not sure , if anyone wants an explanation for anything that happens in this story I'm more than happy to add an annex; just tell me in a review if you think it's necessary. That's about it, so read, review, and enjoy. Tootles, Widow Shark

Warning: May contain traces of Teenage Angst.

Mirror

She could count on one hand how many laws she'd broken. She was positive the list would grow, but at the present there were four.

She'd dyed her hair; it had been the perfect shade of mahogany, but now it was a deep pinkish purple.

She'd gotten contact lenses; she had been born with ocean-blue eyes and they were now a most unnatural shade of violet.

She'd painfully obtained a handful of new ear piercings: one pair was the limit.

Finally, she'd gotten a hold of early twenty-first century clothing; she was wearing a bright orange thing called a hoodie and a pair of blue-jeans instead of her less than flattering gray, black, and white uniform—the uniform of the worker class.

Seventeen year-old Fuchsia Ryan stared at her reflection in disbelief. The girl staring back wasn't her, or was it? Brown hair and blue eyes were the only things she'd ever known. She gazed a little while longer. She wasn't sure of her new hair color, but she supposed that she'd get used to it in time. She blinked and focused on her "new" eyes. They were pretty and exotic. They seemed to glow in the dimly-lit attic of her parents' home.

Her focus came back on her whole form. Maybe this new look was her. Whatever the case, she didn't have time to think about it at that moment; she'd gone up to the attic only to find a backpack. Fuchsia Ryan was running away…tonight.

Packing

Fuchsia tore through her closet throwing shoes and skirts out of her way trying to get to a hidden cubby in the back where she'd been storing supplies for the last week. There were several throughout the house; it was over a hundred and fifty years old after all. She knew where each and every one was too. She was proud of herself for finding them. It was something her parents didn't even know about, which worked out to her advantage.

Not that her parents would give a rat's behind if she left. They didn't love her; they didn't even care that she was their own flesh and blood. That's why Fuchsia knew she had to leave while they were working; they'd turn her in for being a Villain, or liberal, as she would have been known several years ago. They wouldn't see anything wrong with it, especially since they'd only gain.

Yes, it was better to just leave while they were gone. They'd never notice.

It took her a few minutes, but she finally found the cubby hole. She opened it and took out everything she'd put in it, though it was mainly food and money. She wouldn't get far, but anywhere more than five blocks away from home was far enough for her.

When Fuchsia finished packing, her backpack felt like it weighed as much as she did. She was determined to get out of her house though, so she'd deal with the extra stuff later. She pulled the backpack on and took one last glance at herself in the mirror. It was still shocking to see, but she was growing more and more accustomed to her appearance.

"Be yourself," Fuchsia mused. It was the county's new slogan, but they really hadn't meant it that way. What the slogan should really say is: 'be your genetic self'. It was just another step in trying to prevent deviance and crime in the United States. All it did was leave people depressed or wanting to rebel even more, including Fuchsia. She pulled the orange hood up over her medium length hair. "This is me," she whispered before heading downstairs to wait for the cover of dark, only grabbing her ID tags off her dresser as an afterthought.

Leaving

Night crept in slowly, not leaving Fuchsia much time to make her escape. Her parents would be home by six; it was already quarter till. She made her move, sneaking out the back door.

Luckily there was no snow on the ground, global warming had taken care of that, making it quicker and easier for Fuchsia to travel. There weren't even clouds threatening to rain. Only the full moon hung in the sky, bright and menacing; Fuchsia's only enemy.

A car started up somewhere and Fuchsia ducked. She knew it was too early for the After Midnight Brigade to be out, but she had to be careful. She was wearing unregulated clothing. The fine would be quite large if she got caught.

Once she knew it was safe to come out, Fuchsia made her way down the street. She had to be careful of watchful eyes; they were everywhere. It was just another way to deter deviance and it seemed to work. There hadn't been a major crime in Carrollton, Ohio in almost a decade, which was right around the time The Program was started.

At first nobody believed that The Program would work, and it didn't. After all, there were only five rules, mainly pertaining to curfews and liable reasons to be out after hours. Nobody really obeyed them until the government began paying people to watch their blocks for suspicious behavior. After that, The Program took flight and more and more rules were added; many infringing on the Constitution, which by now had become obsolete.

Fuchsia saw lights coming from around a corner and panicked. These ones were on foot. Her eyes darted around, searching for a place to blend in to, finding nothing. The lights were getting closer. What am I going to do? she thought. She glanced around at her surroundings in a last ditch effort to find someplace to hide, but she was too late; the light hit her, blinding her.

"Hello, who are you?" came a soft, female voice from behind the light. Fuchsia stood there, paralyzed.

MICE

She couldn't see. She couldn't move. She couldn't speak. Worst of all, someone had seen her. This is it, she thought. I'll be put into confinement for sure. The lights were getting closer, brighter.

"Hello?" the same soft voice repeated. Fuchsia still couldn't bring herself to answer. She could hear feet on the pavement now—a lot of them, not just one pair. She closed her eyes. "It's okay, you don't have to be afraid of us," the voice said. Fuchsia opened her eyes slightly. She could see a group of outlines and a lot of bright colors.

Bright colors? She sighed heavily in relief. "I thought you were the After Midnight Brigade," Fuchsia said, opening her eyes the whole way.

"Us? No. Besides, it's too early," the girl said. "So, who are you?" she asked.

"Me? I'm Fuchsia. Fuchsia Ryan."

"It's nice to meet you, Fuchsia. I'm Bruin Silvers, by the way," the girl replied. "And these ladies behind me are Eureka Founder, Fizzy Rogers, Isis Cruise, and St. Ann," she said, shining a light on each girl as she introduced them. All of them waved in response to hearing their names. To Fuchsia's surprise, they were all wearing "vintage" clothing like she was. "We're the MICE," Bruin continued. Fuchsia looked at her, confused. "You haven't heard of us?" she asked, shining the light back on Fuchsia who shook her head in response.

"We're the Missing In the Citizen's Economy," one of the girls, Fizzy maybe, said. "Most of us are runaways, like yourself…you are a runaway, aren't you?"

"I am a runaway, yes," Fuchsia replied.

"It's good we ran into you then," Bruin said. "Come with us. Help us fight The Program."

"I don't…I don't know…fight The Program? I just…I'm not sure," Fuchsia stuttered.

"Please help us get this God forsaken country back to the way it used to be—Free. Please, Fuchsia. Come with us," Bruin repeated. "Besides, it's safety in numbers and you don't want the AMB to nab you…"

"Okay…I'll come," Fuchsia said, unsure of her decision.

"That's great, follow us," Bruin said. Fuchsia felt safer already.

Nest

Fuchsia followed the small group of young women to an abandoned subway station nearly on the other side of town. It took almost two hours of ducking down alleys, behind houses, and even trudging through parts of the sewer system to get there.

"Here it is," Bruin said upon arrival, "the Nest." She unlocked the gates and pulled back a black curtain. "That's so the AMB doesn't find us," she explained. She then led the group inside, and then headed off towards another group of people. Fuchsia just stood at the doorway in awe; she couldn't believe how many people were hiding out. These were people she'd thought had been caught and convicted as 'Villains.' But here they were, safe and sound, hiding like moles from the daylight.

"I'll go find you a bunk," St. Ann said, heading off in the direction of the archaic train rusting on its tracks.

"This place is amazing!" Fuchsia said. "How long has…"

"Nearly five years. The AMB doesn't know about it. At least not yet," Eureka replied. "We've been smuggling people over the Canadian border for about three of those years now, but we don't know how much longer we can go on. We've really cut it close a couple of times," she said solemnly. In the light, Fuchsia was finally able to get a close look at Eureka's face. She looked older, but Fuchsia knew she couldn't be any older than her mid-twenties. She had worry lines all over her face and her hair was a dusty brown, or perhaps it was pre-maturely starting to turn gray. Fuchsia couldn't tell. She pulled her own hood down revealing her magnificently colored hair for the first time in the presence of the MICE. A couple of alarmed gasps echoed through the underground, but nothing more.

St. Ann called from a distance for Fuchsia to come see her new bunk in one of the train cars. She too was slightly alarmed by Fuchsia's hair color, but didn't say anything of it; she just silently led Fuchsia to her car. "It's not much," she apologized, "but how long are you actually going to spend in it anyway?" she giggled. She was much younger looking than Eureka, but she was at least a couple years older than Fuchsia. "You can put your stuff in here. No one's gonna take it."

"Thank you," Fuchsia muttered.

"You're welcome. Now, why don't you let me show you around the Nest, get you a pillow and some sheets for tonight, a hot meal. Dinner's over, but I'm sure someone's still eating. Follow me." Fuchsia followed St. Ann throughout the cavernous subway station now called the Nest. It was like a whole other country, except it was below ground. There were even working television sets—something Fuchsia hadn't seen since she could remember.

By the time midnight came around, Fuchsia felt more alive than she had in a year. Finally, she had the chance to live her life as she wanted to live it. She only went to sleep because her new friends were tired and she had nobody to talk to, but she did feel safe and content in her own little subway car.

Mission

Fuchsia had been living with the MICE for two months when they decided that she would be an asset in rounding up runaways before the After Midnight Brigade captured them. And she was; on ten missions she'd helped find and rescue fifteen people. Out of that fifteen, six of them were young men. Male rebels were rare mainly because men were scarce in general. It seemed that women outnumbered men by almost two to one. In the Nest it was almost ten to one. That was just how life was since the end of the War of Sands.

Tonight Fuchsia was on a mission with Fizzy and Isis, the two people she'd grown the closest to during her stay at the Nest. There had been a message sent saying there would be a couple of young rebels waiting in an abandoned movie theater for some MICE to guide them to safety. The theater wasn't hard to find, but locating the house the couple was waiting in was difficult. This had been one of those twenty screen Cineplex theaters. It hadn't been a screening room the couple was hiding in though; they were in the projection room on the highest floor of the building. When the girls found the couple, who introduced themselves as Conner and Tracy, they quickly went over a plan for getting back to the Nest and then left. It had taken so long to actually find the couple that daylight was fast approaching.

The group made it home in record time—just over an hour. Fizzy opened the gate and led the new MICE inside. Conner and Tracy seemed to have the same reaction to the Nest as Fuchsia had the first time she'd seen it. It was a satisfying feeling for Fuchsia to know that she'd helped more people escape the oppression of 2022 America. It was wonderful to know that other people wanted the laws to be changed as much as she did and she knew there were more out there.

Like always, St. Ann led the newcomers to their train car dorms and gave them the tour of the Nest. As for Fuchsia and the other missionaries, they went to bed, not aware that this would be the last peaceful night in the Nest that they'd ever have.

Raid

Cold metal poking at her bare midriff is what woke Fuchsia up. She opened her eyes, not realizing she'd left her contacts in—everything was blurred, but she could make out the outlines of several people. She blinked twice, revealing the uniformed man and woman who'd brought her into consciousness. They were Clockers working for the AMB, but they weren't just any Clockers; it was Conner and Tracy and one other man she didn't recognize.

"Morning, Mousy," Tracy said viciously. Fuchsia's eyes met hers and they stared, panic pulsing through her body. She decided to make a run for it, so she grabbed her backpack and pushed past the Brigadiers.

"Everybody, GET OUT OF HERE!" Fuchsia shouted. "Tracy and Conner are Clockers." She continued running through the train only to find, much to her disappointment, that it was empty. She stopped and turned to face both Tracy and Conner. "What did you do with everyone?" she demanded.

"The same thing we're going to do to you when we catch you. Arrest you, then charge you as a Villain and a conspirator," Conner answered. Fuchsia turned to run again, only to find herself cornered by two large Clockers, who immediately grabbed her and put her in restraints. Conner grinned wickedly at her before she was taken away, fighting with her captors the entire time. "Piece of cake," Conner laughed. He started to leave, but stopped when he remembered the other guard that was still in the train car room. "Cyano! Come on," he called.

"Go on ahead, Conner. I'll be there in a minute," the man called from within the tiny room.

Before leaving, Cyano glanced around. Seeing nothing, he decided to go. On his way out though, he kicked something made of metal and picked it up. ID tags. He read the inscription on them. Name: Fuchsia Ryan. DOB: June 14th, 2005. POB: Carrollton, Ohio. Father: Lawrence Ryan. Mother: Claudia Ryan. School District: Carrollton City. "Don't worry, Fuchsia," he whispered to himself. "I know you don't know me, but I'll find a way to get you and the rest of the MICE out of custody. I'm on your side."

Cell

It smelled horrible, but Fuchsia lay on the cot in the cell anyway. She'd been laying there for four days; just staring and thinking. She was mad at herself, mostly, for being on the mission that brought Tracy and Conner to the Nest. But nobody could have known they were a couple of fakes. She sighed heavily and turned onto her stomach.

Fuchsia could see Fizzy and Isis who were on the other side of the block from her; they were doing the same thing she was; laying on their cots, staring into space, probably thinking about what went wrong five nights ago. As for Bruin, Eureka, and St. Ann, they had already been sent to the prison because they were older. All anyone could do at that moment was wait for sentencing.

The sound of feet walking toward her cell caused Fuchsia to sit up on her cot. A man in the Clocker uniform stopped in front of her cell and unlocked it. "Come with me," he said.

Madam

Madam Washington and her daughters were the most atrocious people Fuchsia had ever met, making her and the other fosters clean at all hours. Sometimes she even made them get up in the middle of the night to do menial tasks around the kitchen or in the attic. The house was huge. After all, Madam Washington was one of the wealthiest people in all of the Revived States of America.

There were so many times in which Fuchsia wanted to tell Madam (or her daughters, Kara and Tara, for that matter) to clean their own rooms and to let everyone go, but she kept her mouth shut. Waxing Madam's floors and dusting her furniture was a lot better than the alternative—prison. Today Madam had her scrubbing the shower tile with a toothbrush.

"Idle hands," Madam always quipped. Her daughters often mimicked her.

It was Madam's own selfishness though that allowed her to keep so many "maids" and "butlers" around. Her pitch to the directors of The Program was, "If the young Villains are cleaning then they are too busy to think of starting a Revolution." Madam really didn't believe that making liberals clean her house would get them to change their ideas about The Program; she just wanted her house to be constantly clean.

"Idle hands," Fuchsia scoffed under her breath. She was furiously scrubbing at a corner of the tub where, somehow, mildew had grown. She needed bleach. Madam Washington walked in just as Fuchsia got up to get the bottle of bleach.

"Idle hands, Miss Ryan," Madam cooed with sickening sweetness. "If you don't work, you'll never get out of here."

"I was just getting up to get some bleach, Madam Washington," Fuchsia said, though there had been no question.

"Very well," Madam sneered. "Now get back to work or I promise I'll keep you here till you're fifty," she told Fuchsia before leaving.

"I'll get out of here one of these days…just you wait and see," Fuchsia muttered after Madam was out of hearing range. She then went back to scrubbing the mildew out of the corner of the tub.

-O-

After nearly three hours of scraping and scrubbing mildew off the tiles in the shower with nothing but a toothbrush and a little bleach, Fuchsia was exhausted. She went to Madam to tell her she was finished so she could inspect her work and hopefully give her a well-deserved break.

"It's absolutely spotless. I'm very impressed," Madam praised. Fuchsia smiled broadly. She could feel a reward coming. "Good, now you can sweep out the fireplace," Madam finished. Fuchsia's heart sank.

"Very well, Madam Washington," Fuchsia replied, trying her best not to show how disheartened she was.

"Your tools are in the closet under the staircase. I want the fireplace to sparkle," Madam said and then left. Fuchsia went to the closet beneath the stairs and got the equipment she needed to clean out the fireplace. Then she started brushing the ashes out, sobbing as she did so.

Trade

Cyano paced back and forth in his small office. He'd been thinking about the pink-haired girl they'd caught in the Nest—again. He hadn't heard anything about her in the four and a half months since the raid. Nobody ever told him anything. He couldn't ask either because his co-officers would be suspicious.

He pulled the ID tags out of his pockets and ran his fingers over them for what seemed like the ten thousandth time. Cyano was ready to do anything, pay any price, just to find a girl he'd barely gotten a glimpse of. He had to find her, this Fuchsia Ryan. She'd been different from the other MICE. She stood out, and it wasn't just her unusual hair color or wild looking eyes. He stopped pacing when he thought of the one person who might know, "Briona," he muttered before dashing out of the room.

Briona Sunn was the records clerk in the basement of the After Midnight Brigade's headquarters. She touched every file of every person that passed through. She sorted them and put them in alphabetical order in drawers. She would do anything to get a promotion. Cyano had the power and position to give her what she wanted.

He practically flew on to the elevator. He pushed the button to the basement level. The elevator jerked and began to slowly descend. "Come on, just a little faster," Cyano coaxed. "Please."

It took nearly five whole minutes to get from the fourth floor to the basement. Cyano knocked on the door. A middle-aged woman answered—Briona. "May I help you Brigadier Flores," she asked.

"Perhaps. I have a proposition for you," Brigadier Cyano Flores stood there smiling. "May I come in?"

"Of course, Sir," Miss Sunn said, stepping aside to let him come in and closing the door behind him. "What is this…proposition that you have?"

"I'm willing to use my authority to gain you a new position in the AMB." Briona's eyes lit up.

"Really, Sir? Now what may I do for you?"

"I need some…information…on a young girl by the name of Fuchsia Ryan." Briona's eyes widened.

"I can tell you that."

Rescue

Briona had been very helpful, but not very quick about finding the files on Fuchsia Ryan. It had taken her almost a week. Cyano had gotten her the promotion in under a day. He had been surprised to find out the girl had been sent to Madam Washington's. Now, he was pulling into Madam's driveway preparing to undertake a one-man raid on her estate. His excuse for taking Fuchsia out of her custody was that the girl was with-holding information on the whereabouts of other MICE. Which, of course, was a downright lie that could cost him his job.

He walked up to the door and knocked. Madam Washington answered. She was a bit confused. "May I help you, Sir?"

"I certainly hope so. I'm Brigadier Cyano Flores," he said flashing his badge. "I am here to arrest one of your new servants. I think her name is Fuchsia Ryan."

"Miss Ryan? What do you want with her? She's my best worker…"

"I'm sorry Madam, but I have reason to believe that she is with-holding information concerning the locations of other Villains. Is she here?"

"Yes, please come in. I'll go get her; she's cleaning the fireplace again," Madam grinned, and then walked into another room. "Miss Ryan, there's an officer here for you. I'd suggest you come out here if you know what's good for you."

Fuchsia stopped what she was doing. An officer? she thought She cautiously made her way to the foyer. When she got there, she saw the third Clocker that was in her room during the raid.

"Fuchsia Ryan," the man addressed her, "You are under arrest for keeping information about other MICE from the AMB."

She wanted to run, but something stopped her. A feeling in the pit of her stomach telling her it was okay to go with him. She held her hands out obediently and the man cuffed them ever so gently. Their eyes met. Cyano noticed Fuchsia's eyes no longer had that wild look in them. Instead, they almost looked broken. Her hair was also tamer looking as it had grown out in the last few months revealing brunette roots. Her face was smudged, almost to a point beyond recognition, with ash.

"Come on," Cyano said to Fuchsia. She followed him out to his car peacefully. Before getting in, to her surprise, he un-cuffed her and handed her a bag with her "vintage" clothing in it. She was stumped.

"But, I thought I was under…"

"My name is Cyano and I'm here to help you. I want a change as much as you or the rest of the MICE." Fuchsia sat there silently. "I can help you find your friends and get you safely to Canada where you can build up your forces and lead your quest for a better future. Without The Program," he finished, wiping a bit of black powder away from Fuchsia's eyes. She blinked when he touched her face; she hadn't realized she'd been staring.

"Thank you," is all Fuchsia could say before she got into the back of Cyano's cruiser and drove off with her "rescuer."

"You're welcome...Fuchsia," Cyano said, getting into the car himself.

Onward

Months had passed and Fuchsia was now eighteen. She and Cyano had rescued most of those captured in the initial raid of the Nest, but there were others out there; including Bruin, Eureka, and St. Ann. But for the time being, they had to focus on getting the group they had across the Canadian border. It was a small group, but it was a start.

The End