The white stone walls keep each child locked in this building, the guards within each room holding us in there. As of right now, our guard is "teaching" us how to survive in this world. The witch.

I have been trapped here longer than I can remember, you see.

Er, well—that would be a lie. I still hold onto the few precious memories of when it was just my mother and father and I. But that wasn't for very long—all children are required to go to this prison, by the incredibly young age of four or five.

Sometimes, the poor little things can't just be dropped in here without a warning. They're sent to a part of the prison to fix that, like a pre-hell. The next year they're dropped into the system like fish in a bowl, with only the training they got the year before to survive on.

They make us get up at the crack of dawn, too. And if we're late, they punish us. Not with violence, not yet (we're just children, so I guess they take pity on us), just with a note telling our guards that we were late. Then they punish us without actually punishing us—stack up our work, or something like that.

Every so often, they give us "rewards" for our good behavior. They give us these to try to make us work harder at the crap they stack up, and don't give the "troublesome" inmates anything. One of the reasons why those children don't get anything us because of the stinkin' late note they give to our guards!

They have rules in our prison. We must behave, or consequences shall commence.

We must do the work they give us, or the same consequences shall commence.

We must treat each other with respect, or consequences shall commence.

Anything we do that isn't to their liking, consequences shall commence.

Luckily, they are considerate enough to let us out of the prison in the early afternoon. Unless a child has gone against a guard's wishes, in which case the poor thing must remain after hours.

I know of only one person who was willing to tell me about it; she's my friend, Alexia. Possibly my best friend. But, she said that the guards would make the children sit in the classroom with nothing to do, unless they had to do work.

The guard in my classroom, going by the name of "Miss Jenifer," if that is her real name, is in charge of the second-year children. I am in her room.

There are two 'before years,' if a parent decides their child should go through training. First off is the regular training, which I have already mentioned. Second is the advanced training, when you're still young enough to not be punished as severely as others in the first and over years.

I am now in my second-above year of this. Jenifer is going over what she calls 'math,' which includes writing down the numbers one through one hundred in order.

Like I'm ever gonna use that in my lifetime.

At the end of each day, she lets the good children pick out prizes from her prize box. These are mostly pencils that aren't even sharpened yet, cheap plastic from a cheap toy store, and candy that tastes like cardboard and urine.

"Ally?" Jenifer called out my name, causing the entire room to turn and look at me. "Could you please answer the question?"

Shoot! I wasn't paying attention!

No matter. I refuse to answer anything they have to throw at me! I refuse to give away any knowledge that they need!


I don't know what the question was, but I'm not going to give away anything important. I held back a sneer and said, "Don't you know the answer?"

She pursed her lips as everybody looked at her. "Yes, sweetie, but it's my job to make sure you know. Do you know the answer to the question?"

Everyone looked back at me.

I still refuse to believe it. "1947."

"Nineteen-forty—" She frowned. "No, I asked you what the answer to seven plus six was."

I thought fast. If I answered wrong, then they'd know I'm onto them and probably punish me. But if I answered right, then they'd know my true IQ.

Might as well play dumb, then. "13.56."

She frowned at me. "Not quite . . . can anybody help Ally?"

The obedient children raised their hands. Stupid kids.

However, Alexia raised her hand as well. She's on my side; she believes me about the prison. Nobody else does, though, as much as I try to convince them. That's because of their stupid parents, being brainwashed by their stupid system.

Ignorance breeds ignorance, I guess.

Jenifer said, "Alexia? What is the answer to seven plus six?"

She put her hand down. "Seventy-six?"

"No. Ally, did you find out what the answer is?"

I thought fast again, "I still stand to believe 13.56 until proven wrong."

She sighed, and went on to call out somebody else to answer her meaningless question. But every so often, I caught her looking at me while she was talking.

I sat in my seat and sneered down at my lap. Nobody believes me about the brainwashing. The guards and their leader deny, deny, DENY every time. Not even my parents believe me—they too have been brainwashed.

No matter. One day, when I'm queen of the world because I got all of the children on my side to fight against these guards and their leaders, and our parents and their leaders, I might decide to take pity (or mercy, depending on my mood). I shall make their death quick and painless.

But for now, only the regular and advanced trainees in the before years believe me, and some of the first years. I have gotten them to keep all secrets from other adults (especially their parents), and try to spread my truths to the more believing children. Not just outright tell other children—no, what if someone told an adult? Or an adult overheard? Just to say something to plant that seed in their small minds would be enough. Because that seed will grow into an idea, and then they will join me. They all will, eventually.

But as for now, my power remains heard of, and only as insanity to the adults.

Bah! Ignorance breeds ignorance.