Graduation day. I was finally being booted out of the school I had never wanted to go to anyway. That morning I had put on my favorite skirt and my usual sweater. The day wasn't special if you were Unaccepted. Mostly it just meant another nice long lecture from my teacher. But today I would enjoy it. I would relish in the defeat that monstrous school suffered.
Ever since I had got back in Camp not another one of us had left. All three of us "backward unproductive" ones who had "never seen the glory of the United." A few new kids were coming up through the ranks, and even fewer of them would make it all the way out, but we had.
I always wondered why they still sent such a huge bus through camp to pick up three kids. Probably to remind us how big the Outside was and how tiny we were. They'd moved the concrete walls every chance they got, too. Patience was wearing thin in the United, but of course, we could hardly expect any from the atheists.
I don't know why we even went to the classroom that day. My teacher didn't teach us anything we hadn't heard before. All day he went on about this and that about the United, and what glorious lives we would have if we just signed the file today and went out and got jobs with the great education we had received at the expense of the benevolent...
I didn't really care about the rest. I just tried not to look at him. His voice almost sounded funny if you didn't pay attention to what he was saying.
Then there was the graduation ceremony. The three of us stood there with the goofy hats on and they moved the tassel over. They didn't do this in any of the Outside graduations anymore. They just did it here to help us remember how old-fashioned we were. In case we could forget.
The bus took us home for the last time. No more to do with that synagogue of Satan. They usually gave kids a few months before after graduation before they were assigned a job somewhere in the outside, though of course they were always forced to live in the Camp.
I was glad for that. I liked Street 17, in its own way. Everybody I knew lived here.
On the way home I took out my ancient reader, which groaned any time it was turned on. My dinosaur of a machine was grumpy every day. There hadn't been any new arrivals of late, so I hadn't been making copies for a long time. I didn't mind that, since it meant less snooping from the new commander. He was a lot more in to his job than the last one. I would have preferred to be making lots of new copies for lots of new inmates. But that wasn't how things were to be.
After about six seconds the welcome screen of my archaic laptop device was gone. The United had stopped giving new ones to the Unaccepted. Apparently their economy wasn't so strong that they could support us forever.
There had even been rumors of a grim final solution for the "religion problem." We hadn't died out fast enough for the United.