Adriana studied the page in front of her, not believing what it said. It seemed as if all that she had dreamt would come true if she were to complete this one task. Her brothers and sisters, all seven of them, would be able to go to school and have a better life. Her mother would be able to concentrate on her potions business, and her father would be able to sit in the town square, telling stories of life before the second Great Depression. She knew that completing this task would change everything.
She took the piece of paper, folded it in quarters, and tucked it into her pouch. She slipped on her old black ballet slippers, and headed out the front door towards the town square. She needed to see what was being said about this month’s task, if anyone knew the government’s goal. She had to find out as much as she could before the evening break, when all of the townspeople gathered to learn the result of the government’s tasks.
“Adriana,” called her best friend and rumored boyfriend, Janos.
Adriana sat down on a bench in the town square to wait for him. She knew that he would have the best information about this month’s task, since his father was the district president. Janos was always able to get access to classified information, and always willing to share it with others.
“Good day, Janos,” said Adriana, as he sat down beside her. “What news do you bring with you this morning?”
“A good day,” replied Janos with a laugh. “Can it possibly be a good day when our government is asking a member of our district to do such a thing?”
“Why whatever do you mean,” answered Adriana.
“Oh, thank goodness. None of your family was chosen for this month’s task,” said Janos, sitting down beside her.
“But, I had overheard that the task was simple. The person chosen simply has to sacrifice the most important thing in their life for the betterment of life in their entire district,” said Adriana, with a delicate shrug.
“Yes, but what is the most important thing in your life,” answered Janos.
“You already know the answer to that question,” replied Adriana with a laugh.
“You would sacrifice this, for the betterment of life in the district,” said Janos.
“It’s not like I truly need it, besides it isn’t as if I were the person chosen to complete this task,” replied Adriana, as she stood up to leave.
“Will I see you at this evening’s break,” said Janos.
“Of course, I wouldn’t miss it,” answered Adriana with a wave.
Adriana headed home to prepare for the evening’s break, and to make her decision about the task given by the government. She knew that completing it would be beneficial to everyone in the district, but she feared that it was something that she did not have the strength to complete. She simply did not understand why the government insisted on having the younger generations perform these tasks, since everyone in the district knew that the population was slowly becoming extinct and that the…