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12+

an unwilling leader

by davidgma


We arrive in central province , the political capital of the world and my home for the rest of my natural life,and as bulky armored car rolls through the streets I couldn't seem to care about it at all.

I couldn't say I missed my family, they weren't like me and they knew that. There have been times when I would comment on the research I was doing and they would just look at me. Then they would slowly turn back to what they were doing, or even worse continue to stare until their curiosity turned to disgust .

My brothers were the worst about it, "why can't you work and go to school like us, are you too smart for us little prince?" they would say. My family couldn't grasp why I was different but they knew and that's what hurt them the most.

The thing that I truly missed was the familiar rolling hills of Kark province. Where my father and mother worked the soil, coaxing strong crops from even the most barren land. That was the life I had lived until now, the son of farmers, youngest of four, and even now faced with the opportunity to gain more power than anyone, I wish I could go back.

It took everything in me to not scream," please take me back I'll act just like I should just don't make me do this."

But I know it won't work, not only will it play right into their hands making me weak and them strong, I know they already have me picked out to be the next leader of their "free" world. Nothing I say or do will stop them from choosing who I and everyone else I have ever met will be and what we will do.

The car stops and the thick steel doors slide open with a pop and a hiss jarring me from thought. I step out and and the escorts lead me into the lobby. Where I am greeted by lush carpet, crystal chandeliers, and an older woman who looked like she was more plastic than flesh

“Hello Marcus… sir, I would give you a more formal tour of the building but we are a bit behind schedule tonight, your car ran late and you have a dinner to attend.” She said as she leads me to the highest room of the school I was to attend for the next 7 years of my life. “ Your closet is stocked with the appropriate apparel for both school and public appearances. Be dressed by nine and send an alert to the main desk when you are ready to leave again.”

She leaves me alone and I start to explore the room. The the left of the door is a mahogany desk with a laptop and tablet on top. Laying next to them are legal pads and pens sitting on top of a designer briefcase. The bed is a king with thick blankets and it beckons to me telling me to lay down and tap a nap after the long trip. I ignore it and continue to walk around I see a flat screen tv and more expensive furniture. Finally I find the bathroom and am relieved to find that it looks about the same as it did my house though a bit on the ritzier side.

I walk in and turn on the showe. I just stand in the water for what seems like an hour before I realised I have somewhere to be. I jump out and run to the closet, inside I find a dozen or so neatly pressed suits. Under them where three drawers and two sets of black shoes, in the drawers were underwear, socks, crisp white t-shirts, and dress shirts in different colors. I grab the topmost of everything and rush to put it on. Then I run to the glass panel by the door and jam the escort button until someone shows up by my door. I open up and I am greeted by another student.

“. I'll walk you down to the private dinning hall where the rest of the bigwigs will be waiting. Don't worry they will only be a little t-ed off when you show up late” He said his dry humor not really adding much to the situation.

“How did a wonderfully kind and generous student you get stuck escorting me to dinner?” I ask him a hint of irony in my voice.

“Well when the future secretary of private information and economy skips a week's worth of classes one must find a way to punish him, excluding of course kicking him out, because that would screw up other perfect little hierarchy,” He replies, the sarcasm dripping from his tongue.

“Oh”

“It’s fine, it gives me a chance to explore the school and give younger students a little grief,” he says slyly.

I walk into the dining hall ten minutes late...

“ There he is, the little leader himself,” they called as I walk to take a seat. I see the only one left is the one at the head of the table. The adults chatter on about this and that for about another ten minutes before the food arrives. It’s some sort of meat with dipping sauces, a messy meal for them to prove how unsophisticated I am, I sit quietly while they eat .

“ I know it isn't rice and beans little leader, but I promise that it’s good,” one of them shouts. I tense but realize that my reaction means as much them psychologically as them serving this meal is to me. These people aren't stupid, they are just as smart as I am to have gotten all the way here.

I reply coolly” The one thing bothering me is the fact that at even at a simple state introductory you feast while people like my family exist on the aforementioned diet.” The silence afterward is deafening.

A single voice all the way at the other side of the room cuts through” A very interesting point you made just there Marcus , especially for a fourteen year old boy to make, albeit one of your intelligence and social prowess. Maybe when you take my office in the future you can do something about that.” I sit deathly still as the realization of who this elderly man striding across the room is , the leader. The ruler of all three-hundred provinces and the man who would one day be replaced by me.

The rest of the meeting goes without incident as they welcome me to my new position as leader in training. Once the meeting concludes I head back to my room and go to sleep, not even bothering to change into the silk pajamas laid across the foot of my bed. I’m having a dream where I keep telling these huge ants to move this giant rock when I hear my door slam open. I jump up to see soldiers spilling into my room.

One pulls me out of bed and the others surround me as I am led down a back hallway. They usher me to an armoured car like the one I road here in. We ride for hours until we reach a bunker on the outskirts of central. I'm taken inside where I am greeted by the woman who had led me to my room yesterday afternoon.

“Marcus I have some unfortunate news, Mr.Franden our leader and your mentor was killed by an assassin, and since we have not yet apprehended him we must secure the next leader until we do.”

The rest of the night passes in a blur of falling asleep to dreams of making horrible life ending decisions and waking up in a puddle of cold sweat. This repeats till sunrise the next morning when I wake up back in the bedroom i had only known for a day. I want to believe that this means that Mr.Franden didn't die and I don't have to take up his burden but the the request on my monitor asking me to arrive at the capital by ten breaks the illusion.

I walk out of my door to see yesterday's escort guy walking through the hallways.

“Hey I didn’t get your name yesterday.” I say

“ It’s Nathan, and I heard about what happened. I just want you to know that I wouldn’t ever be able to handle what you are you are going to have to do.”

“What do you mean.” I ask.

“I mean you heard about the starvation in the outer provinces right. I mean look around we obviously have enough to go around, so why aren't they getting any.” He says getting angrier as he continues to rant. “ why do they make these choices, just they score higher on some test doesn't mean you are better than us.

His face goes pale as he realises what he just said. Speech against the rule of the intelligent elite was considered a high crime punishable by death. H kicks my legs out from under me and grabs he. Then he quickly leads me to a door and says into a com at his wrists, “ cover blown I repeat cover blown.”

I wrest away from him and find the nearest guard, they chase after nathan until they trap him in an ally and apprehend him, or at least that is what the story was. When they take him into custody i demand to talk to him and little tile waving gets me just that.

When I walk in all I can see are the bruises covering his face, and the awkward angle of his more than likely broken arm. I sit down and just stare for a second working up the courage before surprisingly he speaks,“ why are you sitting there staring at me you little freak, I know you must love your power but do you really just enjoy the fact that i'm suffering. You already got what you wanted you and all your little gifted friends get to rule the world of all of us lesser beings.”

“What are you talking about Nathan, I thought you were one of us.?” I ask bewildered by his comments.

“Like you don't know, I was trying to end the manipulation that you guys put everyone you think won’t notice through. But guess what us idiots finally figured it out, we don't have to listen to you even if you do better on a test that us. I’m here because we have a plan and no matter what we won't stop.

When I make it to the capitol building finally I am given a stack of bills and old to make a decision, sign them or veto unless specified by the form itself. It was all simple, building roads and such until I come across one in particular. If passed it will raise the already high taxes on low ranking families to pay for a reformation in the testing system. I decide to put that one aside and call a council once i'm done on the rest of the stack.

I finish and start the conference call. “ Hello can you hear me” I say as shockingly, faces only slightly older than mine pop up. They all reply and I call the meeting to order.

“ I was signing bills when I came across one to raise taxes on low class families to pay for testing reform. My first reaction was to veto the bill seeing as low class families are already so heavily taxed, but I am unsure of what to do as a reform in testing may allow for more low class families to be raised by the birth of a child worthy of high social class. I called this meeting to see what my cabinet has to say.” I state

“Go ahead and tax them, it’s not like those brainless backward hicks will know the difference.” I hear one of them, the head of the department of justice, say. All that is said afterward are cries of agreement from everyone else in the call. I end the the conference in disgust and leave for they day. I decide to find this resistance, because if they can make a new world one where everyone has a choice and not just these tyrants, I want to be a part of it.

I order for Nathan to be pardon and after much resistance he was. Later that night I find his dorm and prepare myself for beginning of the end. I knock on the door, once...twice... and it opens.

The first thing I notice is how small it is. From the bunks attached to the wall I glean that most likely he isn't the only one living in this room so when he asks what I want I tell him to walk with me.

“ now that we are away from the others, why are you talking to me. Do you want to rub in my face the fact that you saved my skin?” He asks pointedly

“ No Nathan I want to join the resistance” I say looking him dead in the eye.” I didn’t want to see it until now but this world we live in.. it not right. Somewhere along the line we forgot that just because we have something special doesn't mean that those who don’t are inferior, it means we help them.”

“Marcus once you do this you will not be given a second chance, they will destroy you if we fail.” He say.

“I know, and it must be done.”

We spend the next weeks meeting with leader of the resistance. Finally six months later we have a plan. Tommorow this world ends.

I wake up and follow the now rote routine of getting ready, going to the private instruction room for breakfast and private lessons to further my knowledge of politics, and then heading to the capitol building around lunch. The difference is today instead of heading to my office to deal with bills and political matters I head to the communications room. This is the room that holds the server for all local and foreign communications and when that comes down so will the government's control of the people. The only people with access to the outside world will be those inside of the resistance.

All I have to do is slip a virus given to me on a flash drive from the top techie in the rebellion into the mainframe. After that the others will do the rest by stirring up the people in provinces across the globe. Without the hand of the government to squash it the fight for freedom will bloom giving everyone one a chance to fight for the world their children will inherit from them.

It starts off simple. I simply wave my badge in front of the security scanner and they let me right in. They don’t count on anyone hating the power they have been given enough to actually destroy it. After that I simply walk into the room stick the drive in and hit download.

That is when the problems begin. A blaring alarm starts up as each of the screens goes dark and the symbol of the rebellion,a tree made from the letters in freedom. The door burst open and guards stream in they see me and put together that I’m the reason for all of this. I jump out the back door and make for the exit. I see a black car like the one i came here in screech to a halt in from of the building and I jump in. Natham and another man whose face I couldn’t make out are inside and as the first guard makes it out the door we are speeding off. I look out the back window and decide that if this has to be an ending then i guess i will have to make a better story for myself.


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412 Reviews


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Thu Apr 13, 2017 11:12 pm
Tuckster wrote a review...



Hey there davidgma,

I have a few more pointers for you on this story. You have a good beginning, but it definitely needs improvement. Hopefully I'll be able to provide some ideas of how you could improve this- so with that said, some things I noticed-
1)

I couldn't seem to care about it at all.

This is an unprecedented claim. It is a strong opinion to be introduced immediately, and I would recommend you reword it so it is less harsh.
2)
are you too smart for us little prince?"

I would take out the part about him being a prince because that idea hasn't been introduced yet, and it's better to hold the reader in a bit of suspense rather than hint at it so obviously
3)
hiss jarring me from thought./quote] This should be 'jarring me from my thoughts'. I corrected this particular section because it contained two grammar errors, but there were consistent grammar errors throughout the entire piece
4)
a laptop and tablet
So far, the story has had the effect of taking place in older times (judging by the dress and old-fashioned style of a boarding school). So why is there such advanced technology?
5)
There he is, the little leader himself
Shouldn't he be treated with just a tad more respect, since he is a leader? I understand having some sarcasm regarding his youth, but he should be treated with some more respect.
6)
I’m having a dream where I keep telling these huge ants to move this giant rock when I hear my door slam open.
This is totally unnecessary and should be taken out completely, seeing as it is a distraction from the main plot.
7)
Then he quickly leads me to a door and says into a com at his wrists, “ cover blown I repeat cover blown.”
I find it hard to believe that such an experienced rebel and undercover spy would let his tongue slip so easily and so obviously. I would change this situation. Maybe Marcus catches him talking to a stranger, sneaking out of the palace, etc?
8) The ending is inconclusive. We don't really understand what his final decision is, and there is no cliffhanger or indication of a future chapter or story that will resolve the plot.
9) There were a ton of grammar errors throughout the piece that make it seem like it wasn't supposed to be taken seriously. I would go through and address those.

Overall, not a terrible start but definitely in need of improvement. Hopefully the suggestions I offered here were helpful, but you can feel free to PM me if you have any questions or need help on a future review. I'd be glad to stop by :)

Best wishes,
MJ




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Sat Jan 21, 2017 9:16 am
shima wrote a review...



Okay. Well. Lets begin. It is a story, that much I can say. It is meh. Just meh. A couple of grammatical errors here and there (and if I see them, you are in some deep trouble). The story (or the chapter) is quite confusing, sometimes boring and has way too much descriptions. I know that is one of my (many) flaws but this feels wrong. It looks like the descriptions are out of place or should be more flowing and adding to your story. It read difficult and I had to sometimes read the same part three of four times in order to understand it. Despite that, the story felt very rushed - you were throwing bits and pieces of your story at us with the speed of a machine gun, without giving it any time to develop. It also seemed kind of banal, with the armored cars, the death mentor, the resistance and all that noize - dime a dozen. You. can of course work with that, but we have barely met the characters and you are already killing them off. Don't do that. It is confusing as all hell and turns people away from your story. Take your time establishing the setting, the characters, their motivations and plans and why they behave like that. For example - the mentor characters is killed, but why ? Who was he ? Why was he important to our lead ? What was his character ? What was the reason of his demise ? Explain that. Or to cite another example - why did the main hero switch sides ? What was his motivation to do that ? Why didn't he call the guards on this Nathan guy (something that, IMHO, a real king would do) and blame him for the death ? Did he have any doubts ?
Sorry if I am being too harsh on you, but I am trying to help. Feel free to disagree with what I have said if you don't like it.
Carrying on. The good part about the story was the main character (but only because he was the only one here who got any backstory and explanation, but even that manks on two legs). He could be good (or chaotic neutral) but try to work on him. If it would be my story (but it isn't) then I would separate it into several chapters (if it has more than one chapter it still could be a short story) so you can take your time with the establishment of the universe and the characters in said universe. Create a story first and only then begin the writing. A small tip for you - write down the backstory of the story (redundancy much ?) and the work from that. You should have a metaphorical skeleton in order to put your flesh of the story on. Here it seemed that you actually did not bother with. But don't give up. Continue. The story (despite all of its flaws) still has some potential if worked out enough.




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Sat Jan 21, 2017 1:13 am
SteppeVesteffi wrote a review...



Hello,

Okay. This is going to be lengthy and rough. Bear with me.

First, some positives. The world you set up here seems like it has the potential to be compelling. The way it mirrors the actual world is interesting and sly; I love stories that make political and social commentaries.

Likewise, Marcus has the potential to be a strong lead. He needs some work, some polish, and I wish we got to know more about him—but I realize this is a short story, and character development can be a hard thing to achieve when working in a limited frame.

There are also some really clever and well-written lines scattered throughout this piece, but they're kind of lost in the shuffle. And that brings me to the constructive criticism portion of this review.

Unfortunately, this short story is beseeched with problems—from the story itself to the technical side of things (i.e., grammar), these issues run rampant. They are, at the moment, sort of ruining it.

The good news? It can be improved. And some of these problems can be easily fixed.

Let's start with the story itself.

It's extremely confusing—for much of the piece, I had no real understanding of what was happening, where Marcus was, or who these people were. It was akin to walking into a movie that's already halfway over, or reading a fanfiction about a show you've never seen. That is how confusing it was. You really need to make yourself clearer in your writing—don't spoon-feed the audience, but also don't take on an ambitious, hard-to-follow plot unless you know you can clarify to your readers what, exactly, is going on.

Parts of it dragged, and others moved too quickly. As such, the pacing was seriously flawed. Though Marcus seemed like a compelling character, I can't say for sure because we didn't know much about him—and what we did know was hammered home to an absurd degree (how many times do we have to be told Marcus is smart and gifted? Why not show us how smart he is? Or focus on another positive trait he has). It seemed like you wanted us to care about Nathan (the only other featured character in this entire piece), but we know so little about Nathan that it's awfully hard to root for him or even form an opinion of the guy.

The story zigzagged all over the map, and the ending felt sudden and like it came from left field. With this sort of plot, you really need a strong sense of where you're going and what you're going to do before starting to write it—don't just figure it out as you go along.

We really don't get any emotion or feeling from Marcus at all. Sure, he says he hates this place, that he wishes he were elsewhere, but there's never any more complexity than that. I want to get inside his head and really feel his rage, his resentment, his turmoil—and I didn't get that from this piece. Hell, we don't even know what he's doing there until wayyyy too late, and we never really find out what, exactly, this organization does. It's all shadowy and confusing, and sure, sometimes keeping an organization hazy works well, but not so much in this case.

There's almost zero imagery. Your readers won't be able to picture the environment or the characters, because you've set us up without even the most basic of descriptions. By all means, don't overuse imagery—that's a mistake a lot of authors make—but also give us something.

Ordinarily, I quote all the technical errors (e.g., comma splices, incorrect capitalization) in any given piece, round them up and explain why they're wrong. In this particular piece, though, there's too many for me to point them all out. Instead, I'm going to give you an overview of some of the mistakes and offer some guidance.

To start with, you switched tenses a few times, which is, in fairness, an easy mistake to make. Pick past-tense or present-tense and be careful to stick with it in the future.

The first letter in a character's name (e.g., the N in Nathan) is always, always, always capitalized. Not sometimes, and not just when it suits you.

There should never be a space between dialogue and punctation. So, for instance, when you write quotations (") and then dialogue ("Hello, Trudy"), there is no space in between the first and last letters of the dialogue and the quotes. Also, there is no space between the final letter of a sentence and the punctation (e.g., "Yeah!"—see how the there's no space between the final letter of 'yeah' and the exclamation point?).

Questions always end in a question mark.

The first letter of a new sentence (including dialogue) is always, always, always capitalized.

A sentence (including dialogue) must always end with a period, question mark, or exclamation point.

Commas should not be used in place of periods. They are two separate things, and when you use a comma when there should be a period, you get a run-on sentence.

Vary your language. Don't use the same word too often, and especially not back-to-back.

If a pronoun that follows dialogue is connected to that dialogue (e.g., "he said/she said/they asked"), then it should always begin with a lowercase letter.

Always—and I can't stress this enough—reread your work, and multiple times. Edit, edit, edit. A lot of the typos in this piece could've been cleared up with a few simple edits.

Anyway, here're some miscellaneous comments:

We arrive in central province , the political capital of the world and my home for the rest of my natural life

Obvious exposition is obvious.

I couldn't say I missed my family

Well, at least he's honest.

There have been times when I would comment on the research I was doing and they would just look at me.

Join the club, dude. There are times when I'm talking about the astute socioeconomic commentary of Laverne and Shirley, and my mother will just stare. Ignorance is bliss, I guess.

Then they would slowly turn back to what they were doing, or even worse continue to stare until their curiosity turned to disgust

They sound like a fun group.

My brothers were the worst about it, "why can't you work and go to school like us, are you too smart for us little prince?" they would say.

Obviously his brothers aren't very skilled trolls. That is some inept taunting, right there. I mean, "little prince"? C'mon, give me something I can work with.

My family couldn't grasp why I was different but they knew and that's what hurt them the most.

Huh?

That was the life I had lived until now, the son of farmers, youngest of four, and even now faced with the opportunity to gain more power than anyone, I wish I could go back.

What a complainer.
Also, "now" is repetitive.

Nothing I say or do will stop them from choosing who I and everyone else I have ever met will be and what we will do.

That is both vague and all-encompassing. You might as well have just said they're going to take over the planet.

and an older woman who looked like she was more plastic than flesh

You just described everyone in California.

The the left of the door

Two "the"s are not better than one.

and tap a nap after the long trip.

I've never heard the term "tap a nap" before, outside of competitive tap-dancing tournaments—but I love it!

Finally I find the bathroom and am relieved to find that it looks about the same as it did my house though a bit on the ritzier side.

The fact that even the bathroom is "ritzier" (which is rather vague, by the way) tells us everything we need to know about this place.

I walk in and turn on the showe.

How does one turn on a showe?

I just stand in the water for what seems like an hour before I realised I have somewhere to be.

Maybe the showe made him forget. It could have mystical powers.

I jump out and run to the closet, inside I find a dozen or so neatly pressed suits. Under them where three drawers and two sets of black shoes, in the drawers were underwear, socks, crisp white t-shirts, and dress shirts in different colors.

So you've been vague and stingy with the descriptions up to this point, and then all of a sudden, you go crazy and throw a description bonanza. Honestly, I'd prefer to know how the bathroom is "ritzy" than where the underwear is kept.

“. I'll walk you down to the private dinning hall where the rest of the bigwigs will be waiting. Don't worry they will only be a little t-ed off when you show up late” He said his dry humor not really adding much to the situation.

That was dry humor? It sounds more like he just stated some bland information.

I tense but realize that my reaction means as much them psychologically as them serving this meal is to me.

What?

not even bothering to change into the silk pajamas laid across the foot of my bed.

Designer briefcases, ritzy bathrooms, silk pajamas, showes... if Marcus doesn't want to be there, I will gladly switch places with him.

I’m having a dream where I keep telling these huge ants to move this giant rock

YOU TOO? And here I thought I was the only one!

“Marcus I have some unfortunate news, Mr.Franden our leader and your mentor was killed by an assassin, and since we have not yet apprehended him we must secure the next leader until we do.”

I don't think she needs to tell Marcus this guy's their leader and mentor. He should probably know that by now.
Also, this would be sad if we knew anything about Mr. Franden—like, anything at all—but up until this moment, I didn't even know that his name was Mr. Franden.

H kicks my legs out from under me and grabs he.

???

So, overall: This story definitely needs some work. I'm not going to lie and tell you it doesn't. But the good news is that the grammatical and technical errors can be cleared up fairly easily, and the story itself—beneath the confusion, beneath the lack of imagery—seems like a good one. If you polish it up, I have no doubt this could make for a really entertaining read.

So keep the faith! :)



Random avatar
davidgma says...


honestly thank you i never get any critisim i can work with when i write and its refereshing to find somone will to slog through my horrendus 2 am grammar and give workable feedback.




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