Auto Dale: Chapter 4
Posted February 20th, 2019 by Ninasilverrose
in British Columbia
Kate remembered the first time she had seen one of the handy men. It was a giant, mechanical creature with large glowing eyes, claw-like hands and wired chest cavity, staring down at her with an almost amused aura, as if it was mocking her and the rest of the citizens. She had seen the cartoon robot that spoke on the TV, friendly and small and cute; a friend. But this creature was nothing like what she had seen on TV.
There was always this burning question that nagged at her. Kate knew that to ask would be deadly, as even her own parents were not any better than the handy men. They were like machines, repeating the same sentences to questions and being pretty and perfect, which was not something she could ever get used to. And suddenly, when that man had wandered towards them, without a mask, holding a true expression that nobody in Auto-Dale ever held, Kate felt like she had finally met the one that she could trust. The one that she could be honest with without getting in trouble or taken away as an ugly.
Everyone in Auto-Dale feared the uglies, and nobody wanted to be one. No one really held the answer as to why Uglies were...well ugly. The things that she and her brother had been told was that they were to report any uglies, to turn in anyone that was acting strange or different. There was another lingering question: What was in the giant tower? Nobody held the answer to that, either. Or maybe they knew and just wouldn't tell the children, in fear that they may be telling them too much. She had seen the Handy men take Uglies into that tower countless times, vanishing into the shadows and dark corners of the night. What did they do in there? Was it just a giant prison or something more?
Then, there were the freaks. Kate had heard about the monsters lurking outside of town, the mysterious creatures enveloped in shadows that chased little girls and boys. But the thing was, no one had ever gone outside. They were too afraid to, wanting to hide in the safety of Auto-Dale and forget the dangers that could exist.
Once you reached the age of 18, however, you were "labeled." There were Exceptionals, Uglies and Pretties. Just about anything could make someone an ugly. Just thinking differently; being different, was enough to label one as an Ugly. The Exceptionals were smart and pretty girls that apparently were sent to a place where they were praised for their abilities and used them for the greater good.
The man gently lowered his head towards Kate and her brother, his long red scarf trailing behind him in the cool breeze. In his hand was a "happy" mask, which he gripped so tight his knuckles turned white. John, looking terrified, dropped his toys and grabbed his sister's hand, pointing shakily at the man. Kate, looking confused as to why her brother was behaving this way, curiously waited to see what the stranger would do.
"Look! It's a freak!" John shouted, his voice cracking. And then it all came together: It all depended on perspective. How one saw things and people. There was no monster outside of the city; it was merely outsiders that didn't belong in Auto-Dale.
"John, go inside. I will tell the one of the police bots."
"Go, now! Don't say anything to mum and dad about this. I don't want them to worry." Kate lied through her teeth, surprised at how well she was able to conjure up stories. With a nod, John wiped his tears that soaked his shirt and ran inside. The APB, or the Auto-Dale Police Bots, were more of the mechanical creatures. Slightly larger in size, these creatures balanced on their hind legs, having no arms or proper features of a human form. The only addition to these creatures was the eye that followed the citizens about, the same glowing yellow eyes that all Handy Men had.
Kate saw one of the APB heading their way and ran to the stranger, quickly grabbing the mask from his hands and placing it on his face. The APB approached painfully slow, as if savoring the panic it inflicted, and began scanning the two with that eerie, unblinking eye.
"Hello, Citizens. Can you-" It looked over to the stranger, as if directing the question at him. "Tell me, dearly citizen, who uglies are?" Kate saw the stranger's body tense, and she knew right away that he didn't have the answer.
Oh no, She thought.
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