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It was night and a lone man stood in the middle of a dimly lit, built up street, a grand building behind him and a crowd to his front.

“This isn’t right! This bill isn’t right!” The man spoke through a megaphone to a street of protesters that had gathered themselves around The Government House. “We have to fight this, or we are placing ourselves on the wrong side of history.” He was greeted by cheers and applause. “What message are we giving our children if we do nothing? What future are we building them?”

“Sir! Stand down now.” An officer commanded from behind him.

“With respect I refuse!” He called back. “For Briseton, I say we fight this! For Briseton I say we riot!” The crowd around him cheered as he bent down and picked up a fist sized brick. “Fuck The Exile Bill!” He yelled, turning and launching the brick at the government house and smashing a window. People from all around him copied, throwing what they could. However before he knew it he was surrounded by officers, being forced face first onto the pavement, his hands behind his back.

“Congratulations.” An officer spoke in his ear. “You’ve successfully earned your place as the first exile.”


“Rise and shine girls.” A harsh voice sounded. “Come on both of you up now, today is an important day as you are aware!” My eyes unwillingly fluttered open at the sound of my mothers voice filling the room and the electric blinds on our windows starting to rise. “I want both of you washed and dressed within the hour, I’ve laid your outfits out.” I propped myself up on my elbow and rubbed my eyes with my other hand, watching my mother leave the room in a hurry before glancing over at my twin in a bed parallel to my own. She gave me a small eye roll and a smirk as we both silently mocked our mother.

I begrudgingly trudged over to the outfits left for us and held up a plain black sack of a dress that was bound to fall below the knee. “Fucking hell” I shook my head with a chuckle before pulling at the short frilly sleeves still laughing. “Have you seen these Katie?” I questioned turning around.

“Yes.” She sighed. “And I know they’re god awful but we can’t exactly turn up to Examination Day dressed immodestly Em’s.”

“Jesus” I scoffed. “What’s happened to Katie Fitch?”

“Nothing…I’d just rather not spend the rest of my life in exile.” She replied somewhat harshly, joining me out of bed. “We have to comply to some extent.”

“I know.” I said with a gulp. My heart dropping then along with my smile and I hoped Katie hadn’t see the nerves or panic I’m sure had flashed across my face as I remembered the anxiety that had been building within me as this day grew closer.

“Anyway, I’m taking a shower. Snooze you lose.” Katie teased, breaking me from my thoughts. I nodded as she turned to walk into our en-suite.

I looked around our shared bedroom, trying to take it all in, feeling sure I wouldn’t be returning. Our house was modern like most houses in Briseton were now. Most of the original houses and buildings had been replaced in favour of simple architecture that could house modern technology. Nearly everything now was touchscreen, automatic or remote controlled. I envied the days of my grandparents where they still had a hint of individuality and didn’t rely on a motion censor to open a fucking door for them. Briseton had been almost completely rebuilt since The Exile Bill was put into motion to make way for the exile camps. North Point, East Wing, South Bay and West Watch, leaving Centre City in the middle of Briseton for those worthy enough for citizenship to live in.

I sat down on my white, polished block wood bed that matched my sisters exactly, except for the duvet covers. Katie’s baby pink sheets were the only real hint of colour in the room. Everything was black, white or grey scale and my navy sheets tended to blend in with the colour scheme. I rested my hands beside me, gripping the sheets as I was slightly overcome with emotion. I knew what the day had ahead for me and I was scared. No one else knew the truth that was eating me up inside, swirling in my gut and pulling strings to tighten my chest. I couldn’t tell anyone, even though they’d find out my secret once the day was through.

“Oh girls you look lovely. Don’t they look lovely Rob?” My mum gushed as we entered the kitchen an hour later, my red tinged hair hanging just above my shoulders. Katie looked quite content with the compliment but I was so wracked with fear, and uncomfortable in the travesty of the outfit, I couldn’t even fake a smile. “What’s wrong Emily?” Mum had clearly noticed the discomfort on my face. “Don’t you like the dress?”

“The dress is fine Mum..I’m fine.” I spoke weakly, trying to squeeze a small smile onto my face.

“Okay..” My mum spoke slowly, eyeing me somewhat suspiciously before turning away, satisfied with my answer for now. “Right James, Rob, will you clear your breakfast bowls away please, it looks like the bloody Exile Riots in here.” She nagged at my Dad and Brother, whilst me and Katie gathered breakfast for ourselves.

“Excited for your Examination day then girls?” Dad quizzed us grinning. Me and Katie turned to each other with small smiles on our faces, trying to read each others reactions.

“Yeah.” We spoke plainly and in unison, still smiling for Dad.

“I know my Fitch girls are gonna sail on through. You’ll be fully fledged citizens by the end of the day. All done and over before you know it.” He continued, beaming.

I nodded, before floating back into my thoughts. What would Katie do with her life? How would James grow up? How will life flow without me, will they even miss me? My mothers harsh voice sounded round the room, breaking my thoughts once again, as we were ordered to clean up and get ready to leave the house.

Everyone on the street seemed to be piling into their cars at the same time as we stepped out the front door. Cars all parked on driveways of houses identical to each other, no matter what way you looked down the street. My parents politely waved to our neighbours as we all climbed into our family car. We followed behind other neighbours and other cars followed behind us as we all drove out of the estate, heading in the same direction towards The Examination Centre that was located in the very middle of Briseton Centre City.

I wondered about all the other teens sat in cars around me and wether they were feeling the same, whether their thoughts and feelings were swirling in their brains as the convoy of cars took us away from our homes. I fixed my eyes on Katie’s foot tapping carelessly along to the music in the car, I couldn’t even tell you what song was playing. I tried to find a way to distract myself from my own anxiety for the rest of the journey. I tapped the touchscreen in front of me that was built into the back of the drivers seat and clicked on the news. “Thousands Of Teens Head For Examination” I winced at the nausea as I read the first headline before swiping the App away and turning the screen off again in defeat. I could see Katie eyeing me suspiciously as I sighed heavily. I decided to keep my eyes fixed on the window, looking at the passing houses and buildings, trying to regulate my breathing as I did so.

We began to slow as we neared The Exiamination Centre, right next to The Government Building. The congestion nearly brought us to a full stop as cars weaved through the busy city streets at a crawl. I watched out the window at other people go about their daily business, walking from place to place, looking so happy and care free. I desired it more than anything and felt a lump start to choke in my throat, knowing I’d never achieve it. Never get to live a life of freedom. I glanced into the distance and between buildings could spot one of the Exile buses, parked on one of the four main roads that lead from The Centre City to the Exile Camps, ready to take new exiles away. Our car started to move quicker again as the traffic cleared a little and we began to file car by car into The Examination Centre car park. I didn’t even think I’d be able to exit the car and stand, I felt as though my jelly legs would collapse underneath me and I’d succumb to be a puddle of nerves on the concrete floor.

The Examination Centre was a clinical, white, rectangular building and officers awaited us either side of the entrance. “Examinees to the left and family to the right please.” One of them commanded as families began exiting their vehicles.

“Okay girls, off you go.” Our mother spoke giving us a small kiss on our heads. “We’ll all see you on the other side.”

“Bye Mum.” I choked with my best attempt at a smile. My Dad hugged us and I breathed in heavily, holding him tight before we were ushered inside the building. Me and Katie were forced into a single file line in front of a check in desk, manned by a frightening looking woman. She had a stern face that seemed lacking in sympathy and she reminded me somewhat of my own mother.

“Bet I can pick out the exiles.” Katie laughed to me in a whisper.

“Don’t be a dick Katie.” I spat back.

“What?” Katie quizzed back, defensively. “It’s not like they’re good people, theres no point defending them Em’s, honestly you’re too nice sometimes.” She sighed.

My heart dropped at my sisters words and I failed to give her a reply, too upset with the realisation of what she thought of people like me. It seemed to satisfy her as she turned away from me, facing the front of the line again. She was called forward after a couple of minutes and the stern looking woman opened her mouth to speak. “Name?” She spoke without emotion.

“Fitch. Katie Fitch.”

“Date of birth?”

“June 4th 2032”

“Okay, follow that door into the waiting room.” The woman spoke, guiding Katie through a door to her right. “Next.” I gulped, watching the door slide open for Katie before stepping forward. “Oh look, theres two of you.” The woman remarked, her tone full of sarcasm.

“Um yes.” I fumbled with my words. “Well no, we’re twins.”

“Really?!” The arrogant woman continued to mock.

“Emily Fitch. June 4th 2032.” I stated plainly and somewhat harshly, growing tired of the exchange that was taking place. The woman sniggered, seeming happy with herself and her taunting before directing me the same way as Katie.

The door slid open for me and I entered a room full of kids my age, all sat in chairs in neat lines. I scanned the room quickly for Katie before spotting her in the far corner and making my way to sit beside her. The room was as cold and clinical as the rest of the building. White walls, floor and ceiling and minimal plain furniture. “Very welcoming.” I mocked, looking around me. Katie didn’t seem to hear me or perhaps she was just choosing to ignore me, her mind preocupied elsewhere.

“Reckon she’s a goner.” Katie sniggered in my ear, nodding over to a girl sat opposite and to the right of us. “She looks like a right tramp.” I glanced in the direction Katie was looking to see a thin, striking brunette. She had decorated her piercing blue eyes with harsh, black eyeliner to match her all black outfit. Fishnet tights, Vintage Doc Marten boots and a dress that was definitely shorter and more revealing than mine and Katie’s. To be fair to Katie, I had to agree that she probably wouldn’t be making it out of The Examination Building as a citizen. She seemed to exude trouble and mischief yet remain mysterious at the same time. She looked in the direction of me and Katie, locking her eyes with mine, I gave her a small smile, presuming we’d be getting to know each other soon anyway. Her face remained emotionless and she simply looked away again. “Rude.” Katie stated, before looking around the room once more to find someone else to pick on.

After a while another woman appeared at the other door in the room. “Cassie Ainsworth?”

“Yes?” A quiet voice sounded.

“Follow me, the examination process will begin now.” the room watched as the girl left the room behind the woman, beginning to chatter slightly. After about 10 minutes the faint sound of applause could be heard, followed by the appearance of the examiner once more. “James Cook?” A boy with short, scruffy hair stood up, pinging his braces as he did so. He walked towards the door, glancing down at the mysterious girl opposite us as he did so with an overly cheeky grin plastered on his face. He winked at her, earning a smirk from her mouth, the first look of emotion I’d seen from her so far. We all waited nervously as we had done before but the faint sound of applause didn’t occur this time, rather raised voices and what seemed like the sound of a scuffle before the examiner returned again. “Well there’s just no hiding from modern technology kids, I’m afraid we just had our first exile.” She spoke flatly. I started to sweat, my nerves returning with the reminder there was no hiding. My heart was beating double time and my mouth had completely rid itself of any moisture. “Katie Fitch?”

“Here.” Katie spoke proudly, standing up. “See you soon Em’s.” I nodded with a weak smile. She really had no idea, not even an inkling. My heart sank at the news my family would soon receive. I watched Katie go with the examiner and disappear through the door, my thoughts swimming. The waiting was so much harder alone. The inevitable eventually came though and once again the room heard the faint sound of applause. I imagined my families faces in that moment, all smiles, beaming with pride, hugging Katie as she was allowed to go and join them.

“Emily Fitch?” The room swirled around me and I swore I could have vomited on the spot, I was sure I would faint as soon as I stood up. I gulped and clocked a pair of eyes quizzing me. it was the thin, dark haired girl, she was now looking at me more inquisitively then she had before. “Emily Fitch?” I heard again. “Yes, sorry, here.” I mumbled, standing quickly and blinking my eyes away from the girl. I followed the examiner through the door and down a long corridor that grew brighter at the end. We stopped then and the examiner spoke. “Okay, so you’ll take a seat in the chair and I’ll wire you up to the machine, it’s completely painless and will be over in less than a minute. As you are aware failure to comply will result in exile. But if you’re the same as your twin, you’l be fine.” She spoke, a little bit friendlier than before, then she led us into the main auditorium. Families from all over Briseton were sat in the semi-circle of different levelled seats and I began to shake at the shear number of people in front of me. As quickly as I spotted my family I looked away, unable to meet their gaze.

The examiner made her way to a computer system in the middle of a stage-like area and I sat myself down on the seat next to it, it reminded me of a dentist chair which did little to help the situation. I lay my head back on the head rest, spotting a large display screen above us, as small buds wired to the machine were attached to my temples. “A little bit different to the polygraph your parents would have had for their examination day.” The woman spoke with a chuckle. “The machine will basically read you as if you are a book and if anything it finds violates the exile bill then…well we all know what happens then.” I gave a quick nod, trying to hold myself together. The examiner sat down in her chair and flicked a couple of switches, focusing her attention on a small computer screen. From the corner of my eye I could see the buds glowing slightly, a faint blue colour. Then suddenly, in time with a loud buzzer like noise, the lights turned red.

The room around me was silent, the examiner removed the buds from my temples and stepped away from as I looked at the screen. “Homosexual Perversions.” I read the words plastered across it, in capital letters for all to see. I finally let the tears fall from my eyes, a mixture of shame and relief. It was all I could do to lift my head. I looked at my family, knowing it would be the last time. Katie sat, her mouth hanging open, shock and embarrassment evident on her face. My dad and brother both looked as though they had no idea what was going on, of course James had an excuse, he was 11. Then as I felt my wrists being grabbed by officers and forced into handcuffs, I looked to my mother. She was risen out of her seat, her face cold and harsh like stone, just staring at me. She looked as though I had betrayed her and that all that flowed through her veins was pure anger. I gave her a pleading look, begging with my brown eyes for forgiveness, to still love me even with this thing I had no control over. She shook her head in disgust as officers pushed me into a holding room where the scruffy lad was being kept. He seemed to be in the same spirits as in the waiting room, but as I heard the door close behind me, I sank to the floor, my back again a wall, to do nothing but cry.