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3rd December
posted by amber

The Least Favourite

She was always the last one chosen to sit beside the others on the shuttle, the first one to be given the airsuit with a slow-leaking seal. Her mother told her to ignore the names, the shoves that sent her flying into the teacher’s display screen, the anonymous lies told about her on the Skein.

“Be friendly and nice,” her mother told her. “All this will stop when they see that you’re no different from them.”

But Naira knew she was different. She just didn’t know why. She’d been a baby when her mother uplifted from Earth. Although it was forbidden, she’d asked her mother many times to tell her about life down on the planet. There had to be a reason for the tears every night, for the scars on her mother’s face and back.

She knew about Earth. Every course in school had something to say about Earth. Economics used Earth as a warning, so did Health and Media. History struggled to balance the brief halcyon years of Belt settlement and progress against centuries of endless terrestrial war and hatred. Religion was another kind of history; they could teach only about bad faiths on Earth since religion wasn’t allowed in the Belt.

But Naira knew religion, and that other Forbidden – ethnicity – did exist. And she knew that was somehow at the heart of her difference. She looked different, her hair too fair and straight, her skin too pale. The others believed that she, and her kind, were responsible for what had gone wrong on Earth. And they believed, with a fervency equal to any praying nun or imam, that they were better than her.

And if they were right about her and her kind, she believed it too. Her shame made her different. She wore it like a banner.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story for every day of the year and posted on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line suggestions in the Comment section of any story.

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