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In a world where there is no middle, you are caught at an impasse. Either Rich or Poor, you are one or the other.
We didn't want to be in this situation, no one in our district did, but that was our lot. We all looked to the district wall wishing we could be on the other side, but that's not how it works, you see. You don't get to work towards the wall, that would be too easy. Instead you must be chosen for your place on the other side. Once that happens, you don't return to the side from whence you came, only if you are chosen once again in the exchange.
That's what they call it. The Exchange. Sounds harmless, right? Each year, the Exchange occurs, one 'rich' for a 'poor' as we're all called.
Me, I'm a Poor. Compared to statistics of the old world, we aren't actually poor, but in today's money, we ourselves are impoverished.
The Exchange is tomorrow morning. We all wait for our chances, and yet we don't want to be chose. A rich and lavish life against leaving all we have behind weighs upon each of our shoulders. We feel guilty for wanting to move on to something better, as that means we can't return to our families.
And yet, the thrill of the Exchange grips us in its claws, and we sit in anticipation, wasting the night away, dreaming that it is our name that is called, and it is our life that is changed by crossing the wall.
When morning arrives, we line up, scrambling to see the Mediator. The Mediator is required to call our names from their prestigious place on the wall.
When my name is called, the entire district turns to me, waiting for me to say something, do something. Most shout, some cry, whereas I stand numb. Shoves come from every side. urging me towards the wall, towards my fate.
Taking my place before the wall, I wait for the doors to open. When they do, I take a final glance towards my family behind me, who watch me with both joy and fear; they are losing their only daughter after all. I catch my mother's whisper of 'be safe' before the familiar crunching of gears alerts me to the opening of the door before me.
As I take my first steps towards the Rich, I can't help but look to the girl I am replacing. Her eyes convey her utter disdain for me, envy rolling off of her in waves. Looking towards my future, I take my place on the side of the Rich.