Kelly flicked on the light switch and strolled into her spotless bathroom. The maid had done her job well this time; Kelly had found things out of place in the past and had felt the need to complain. Not today though. All surfaces gleamed white, the hand dryer was white, the toilet was white, the only other colour was the sparkling sliver of her large bathroom mirror. In this, Kelly wearily regarded her appearance. Her regulation bright blonde hair gleamed. Being naturally fair, she didn't need to trouble herself with the weekly dyeing sessions the other girls had to endure. As it was well known to be caught with even an inch of dark roots, was not to be thought about. Her hair lay long and straight down her back, another regulation since all hair had to be kept as long and as straight as possible, some girls even resorted to extensions. Her smooth tanned skin was utterly flawless and her blue eyes sparkled, just like she knew all two hundred of the girls in the academy did. Finally, her breasts swelled becomingly beneath her white shift. Her breast augmentation had taken place just after her sixteenth birthday when everyone was quite sure they wouldn't grow anymore. Now they were at the regulation double D cup, and she hated them because she knew she now looked just the same as everybody else. After this careful inspection of her outward appearance, Kelly finished off by brushing her teeth with the regulation, whitening toothpaste which sometimes burned her mouth it was so strong. It was worth it however, as any girl caught with yellowing teeth was sure to regret it later. After washing her hands, Kelly slipped on her flat white pumps and was sure she was ready to face another day of rejection, flash photography and aching jaws. Even though Kelly is only seventeen, she does not attend a normal school or college. The place that Kelly lives and works everyday bears little resemblance to a traditional school and would be more truthfully likened to a prison. Rather than learning how to do sums and read books, Kelly learns how to get her first pop hit to number one, how to bag her first footballing husband and how best to exit a limo when wearing a mini skirt. Along with every other girl of good breeding in England of course.
Kelly's male counterparts are also submitted to the same sort of 'schooling'. In these large featureless 'academies' they learn how to become footballers, dashing movie stars and cute pop singers. Kelly dreamed of meeting her first 'man', what he would look like, and how he would remove her from this bland, colourless existence. Kelly had never seen a man before; she had seen boys when she was younger, before all this had begun. But now the only men she ever saw were in the weekly torment of sex education classes. And these men were only cartoons up on the projector.
She longed for a handsome man, who would one day rescue her from this daily boredom. She would sit for hours beside her bedroom window and imagine his tall strong limbs, floppy, shining hair and his black eyes. Alas, he never appeared and Kelly was forced to endure her daily trials in the academy. The only break in this boredom were her 'acquaintances'. Friendships were strictly forbidden and the leaders with their heat devices were quick to punish any friendly activity. As a result, the girls had become devious. They learned how to lip read, whisper making hardly any sound, even learnt how to read body language. Hand signals were passed in corridors whilst passing, smiles, nods even frowns exchanged in the blink of an eye. Intimate conversations carried out with both participants staring straight ahead. These friendships were treasured, shared, devoured. It was their only contact with other humans, apart from the silent, dark figures of the maids that constantly shadowed their movements. Most girls had one or two friends to keep their minds occupied, only a few refused to partake in this rebellion. These were usually the dedicated ones. Kelly had nicknamed them the 'blankies' due to their constantly blank, vapid expression. They usually went to extra classes at night and sat at lunchtime in the corner wearing headphones listening to the directions. The directions were a set of rules which had been set out when the two major news corporations the BBC and ITV had merged together and enlisted the help of the major newspapers. This super news group had successfully carried out a coup on the government and had placed itself in charge of the country. Media now ruled. Kelly knew things weren't settled though, there was still fighting in the cities. It was hard to ignore her nightly bedtime lullaby of the distant boom of bombs, and the rattle of gunfire. It was hardest to ignore the screams that followed. Kelly knew all about the news corporations because although she had been young she had still lived through the take-over. She'd recently found out that the younger girls were being told this had always been. The media had always ran everything. There was never any government, never any freedom, girls had always been brought up in compounds ran by butch looking half-women, this was the ultimate. All there was. Had ever been. The end.
Yet Kelly knew this was lies. Somehow Kelly knew that the blankies forced themselves to listen to the directions as a way to try and believe all this bullshit. She knew this but sometimes, even she was almost duped into believing it. Thankfully, Kelly had always found it difficult to swallow, but she made sure to regularly attend important news screenings and read the papers everyday. Weirdly, the blankies hadn't always been that blank. Many of them had been the rebellious ones; the ones who refused to attend news meetings, and had proudly made friends. Yet one morning they had just appeared at breakfast with their new blank expression, and had never said anything to anyone again. Kelly always found it odd how terrified of the heat devices they had become.