Dear Hilde, Happy 15th birthday. As I'm sure you'll understand, I wjobs 4 bitcoin on redditant to give you a present that will help you grow. Forgive me for sending the card c/o Sophie. It was the easiest way. Love from Dad.
"Notbitcoin litecoin graphhing, sir.""Well, it's a place to start. I'd been wondering how to begin. Move to the bed, and lie face down. Remove your tunic first."
Jonas did so, a little apprehensively. Beneath his bare chest, he felt the soft folds of the magnificent cloth that covered the bed. He watched as the man rose and moved first to the wall where the speaker was. It was the same sort of speaker that occupied a place in every dwelling, but one thing about it was different. This one had a switch, which the man deftly snapped to the end that said OFF.Jonas almost gasped aloud. To have the power to turn the speaker off? It was an astonishing thing.Then the man moved with surprising quickness to the corner where the bed was. He sat on a chair beside Jonas, who was motionless, waiting for what would happen next."Close your eyes. Relax. This will not be painful."Jonas remembered that he was allowed, that he had even been encouraged, to ask questions. "What are you going to do, sir?" he asked, hoping that his voice didn't betray his nervousness.
"I am going to transmit the memory of snow," the old man said, and placed his hands on Jonas's bare back.Jonas felt nothing unusual at first. He felt only the light touch of the old man's hands on his back."I think it's true," he told the Chief Elder and the community. "I don't understand it yet. I don't know what it is. But sometimes I see something. And maybe it's beyond."
She took her arm from his shoulders."Jonas," she said, speaking not to him alone but to the entire community of which he was a part, "you will be trained to be our next Receiver of Memory. We thank you for your childhood."Then she turned and left the stage, left him there alone, standing and facing the crowd, which began spontaneously the collective murmur of his name."Jonas." It was a whisper at first: hushed, barely audible. "Jonas. Jonas."
Then louder, faster. "JONAS. JONAS. JONAS."With the chant, Jonas knew, the community was accepting him and his new role, giving him life, the way they had given it to the new child Caleb. His heart swelled with gratitude and pride.
But at the same time he was filled with fear. He did not know what his selection meant. He did not know what he was to become.Or what would become of him.Now, for the first time in his twelve years of life, Jonas felt separate, different. He remembered what the Chief Elder had said: that his training would be alone and apart.But his training had not yet begun and already, upon leaving the Auditorium, he felt the apartness. Holding the folder she had given him, he made his way through the throng, looking for his family unit and for Asher. People moved aside for him. They watched him. He thought he could hear whispers.
"Ash!" he called, spotting his friend near the rows of bicycles. "Ride back with me?""Sure." Asher smiled, his usual smile, friendly and familiar. But Jonas felt a moment of hesitation from his friend, an uncertainty."Congratulations," Asher said."You too," Jonas replied. "It was really funny, when she told about the smacks. You got more applause than almost anybody else."
The other new Twelves clustered nearby, placing their folders carefully into the carrying containers on the backs of the bikes. In each dwelling tonight they would be studying the instructions for the beginning of their training. Each night for years the children had memorized the required lessons for school, often yawning with boredom. Tonight they would all begin eagerly to memorize the rules for their adult Assignments."Congratulations, Asher!" someone called. Then that hesitation again. "You too, Jonas!"
Asher and Jonas responded with congratulations to their group mates. Jonas saw his parents watching him from the place where their own bicycles were waiting. Lily had already been strapped into her seat.He waved. They waved back, smiling, but he noticed that Lily was watching him solemnly, her thumb in her mouth.
He rode directly to his dwelling, exchanging only small jokes and unimportant remarks with Asher."See you in the morning, Recreation Director!" he called, dismounting by his door as Asher continued on."Right! See you!" Asher called back. Once again, there was just a moment when things weren't quite the same, weren't quite as they had always been through the long friendship. Perhaps he had imagined it. Things couldn't change, with Asher.The evening meal was quieter than usual. Lily chattered about her plans for volunteer work; she would begin, she said, at the Nurturing Center, since she was already an expert at feeding Gabriel."I know," she added quickly, when her father gave her a warning glance, "I won't mention his name. I know I'm not supposed to know his name."I can't wait for tomorrow to come," she said happily. Jonas sighed uneasily. "I can," he muttered.
"You've been greatly honored," his mother said. "Your father and I are very proud.""It's the most important job in the community," Father said.
"But just the other night, you said that the job of making Assignments was the most important!"Mother nodded. "This is different. It's not a job, really. I never thought, never expected — " She paused. "There's only one Receiver."
"But the Chief Elder said that they had made a selection before, and that it failed. What was she talking about?"Both of his parents hesitated. Finally his father described the previous selection. "It was very much as it was today, Jonas — the same suspense, as one Eleven had been passed over when the Assignments were given. Then the announcement, when they singled out the one — "
Jonas interrupted. "What was his name?"His mother replied, "Her, not his. It was a female. But we are never to speak the name, or to use it again for a newchild.”Jonas was shocked. A name designated Not-to-Be-Spoken indicated the highest degree of disgrace."What happened to her?" he asked nervously.
But his parents looked blank. "We don't know," his father said uncomfortably. "We never saw her again."A silence fell over the room. They looked at each other. Finally his mother, rising from the table, said, "You've been greatly honored, Jonas. Greatly honored."
Alone in his sleeping room prepared for bed, Jonas opened his folder at last. Some of the other Twelves, he had noticed, had been given folders thick with printed pages. He imagined Benjamin, the scientific male in his group, beginning to read pages of rules and instructions with relish. He pictured Fiona smiling her gentle smile as she bent over the lists of duties and methods that she would be required to learn in the days to come.But his own folder was startlingly close to empty. Inside there was only a single printed sheet. He read it twice.
JONASRECEIVER OF MEMORY
1. Go immediately at the end of school hours each day to the Annex entrance behind the end of the House of the Old and present yourself to the attendant.2. Go immediately to your dwelling at the conclusion of Training Hours each day.3. From this moment you are exempted from rules governing rudeness. You may ask any question of any citizen and you will receive answers.4. Do not discuss your training with any other member of the community, including parents and Elders.
5. From this moment you are prohibited from dream-telling.6. Except for illness or injury unrelated to your training, do not apply for any any medication.
7. You are not permitted to apply for release.8. You may lie.
Jonas was stunned. What would happen to his friendships? His mindless hours playing ball, or riding his bike along the river? Those had been happy and vital times for him. Were they to be completely taken from him, now? The simple logistic instructions — where to go, and when — were expected. Every Twelve had to be told, of course, where and how and when to report for training. But he was a little dismayed that his schedule left no time, apparently, for recreation.The exemption from rudeness startled him. Reading it again, however, he realized that it didn't compel him to be rude; it simply allowed him the option. He was quite certain he would never take advantage of it. He was so completely, so thoroughly accustomed to courtesy within the community that the thought of asking another citizen an intimate question, of calling someone's attention to an area of awkwardness, was unnerving.