Margaret has been chosen to be one of the Elite who run the world, but the truth about how the Elite get some of their power is much darker.

The sound of the mailbox slamming closed rang through the quiet downstairs of Margaret’s house. When she jumped up and ran to check the mail, her twin brother, Ryan, joined her at the door. The results from this year’s rankings were supposed to come today. 

Every year, all 18 year olds have to take the ranking test, consisting of an exam for intellectual and physical ability, to determine their placement in the world. The ones that scored the highest would be selected to have the best additional education and the ones that scored lower were used for various manual or menial work. Everybody’s job was supposed to be selected at a comfortable level for their ability level, making nobody’s life very difficult. Even though the test would assign her to the correct job level for her, it would determine the course of Margaret’s life. 

Margaret and her brother waited until her parents got home from their job. Her parents’ jobs paid well, allowing Margaret and her family to live a comfortable life, but it required long hours which kept them out of the house for long periods of time. 

When her parents finally came home, they all gathered around the table to watch Margaret and Ryan open their letters. Margaret opened hers first, carefully pulling the results out of the envelope and unfolding the page. She gasped.

“I got Elite. I get to go to The Academy,” she breathed out. Her parents rushed to her side to hug her, while her brother looked on with pride but with a mix of envy. 

“Open yours,” she urged. 

He pulled out the paper. “It says that I got selected for a new, special training program across the country,” Ryan said. “It says that I will have to leave in a week.”

This time, it was Ryan’s turn to get hugged. Margaret was relieved, as both she and her brother had gotten good assignments even though they would have to be separated for the first time. Although Margaret was happy when she had gotten hers, she did not want to leave her brother to not be selected for something less either. Luckily, they both received good results. They were both going to be okay.

Finally the day came for all the 18 year olds to go to their assigned academy or program. Her mother took her to get set up at the academy, while her father took Ryan to the airport to go to his training program. 

All the Elite got to go to the Academy, the top school in the world, where they taught the skills and subjects necessary to lead the world in any branch of study, be it politics or science. Going to the Academy ensured a life with lots of money and power. 

On her first day, Margaret managed to find all her classes, even though she only  asked for directions once. Even just on the first day, she managed to learn so much. All the lectures and assignments were so interesting and exciting to her. 

After a few months, Margaret had gotten used to her life at the academy. She was happy here. All the teachers seemed so experienced, as if they had been here for a long time and had done so much in their lives. She had so much to learn from them. 

One day, Margaret felt very tired from all the studying that she had done and decided to take a break and walk around the academy. She wandered into a section of the academy that she had not gone into before. She went into an empty classroom that looked like a computer room. One of the computers in the back was on and Margaret moved to shut it off. The screen showed a slideshow presentation, presumably somebody had opened it up to study for one of their classes. Curious, Margaret flipped through the slides. 

What she saw shocked her. How could they just take blood from the people that did not do well on their exams? Did those people consent to it? What happened to them? Did they die? Who else knew this was happening? Who let this happen?

Margaret stumbled out of the room and towards a door at the end of the hallway that she hoped would lead outside. She needed fresh air. She could not breathe. But when she opened the door she saw a large sterile room. Chairs lined the walls with blood extraction equipment next to each one. A door on the other side of the room opened and Margaret scrambled to hide. She had a feeling that she should not be here. 

A group of young people filed into the room led by two adults in lab coats. The group all found and took a seat at one of the chairs along the wall and the adults attached the blood extraction into each of the young people and then left. The kids all stayed in their seats while the blood bags slowly filled up. 

Margaret scanned the room, trying to find a way to get out of the room unnoticed. She had a feeling that she would be in a lot of trouble if anybody suspected that she had been here. 

Then she saw him. Ryan was sitting in one of the chairs on the other side of the room, attached to one of the blood bags. He looked tired and a little sickly. 

He must be one of the donors that the slide show mentioned. But that’s not possible- his letter said that he was selected for a special program across the country. How is he here?. Margaret had to get him out of here. She could not let him stay here getting more and more sickly as he was drained of blood. She did not care if she was seen here. All that mattered was saving Ryan; she would deal with whatever happened to her when the time came. 

He looked up and his eyes widened with shock as he saw her run across the room to him.

“Margaret, what are you doing here? You shouldn’t be here. You are not allowed to see this. You need to get out. Now!”

Not listening to his warnings, Margaret unhooked him from the equipment; but, it took longer than it should have. Her hands were shaking from the fear and her vision was blurry from tears. Finally finishing, she dragged Ryan to her feet. 

“No, I’m not leaving you. I can’t believe what they are doing to you here. We need to get you out of here. I’m not going to let them drain you of blood, just so they can improve their brains and live longer. If you don’t leave you are going to die soon!” she said. She grabbed his hand and pulled him across the room and to the door, but it was locked. She looked around for something that she could use to try and pick the lock. Just then, the door unlocked and opened. The two people in lab coats from earlier came into the room.

For a second, they seemed shocked to see her, but then they regained their composure and gave her a look of disappointment and regret.

“You shouldn’t be here.”

“Oh, I stumbled here by accident,” Margaret stammered.

“Well, now you have seen what goes on here and we can’t have you telling others what you saw, now can we?”

“What are you going to do to me?”

“Since you clearly missed your brother,” the person said, glancing over to a trembling Ryan, “you can stay here with him.”

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