The rules bear down heavy and pressure upon her. There is no logic to them, but they guide her just the same. Dictate every action she makes, has ever made in her life since the time that she could create thoughts. Each of them are like that. She looked around the circle and took in their faces. They didn’t look much different then her own. Looking the same mattered. It was the rule. Close clipped hair. Neat clothing. Grey. Everything grey. All bland. All was bland to the eyes. There were glimpses of other colors around her that suggested that there was a wider world out there that glowed with blooming magnificent swirls and rainbows, but she had never seen that world. After the rain, there were rainbows. The law could not erase them. There was a boy with green eyes, they had not been turned grey, the law had not yet learned how. There was a girl whose eyes were brown. A man’s hair that was black rather then the light brown like most everyone else. But he was careful to keep it tucked beneath a cap while he was out of his home. There were times that she peeked in from outside his window so that she could watch him. She knew that this was wrong. The law forbade it, but she wanted to look on that hair. With it, the man had soft blue eyes. He was so different then everyone else. The way that he moved, it was different. She had heard once that his family had come for else where, long before she had been born. Where was else where? Was it far? She watched him and imagined what this other place could be like. Those people probably looked all like he did, all the same like they were here. But it was a same that was different. Why did the law not stretch to the else where and reach to all the lands to make all the places the same? Why was the sameness not the same every where? These questions burned a hole in her chest that caused a deep aching that never ceased. She knew this ache was dangerous. The questions even more so, but she could no supress them. There were times that she wondered if she should present herse;f to the law for cleansing. Having her mind wiped might forever rid her of these cruel torments. But what else would they take from her? She had seen the cleansed ones. They shuffled through the day like empty dolls. Over time, they gained more of a sense of humanity, but they never seemed fully real to her. She wondered if the black haired man knew the place his family had come from. Was he fro there or had he been born here? She watched him now as he walked past her in the street. Her gaze was supposed to be on the circle of the others and her thoughts on the laws. But her mind and her eyes strayed as they often did. The staff came down hard against her back. She cried out. The other in the circle didn’t seem to notice the punishment that the law keeper had given her. They kept their eyes and minds focused where they were supposed to be. Even with this punsishment laid down, her eyes followed the man until he was out of sight. Another blow fell unpn her. She cried out again. “Your mind is weak,” the keper of the law said. She gave no reply, none was expected. She shifted herself and turned her gaze back the the circle of others. They were bland and she already missed the shine of black hair. She wondered if it was soft. The cap had been dutifully pulled down over his head, but he was due for a cut and the tufts of hair were poking from the edges of the cap. She miled. He was rebelious in his own way. He also had a difficult time following the law. Either because he chose to rebell in little ways or because he too struggled to keeo his mind where it was supposed to be. The change in expression earned her another blow. “Do you wish to remain within the circle forever?” the keeper of the law asked her. She knew the answer, but said nothing. There was no other person who had stayed in the circle longer then she had already. She was a shame within the law. People looked at her only briefly. They avoided her whenever the law permeitted them to do so. She was a failure before the law. She had aged to adulthood, but she was had not yet passed from the circle of learning. Her ind could not be taught focus, coulf not learn the law. It would have to. The time was running out. The aw was clear. If she did not pass from the circle by the end of the year, she would be cleansed and they would sned her to the circle to start a new. She did not want to be cleansed. Hanging her head in humility, she took a deep breath. The law owned her. It owned her from the time she was born. If she did not want it to destory hrt, she had not choice but to obey it. The law was cruel and uncompromising. She would bend or it would break her.