www.whyville.net Oct 9, 2011 Weekly Issue

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Survival of the Fittest

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I walked across the prison courtyard, looking for Kelly. There were teens leaned up against the fence, having mild conversation. Off in the dark alley, a few girls were getting into a fight. Everyone around me kept their tough-jail-faces on, and I put on one myself. Around here, if you didn't look scary, you were meat.

I finally saw Kelly, sitting on a worn-down picnic table, doing her makeup. Looking at Kelly, you would expect her to be an average 16 year old girl. More than average, actually. She was gorgeous -- looked like the type of girl to carry a chihuahua around in a purse. She had straight, bleach-blonde hair that went down just past her shoulders, with short, wispy bangs. Her velvety pale skin reflected light, bringing back a soft, rosey appearance. Perhaps it was her eyes, though, that brought the most attention. They were a stunning blue, bright and electric. Yes, one look at Kelly and you would expect her to be normal -- not a murderer.

"What are you gettin' all fancied up for?" I asked Kelly. She puckered her plump, glossy lips.

"Didn't nobody told you, Ariana?" She asked, her bad grammar reflecting her bad personality. "Today, they announce the top five for Bear Island. The cameras are gonna be here, I have to look pretty!"

For a moment, I felt like I was getting slapped in the face. The whole world seemed to stop spinning. I hadn't been at the New York Teen Prison for a full year yet, so I hadn't experienced a choosing, but I knew what she was talking about. Every year, the NYTP chose the Top Five teen criminals and sent them out to Bear Island, a harsh island off the coast of New York. The teens are forced to battle to the death, or die of starvation or dehydration. The last person standing gets to be freed from the jail. However, there isn't always a last one standing. On the tenth night, at midnight, if there has not yet been a winner, then bombs planted under the island go off, killing everyone who is remaining.

"N-no . . ." I stuttered.

"Well, you better ready it up. Cameras are gon' be here at noon," she said. She lifted up a book that was residing on her lap. The Holy Bible. "You want some?" she asked, opening up the bible. Inside, the book was carved out, and in the big, hollow hole in the middle was a pack of cigarettes and a lighter.

"Nah," I said. "Don't want my teeth to be as yellow as yours when the cameras see me." I winked and walked away, seeing her from the corner of my eye, testing out her smile.

Noon came too quick. There were several hundred of us, all being squeezed into the small auditorium. There were several cameramen gathered by the stage, filming the head warden as he welcomed everyone. Above the stage was a large TV screen, where we could watch what was being filmed, and see what the warden was doing if we couldn't see.

I couldn't see or hear the head warden, but I was able to see on the TV what was going on. I could tell that he had called the first name when the camera switched to Annabelle Hart, a redheaded 13 year old. I felt bad for her at first, since she was so young -- but then I remembered that she was a serial killer. She would have been fried on the electric chair, but because of her age, the cops couldn't do anything more than life in prison. It made sense that they would pick her as number one.

The next two names were called. One was a boy named Carter Reagan, a 15 year old boy who had set fire to a school. He has blonde, wispy hair and beautiful green eyes. You could almost see the girls sighing with love at his appearance. The other one was a girl who I don't know, but the name that flashed on the screen was Allie Sheen. She had dark brown hair, freckles, and glasses. She looked like she was about 17, and she definitely didn't look like she could've committed a crime.

I looked at the screen for the fourth person to be called. Instead of showing another awkward person though, the screen showed someone completely unexpected. Me. Onscreen, I could say that I have never looked more beautiful. My black, curly hair looked glossy and shiny, my silver eyes making me look haunted. My skin had turned an unbelievably pale shade from my nausea. Add that to my black hair and silver eyes, and I looked like I was a ghost. The video cut back to the warden, who signaled me up onto the stage.

My legs felt like jelly. I stumbled through the crowd, getting sneers and and stares. One person even mumbled, "I'm so jealous." What was there to be jealous about? I was going to my deathbed, you might say. But then I realized that in the criminal world, this was an honor. I was getting called as one of the top five criminals, but this didn't feel like an honor. The warden shook my hand, and I went to go stand next to Allie Sheen.

The fifth name was called, this time I was able to hear. Tim Parker. He was big, and he was tough. He was a murderer, similar to Annabelle. He was 14, but looked about 30. He took his place next to me on the stage. "Thank you all for coming here! Let's let this years Survival Of The Fittest be the best one yet!" The warden called out.

I had almost forgotten. While we were living and struggling on Bear Island, they were filming us for a TV show called "Survival of The Fittest". An hour each night, the day's events would be broadcasted on television. I felt sick to my stomach. All of America would be watching me when I died. At least my family didn't have to be pitied, since they were long dead. Everyone took their turn saying their ages and what they committed. When it was my turn, I was unprepared.

"H-hi everyone," I stuttered. "I'm Ariana Crispin, and I'm 15 years old. I killed my family when I was 13, and robbed several homes." Some gasps arose, but most people had seen it coming. I wasn't embarrassed to tell, I was a criminal. That's who I was. We were all led into the guest room, where we could speak to our families for the last time. Since I had no one, Kelly came in. We didn't say much, as 15 minutes was all we got. I was herded out the back of the jail, cuffs gripping my wrists. They led us into a car, and I stuck my head out the window to get a last breath of New York air. Before I knew it, we had arrived at the harbor.


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