My name is Carly, and I am perfect.

At least, that’s what my parents tell me. And the servants and guards and groundskeepers and everybody really, so it must be true. How could it not be? I am perfect. My golden curls are perfect. My always clean, white dress is perfect, and Mommy and Daddy are perfect too, of course. They are in charge of everything and everyone here, they help make the world more perfect every day.

There are lots of rules for me. Like not running and no talking to the servants and staying far far far away from the very big wall that stands up in the garden. Daddy says the wall is to keep the people out and Mommy says rules will make me happy, and that they’re for my own good. She says that about almost everything.

For thirty minutes in the morning, I walk in the garden with Maid. Maid doesn’t say anything, and Mommy said that she’s meant to be like that, Maids never speak, but sometimes I worry about what she’s thinking. I suppose she talks to the other Maids in secret. While she follows me around the spotless paths, I watch the gardeners cut hedges and clip grass. They trim every bush and lawn so immaculately that they glow in the sunshine. I want to see them care for the roses, so I call Maid and we go to Mommy’s garden. Mommy’s garden is very perfect, and it’s dedicated to her by Daddy even though she hardly goes there. The garden is full of sweet-smelling rose bushes, each with twenty flawless red roses pinned to their flawless green stems. They are very pretty and I like them a lot. Mommy said they were made by Science and not Nature and I was confused because I’ve never met them before.

On Tuesdays, we “greet the people” as Daddy says. My first Tuesday I got in trouble for crying, because crying isn’t perfect. When we “greet the people” we leave the garden wall in our big car. It was exciting the first few times, but we go the same way, to the same place every week so now it’s pretty boring. We get out of the car in a big field and our guards take us up to a platform in the middle of it. The field is full of hundreds of people all dressed in grey, but they pose no threat, and they stay in orderly lines as we take our seats before them.

I always sit in the same spot on the platform, and Daddy and Mommy always tell the crowd the same things. “Perfection isn’t created from nothing, but made from sacrifice.” They say that every week and then sit down with me to watch The Sacrifice as it’s called. The Sacrifice is when anything flawed or inferior is destroyed and done away with forever. This week the first sacrifice is a massive pile of food. Rotten, twisted, and even slightly stale or blemished, all the food is burnt in the field. I am glad to see the ugly food go, how could anyone consider putting such trash in their mouth? It would be a reproachable decision that would lead to only more imperfectness.

For the next hour or so, my parents and I oversee the burning of more spoiled and inadequate foods, goods and materials. After burning all the goods, the animals are slaughtered. Any creature scarred or mishappen, any twin or animal defected at birth is sacrificed and burnt. I am tired and bored because the animals take the longest time and there are so many of them to sacrifice. Their blood has stopped soaking into the earth and is forming into small pools on the ground. When the animals are finally all gone, I am relieved because soon we will be going back to our perfect walled house. This field is the only place in the world where my Mommy and Daddy allow imperfection, and it is making me feel ill.

But of course, before we can finally be done, the guards bring out the final defects of the evening. Humans. These are really the worst of the sacrifices. They are almost always old or ugly or stupid and it makes me feel scared to see them unburnt. They are gagged because some of them would try and protest their death otherwise. There are not many, and they are killed swiftly and thrown into the raging fire of animal flesh as their blood is still slowly joining the animals in pools on the ground. The field is bathed in an awful smell like always, and Mommy, Daddy and I quickly descend from the platform and get back into our car, which finally takes us back to the walled house and impeccable gardens where we live our perfect, happy lives.

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