Katyn – A Dystopian Story


A Dystopian Story

Katyn | Emerald Secondary College
Secondary English | Term 1 2021

If only they told me why.

The only thing I remember from when I was born was one vivid, strangely clear memory. The words “not to speak” echoing through my head, entering my brain. At that point, I had no idea what that meant, what it meant to me, or what it would cause.

All my life I’d learned about words, grammar and spelling, we had to. We were told what words to say, what words not to say, what things meant and how we can use words. We weren’t allowed to use any of it or practice the things we had learned. But we were taught it anyway. For the future. For when we all turn eighteen. Or at least that’s what we were told. We just spent our days doing our jobs. Creating and preparing technology. “It is the future.” That’s what we were told every day. By everyone.

As you can imagine, communication was hard. It always has been. I always answered to my name, Maya. But conversations with my family usually consisted of them asking yes or no questions and me answering with either a nod or shake of the head, or they would just text me. Maintaining friendships was also challenging so we all learned to rely on each other’s emotions to express actions towards one another.

Why did they tell us lies?

We all weren’t actually sure if we were capable of speaking and forming words with our mouths. We hadn’t tried. You could say we were too scared. But I would say that we just didn’t trust ourselves. Even if we did speak, I don’t know if we would ever be able to stop. The new experience of a sound coming from our bodies was too much to handle for some people. Stories of people that spoke too early went around from time to time, people said that they were taken away, tortured, then thrown onto the streets. I didn’t want that to be me. So, I followed the rules. As much as I didn’t want to.

Of course, there was the annual monthly government check-up, where they would take us into a room one by one and have our vocal cords looked at, to see if there was any sign of strain on them. To see if they had been used. So even if you had spoken in private, with no sign of anyone around. You would be caught.

Why couldn’t we speak?

No one has ever known why children weren’t allowed to speak. There were rumours that it was because children typically were just too annoying or that they had nothing good to say. But I think it is because the government is afraid. Afraid that our ideas would be better than their own. That children would take their power.

My eighteenth birthday was coming up. That was a big deal. It was only nine days until I could speak freely. Without the fear of the government finding me and taking me away. Everyone that has ever turned eighteen was required to write a speech so that when we can finally share our voices we have something beautiful and worthwhile to say. I had already written mine; I had written it when I was twelve. I already knew what I wanted to say, ever since I found out about it.

My special day was creeping up to me quickly. Almost too quickly. I had rehearsed my speech in my head for years, so at least I knew I was prepared. Five days. Four days. Three days. Two days. One more day.

I watched the seconds count down until it was my turn. My turn to speak. It was here. I took a deep breath. I opened my mouth. And…


No words.

My throat croaked. It was dry. I had no words.

Why can’t I speak?

What kind of trick was being played on me?

This whole time I had been waiting, but now I have nothing.

I looked around the room to search for any kind of sign that might be the answer but I found nothing. I took a deep breath. It was going to be okay. At least I knew what to do. The government always said that if there was a problem that they should be notified. So, still in disbelief, I whipped out my laptop and clicked the alarm button we were provided with. Almost immediately my laptop dinged signalling the reply of the government. I opened the email. I read it. Then re-read it. I’m confused. Suddenly I felt my ears begin to warm up, my head seemed as though it was being banged on from the inside out.

“We removed your vocal cords.” “You don’t need them anymore.”

Katyn | Emerald Secondary College

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