Dear Beloved Sister

Dear Beloved Sister,

I write from the center of attention at the 136th show of our Cirqueau, with my 136th letter to you.

I’m sitting in a new booth, marked a sideshow just yesterday. Upper Command thought it best that no one observe an abomination of a girl like me for too long.

Yet the spectators stare, eyes mesmerized by the reflection of ink on paper. The shapes of my letters are foreign, so different from the standardized typeface the rest are required to use, often with the assistance of aI-WRiTe.

There is a lost art in each stroke of my pen. The spectators see it too. Their longing reaches through the glass and nearly takes hold of my words: I wish to tell my story, too. I wish to write like you do. The Cirqueau offers them a place for such imaginations, but as you know a coveted spot in our show is only reserved for those who pass the TEST—the talent examination.

As I have done for the past 135 letters, I will describe the most interesting of the spectators.

Tonight, there is a girl around your age who reminds me of a young woman I once saw in an old photograph from the Archives. Under this photograph was her last letter. The political climate of the Polar Era caused the writer much psychological distress. She could not determine who she was, as she was always trying to appease others, especially those with radically different viewpoints. She became all those views and lost herself within them. She wrote, “I feel like the greatest liar on Earth.” At this stage, what is Earth anymore? She is a lie herself.

The girl is pounding on the glass now. I cannot hear her through the soundproofed booth. She should leave soon, intermission is ending.

She speaks, her mouth forming the same words in circles. The other spectators head back to the Cirqueau tent, occasionally looking over their shoulders at this funny girl’s commotion.

She continues to hit the glass, sending a quiver down my booth. She might break in. Something is not quite right. Hold on, Sister.

She is saying, “I am the greatest liar on Earth.” This is fitting, at the greatest show on Earth. I believe her.

Two officers have just come up behind her. Their presence makes her bang on the glass more furiously. The ground is shaking beneath me, yet there is not a crack to be seen.

The officers steal her hands. The Earth rumbles.

Do you feel the end coming up on you?

The spectators outside fall, and the ground opens up to swallow them.

At least there is water below. I hope there is, anyhow. It may be all dried up.

Now, I will fall too.