Beyond the Basics
Four teens from different backgrounds and different parts of the US all have one thing in common. They are tired of following The Standard forcing everyone to just be normal. But, to go beyond the basics is to go against society in the new America and has the terrible punishment of death.
Joining the Creatives is their only way to cheat death. But being in a rebel group is more than just fun and games.
Karis: Chocolate Chip Cookies
However, the main reason why she hated being the presidentâ€™s daughter was that everyone expects perfection. Karis had never been perfect. Even her uneven hair disagreed with the thought of perfection. She was on the verge of failing every class she took in school. Well, every class besides Gourmet Foods. There was no doubt that Karis had reached The Standard for cooking before the first semester was even over. Cooking just seemed to come naturally to her. Her mind was able to know which flavors worked and which flavors didnâ€™t. It took too much energy to try to not perfect the recipes. This was why today would be the day that America would get what they wanted to see. Perfection.
Karis knew the consequences of trying to go above The Standard. Death was nothing compared to the amount of strength she used to stop herself from changing the recipes. Besides, would her father honestly sentence his daughter to death?
She tightened the apron around her and waited for the teacher to stop explaining the directions on how to bake chocolate cookies. Her eyes wandered around her to different faces. One in particular stopped her. The face was a new one. His daring blue eyes stared at Karis from across the room. Half of his mouth tweaked up. Feeling a bit flirtatious, she rolled her eyes and smiled. She looked back to the teacher, who invited them to begin baking.
Karis first started to preheat the oven. She then began with the dough. Instead of putting in one stick of butter, like the recipe said, she dropped in two. Putting in more butter would make the cookie softer after it was baked. She then added two cups of chips into the dough. Thinking that it wouldnâ€™t be enough to make it chocolaty, she added another half cup of chocolate chips. She then started placing balls of dough on the cookie sheet to place into the oven. She set the timer to eight minutes and placed the batch of exactly three dozen cookies into the oven. Karis then leaned against the oven and checked her competition. They were all still working on their dough. Her eyes caught the new boy mixing his baking soda and flour in a bowl and he looked up at her. He tilted his head, as if a warning. He was probably just jealous of her talent.
The timer went off and she looked in the oven. About thirty seconds would to the trick. She kept her watch on the cookies and shut off the oven when the dough became a light golden color. She pulled out the batch and placed it on the stove to cool off. The teacher, Mrs. Graw, started walking toward her station. Holding her head up high, Karis beamed as her teacher tasted her chocolate chip cookie. At first, her teacher seemed to be melting with the cookie. But then Mrs. Graw frowned.
â€œThe cookie is excellent. Did you do anything to change it?â€ Karis was about to lie, but she followed her teacherâ€™s eyes to the two leftover butter wrappers. Cursing in her head, her teacher slowly made eye contact. â€œKaris. Did you know what you just did?â€ Her teacher took out the button they were all given to not only keep track of them, but to also press when someone went past normal. Karis placed her hand on the set of knives on her station. Once it was pressed, she broke into a run with two knives. She had to get away from this school before they come. Bravery was a completely different concept when put to the test. She lightly nicked the hands that tried to constrain her and kept running. Once she made it out of the school, her peripheral vision saw a black shade beside her. The black shade turned out to be the hair of the new boy who was running with her; in fact, he was running faster than her. He turned and stopped in front of her.
She tried to turn to a different direction, but she couldnâ€™t stop soon enough. She toppled over him and fell onto the ground hard. He took the button on her and threw it away from them. Once she recovered from the fall, she quickly got handle of one of the knives and placed it along his throat.
â€œGet off me and let me go.â€ He didnâ€™t budge, which made her scared.
â€œNice to meet you, too. Iâ€™m Peter. Iâ€™m also here to help you. Come with me and join the Creatives.â€ Karis narrowed her eyes, stubbornly repeating what she said.
â€œLet me go.â€
â€œYou canâ€™t run your entire life. Just because your father is the boss doesnâ€™t mean you get treated differently.â€ Karis nibbled on the inside of her cheek, a habit she had when she thought over something. She knew what she had to do, even if she didnâ€™t like it. She had to join the rebels. She had to go against her father.