Greenville: The Utopian City Turned Dystopian


Photo by Kacee Wells

Model of the Greenville utopia made in English 8, on which the story is based.

Kacee Wells, Fiction, 8th Grade

Greenville was a city created to solve the pollution crisis. There were the good years, the lost years, and the last year. I was one of the three founders. The other two fell to greed. I was always a natural born leader, but that’s the problem. So was Glenn. Let’s just say she wanted to lead, just her. The main reason there were three of us is that we all stood for one of the three virtues of Greenville: prudence, forgiveness and honor. I founded Greenville because I wanted to do something that future generations could be proud of, a type of legacy. We all had good intentions, but good intentions don’t always create good solutions.

10 Years Earlier

“Glenn, are the solar panels operational?” 

“Angela, for the 90th time, the solar panels are operational.” She responded rolling her eyes at me.

“Daniel, are the windmills operational?”

“No, in the last two minutes the windmills miraculously broke down,” he said sarcastically. Daniel appeared behind me. “They’re here,” he whispered in my ear. Buses after buses covered in solar panels drove in with “Greenville” painted across them.

“Foster, get over here!” Angela shouted.

“Gosh Angela, why the last name?” Glenn shot at me. “Well, it got your attention didn’t it,” Glenn rolled her eyes with annoyance. After the first buses were unloaded, I spoke as loudly as my petite voice could muster.

“Welcome to Greenville. We’re the three founders. I’m Angela Franklin,” Glenn’s naturally loud voice boomed.

“I’m Glenn Foster,” Daniel’s calm voice followed.

“I’m Daniel Davis.”

Tour guides who were followed by crowds of people led to the housing units.

Seven Years Later, The  Lost Years Occurred

“Glenn are the solar panels operational?”

“Yes, Angela for the 2,555 tim-” A jolt of electricity followed by the bright lights blacking out cutting her off.


“Relax Franklin, I can fall back on the backup generator.”

a switch clicked loudly the lights came back dimmed. Soon after their return, a loud emergency message played, “Emergency generator powering the city all power will be lost in approximately 24 hours!” Red lights flashed as the monotone message repeated itself.


“Uh I’m working on turning it off, but it requires extensive rerouting.” Suddenly the message stopped and the lights brighten to the original level. “Angela we may have a problem.”

“What is it, Glenn?”

“Well we had 24 hours now we have about 4 hours.”

“Glenn any good news?”

“No, but at least we have four hours to fix it.”

Three hours later, Glenn stared at a computer screen as the three of us shouted out ideas hoping to stumble upon the solution.

“It can’t be fixed,” Glenn said almost whispering.

“A little less vague,” I said pound and fast.

“It’s not a glitch. We built the city to outlive the polluted world.”

“Yeah so,” Daniel said obviously annoyed.

“the sun and wind that powered the city.”

“So no sun, no energy” my voice drained of hope.

Years passed. After Greenville lost all power, it was chaos. We lived in darkness, luckily, we had just enough rations to survive, though we were starving. Glenn decided to lie to the people. She told them it was temporary, but she knew it was not. We kept the doors closed we knew the earth was not habitable. We hoped maybe someday it would be, but optimism runs out.

Soon illness became a problem. Children were the first to be hit. Then the rest, but we survived the brunt of it. Then the fever came and took out sixty percent of our city. After that it was a ghost town.

Two Years Later, The Last Year Occurred 

Glenn finally created fire sources to give us light. We lasted nine months then the food and light ran out. The last three months everyone was either crying, living like it was their last day alive or pretending like it wasn’t happening. Glenn wanted to lie to them, but Daniel and I got there first. We all took the blame for Glenn’s lie, we told them we thought it would protect them. I’m not sure they believed us. The end approached. I had Glenn rig the city to a switch, to turn off the city and open the doors. The dream was the world would be safe and would not kill all of us instantly, but dreams are just dreams. Some citizens “opted out”. We had lethal pills locked away, only the weak took them Glenn said. Though I chose not to judge their choice because again, it was their choice. The time came, Glenn, Daniel and I placed our hands on the switch closed our eyes and pulled.