6 Beats to the Drum

6 Beats to the Drum

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Genre: Action and Adventure

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Status: In Progress

Genre: Action and Adventure

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Prolog (v.1) - Preface: History

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: April 23, 2017

Reads: 153

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Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: April 23, 2017

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My grandmother's stories about her childhood painted pictures of a world so foreign that I thought she made them up. At 85, she died as one of the oldest living people on the entire planet - one of the very last to be born and have lived on this earth “free” -- whatever that even means. I was 9 when she passed in November of 2117, but I still hear every detail of every story in her voice when I think about them to this day; those stories got me through my childhood - most of my young adult life, too.

I was 13 when my mother left my father. I watched her collapse under the weight of the world after her mother passed four years before, so when she came into my room with tears streaming down her face and a bag on her arm, I just knew what she was going to say. I had already prepared myself. She apologized and promised that she’ll be back to get me. After a couple of wet kisses all over my face, she left.

Looking back, I hate that I couldn’t cry, that I couldn’t speak. I hate that I wasn’t allowed to mourn. To me, she died that day.

My father then became obsessed with trying to instill into me a sense of manhood, trying to teach me my place in this world. He grew noticeably colder and colder by the day. My mother was the blood in my father’s veins, his only reminder that there’s a reason to push through the deep, murky waters we were born in. He loved that woman deeply from the moment he laid eyes on her. And like all victims of the purest, truest love, when she died, he died with her. He became a mean son of a bitch. The happier the hour, the meaner he got. He made it a mission to see if he could replace my mother’s blood in his veins solely with liquor; I wonder everyday if he meant to replace me, too, or if I just wandered too close and got swept under the current.

I had just turned 16 when my father’s organs began to shut down. I still remember the sour smell of his room, the glaze over his desperate eyes, the roughness of his weak hand in mine. He was either so high or so close to death moments before they assisted his suicide that he thought I was my mother. He apologized and said how happy he was to see me -- her -- again. He never bothered to ask about his son, his one and only child; me. I allowed myself a brief moment to realize that my father never loved me as a parent should; he loved my mother and without her, there was no love left for me to receive. I was never really much to him besides an accessory to her.

I was untouched by his death. I loved my father but I had a lot of anxiety about being alone in this world. I had just become a legal adult and I was already about to be all alone in a world where I barely recognized my own reflection in mirrors.

It wasn’t long before I found trouble and ended up in an overcrowded detention facility here in Chicago. At 16, I was an adult by law and the law treated me as such, no matter how unfair.

I was locked away for 6 years after being convicted of rape. After my father passed, I had all of his money and nothing to spend it on. I would lock myself up in the house. I would have everything I needed delivered, from take-out to groceries to everyday toiletries; I left the house for absolutely nothing. There was a world out there waiting to kill me like it’s killed everyone I loved around me and I didn’t want to rush the process. Then I answered the door one day to Lilly’s knock and it was like all my worries had washed away. It had been years since I felt joy so real. She was a childhood friend who had moved away right after a year after my grandmother passed, leaving me to continue my grieving process alone, as I had no other friends from being homeschooled all my life; that’s why we became friends so quickly: she’s homeschooled, too.  And having her back around was the greatest distraction. She would come over first thing in the morning everyday. We spent so much time sharing secrets and talking about what we’re going to do when we turn 18 when we can legally drink and smoke and go to clubs. We talked about leaving Chicago for somewhere where the weather was warm year-round. She told me about the 3 years she spent in New York and the 3 she spent in St. Louis.

Her father is a well-known architect who is responsible for designing most major cities’ “Urban Expansion Projects” that are huge mega-buildings that are cities all within themselves. It’s the country’s new effort to relieve the effects of our current state of global overpopulation. Apparently Lilly and her mother moved back here to Chicago so that her mother can be closer to family while Lilly’s father is overseas designing London’s first UEP.

Lilly and I grew closer and after a long and honest talk, we decided that we both prefered to give our virginities to one another. It happened and it was wonderful. It was the first time we told each other that we loved each other. And much to my amusement, it happened a lot more. We were young, in love, and full of tender bliss. But mostly young.

One day, Lilly was a little late coming over. When she arrived, she managed through rollings sobs and pleads for forgiveness to tell me that she was pregnant. She missed her period. She failed to warn me that her parents were going to press charges against me. Lilly was 15, still a minor by law; I was 16...an “adult.” Because it is illegal for minors to have children, Lilly was forced to abort the child and suddenly the tables were turned; it was me going away for six years instead of her.

I spent six years of my life listening to the same stories my grandmother told me over and over again in my head. Teaching history is no longer a custom following the revolution, but I got lost in every history book I could get my hands on while I was locked up, matching the details of Granny’s stories to the text. Reading these old books helped me realize quickly why they stopped teaching history here in America, why my grandmother never went into too much detail about a lot of the things that happened.

The most fascinating part of my grandmother’s life, to me, however, is that she had siblings. She was the last of six children, all boys and then her. I could never imagine having one sibling, let alone five. She told me stories about her brothers and how they were all pretty mean to her because she was treated extra special for being the only girl; but they loved her, protected her at all costs. It seemed like such a luxury to me. I used to dream about having a big brother who would swoop in and save the day whenever anything went wrong. I imagined having someone whose stories made me so proud that I aimed to be like him. I remember asking my parents if I could have a brother. My mother immediately froze and my father dropped his head with a sigh. This was my first glimpse of the real world in my childhood, of how the real world was against me. My mother broke out in tears and my father placed a hand on my shoulder. He explained to me that parents are only allowed to have one child. I didn’t understand, though, until I was in jail and got to read the history books.

* * *

A little over 100 years ago there was a third world war. America and Russia were the instigators of the entire thing; apparently our commander in chief was a hot-head who the entire country hated, though it would later be found following the war that he was indeed elected into office with the help of Russia meddling in the election. Granny used to call him Hitler’s second coming when she first told me about him -- not that I knew much about who Hitler was at the time. Anyway, he started a war that America technically lost after he threw in the flag. Our country had taken a huge loss. Hundreds of thousands of men and women were shipped to all corners of the world defending a man they never wanted in office to begin with. Then, with most of our defense pointed outward, the enemy -- the entire rest of the world, as our only ally quickly withdrew their armies and surrendered following swift, tremendous bloodshed on their land -- snuck in and gave one final warning.

On July 4, 2024 -- following a long and exhausting four year war -- while america celebrated its day of freedom and independence in the peak of summertime, at exactly 2:10pm eastern time, an attack that would later be known as America’s Darkest Hour began to unfold. It began in Florida and worked its way north along the coast to Maine before coming south and spreading west;  it was the deadliest day in American history, also hands down the greatest calculated attack in all of human history. State by state, minute by minute, explosions and shootings and utter chaos ensued. The American army didn’t have a chance at defense. When the first explosion went off at Disney World at 2:10pm, the country immediately turned its attention to it, missing the explosions in Atlanta at 2:11 and the shootings in South Carolina at 2:12 and North Carolina at 2:13. America was being hit from within and the attacks were so strategically planned and spread that it left the entire country in a paralyzed shock.

It lasted the entire hour. National landmarks, national parks, important government buildings, and many other heavily-populated places of gathering were all hit across the country along with popular tourist destinations and even rural towns and busy city neighborhoods. An hour of total destruction of our country as we know it. Then the attack concluded with one final explosion in Hawaii at 3pm. The explosion was so great that no one on the islands survived. At 3:01 that day, a deafening wave of terror and anguish swept over the country. By 3:10pm, the entire planet stood still. And by 3:15, the commander in chief was already being broadcast across the internet, television, and radio -- he wanted whoever remained in our ragged country to hear his message loud and clear -- giving his speech of resignation, though it was 8 years too late as the next president was already in the process of being elected. He lead us head first into an unwinnable war and ran head first out of office when shit finally got real.

There were two significant things happening during this war. First, the FBI worked rigorously investigating Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election. The investigation was set ablaze when the guy was somehow elected for a second term despite receiving virtually no votes -- it was the first election where democrats were mainly pit against third party candidates; the world counted him out as a candidate completely, ignored his reelection campaign in its entirety. Yet and still, he was elected a second term. The FBI thought that they would have him cornered within a year, even speaking publically directly after his reelection assuring everyone that they would take him out of office before he caused anymore damage. They were wrong. Before America knew it, the war had begun. When it was over, though, he was quickly “found guilty” before he was “found dead” by the woman he called his wife a week after his resignation. So America declared July 11th New Independence Day literally as a celebration of that man’s death.

The year that the man was reelected, 2020, a team of doctors and scientist in Sweden had seemingly perfected ureteral transplant procedures. They saw a 100% success rate that year when their twelfth mother gave birth to her first healthy child. The news took the world by storm. The doctor and her team received all types of prestigious awards, including an Albert Einstein World Award and a Nobel prize in Medicine. During their Nobel acceptance speech, the doctor mentioned that her work was only just beginning, that she wouldn’t rest until all women and even men have the option of carrying a child if that is something that they want to do. Of course, when the speech was leaked, most of the world couldn’t contain their excitement although there was a lot of hate coming from religious groups all around the world, questioning whether we were trying to play God with Science. Still, medical professionals flocked to Sweden to learn from this doctor. It would take two full years before a student would be deemed fully prepared to manage the treatment and for surgeons perform the operations. All the while, she was prepping her first male-born patient for the procedure. A transgender woman from Arizona was lucky enough to be chosen out of a lottery of eligible candidates. She was flown to Sweden to begin treatment. While everything seemed to be going well, she ultimately died after the birth of the child due to unexpected hemorrhaging and complications with the uterus. But the child was totally healthy. The death of his mother sparked controversy, of course, but the doctor insisted that she knew the error in her procedure and that the study should continue; a lot of the backlash subsided when the father spoke publicly, thanking the doctor and telling everyone that his wife would want the study to continue, that he knows she’s proud to have died for such a blessing to the entire world. So they continued.

She continued to teach while she and her team worked to make sure their next attempt wouldn’t end badly. The next girl was from Atlanta; she had successful transplant, no organ rejection for 6 months, and successful impregnation before she gave birth to a healthy baby boy...and she lived. When the news broke, it was like a giant breath of fresh air for our country in the cloud of death and fear that lingered over us in the late years of the war. So many families were torn apart and made incomplete because of this war; this procedure gave a new life of hope. Doctors were already coming home and beginning treatment on females who were already previously unable to carry children and soon more doctors would fly over to have their lesson. Immediately following Day of Darkest Hour, though, the doctor and her team -- along with many other major professionals in all fields from around the world -- relocated completely to America in order to assist in the rebirth of our country. She would continue her teachings directly in America following the second class of students being certified to perform the treatment. This was all coming at a perfect time as there was also a rise in natural pregnancy due to the president cutting funding that helped women access contraceptives. The country had already been preparing for a steady in rise in population over the years, but after the attack, the rise in population was almost a necessity.

The office of presidency remained vacant the rest of the term. The country stopped thinking about politics and order. Everyone came together as people. Immediate relief and rescue efforts were handled locally and with the help of whatever armed force was able to come help. Some towns were left to fend for themselves as there just wasn’t enough aid for everyone. Troops from overseas were immediately rushed back home to help. Many of them were already suffering physically, mentally, and emotionally from such a tough war, so sometimes the towns would end up being an aid to soldiers rather than them being an aid to the town. The war was over and our world would change for good.

The next president in line would be tasked with the responsibility of repairing and reinvigorating our country. His first four years were spent ensuring the security and sanity of every person in this country -- no matter who you were or where you came from. Unemployment was almost nonexistent for those within working age -- and “working age” would be reduced to starting at 13 along with the legal adult age dropping to 16 in order to give the youth more power in the reconstruction of our country; they would be able to start working by 13 and by 16, they could leave school to join major workforce if they chose to do so; otherwise, schooling up until after a bachelor’s degree would be completely free in order to help everyone in the country further their education and contribute more to society through more learned skill. Working wage never dropped below the livable wage of the state where a person lived -- or of the city if the difference is significant enough. Homelessness became a thing of the past. Every single person in this country became entitled to housing as long as you were either working, learning, elderly, or disabled. With so many available jobs, it became impossible not to find work, especially after he made childcare totally free for all working and learning parents. He also made health care free and accessible for everyone. He built huge hospitals in major cities as there was obviously a crowding issue following the war. Each hospital had a mental crisis wings. While he was making sure to make more room for those hurt during the war and attack, his main focus was the mental state of the country following such a traumatic war. 811 became the national suicide and mental crisis hotline in order to simplify the experience of speaking with someone about anything a person may be dealing with although it may not be an emergency. Marijuana and MDMA were legalized nationwide for the treatment of a wide range of mental and physical illnesses; most states made marijuana legal recreationally as well but not all. The country was smoking, working, and learning to live again -- and everyone was having babies.

During his second term, he continued repairing the country and he also began to repair relations with the rest of the world. He stood before the United Nations and gave a big speech of apology to the rest of the world and urged leaders to send as much help and aid that they can as the country worked to repair itself. He talked about how people of all backgrounds were forced to drop prejudice and hate against their worst enemy in order to care for one another as human beings, as people who deserve to live and be happy in their own lives. He talked about how seeing the country unite the way that it has is the greatest proof that only beautiful things can come from true peace, empathy, and compassion amongst people as a whole. He proposed that we lower our borders, allow people to travel and find their true place in the world without the worry of visas and passports and permission. It was a moving and powerful speech, but of course they didn’t agree to lower their borders. They did, however, mend their relationship with our country and leaders agreed to meet with our president to resume broken trade agreements, but he wasn’t satisfied. He wanted the world to see what he saw in our country.

He took the initiative and lowered our borders. Immigration laws became incredibly lenient. People were allowed to enter our country without much more than a day of screenings, tests, and a possible interview; they walked out with a U.S. Visitor’s I.D. which became the new “visa.” It didn’t make them a resident of any state and they would be subjected to certain extra taxes based solely on income and country of origin, but they would be free to explore the country to find the right place or right job or whatever it is that they needed. In order to receive national citizenship, they would need at least 1 year of living in the country and at least 3 months of work; in order to receive state residency, they would need to live in-state for 3 months and work at least 30 days in the state -- the state residency law applied to everyone else in the country as well. So people from all corners of the world were pouring into all corners of our country in order to realize whatever dream they had for themselves and their lives, not just the “American” dream.

A large portion of the folks entering the country were entering because our country had become the world capital of pregnancy. More and more doctors graduated schooling and took their practices back home to their cities and towns and even across to their own countries. Male pregnancy at this time was still a slow rolling ball; schooling for performing the male procedure would take an extra year; but there were four successful children born to four surviving and healthy trans women, so at least they were on the right track. Before we knew it, our country had become the biggest nursery the world had ever seen, even though a lot of folk returned to their home country after having their child. And in seeing the success and the low amount of risk there was in allowing people to be free to roam and move and migrate as humans do, the rest of the world lowered the borders one country at a time and soon we were all over the place. It became hard to see people as belonging to a certain region on the globe because so many different types of people were so spread out.

Eventually, it got out of hand. Overpopulation was suddenly on the radar of every country in the world only 8 years after ureteral transplant procedures began. This was when my grandmother was born, in a time where the average size of the ‘American’ family had gone from four -- two parents and two children -- to seven. And that was just the average. Right after my grandmother was born, a law was passed in our country that banned new parents from having more than one child. That didn’t stop the population growth at all though. Science had already set into motion a “fad” that grew out of control. As my grandmother grew, more laws passed in order to control population but none of them slowed growth significantly. Minors were no longer allowed to have children; abortion was mandatory. Seniors were first required to be sterilized, then major criminals and sex offenders; then people with certain disabilities were sterilized. No matter what they did or what laws they passed, though, there just wasn’t any topping the growth.

My grandmother spent most of her life fighting for the new generations, knowing that they would be born into a world of unjust laws and unfair regulations on their life choices. She was afraid to bring a child into a world that was only getting worse by the decade. She waited until she was 46 to have her only child: my mom. Then, the year after my mom was born, a secret was leaked from inside the government: government leaders worldwide were working together to organize a new plan to control population growth and it involved putting a limit on the time you’re allowed to spend alive.

In 2180, medical professionals were testing a tiny chip-like device that would be implanted into a growing fetus’s heart that would count the number of times their heart has beat. The idea is that as the fetus grows, it accepts the chip as part of the heart and it naturally attaches itself to the chip so that they are inseparable. At first, mothers were told that this would be a new way to gain better information from a fetus as it grows, but in the tests, mothers began complaining the doctors never attempted to remove the device after birth despite passionate requests to do so. They were told that the chip had naturally been dissolved by the child’s body following birth, but a few mothers came forth to admit that they could hear a small beep sometimes come for the child’s heart if they listen close enough. Still, they were assured that the chip was gone, even going as far as x-raying some children to show their mothers that there was nothing to worry about. But there was.

The device was meant to stop a person’s heart once it reached 3 billion beats, beginning the moment they are delivered at the hospital. The babies that died early in the tests were murdered by the government to see if the device could actually stop the heart. The government was attempting to limit people to a roughly 75-80-year lifespan if they chose to live life the right way. And let’s face it, no one lives a perfect life. But they were still lying to the public, still claiming that these devices were best for the fetus than previous forms of prenatal care. It wasn’t until my mom was ten years old that the entire operation would be fully leaked to the public.

The Rebels were born right after the leak. They were an anonymous group worldwide of protestors and secret-agent-like people who spend their lives basically fighting everything wrong with the government. The device on the heart is obviously their top priority and they have tried to dismantle the operation, but it’s too proven itself to be too large and too far in to be stopped. But they made a little progress. They work very well because it’s like a secret society. Nobody knows who the rebels are. They can’t be caught. They can’t even be seen.  They are the arch nemesis to governments across the world. Granny told me that my mother tried to run away to join the rebels, but she wasn’t allowed.

My mother and father met a protest. My mother was more interested in fighting for freedom than she was in my dad when they first met; but my father was ready to dedicate his entire life to her from the moment he saw her. They were both 16 and fresh out of school and ready to join the revolution like so many young people were. As their love for one another grew over the years, they used it to shield them from the ugliness of the world. They thought that running away would make life easier, but there wasn’t anywhere to run to; there was no escape. Eventually they would find themselves as slave to the new world just like everyone else. When I was only a month old in the womb, a tiny chip was implanted into my heart against my mother’s deepest wishes and I was officially part of the newest generation, a full culmination of the accomplishments and mistakes of generations past.

* * *

 

Today, I am 22 years old. My heart has beat roughly 780 million times according to the exit medical exam at the prison. I spent six years protected from most of the evils out in the world and I was allowed the chance to learn why they are the way that they are. Honestly, I’m grateful. It blows my mind how many people in this world have no idea where we came from and where we need to go. I may never feel physically prepared to fight against this world, but at least I’m aware of what’s really out there.

The fresh air hits my face and almost makes me cry. The smell of trees and pollution tickles at my nostrils before I deliberately take the deepest breath I had taken in six years. You’re free, I think to myself. Well, you’re more free than before. I turn one last time to look at the giant skyscraper prison that has taken 6 years of my life. I can’t help but to think about how much I’ll miss having a simple day-to-day routine without much to get in my way or hurt me. But being afraid of the world is partially what got me here in the first place. I turn to continue out the gate and toward the main road to catch a cab home. I may not feel it, but I think I’m ready. With all my knowledge, I’m ready to face the world.

But first, I have to find my world: Lilly...


© Copyright 2017 yayahollback. All rights reserved.

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