I saw the faces of my parents. In the shadow of the night it was hard to see, but I knew it was them. They were several feet away, someone tugged at my hand, urging me forward. In the distance I heard inhuman high pitched squealing, accompanied by human screams. I could not see much from the other people around me. In a split second, my parents were gone. I began to panic as I could not see them anywhere. They were gone. My hand, in someone else’s, tugged me further towards a bright light.
I awoke in a chilled sweat. My face was soaked with perspiration. Managing to catch my breath, I sat up on the couch, throwing the covers off of me. I sat there staring in the darkness of the room I called my own. Various shelves with books and old DVDs cluttered the walls. The room looked like it was moving day, but it had been like this for several years.
Exiting the room and idling into the kitchen, I grabbed myself a glass of water. My chest heaving slowly dissipating. I groggily staggered back to my room, flipping on a lamp by the couch. I reached at the nearest book, on the shelf to my right. It was Dracula.
Flipping through it, I recollected reading this some years ago. I grabbed around for several more, The Great Gatsby, Stephen King’s Misery, Jurassic Park…I gave up when I realized I had read them all. Sauntering over to the movie shelf, I scanned it for anything that looked entertaining. Various horror movies were always good for the middle of the night, John Carpenter’s The Thing or Clive Barker’s Hellraiser among the classics. Realizing I had seen all them as well, I sat back on the couch.
My mind wandered to my parents. I couldn’t remember their face from memory, only pictures. My grandma had told me they were brave compassionate people. This was comforting to hear, but she was still describing people I haven’t seen in over fifteen years, and won’t see again.
Like a collaboration of conspiring bad thoughts, my mind then wandered to the only girl I loved, Ellen. Considering how I felt about my parents abandoning me, it didn’t help a month ago, the girl I loved had left me. I had stated that I felt like I was meant to be with her, to which she retorted, she hated how she felt like she didn’t many other options, but she wanted to explore them none the less. It was true, there are only a finite number of eligible people in our community. A colony of a few thousand, sure, but still a restricted number none the less.
A loud whistle sounded outside the house, signaling dawn. It was now time for most people to get up and prepare for work. I was one of them. Having turned 21 a week ago, I was now expected to work full time as a maintenance officer. A lifestyle with little glamour or excitement, I assure you.
Through several minutes of getting myself worried, I met the rest of my family in the kitchen for breakfast. I lived with my now sickly grandma, two cousins, and a younger sister. My oldest cousin, Calvin, was the only father figure I had and the man of the household, still only about ten years older than me. He was a foreman at the oxygen recycling plant. A well respected and hardworking man.
Next was Cal’s sister, my other cousin, Sherry. She was a sweet and warm motherly presence, naturally. She stayed at the house and took care of grandma. Being only about five years older than me, she took on the role of caretaker very young. Unfortunately we are not as close as we used to be now that I have grown up.
Lastly, my sister, Maggie, 3 years younger than me, was pretty much a typical teenager. She enjoyed time with her friends and such. She and I were not close, considering she was the one to go out with her friends all the time, and I sit at home reading or something of the sort.
The rest of the family, with the exception of bedridden grandma, were all seated around the table. Cal sipped at his coffee and acknowledged me as I can in the room by pulled out the chair next to him.
I shook my head, “No thanks Cal, I’m not real hungry, I think I’ll get to work a little early today.”
Cal finished chewing the beagle, looking at the clock on the wall, “You will be almost 45 minutes early…”
“Yeah, I got some tinkering I have to do before I make my daily run,” I said grabbing a bottled water before exiting the kitchen. Sherry followed me with a plate, “Oliver, can you take this up to grandma?”
I sighed, “Yeah sure.”
It wasn’t that I disliked spending my time with my grandma, she was the person I was closest to, with the exception of Ellen, and now she was having a hard time remembering who people were. It was always quite hard to have someone you love genuinely ask who you are.
Grasping the plate, I ascended the stairs, rounding the corner to the large master bedroom. My grandma lay, sitting up, watching television.
“Ah, the mailman. Do I have a letter from my dear Hector today?” She said squirming in her bed. Hector was her long deceased husband.
“Not today I’m afraid, just some food,” I said as I made my was over to her to drop off her plate. She took it and placed it on her table, thankfully able to eat of her own for now.
I turned to leave, as she spoke, “You look so much like your father Oliver.”
I turned, surprised, it was the first time she had referred to me by name in months. She continued, “I never told you much about your parents, on that day…”
Closing in the bed, I kneeled beside her, “What day grandma?”
“The day hell opened up.”
“What about them grandma?”
She looked me dead in the eyes, “They gave their lives for you…they… they said Elvis is shorter in person.”
And like that she was gone again. I smiled and acknowledged her ramblings. I left the room feeling deeply saddened by her condition, I couldn’t imagine what was going on in her head and I sure wasn’t envious. Though the obliviousness I’m sure was blissful.
Leaving the house I saw the sight I do every day, which was normal to me, but would be a major feat for someone years ago. Our community was fully enclosed. I can best describe it as a shopping mall, but rather than stores, each placement was a household. Now the community itself was no more than 5 stories high, but each building was about 3 stories high. The community was several square blocks, littered with housing and shops of various sorts. The shops maintained a small economy for the entirety of the community. The community itself was called Eden, for the obvious reason it inspired in people.
Down the middle of the street, separating two walkways on each side was a reservoir full of water and sometimes with trees growing out of them, helping to maintain an outdoor atmosphere even while permanently inside. There was a long strip of glass across the ceiling, revealing the outside, allowing sunshine or nightfall to show through it. I’ve spent times just staring up through it sometimes; there was never anything in the sky.
I walked down the street, passing various others who were on their way to work. Everyone seemed to be walking extra slow today, taking their time to get where they were headed. Where I was headed was only about a block and a half away, so it took me but a few minutes. Unfortunately I had to pass Ellen working in her father’s shop every day. It was not great when one was trying to move on, that and the lack of selection to move on with.
Arriving at the mechanic shop before everyone else is usually how I like it, I go in the back and work on my own little project I’ve been fiddling with. In the back of the workshop, I had my own little desk set up, messy though it was, I navigated through my tools and pulled out a box. Opening the box, it revealed a metal ball that on its own, could self-sustain flight. I turned it on and it hover in front, it was no bigger than someone’s head. The hovering ball itself was a feat of its own but my real project was an Artificial Intelligence chip I had been engineering.
I turned off the ball, and pulled out the chip. I began to tinkering on it, not really sure why it hadn’t been able to work yet. Much to my surprise, someone called behind me, “Whatcha workin’ on?”
I turned and saw the guy worked with me, Jed. I responded, “Oh, nothing, just a little project.”
Jed shrugged it off, “Alright, well the Hudson’s have reported heating failures in their living room, Ezekiel’s pawn shop’s lights won’t come on and the Commandant says he needs someone to fix something.”
I nodded. The only thing out of the ordinary there was that the Commandant, a general of the old world, had asked to see us. I’ve only see him a select few times, usually at large gatherings and such, which he was always busy socializing. He likely only needed us to unclog is toilet. Today was likely going to be like every other day in this contained hell.
© Copyright 2016 JD Caldwell. All rights reserved.
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