Authors: Rebekah Johnson
Copyright Â© 2015 Rebekah Johnson
The moral right of the author has been asserted.
Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of research or private study,
or criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents
Act 1988, this publication may only be reproduced, stored or transmitted, in
any form or by any means, with the prior permission in writing of the
publishers, or in the case of reprographic reproduction in accordance with
the terms of licences issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency. Enquiries
concerning reproduction outside those terms should be sent to the publishers.
All characters in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to
real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
9 Priory Business Park,
Wistow Road, Kibworth Beauchamp,
Leicestershire. LE8 0RX
Tel: (+44) 116 279 2299
Fax: (+44) 116 279 2277
Email: [email protected]
ISBN 978 1784627 881
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data.
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
is an imprint of Troubador Publishing Ltd
Converted to eBook by
For Elicia Mae, Freya Lily and Max Willem;
you are my destiny and my legacy.
The city of Intentionality is born.
Amongst the seedlings of hope,
Its leaves will grow strong,
Its buds will blossom.
A place in which to aspire;
Our destiny and our legacy.
They aren't headaches as much as interference; a low hum most of the time but today it's definitely more like the sound of a submarine engine ticking over, with the occasional rev from the foot of the driver, to remind the passenger that it's time to depart. It's distracting at best and quite disabling at times. That's why I'm late to class. It's not unusual, I do have a hall pass for this eventuality and my twin Lily saves a seat for me by the window so that I hear less of the classroom chatter. Of course the window does have many other benefits, including that of daydreaming about being harvested from The Nest. This is, as everybody knows, a complete work of fiction on my part and would at this moment in time take a complete miracle. I can't focus to eat and dress this morning let alone concentrate to allow my Evo-gene time to mature. Lily went ahead almost two hours ago now with her usual warning.
“Mae if you are late again Mrs Alder will sit you next to the screen. You know the problems you get when you sit there.”
I just can't focus. Great waves of sound keep rising up in my head. However, sitting near the electronic information screen will be a fate I cannot cope with. I do love to sit near the window. So I collect my bag, order a small lunchbox from the catering pod and key in my exit code. I haven't bothered to tidy my area but then who is there to tell me to pick up the garments strewn across the polished floor?
Apparently before the great âGeo-shift', children and teenagers lived with adults in buildings, which lined roads. They called these âhomes' and the unit was called a family. They even had cute nicknames for the elders like Mum for the female elder and Dad for the male elder. The elders would look after, teach and prepare food for the children! How awesome is that? We are all given a knowledgeable servant, to attend to our every need and desire all day, every day. There must be a downside, although I have never been able to think of one.
My sister and I are the only Seeders that live together. The others have containers to themselves. At least I have Lily to hold my hand when the nightmares get bad. Even if I do find myself looking at her, wondering why she doesn't get them. She must be the most laid back person I know. I am in a perfect position to make this comment, as I can hear her thoughts, when she lets me in. I don't suppose she looks forward to entering my mind quite as much.
I move into the corridor, it will take me exactly ten minutes to get to my classroom, past the work areas where the Monos spend their days, doing something to maintain our equilibrium here under the ocean. I often wonder if they have families living together but of course I am not allowed to talk to the Monos.
“You girls are âspecially' chosen. An evolutionary wonder, destined to provide an invaluable addition to our rebuilding legacy. We don't want you diluting your knowledge by conversing with the Mono community.”
That's what Mrs Alder preaches to us on a regular basis, mostly when she catches me staring out of the window during one of our âuplifting' screen sessions.
The biggest advantage of being seated next to the window is that I can gaze in secluded solitude at the maintenance divers. One in particular meets my gaze almost magnetically; somehow appearing just at the moment my concentration is wandering from the blank screen towards the pull of the rich life through the windows. Even a glimpse at his watery blue eyes is enough to send my mind spiralling out of the classroom and into the freezing, yet inviting, Polar waters outside. He is, I calculate our age, a Mono experiencing âreal life'. His movements are effortless, even graceful in the huge expanse of water. Almost as confident and sure as the sea life which often comes to the window, treating us to either a show, or making us feel like we are the show, cooped up as we are, in our plastic airtight food container. Would they eat us or just play with us first I wonder?
Often he seems like he is busy and I guess he must be with all of the maintenance work involved in keeping the icy waters out. But then he also looks comfortable in that huge alluring open space. Free to wander and roam wherever his work takes him. This is what I imagine life will be like after I have ascended to the relative freedom of dry land, once I have entered the glorious city of Intentionality.
I ignore the travellator in the corridor, opting to stroll to the classroom. It only adds to the sound in my head anyway. Strolling also has the added draw of the windows; I don't really want to spend more time looking at the smooth, white, hardened plastic walls and the clinically clean floors any longer than is completely necessary. I figure if I walk the exercise can only do me good. My sister and I often take a walk to the air hole on Deck Zero, where we can watch the divers re-enter The Nest. They bring with them the smell of fresh, damp adventure. It revitalises the sensation of the stagnant air control system that is in place to keep the temperature and ambience at a constant. That in itself is strangling if you think about it. I mean, how many times has my newly inhaled air been used by other Seeders and Monos? I shudder to think where it has been!
I enter the classroom, press my eye against the registration app then search for Lily. My teacher gives me an unenthusiastic nod to the left, one look at her disappointed expression lets me know that my absence has been not only noted, but that I am in danger of becoming the pupil voted most likely to reverse her one hundred percent Ascension record. I am not a popular addition to her smart, âadvanced learning' set. However I was scanned by the same computer as other Seeders, so I must have some sort of latent potential; either that or my twin and I are such a rarity, (in fact we are unique amongst Seeders,) that we just simply fried the system and were placed here out of sheer guesswork!
“You are just ridiculously bad at this being on time business Mae, how you will cope if we don't ascend together, I will never know!” whispered my sister.
She is factually correct here because if we don't ascend together I will not know anything about her progress until I have the honour of ascending too. We are allowed no contact with âthe city of Intentionality'. Mrs Alder explains this rather strange rule as an âincentive'. To make us aspire to great things and progress with speed through our own Ascension process, in order to achieve the end goal. Sounds too good to be true, a bit like the people in the old world thinking that some roads in major cities were paved with gold. But we all want to be up in the fresh air doing our jobs, that we want to believe everything we are told.
Lily has, as usual, taken notes and has now passed them to me, she has underlined the parts where I distracted her with my mundane twin chat during my journey, there is even a section blank where she was communicating to me in hostile terms, forcefully encouraging me to get my lazy body over to the edu-pod and do some work for a change!
“Now class, time to begin our âpause for reflection', a reminder as to why we are here, and of our end goal,” announces Mrs Alder, in her chirpy tone.
Mrs Alder adores this part of the session, as it's the time when she is able to stop talking in her aspirational cheerleader paragraphs. We are treated to the same archive clips of our history. Followed by the occasional clip of âthe city of Intentionality' or new footage of the Seeders who have already, successfully transferred into Acer status.
Oh joy, I have made it to class just in time to be singled out again. Most Seeders become emotional during the archive clips. Who wouldn't? The Geo-shift was harrowing, the aftermath almost catastrophic to mankind. For me though the emotions are almost a reality, like I am reliving the horror. Somehow I hear words that are not on the screen. Often these words contradict what I am seeing, especially at the end where we are introduced to images of our saviour; Eden, the woman who was originally in sole control of Intentionality. Her granddaughter Natura is in control now. Rather like the Royal Families before the Geo-shift. Eden passed on her reign to her daughter Eve and now Natura continues the family line. It is with the appearance of Natura that the voices and static in my brain really become disruptive, occasionally enough to make me pass out. I'm not sure if that is because my brain has reached a massive saturation limit at that point, or the voices are clearer because it is present day. But what I do know is that I end up looking like the class head case again. Just one glance to Lily will always confirm my worst fears, regarding the status of my credibility within this class. She rolls her eyes and then looks towards the others to accrue some kind of empathetic response, but none is ever forthcoming. As I fall to the floor it's always her voice that leaves me last.
“You're going to be fine Mae, just take deep breaths. I will never leave you. Remember, I am you; you are me, forever that shall be.”
It's our oath; it eases my mind. She used to hum it at night to me. Lily is my whole world. She brings me strength, stability and a forgiving support that never wavers.
As predicted the torture begins.
It will last for twenty minutes, after which and only if I am still conscious, I shall be free to walk out to lunch with Lily. At this point another form of torture will begin in the form of nagging.
The leaders and citizens of this planet where warned about the possibility of a Geo-shift for years before its final appearance, but there really was no way of knowing it would be so monumentally debilitating. For centuries the Earth had moved a little, shifted and crumpled. Apparently on the surface there are great mountains and formations called volcanoes, which from time to time spewed molten rock on to the land. Every time the Earth's surface moved, it created great shock waves, often turning the oceans into great killing machines. However, around the twenty-first century, the weather also began its shift from semi-dependable weather systems to completely rogue, maverick occurrences. Some countries experienced great amounts of rain, others drought. Some weather systems like storms became harsh and powerful; they wreaked havoc, spanning many coastlines during only short elapses of time. These, with hindsight were the warning signs.
Then it began. The Geo-shift occurred over the period of only a month. The survivors likened it to âthe great plagues' in the Holy Book called the Bible. They preached that it had been predicted by many Holy Men. This upheaval was surely signifying the end of the world.
EXTINCTION WAS INEVITABLE.
The footage is honest, graphic, shot in real time by amateur and professional camera operators. It depicts children wandering the old streets barely alive, waiting for help that is not coming. Some we know will make it, however a sombre realisation is that the ones we have become emotionally attached to, may not. These we have seen so often that we have almost developed a love of them. The buildings with minimal exception are demolished. Some crushed by the shift, others looted and most are derelict. Just shells left as monuments to a crisis on a global scale that threatened to completely wipe out humanity.
IT DID NOT SUCCEED.
Some of the long-time sufferers prayed to their âGods' asking either to be saved or to be taken. But many were without comfort or hope, until some regularity in the weather conditions and a stabilisation of the Earth's crust was once again secured. Some wrote that this stability was the work of the Earth naturally settling after its ârefurbishment'. Others felt it was the act of their âGod' stepping in to save the virtuous. Whatever the reason, the next situation was nothing short of cruelty.
During the shift many areas were ripped apart. Land masses began to move and with this cities were broken up. As a consequence to the movement of land came inevitable disease, first cholera; a bacteria in the water from the sewers cracking and leaking. The cities must have looked like the war zones from our history projects. Many perished with this weakening and life threatening illness, but the ones in the villages away from large populations did not. They must have felt that they at least had been saved.
However the final blow was as though the Bible had been brought to life in some awful real life film. People began to contract high fevers, boils and finally red poppy type rings on their skin. Over the course of just a few days they were dead. This was filmed and we sit watching the facts pour out of the screen. This virulent rebirth of a previously controlled epidemic was the bubonic plague, returned from the very place it had been buried. The land disruption and movement had increased its latent potential and once more it was being carried by lice on vermin, who were now roaming the streets, having been let loose by the disintegration of the sewer system. This time even the villages and furthest outposts contracted the death sentence.
Pretty soon humanity was fading, hurtling, towards extinction.
As always with our species, our genes found miraculous ways of adapting to any situation. Just as the classroom environment becomes too heavy to even dare to breathe, there is a reprieve. Like a lone fish escaping a net haul, one by one the occasional person pulled through the illness, just as a minute percentage had in the episodes deep in the history of civilisation. A small amount also seemed to be completely immune.
They began to look for other survivors and gathered as a small community in the colder areas of the world. A harsh environment meant less chance of the lice multiplying. It was at this time that Eden became powerful. She was by accounts fair and intelligent. She also possessed excellent negotiation and management techniques. She planned ahead for an even distribution of resources; set up a work force tasked with rebuilding the power supply and made great plans to harness the trust of the survivors, so that continued survival and even regeneration was an option.
Eden encourages the Monos in her inaugural speech.
We watch her daily, raising the morale of the survivors. We stand always as her speech is broadcast throughout The Nest, as we prepare for every new day.
These key phrases were her Intention.