Friday, January 24, 2014

Excerpts from my published stories: Birthday

Hey everyone, hope you're all enjoying your Friday so far - I'm not working this weekend so I absolutely cannot wait to get comfortable and begin relaxing! Just need to get this work-day out of the way...

In any case, I've got another (the last, for now) excerpt from my published stories - this tale was published in eSciFi's second issue, and is about a day in the life of a young man, living in a world that has dealt with the problem of over-population in a ... well, you'll just have to read it to see, won't you? ;-)

Here's a taster:


The first thing I heard as I woke up was a soft ping – the System recognizing that I had woken up. It monitored everyone, every minute of their lives – another one of Dad’s ‘societal improvements’.

I stretched, yawned, and then grudgingly sat up and ran a hand through my hair. The System activated the radio and an irritating DJ’s strident voice began informing me that “Today’s a day for great things, man, so get out there and be great!” and then the flowglass cleared, letting dazzling sunlight spill into the room.

I climbed out of bed and shuffled into the bathroom. The light went on and I studied myself in the mirror for a while – I had the old asshole’s eyes, my mother’s nose; his unfortunate chin, too, and my mother’s pale skin. Behind me the DJ began reading out the day’s weather and it was only when he stated the date that I realized what day it was – my twenty-third birthday.

“Fuck sakes,” I breathed, lowering my head into my hands. Another day older. Another day closer to the Letter.

I rubbed my hand over my face, thoughts falling into that odd numbness, that silence that echoes in the space between thoughts. Then I noticed the vial lying next to my right hand. I had learned to stop wondering what was in the vial, just as everyone else in the world had, I guess.

The only information that the System gave us was that the liquid in the vials kept our hearts beating, kept us healthy and fit, and bolstered our immune systems – because of the vial’s contents no-one had died of disease or infection in almost thirty years.

I picked up the vial. Pierced the soft lid and swallowed the tasteless contents.

After getting dressed I checked my Notifications and saw it. I forced myself to access it. The Letter opened in the air before me, the System’s various ‘Eyes’ building the holograph in a matter of seconds, and I began reading.

“From: PopCon Johannesburg – Mandela Square Office

“Mr Herchelle, it is our solemn duty to inform you that on the 17th of March, 2133, at 17h35 -”

I re-read it before marking the Notification as Read. Eating break-fast –the gruel that was specifically tailored and gene-sequenced to my body chemistry- passed in a blur and I only really started noticing my surroundings again when I climbed out of the TransU-pod and stepped onto Herchelle Plaza. A trip of fifteen minutes that had passed with me entirely unaware of it.

I was one of two people in the world who had the necessary access-imprint to enter the plaza, and I realized that, for the first time in my life, I was happy that only my father and I had the imprint.

I stood before the plaque for a while, just looking at the silver etching of his face. I read and re-read the statement that had been printed at the bottom that celebrated his world-saving and humanity-saving achievement. It came as a surprise when I felt the tears sliding down my cheeks.

“I know you can hear me,” I whispered, dashing the tears from my eyes. “All I want to know is, why haven’t you tried to contact me? How can you sit there, watch me standing here, knowing what’s coming, and not contact me?”

I swung a kick at the base of the wall and a single alarm-tone sounded, short and loud. A warning. I ignored it. “Are you already dead? Is that it?”

No reaction. Truthfully, I hadn’t expected him to react.

I spat on the plaque and left the plaza.


If you'd like to read more, here's the link to order the issue: Amazon US and Amazon UK. If you read it, please let me know what you think, eh? ;-)

Until next week,

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