Here’s the new one:
Flip the Switch
By Nicole A. Hawley
This is my maddening day. Whistle blown. Thrown under a bus. Nobody wants to hear the screams. Demons disguised in angel voices. We all make choices, right and wrong. But some crouch in corners, behind trees – out of sight. They wait for that opportune moment to strike. Guard down, they take us with blinders as to how far we’ve fallen. Oh “so nice,” they meant no trouble. How quaintly subtle their inimical intent. Yet they’re hell bent on being part of my horror. Just do me a favor —
Flip my switch!
Did you think I never desired to die? Dream about the peace? That instantaneous release of the cynical beast? Not a new beginning. Not a do-over. Just an enabled end. I descend to a padded box, head rests still on satin casket pillow. Some days I’ve wanted nothing more. So you have no clue what’s in store when you cross that line. Fool! There will be no warning. No sign. Rage blinds a heart once innocent and naive. Won’t let you be another who desires to destroy me. Do me a favor —
Flip my switch!
Bitch! Do you think you’ll be the last? You cast your shadow on an already darkened soul. A bowl filled with nothing but pits and stems. Clueless as to the education I have evolved. Involved myself with mind dances of revenge for countless before. You’re no different than any of the others. Love your brothers? Fuck no! Lessons blown on a Sunday School child. Mannerisms obsessed with protection from the descension of perpetual pain. You’re merely another blood stain. So just do me a favor —
Flip my switch!
Overreaction? Perhaps that’s the faction of my philosophy. A decry to what has become the societal norm. A storm that must rage on, conjured by a girl uncaged. Big Brother, you keep watching. C’mon…You’re so inviting. I let you in only to intensify my scorn. Born from the hell that hath no fury. Hatchets never buried. My protection from your injection of misery. That day has far come when said I’ve had enough. So there! I’ve called your bluff. Slough off your imperial reign. So…Do me a favor —
Flip my switch!
Swear I’ll never be what I was before. Punching bag. Door mat. The chair where your fat ass sat. Keep me down? Not anymore! Do me a favor —
Flip my switch!
Psycho bitch? Think what you please. That’s all right with me. Just adds spice to my flavor. So, why don’t you just do me a favor —
Flip my switch!
Just be sure that finger moves downward. Switch pointed to the floor. No more worries. If you plan to end me, better make sure it’s for good. Understood?!
Just Flip. My. Switch.
Tuesday’s Conversation With Me
(A personal therapy session)
By Nicole A. Hawley
Guess he’s not
has my number.
If he was
there’d be more
something I said?
I was just being
in a corner.
Not like Baby.
Go over there!
Don’t want to
get in my
So stay there
in that dark
Where you belong.
Where you’ve put
Months of therapy.
Learned it was
It’s true strength
my therapist said,
Under my bed.
No one understood
Agony of a
even after I
Thought I won.
Didn’t beat me.
But he was no —
Treated me like
I was in it
Then I met
He unlike any
Hours spent on that
Thought he got me
when things got
I was honest
Just tell him
He couldn’t deal.
So he left.
We’ll be just,
Never felt so
had to attend.
I was angry.
Didn’t want to succumb
He texted me
Didn’t have balls
Took my power.
Called him a
Cut him out.
Never to be heard
Not one, but
Yeah, I was
Had a hunch
Only to cum
Yeah, he liked
But that was
I met that
Girl, gotta put the
of that married
So the monster
of the others
Said he’d never
All those lies
Mouth full of
Drew me in,
only to make
Made it out
Salt on the
Took that hurt,
Turned it ‘round,
even used his
That’s what he
with my best
How he got
the best of
it was ABUSE
Time to face
How I was
Teach a child
the sky is
when it’s really
They have no
to learn this
Back on leather
Wanna go home.
But you’re here
Shoulda never said
My whole life
I’ve had to
Me and men,
with Fuck ‘im
slave of his
Memory of first
I still carry
‘Round my neck.
this story you
Loved too fast
did it all
put to the
Man who won’t
This feeling of
I have no
Sit at the
and just not
is there to
Don’t fight it.
but did your
Is it wrong?
Bare a soul
for all your
Years of self
I said —
Nicole, for once…
What You Were Showing Me
By: Nicole A. Hawley
“Hey Pumpkin!” “Hey Grampa!” Jingle. Jingle. Jingle. “Got your homework done?” Grin of a sly fox. “Yeah, Grampa.” “Goin’ to Price Chopper. Gramma needs somethin’ at the store. Why don’t you come?” “O.K.” That crane machine was callin.’ Furry blue dog. No one was takin’ it on us. “Don’t hog that machine,” I heard under his breath. Man kept pumpin’ in those quarters. “Go up. A touch to the right.” “Grandpa don’t tell him, he’ll get it.” “Don’t sweat it, Pumpkin, we’ve got this.” He gave up. We were next up. Ching. Ching. Grampa slid those quarters into the slot. Musta had at least fifty. His right pants pocket big and bulky. Sure enough. Blue fluff drops from the claw into that slot. Me and Grampa that was our thing — the occasional fling. With that crane machine.
Ring! Ring! “Hey Grampa!” “Hey Pumpkin!” “Can you bring me to the store?” “What for?” “Gotta get the decorations for my Sweet 16 party.” Needed my counterparty. “Grampa be right there.” It wasn’t long. Before that cream-colored Crown Vic rolled up. The driveway. Didn’t know until that day. He lay in the box. Grampa was eatin’ dinner, but wouldn’t stay. Left half a plate. Told Gramma, “I gotta date. With Pumpkin.”
“Hey Pumpkin!” “Yeah, Grampa?” “Come ‘ere. Grampa needs to tell ya somethin.’” “O.K.” “Listen, next year you might be goin’ off to college. Far off. You might be stayin’ at the dorms. There’ll be boys there.” Saw that tear. In his eye, but didn’t want to stare. “Now listen. Those boys try to touch you, this is what you do. Pretend to hold a knife in your hand. Swoop underhanded. See? Won’t create a shadow. One hard blow. Grampa learned it in the War. But just know this…Anything ever happens, Grampa’s just a call. Away. And before you know it. He’ll be there. Faster than lightning.”
Grampa didn’t make it. Through that summer. Taken too soon. We just assumed. No more
suffering. No more pain. Better not to have him, than have him that. Way. More than twenty-two years have passed. And when I lie on that pillow at night. I still pretend it’s your lap.
Grampa. Why did it take me so long? To see. What you were tryin’ to show. Me? Lesson
learned. You wanted me to know when I found. The man I deserve. But Grampa. Your little girl. She hasn’t found him. Yet.
Paper Makes Fire
By Nicole A. Hawley
Goes the dime.
The spectacled man reached for a clean sheet.
Placed it within the long cylinder roller.
It rolled around the platen of that Royal Quiet Deluxe.
His fingers flew feverishly from key to key.
“Once upon a time…”
“One dark and stormy night…”
Only thirty minutes
before that dime runs out.
The writer knew he had to make.
Catch his audience.
A story of banned books.
That’s no good!
There was a firefighter…
He loved watching the flames dance before his eyes.
“It was a pleasure to burn…”
He falls in love,
adores the very element he was meant to fight.
Paper moves now.
Right to left,
on the carriage at the back.
A government oppresses.
What they don’t know,
won’t kill them.
Until a fateful meeting with a young girl.
She is unlike any other.
Speaks of things.
he never considered.
Cannot remove her from his mind.
Home to wife.
Asleep on pills.
Denial of disillusionment?
Helps fireman see the errors,
of their violent ways.
“It doesn’t matter what you do.”
“So long as you change
from the way it was before you touched it.”
Like this once blank sheet of paper.
Granger speaks of a place for the soul to go,
when the body dies.
Montag is bothered.
Fireman, no longer desires to be,
He joins the resistance.
Don’t quit now.
Reached into his bag of dimes,
pulled one out.
That single sheet of Vintage Eaton,
its words still read.
And nine days, 980 dimes
Still known for the temperature,
it could all burn.
Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. Random House Pub. Group, 2003.
By: Nicole A. Hawley
Today I wore white sandals. Six inches of snow on the sidewalk. They went perfect with my
black bathing suit. What a beautiful day for a funeral. Went for a walk and found a box at the
side of the semi-circle. But nothing was inside it. Where’s Schrodinger’s cat? Better off dead.
Bitter-sweet! Found my adult coloring book with green suns and purple Barbie faces. Blue hair
scribbled outside the lines. Chuck Baudelaire found it quite bourgeoisie. Purchased it for a cool
million. At least he saved two bucks. Critics have no friends and no enemies, which makes no
one. Shot him over my dead body. Ew, look – blood! I’m starving. Sat down at the five-star
restaurant and ordered jumbo shrimp. Plates weren’t big enough to hold it. Started a conversation
with a gentleman wearing a polka-dotted dress dancing on the table behind me. Left his wife for
his mother-in-law. It’s that nursing home she lives in where he found his youth. See that 25-year-old waiter over there? Earned his doctorate in quantum physics. Rich cougar did him. Say what?!
Here is Belisama revised!
(Celtic Goddess of Lakes and Rivers, Fire, Crafts and Light) !
By Nicole A. Hawley !
I am from the forest,
gravel path, tunnel of twisted branches
decaying wood stumps.
Stench of dead earth.
Mucky, stale moss-filmed swamps.
Criquets chirp. !
I am from the darkness,
traveling that endless gravel path.
Where are you light?
I search for you.
My truth lives there.
I only see you — round eyes, dimples.
Man in the moon far out of reach.
Chilling loneliness. !
I am from that blustering wind.
Pushes against my back.
Strikes my face.
Carries me to where I need to be.
Am I getting any closer,
to where my tranquility reigns?
Machine in my chest pounding and pounding.
Keep running. !
I am from the hope where dreams flourish.
Is there a better road,
for destiny to follow?
My compass broken.
Meant for so much more than this.
Must get away,
to find where true aspirations take shape.
Is there such a place? !
I am from the sun,
his sweet rays not warm my bitter heart.
Both, weight of boulder resting atop my shoulders.
So heavy a carry.
One foot in front of the other.
Lead the way. !
I am from that which has no name,
for I scream, and I scream.
Do you not hear me?
Echoes carry, but High Fathers you turn.
You, my ignorance and betrayal. !
I am from the water,
whose rhythmic current grants me balance.
Place I go to achieve my enigmatic calm.
Draws me in.
Only feels right that I follow.
Addicted to its refreshing bliss.
Clothes my nude vulnerabilities.
Such serenity. !
I am from the out-stretched limb,
it lies across that gravel path.
I exhaustedly travel.
No part of any plan.
YOU made me stumble and fall!
I see your hand gently reach for mine.
I am from my companions,
hands clasped, they travel alongside me.
Otherwise my journey fruitless.
May I come with you?
Not sure how to answer.
I have no confirmed destination.
Continue moving then.
Let’s run! !
I am from potion of innocence naivety created,
conjured by the Devil.
Sick, twisted games.
Fool I was!
Believed I had the Angel sent by Hosanna.
Woken by truth’s alarm.
Heart, shattered to shards,
by evil’s mighty anvil. !
I am from the chaos,
of which Man created so that he may dwell.
Fear, my hell now.
Black veil masks the misery.
Spirit frozen still.
Friends, I cry out.
You no longer wish to remain. !
I am from the burning torch,
that rejuvenates my inner flame.
Those who always believed.
They carry and stay.
Hitting rock bottom.
What become of your heart now, woman?
Who could blame? !
I am from the book of wisdom and knowledge,
now forced to read.
He and others before.
Ate my soul.
Buried the bones.
Much to be learned, gained.
How far have you come?
Mere middling, I’m afraid. !
I am from the death that birthed mourning,
leaving my mind in black of night.
In constant belief.
Had the right.
He returned, cursed monster,
to dance within my head.
Put me to bed.
Then fled. !!
I am from my sisters,
whose power and enlightenment took me from isolation.
His damning manipulation.
Lonely, but no longer alone.
Others share the story.
Shackled by legacy of predestiny.
Don’t you stay
Be free! !
I am from the drowning rains,
crafted by words taken from that wise book.
They cleanse, mend.
Muds from years of self scrutiny.
Difficult to remove.
Here, a brush.
Scrub away the pains. !
I am from the blade,
it slices as sharply as words crafted from my tongue.
He surges my imprisoned rage.
Why so angry?
For years his acts of tyranny.
Gifted me scorn.
Now injustice – no more! !
I am from the crescent moon,
with its light of ambition I create new realities.
What is your fate, woman?
A decision not set.
A journey, not destination.
Pictures not seen in cards.
MY manifestation. !
I am from the fragile glass,
so transparent, I see clarity in the reincarnate.
Who are you?
I am Woman.
Closer to whom I was born to be.
You are not child, warrior?
Why, I am all three. !
I am from the phoenix,
a symbol for all those who tried to burn me.
Know I have risen.
No longer a pile of ashes.
Find your light yet?
Been running toward this thing.
But it lived within me, beside me.
This entire time.
This is Me
By Nicole A. Hawley
Veins carry sounds
My heart sings from neck to
Belly, rounded curves shape my breasts.
Scrollwork marks the beginning
And end of my waist.
Hips and rump
Come together, one large bump.
As rounded curve glides into another endless road
Traveled, those veins carry notes of a life loved
and troubled down to the tailpiece, but that is
not where I cease. To exist as a master
piece it takes time as fingers glide
and F-holes ring my theme. To
finally stand tall
Point Me in the Right Direction
By Nicole A. Hawley
I got daggers
and wands not for others,
but for me. Don’t ask what
it all means. Got some Swords too.
Eight. Guess that means hesitation
and entrapment. Things beyond
my control. Let’s see what else
my future holds…
Obstacles? I got the King of Pentacles.
He translates to confidence, a card
of worldly success. Achievements
abound, satisfaction to be found.
Past foundations let’s see…Eight
of Pentacles – applying oneself
fully to whatever is the center
of attention. Did I mention,
I got the Lovers to represent
my past events? Conflicting
choices made in life it says.
A potential partner
not taken lightly.
and true, should I
continue? Nine of swords,
oh great. The hate and fear,
difficult for me to see clear.
Must learn to put my past behind
me or consign myself to misery.
Sounds like a man who won’t leave
my mind. Guess I better place him
aside, although I’ve already tried.
Next card is future that finds me
a Chariot, about overcoming
conflict, moving forward
in a desired direction.
The Querant or
truths on how
you feel. Ace
of Cups came up.
Radiating power. Let your heart lead the way. A time of offering to help others,
don’t ration your positive energy. Friends and family the Page of Cups is
what I get. May receive the credit I deserve – a messenger of creative
beginnings. Hopes, fears and ideals…Oh no the Ten of Swords! !
Wait, don’t make haste.
Doom may not be all
there’s room. For fear
not, darkness may
soon be dispelled.
With each new
beginning there must
be an end. Preach! Now,
the final outcome – the
Ten of Wands, reach your
goals and enhance your
life. Completion of a cycle.
The end of struggle. Hope
to reap my deserved rewards.
And here’s my short story which will eventually evolve into my thesis/novel that I’m sure to rip to shreds:
“‘Feelings are weapons that can kill us all.’ Now repeat after me…”
Jadyn glared into the black eyes of the caramel-skinned man. He couldn’t help but notice how the swollen red vessels glowed against the pure white sclera surrounding his pupils. During training, he had learned about this “bloodshot disease” — it was among the list of possible symptoms Enforcers needed to be vigilant of when arresting an Offender. It could be a sign of Emotion Sad, or worse, the progressed Emotion Anger.
The husky man in long camouflage trench coat wrinkled his nose and cocked his head as he rocked back-and-forth like the prized ring fighters of the Old World that Jadyn remembered reading about as a child on his information appliance. Weight on left foot, weight on right, both stood facing each other at the Arrest Forum located at the center of Community Park. A crowd gathered gazing curiously at the sight that stood upon the raised-floor platform. Some even paused to switch their portable devices to sleep mode while others seized the opportunity to exchange daily food rations for indulgences.
Jadyn couldn’t help but be amused by how the citizens viewed Public Setting arrests. They were often like horrible accidents. Most feared the possibility of viewing the blood and carnage, yet couldn’t help but be attracted to the heinous ugliness like a craved obsession. After all, at least 7 out of 10 of those who made it to an Enforcer’s stage would not live to see the light of new sun. It was how the beast would behave at his breaking point that sparked a burnishing curiosity.
“Did you not understand me, Offender?” Jadyn’s voice echoed through the arena’s amplifier speakers. The hubbub came to a striking halt as the madding audience fixated their eyes upon the spectacle before them.
“Yes, Enforcer,” the man in camouflage huffed.
“Then what’s your problem? Say it — so everyone can hear! Feelings…”
Taking his eyes off the Enforcer and looking up toward the dusty gray sky, the sun’s rays barely breaking through, he removed his breathing mask. The dark man, with bushy coarse beard, heaved a sigh of regret, “Feelings…” He stopped, then continued hurriedly, “Feelings are weapons that can kill us all.”
“Very good, Offender. Now normally I would let you go with a warning, but…” Jadyn scanned the rectangular screen that floated like a mirage before his face as mumbles mingled among the onlookers. “Let me see. Yes. It appears this is your second offense in a 72 period. And this time you screamed the language of Emotion Anger, not once, but twice.”
Some gasped as Jadyn touched the apparition and played back a recording of the man’s voice.
“Fuck you asshole! Fuck you!”
The crowd’s roars echoed and like tight-knit soldiers, all pumped their fists high in unison. “Emergency Action Notification! Emergency Action Notification!” Jadyn raised his hand and motioned the flock of followers to quiet down, then giving the Offender a look of discernment, he removed the code reader from his work belt and scanned the I.D. number tattooed just below the Offender’s right wrist.
“Hmm Hmmm…Meribbaal Dahan, as you know, that is the language of Emotion Anger,” the Enforcer quipped. “We do not express any form of emotion, particularly Emotion Anger, in Community Park. It is Public Setting.”
“But Enforcer, if I must…,” the man reached out sympathetically and touched Jadyn’s arm, then pointed over his shoulder.
“That old man over there stole one of my rations. I have but one food tablet left for the period 24. I did not give him my permission…”
“Well, despite cause, public display of extreme emotion is what it is, Offender. I will need to charge and tag you. Hold still…”
Jadyn looked down to his side and removed the shiny, silver vile from his belt. It contained a bright green liquid and the tip was jagged and blunt. With an underhanded swoop, Jadyn quickly jabbed the object into the man’s right forearm.
“Ahh! Wwwhat was that?”
“Oh come on, it wasn’t that bad. That was your tag, sir, or tracking device, if that’s what you’d prefer to call it. New orders from Cah-di and the Pures High Council. In fact, I believe you are among the first of the test subjects.”
“Almighty Cah-di, silence our past! Emotion shall not overpower!,” the mob chanted.
The Enforcer motioned for the Offender to have a look at the hovering screen. Text indicated it had been the man’s second offense in two lunar rotation’s time. According to Westerian Emotion Law, Enforcers previously sent Offenders off to Death Camp to await trial on second offense. However, as a sign of good will for her succession to the presidency from her father Adag, Cah-di had issued a Mercy Statute upon her swearing-in to office. Second offenders were now to be tagged for offense tracking and sent off for community labor at Concentration Camp.
The Offender appeared puzzled.
“When did Cah-di take power?”
“Offender, you are not from the underground – a Darwin – are you?,” Jadyn laughed mockingly, shaking his head and pointing to the large overhead screen above the arena. “The news streamed all morning period. You must’ve seen.”
“O…oh…of course, sir. Haha,” the man stammered. “The frustration of my ordeal must have made it slip my mind. After all, how could you not remember Cah-di’s long, fluorescent hair, and those captivating violet eyes. The latest in mutation trends I assume.”
“I couldn’t tell ya buddy, I don’t keep up on that shit. Enforcers just need to know Emotion Law and how to sniff out Darwins.”
“But of course,” the man rolled his eyes sarcastically. “I mean who wouldn’t want to eradicate those filthy Darwins, right? Full of disease, irrational emotions and radical beliefs. To intentionally choose such imperfection…”
Jadyn nodded in agreement as he attempted to download the full file of his Offender’s background check.
“There’s something to be said of those who rebel and choose out of free will to live the way of the ancestors,” the Enforcer said. “Nothing good, of course. Maybe one day they’ll repeat their past and finally destroy each other.”
Jadyn programmed the man’s sentence into his portable device: 64 period community labor. Report to the High Towers for Concentration Camp assignment after two moons’ rotation time. Remember to always practice discipline and vigilance.
The man bit his lip, placed his hands inside his pants pockets and shifted his head, looking steadily into Jadyn’s eyes.
“Yes Charlie,” the man hesitated. “I suppose you’re right. Labor is better than death, for now.”
“Charlie?,” Jadyn pointed to the embroidered patch on the left pocket of his ochre-colored uniform shirt. “Do you not read, Offender? I am Enforcer Jadyn-Dylan-Ross. See? And what do you mean…?”
“Yes Enforcer, I can see what it says,” the man sharply interrupted as he began to turn and walk down the steps of the Arrest Forum toward the transportation tunnel behind them. It was close to mid-afternoon period and the screaming and whaling of electronic rail cars as they rolled in for End Labor Commute was deafening. Those surrounding the Arrest Forum began to disperse and hurriedly made their way toward the rails. Raising his right hand as if to wave goodbye, the Offender turned. “Oh forgive me Enforcer, I must have confused you with your father,” he smirked before disappearing into the mass of travelers.
“Stop! Wait! I said wait!,” Jadyn tried to make his way through the swarm, but to no eval.
“Charlie? Father?,” Jadyn projected as the onlookers who overheard him gave an inquisitive glance.
What if I just sent a Darwin loose?, Jadyn thought, feeling the rapid pulse within his jugular.
Jadyn stopped himself, shook his fists and took a deep breath.
“1-2-3 anger leads to hate,” he recited like an old children’s nursery rhyme, looking off into the distance but unable to focus on anything particular. “3-4-5 hate cannot drive out hate.”
Jadyn was only four when his Upbringer taught him to recite those words first spoken by the man the ancestors called, King, several decades before the Second American Civil War. It was part of children’s daily PFDs – Psychological Fitness Drills. As a Pure, it was instilled at an early age that Emotion Control was necessary to eliminate violence in order to continue the race, at least what was left of it after the Final War that followed the fall of the states. Hate – even love – could potentially cause violence. Violence resulted in death and ruin. HATE – Humans Afflict True Emotion – was the destroyer of all things.
Jadyn stood aloof and sighed as he reached for the black leather satchel tied to one of the belt loops on his khaki uniform trousers. Untying it and reaching inside, he grinned with relief.
“Good, one more reward beverage token left before the end of the period 30 new suns,” Jadyn laughed. “And I intend on making it useful.”
The siren of Dooms Day End blared throughout the park, the same screeching trepidation used by the ancestors to warn their people of the coming of the flying rockets that made the nuclear winter. Jadyn’s duty period was over, along with his other comrades from Section 1. Not feeling quite up to retiring to his bunker for shift’s end, the Enforcer loosened the tight white collar of his uniform shirt and adjusted the silver chain hung around his neck, taking a quick glance at the hexagon-shaped pendant attached before placing it into the hollow of his throat. He slowly brought his respiratory mask up to his mouth and cricked his neck to gaze over at the O2 gauge on the air pack strapped over his right shoulder.
Taking a deep breath, he then began walking toward his favorite tavern in the city capital, a popular spot for many Enforcers thanks to its convenient location about a half kilometer stroll from the Emotion Enforcement Office of High Towers. All Westerian government offices were located at the two hulking buildings that made up the High Towers complex, erected to pay homage to what was known by the ancestors as the Twin Towers of city New York. They too, according to the video streams left behind, were lost to the violence of mankind’s intensions.
Twisted metal, shards of glass and large blocks of concrete surrounded Jadyn’s path, remnants of the Old World before its armageddon. Most the materials that remained after fallout were recycled and repurposed to erect today’s cities of steel. Other ancient landmarks that somehow survived, like the stone polyhedrons of Old Middle East and giant Female of Fire from the Former America, were allowed to remain standing, but not to represent a story of what used to be. They were meant as a reminder of what could be – again.
During his walks amid the capital, Jadyn couldn’t recall a time when he didn’t see the children halt their play just to dig for skulls within the layers upon layers of ash and rubble. They could get up to two indulgence rations for chewing latex or fructose licks from one of the curiosity shops in exchange, that’s if they were fortunate enough to find one with a full set of teeth.
When I was a kid I remember if you found one with a golden tooth inside, they’d give you enough rations to last you a whole period seven suns, he recalled with a twisted smile. Upbringer would be so relieved, he’d have to fight back the eye wetness of Emotion Sad.
In between the clicks of his heeled mid-calf boot, Jadyn heard the mum of conversation several feet from the tavern’s entrance as he walked up and swung open the dented metal door, the letters “S-o-c-i-a-l-S-e-r” still etched into the chards of broken glass in the window. Walking in, he noticed a few Section 1 officers gathered at the corner of the bar. Opaque bottles laced with dust and grime lined the wooden shelves nearby. Adjacent from the officers stood a metal sign post that read, “Line starts here.”
Seated facing the bar, Patrol Leader Chase happened to turn around when Jadyn accidentally kicked a beverage token lying on the floor, striking the leg of the officer’s tattered bare wood stool. He looked to Jadyn, then looked to the floor.
“Gee thanks, man. I didn’t know you’d be coming here to offer me a drink,” Chase laughed, his large, muscular chest rising up and down. He gave a wink with each of his eyes – his left a bright ocean blue and right a golden brown.
“Hey man just consider it you’re lucky day, and my unlucky one, OK?,” Jadyn winced.
“There’s worse things than losing a beverage token to your commanding officer that didn’t even belong to you in the first place, my friend. Come have a seat with us.”
Jadyn pushed out the one remaining stool near Chase as the others continued their conversations, faces emerged in their portable devices, fingers and thumbs flying feverishly. Despite the varied rants, it didn’t take long to figure out that the topic of the evening was the 24 period’s Offender List.
Jadyn sat hunched over – half listening. As he pushed his right hand through his dirty blonde crew cut, he came to the protruding bump at the back of his neck, just below the base of his skull. He quickly pushed what little hair he had over to cover it. His bright hazel eyes gazed over at the portable device sitting on top of the bar counter, he grabbed it and began typing.
“You’ll never believe the Offender I had today. Very strange.” Jadyn wrote, then waited moments for a reply.
“Oh yeah, how so?,” Chase text back. “Can’t be any worse than the one I had. Caught mine with a limp, coulda’ sworn he was Darwin, but claimed he stumbled and hit his knee on the pavement. His defense, get this, was that the pain forced him to yell out, ‘Dammit!’ Seriously man, learn some control. Oh sorry dude…you were saying, LOL?”
“Thanks for letting me have a word,” Jadyn chided, then continued typing. “Anyway, this guy called me Charlie and…”
“Charlie? Funny you don’t look like a Charlie,” Chase quipped.
“I know right…,” Jadyn shook his head as the other officers gave a quick glance over.
“Hey man that can be your new nickname from now on.”
“Seriously, I need you to listen, there’s more…”
“Oh wait everybody, this is about to get good, I can feel it,” the commanding officer snarked while coercing the others’ attention. “I bet he then caught the Offender kissing or touching, or better yet…”
Jadyn gave a disgusted sigh. “No it wasn’t like that. As my Offender started walking away from me after Arrest Forum, he said something about confusing me with my father.”
“Your father? You an Elite and didn’t bother telling us? Ha!,” Chase laughed. “You sure he wasn’t crazy and should’ve been brought straight to Death Camp?”
“That’s what I’m concerned about. I hope one didn’t slip by me.”
“Are you losing your touch? I thought you had the dog nose for Darwins, Charlie,” Chase punched Jadyn in the right arm.
“Enough, OK?,” Jadyn pushed the commander back. “Then I tried to get it out of him…”
“Listen man, don’t converse with the Offenders, all right? Just arrest them, play back the evidence, and sentence them,” Chase scolded. “Follow your orders from the Council and remain vigilant of Darwins. That’s all you’re required. Get it?”
Jadyn gave a frustrated snort. “Copy, commander.”
Removing their attention from Jadyn, the officers once again immersed their faces into their portable devices. Still feeling unsettled over the day’s encounter, Jadyn decided to try and refresh his Offenders’ List to see if the system had updated information on his Offender’s background check and whereabouts. But his search was interrupted by a new alert stream from Intelligence, informing all Enforcers that the Darwin Faction had been spotted using the underground to migrate to Northern Provence Westeria.
It had been almost a complete sun’s rotation around Earth since an infiltration team from Emotion Enforcement gathered intelligence about the Darwins’ plans to construct a revolt outpost there. The fear remained that from the Northern Provence, Darwins had an advantage of gaining access to High Towers from the underground and go virtually undetected by the GCD’s (Genetic Code Detectors). The territory had formerly been declared neutral before Elite Pures waged faction genocide against the Darwins under Former President Adag’s rule. But despite the declaration for sanctioning genocide against those of the “imperfect race” during his campaign, Adag was still unable to garner the approval from the High Council to re-instate the former neutral territory to Overt Watch status as he had planned.
All final governmental decisions came down from the seven-member High Council, led by Abdul-Haq, whose Donors had been among the first of the OR’s (Original Race) to have undergone genetic manipulation. Haq was of high influence by birth, and it was his formerly promoted philosophy that Darwins maintain “Freedom Choice” – the ability to choose to remain genetically unmodified. Essentially, as long as Haq remained of “high voice,” Darwins retained their right to exist.
After the live stream alert, Emotion Enforcement High Intelligence released a post of Malcolm Little’s mugshot. Jadyn recalled that Little, known commonly as “Mutt” among his followers, had been leader of the Darwin Faction since he was a young boy. Despite the crow’s feet at the corners of his chocolate eyes and some graying of the coarse hair near his temple, Little appeared almost as if time had stood still. Small in stature, to the ancestors, Little would have been known as a Dwarf during a time when the human race felt compelled to label its differences. Splatters of blood stain decorated his white cotton tunic like the markings of a spotted leopard, a stark reminder of the violence that his people represented, at least that’s what the Enforcer assumed, grunting with shame.
But there was something unsettling that forced Jadyn to pause over this photo as his eyes scanned the dark man’s face, first the gash that scarred his forehead and then down past his cleft chin. Resting on the man’s sternum was a metallic object, the likeness to his own pendant uncanny, same hexagon shape with similar engraving – a snake wrapped around a stake inside a crimson cross.
Jadyn had fond memories of the young girl who had gifted him that very pendant that now felt cold against his skin. Her golden eyes had a fire inside that ignited when he teasingly pulled her glossy ebony hair or when she outsmarted him in puzzle games on their Chroma Lab. Yasmin was but 7 when Upbringer Quddus took her in by orders of Haq, perhaps a sun’s rotation his junior. Quddus had been informed that her parents, who were distant family to the Council leader’s Donors, had been killed by a group of Darwin rebels soon after Adag took the presidency almost 17 sun rotations ago.
Every dark period before bed, the two would huddle together under a large woolen blanket as the dipping temperatures chilled their bunker’s sleeping chamber. Holding a small LED light in the cuff of her hands, Yasmin would recite the most fantastic stories of magical creatures and extraordinary worlds that existed in galaxies far away. On one of those occasions, after sharing one of her favorite tales of knights and princesses passed down from the ancestors of the ancestors, Yasmin spoke of a woman with copper brown hair and stunning hazel eyes.
“I see her when I look at you,” Jadyn recalled her telling him with wide smile, although she never gave this woman a name. When he asked who this enigma was, Yasmin would just retort, “The Feeler of course,” as if he had not only known very well whom she was referring, but like they had been acquainted for quite some time. Yasmine would then quickly change the subject and joke that he asked too many questions.
Just before one sleep period on what would have been his creation day, Jadyn remembered Yasmin removing the silver chain and pendant from around her neck and placing it over his head.
“Here, I was suppose to give this to you,” she whispered. Jadyn remembered the gentle warmth he felt inside his chest soon after Yasmine had gifted it to him, a sensation he could not explain or fully describe in words. Some time afterwards when he opened up about it with Upbringer, he was warned never to discuss such matters.
The gifting was a memory Jadyn always desired to carry with him, although it was met with one of confusion and mystery. The next morning period after receiving the pendant, when Jadyn woke to his REM alarm and rolled over to look toward Yasmin’s cot, he had anticipated all these questions about the picture on his pendant. What did it mean? Who made it? Where did it come from? But as he glanced over, all that remained was one woolen blanket rolled into a ball and a pillow with a slight indent in the center. No matter how hard Jadyn wept after searching every nook of their bunker, Upbringer would never admit as to what happened to her.
“Yasmine had to go. She is no longer with us. Just leave it be. You are never to mention it or dare show the angst you have shown me in public setting, do you understand?” And with sunken eyes, Quddus would just turn and walk away.
So much time has passed yet I can’t help thinking of you, wondering what you would look like now if you were still among us, Yasmine, Jadyn thought. But I’ll never see you or talk to you again, will I?
Jadyn sighed. His eyes glazed over, he blinked rapidly in attempt to wake himself from his stupor. He then swept his right forefinger across the screen of his portable device, placing it into sleep mode.
“Well, I better go hit my bunker for end day slumber,” said Jadyn, looking over at his commanding officer.
“I think it’s about that time for all of us,” Chase looked at the other officers and motioned for them to go out the front door.
Jadyn allowed the others to leave as he followed close behind. He then took the dismal 5.1 kilometer stroll to the Enforcer Encampment, thoughts of the day’s occurrences weighing heavily on his mind. Time seemed to have passed at a leisurely pace as he came upon Bunker 3, the rooming quarters he shared with two other Enforcers. Usually his end day slumber came when the others were still on duty.
With 10 feet of concrete wall keeping out all sound from outside the encampment, and his quarters a mere 12 feet underground, it was no wonder Jadyn felt desolate and vulnerable. The Enforcer climbed down the deep stairway and pressed his thumb against the identification key before the sliding door swept open. He unbuttoned the cuffs of his uniform shirt and as he walked toward his cot, kicking off his duty boots mid-step. After propping his pillow, Jadyn inserted the soft, silicone Dream Monitor inside his right auditory canal, programming it for extended overview patterns, and crawled under the thin cotton taupe sheets.
All Enforcers were required to utilize the monitors during each sleep period to police any possible Emotion Outburst. If outbursts occurred too often to achieve contained state, they were reported to commanding officers for required disciplinary action. Rumors whirled that two rookie officers once faced Death Camp for Extreme Emotion Exertion from dream state occurrences soon after the monitors became part of regulatory legislation, but were discovered hung by their utility belts inside their holding cells just before they were to stand trial.
As Jadyn closed his eyes and drifted off into deep slumber, he continued to analyze the encounter with his Offender, murmuring the name, “Charlie,” over and over, trying to imagine what this fictitious stranger may look like. Would he have a similar cleft chin? Perhaps what sparked the confusion was that both had uniquely broad hands and long digits. No, there must have been something rather unique or peculiar that stood out to this Offender. As if several periods had occurred in seconds, the sound of Jadyn’s heavy, rhythmic breathing would soon be quelled by the confused sounds and images in his mind, the chaos and destruction that played like a movie stream within his unconscious.
“It’s over Nadine. Hand him over! Let him go!”
Now in registered REM state, Jadyn felt as if he were watching from outside his body the horrific events unfold. He was reminded of the stories Upbringer would stream for him when he was a young boy during lessons about the Old World and Final War. He could see a woman – hazel eyes, long, wavy copper brown hair and freckles. She was cradling a small, sobbing child within her arms as she nervously rocked back-and-forth.
Dakka. Dakka. Dakka. He could hear the rapid machine gun blasts off in the distance, coupled by the echoing screams of missile fire overhead. There was an overwhelming stench – sickening sweet fumes mixed with sulphur, and the metallic odor of blood.
Off in the distance, Jadyn saw a crowd of men and women trampling each other as they jetted toward the exit of their commune post. The young mother was pleading for everyone to remain calm as she continued her attempts to comfort the whaling boy. Tears streamed down the desperate woman’s face. “But Charles, please! If they ever found out, they’d slaughter him like the others!,” she cried.
Suddenly a gigantic boom and the walls around them shook so hard, others shouted warnings they were about to give way. Jadyn saw a tall, robust man in camouflage coat turn away and run in the opposite direction so that he could not view his face.
“Charlie, we have no time!,” the man yelled over toward where the woman and child were standing.
In an instant, there was a flash of blinding white light. Jadyn could feel an almost burning sensation hover over his body.
“Guahh!,” Jadyn quickly sat upright in his cot. The alarm of his Dream Monitor consistently beating, he found difficulty catching his breath. The hair rose on his freckled arms.
“Caution! Nightmare alarm activated! REM state terminated…REM state terminated,” screamed the robotic voice from the Dream Monitor. “Emotion Fear detected. Emotion Fear Detected…”
“It’s OK, I’m awake now!,” Jadyn shouted as he ripped the monitor from his ear and threw it against the wall in front of him.
“Fuck! What the hell?!,” Jadyn banged his fist on the low ceiling directly above his head.
“Emotion Anger detected…Emotion Anger detected…”
Jadyn ran over to where he had thrown the Dream Monitor, picked it up and crushed it in his hand. Taking a deep breath…
“Discipline, brother, pull it together. It wasn’t real…It wasn’t real. Discipline and vigilance must overcome.” He kept blinking his eyes to contain the tears as he knelt before his cot. As the memory of details began to fade, Jadyn questioned whether he was more startled from the nightmare or the realization that he was experiencing more frequent “episodes” of emotion control inconsistency over the last 30 new suns, at least that was what his Discipline Monitor had indicated. He was specifically bred and trained in a life work of Emotion Control, how could he be challenged in the very efforts he was meant, by birth, to enforce? It had been months since Emotion Enforcement requested his Dream Monitor be evaluated, but there was always talk of possible surprise inspections.
What excuse could he possibly give Chase for a busted Dream Monitor? Soon he would be up for promotion review and he couldn’t afford anything that could taint his career record. As it was, his DM already recorded his pre-wake outburst and he would more than likely be issued a warning from command based on that account, alone.
Suddenly another alert would sound and Jadyn jumped when the bright green lights surrounding the VM flashed on the wall that was adjacent to the foot of the officer’s cot. His eyes wide, feeling as though a hand was clenching his throat, Jadyn relaxed and breathed a sigh of relief once he realized it was only his Daily Regimen Alarm.
“Good morning Jaydn. Time for Physical and Mental Fitness, followed by Daily Hygiene. This will be a fine period 24,” said a more subtle, gentle female voice, much more pleasant than that of his Dream Monitor. “I suggest we discuss your dream during Mental Fitness.” Jadyn rubbed his eyes, got off his knees and began walking toward the large screen hung above the running track located at the far west corner of the bunker.
“Computer. 10K. Skill level moderate to expert. Mountain path.” Suddenly the walls surrounding Jadyn’s bunker displayed scenes of snow-capped peaks, shallow flowing streams and gravel running trails. But just as Jadyn began his daily run his DM would sound once more, this time caution color yellow flashed overhead. That meant an important message was coming in from command. He stopped and looked directly above at the monitor.
“Enforcer Jadyn Dylan Ross, report.”
Repressing his surprise, Jadyn was locked into the image of the young woman with pale blue skin that gave off an almost icy glimmer. It wasn’t normal protocol to have the president to have any contact with an common-level Enforcer, which made Jadyn quite anxious to receive a direct signal from Cah-di. He had never seen her face-to-face, just heard rumors amongst the Elites of her most frequent gene alterations.
Jadyn couldn’t help but focus on the oval pupils inside the woman’s filmy violet eyes – so eerily “inhuman,” yet awe inspiring. Her fluorescent hair twinkled in a sea of colors when the light reflected upon her diamond-shaped face. She was tall and slender, and spoke in an ancient accent unfamiliar to those of Westerian culture, which some said, made her stature even more exotic.
“I have a job for you Enforcer of most urgency. I will need you to report to the High Towers at once.”
Like all the Pures, Cah-di’s DNA donors, often referred to as parents for tradition sake, had chosen her sex and specific physical traits they wished to have reflected in their fetus. “Parents” donated eggs and sperm for procreation, as coitus was banned because of its ability to produce high levels of serotonin within the brain, giving the potential for uncontrollable volumes of Emotion Lust and Emotion Love. Only Elite Pures, like the president, presidential family and members of the High Council and Command, received the privilege of knowing who their mother and father donors were, while Moderates, like Jadyn, were not.
The film over Cah-di’s eyes was created when her gene segment was altered to make them nocturnal, a choice of her donors. Once at mature age, when her father, Adag, was preparing her for succession of his presidency, Cah-di chose to have her skin pigmentation and hair color mutated through blood transfusion so that she could represent the most unique traits of the Elites.
“I beg your pardon, Ms. President, but I have not completed my recommended fitness time requirement for period 24,” Jadyn said cautiously. “Is it possible to postpone?”
“Yes, Enforcer. I will give you an allowance for the period 24, minus one food ration. Just come. Your briefing with High Councelor Abdul-Haq and I will begin at start of New Sun.”
“Yes president, I will Daily Hygiene and transport at once.” Just as Cad-hi had signed off, Jadyn felt a sudden rush to his head and slight twinge in his stomach. His knees buckled and the chill of a drenching cold sweat ran down his spine. Clenching his stomach as his hands trembled, Jadyn collapsed to the floor and crawled over to the cylinder transporter pod at the north end of his quarters.
What is this?, he questioned. As Jadyn attempted to lift himself up into a kneeling position he fell back as he blacked out, striking his head on the hard floor.
Moments would seem like several new suns when the sterile odor of nothingness began to permeate Jadyn’s nostrils, when in reality it had only been 840 seconds time according to the interval monitor located on the wall in front of him. Suddenly he felt a cold hand on his face as he turned his head away from the bright light being shined directly into his eyes.
“Are you not awake yet?,” Jadyn could barely make out the muffled voice that came from the man hovered above him in white laboratory coat, small lighted instrument in his hand. His dialect was unfamiliar – he could not place it.
“Wh-where am I?,” Jadyn uttered, looking above into the man’s gray-blue eyes, his round spectacles balanced at the end of his nose. As his vision was slowly restored, the Enforcer realized he was lying on a surgical bed in the Command Center Medical Infirmary, covered by nothing but a thin white cotton sheet from feet to neck. He struggled to lift his body.
“No need to be alarmed, ole chap,” said the gray-haired doctor as he placed his hand upon Jadyn’s chest in a gesture to have him lie back down. You had quite the fainting spell during morning period.”
“Wait, I remember starting my run and getting interrupted by a message from President Cah-di to report for briefing. That’s all I remember…Oh no! How long was I out?”
“No fear Jaydn, I informed Cah-di and High Counselor Abdul-Haq of your predicament and they will speak with you once your treatment is complete,” said the man, pausing briefly. “Oh and in case you were wondering, I am Physician Stewart, the one who will be taking care of you.”
“Care of me? But physician, what’s wrong?”
“You had fatigue, light headedness, cold sweats, nauseousness and blacked out,” said Stewart as he turned the wheeled bed. “Now if you want my professional opinion, I’d say you have Type 1 diabetes.”
“Umm…physician, I don’t know if I should say, ‘Welcome to the 22nd century,’ but being a Pure, I cannot possibly have this…diabetes.”
The doctor went over to one of the steel filing cabinets that lined the treatment room. Stepping over the surgical equipment and health trackers strewn upon the floor, it looked as if a great typhoon had plundered through. After opening several drawers, he reached inside one and pulled out a small syringe filled with clear liquid.
“Ah…NovoLog – rapid acting. This will due. I suppose I should put one of these on…,” said the physician as he slipped a rubber glove onto each hand. “Now if you could be a good chap and lie on your side for me, please.”
Jadyn cautiously began to turn when he felt the physician’s forefinger press against the protruding mark on the back of his neck.
“No, I better not administer the injection here this time,” the doctor said. “If anyone were to find this scar, they may start suspecting…”
As Physician Stewart brought the hypodermic down to Jadyn’s upper left arm, he twisted his body forward, reached over and attempted to grab the syringe from the doctor’s hand. Stewart flung his arm back just in time.
“Very well, then you may attend briefing as you are, Enforcer,” Stewart said in an oddly calm tone as he lost his grasp. The syringe shattered as it hit the floor. “For your sake there better be more.”
Bleep Bleep, the alert system sounded. A transmission was coming in from the High Council.
“Enforcer Jadyn Dylan Ross report for briefing immediately. Report for briefing immediately. You are tardy,” said the robotic voice from compute monitor overhead. Stewart went in to grab Jadyn’s arm to help him out of bed and the officer forcefully pulled away, ripping the sheet from his body. His legs felt weak and shaky as he attempted to stand upright.
“Where is my uniform?,” Jadyn demanded. Stewart pointed the open clothes compartment just behind him. After a deep stare, Jadyn reached back, removed his clothing from the metal hook and got dressed. He felt the cold metal of his pendant on his chest while looking down to button his shirt.
Jadyn walked over to the adjacent transporter pod and programmed it to take him to High Towers Council Chambers. When he arrived the pod door quickly slid open and standing before him was President Cah-di and High Council Abdul-Haq. Cah-di was dressed in her hooded ceremonial cape made of shimmering gold silk and gemstone adornments, the same she wore for the one Earth’s rotation Reckoning Day ceremony held to commemorate the cease fire of the Final War. Haq wore his uniform crimson and ebony government robe, but both mysteriously kept their faces hidden by their hoods. Jadyn found this odd. Traditionally, hoods were only placed upon the head to protect from ultraviolet exposure during prolonged periods outdoors. The Council Chamber was always environmentally controlled, down to the automatic temperature gauges and the timed sprinklers that sprayed the interior gardens with growing serum.
Cah-di motioned for her eight handmaids to leave the room like diligent soldiers as she made quick eye contact with the Enforcer. She then walked over to Haq, slightly removing her hood and whispered into his ear. The High Counselor then looked to Jadyn and motioned for him to step closer. Jadyn bowed to one knee and struck his chest with his right fist, a salute to signify his recognition that he was below the class of Elites who stood before him.
“Enforcer Ross, we summoned you on this period 24 to inform you of your promotional duties in protection of the Elites and High Council,” said Haq in a deep, regal voice, his orange eyes glowed like a persistent flame. “You are to lead a troop on an undercover mission to infiltrate the Darwin Faction before they install their revolt outpost. You must infiltrate and capture – not kill.”
“But High Councilor, while I am deeply honored at your request, I am…confused,” said Jadyn. “I thought it was the Pures’ duty to eliminate the Darwins. Why capture?”
There was a moment of silence between the pair. As he lowered his head, Haq looked to Cah-di.
“We must show him, President. That is the only way this mission will be successful.”
“No, there must be another way. I cannot…,” said Cah-di looking away.
“I’m afraid there is not, Cah-di. We must do this now,” said Haq condescendly. “Enforcer Ross, come before me.”
Jadyn walked up to Haq as the High Councilor took the Enforcer’s right hand, placed it upon his face and together they lifted his hood.
“See?,” Haq ran Jadyn’s fingers along the raised, red blemishes against his caucasian skin. “It is the cancer.”
“Cancer? High Counselor how could that be? We all have the A-1 biomarker. We are unable to get the cancer. That is of ancient genetic disease.”
“No… I have it.”
“How would you know for sure, Councilor? Our race has never experienced the cancer.”
“I and my committee have done the research and I had the physicians take a biopsy to compare it to the ancestral records. It is with no doubt. Now Cah-di, show him. You have no choice.”
The president bowed her head shamefully and removed the golden silk hood. Jadyn’s eyes widened as he attempted to exhibit discipline at the sight not visible when he first spoke with the president just moments before. Cah-di’s violet eyes were beginning to turn black like her large pupils, and small patches of fluorescent hair appeared to have been ripped from the top of her skull.
“As you can see Enforcer Ross, my hair and eye mutations are losing their amino acids and their functions are dying, as is Councilor Haq’s marker for cancer abatement. Our altered genetic codes have been invaded and are mutating at an exorbitant rate. That would explain your sudden symptoms during morning period – sugar shock from the Type I diabetes has been identified, Enforcer.”
“But how is this possible?,” Jadyn appeared dazed as he thought back to the moment Physician Stewart discovered the syringe with clear liquid.
“We received communication period 8 ago. It’s the Darwins, Jadyn,” said Haq. “They are calling it the Kill Switch.”
Haq walked over to the main communication console at the center of the Council Chamber Room and began playing the recorded video message.
“As you can see,” Haq pointed, “Little and the Darwin Faction are claiming responsibility. They admitted their spies have been infiltrating our society for almost 1,500 sun rotations. They have come up with a technology to artificially disguise their grunts as Pures, getting past all our security measures – background checks, DNA testing…”
“This can’t be happening, Abdul. You mean to tell me those filthy Darwins have been living among us that long? And how do we know they are telling us the truth?”
“Jadyn, just listen…” Abdul-Haq touched the console screen to view Little’s testimonial that contained video and photo descriptions of the Darwins’ DNA profiling experiments. The Darwin leader explained how his faction had discovered how to manufacture the Kill Switch, a genetic code that essentially erases other replacement codes for specific genetic alterations and mutations. An image of the dark-skinned Dwarf suddenly appeared on the console monitor.
“You claim to be free of disease,” Little stated. “You give your children two different colors for eyes or purple hair if they so desire. You have no God, no Allah, no power above you, so you have taken their power into your own hands. You even take governance over emotion – stolen everything that is human of humanity, claiming you do all not only to save, but to perfect the race. For this, all Pures must be destroyed.”
Jadyn’s face stiffened. He stood in silence before looking to Cah-di and Haq, giving each a nod of respect.
“Enforcer Ross, you must lead your regime into the Northern Provence and infiltrate the Darwin Faction as they did our people,” Haq said. “We take capture of them and steal their codes for the Kill Switch. But as I mentioned earlier, they must be kept alive. Us Pures will need their base DNA codes to replace our mutating codes. That is our purpose of Concentration Camp. If we do not keep them alive, we die.”
“But why can’t our own scientists decode the Kill Switch and stop this?”
“Jadyn, you are seeing for yourself how quickly our gene segments are mutating and dying. There is no time.”
“Forgive me President and High Councilor, but I am forced to point out that I have not been bred for such an operation. I have been specifically designed as a Section I officer – to enforce Emotion Law and recognize Level I Darwin characteristics. Am I to qualify for such a mission?”
“In fact that is why you are the perfect Pure for the job, Enforcer,” Abdul-Haq snickered. “You shall blend in quite well with the simple-minded Darwins. They will never suspect.”
Haq dismissed Jadyn and ordered him to return to the medical infirmary to complete physical treatment and DNA profiling. After treatment and testing was complete, the Enforcer was to receive statistical operations briefing with Section Commander Chase and High Commander Briggs.
“You are to embark on your mission in two sun’s rotation time,” Haq commanded. “Discuss your orders with no one.”
Jadyn saluted and turned to exit the sliding doors of the council chambers before entering the slender metallic tube that was the transportation pod.
Back at the infirmary he was met by Physician Stewart once again. The physician stood before him, arms folded, peering at the Enforcer.
“Enforcer Ross, I see you have come back for a visit. Perhaps this time you will lie still and allow me to administer treatment. I trust Cah-di and Abdul-Haq have provided you with some information.
Now come lie down,” Stewart motioned to the same surgical bed Jadyn had been lying on earlier.
“I am not to discuss my orders with anyone, physician,” said Jadyn as he removed his uniform shirt and leaned back upon the bed. “I assume you have been briefed about my condition.”
“Ah yes, the Type 1 diabetes. See Enforcer, I was correct after all, was I not?,” Stewart sighed. “I’m afraid you get that from your father, poor chap. Always had difficulty managing it too. Remember removing a toe from him, or two.”
The physician shook his head and pointed to Jadyn’s eyes. “But you do get those freckles and hazel eyes from your mum. Lovely girl. She was virtually off the Pures’ radar until she inadvertently got herself captured and was diagnosed empathic.”
“And why look…it says it right here,” Stewart picked up Jadyn’s pendant and held it in the palm of his hand.
“Are you mad, physician? Maybe you should undergo some Pure sobriety testing before laying a hand on me. We can never be too careful, especially during these anxious times.”
“Ha! We’ll see who really needs to undergo Pure sobriety, Jadyn,” Stewart flipped over the Enforcer’s pendant to read the inscription on back aloud. “D-I-A-B-E-T-I-C.”
Snatching the pendant from the physician’s hand, “What is this you say of my father and mother? How would you know this physician? I am a Moderate Pure. Not even physicians are allowed to know the donors of a Moderate. You speak nonsense.”
“Ah yes, that is if you are a Moderate Pure, or a Pure at all for that matter, dear Jadyn.” The physician grabbed a syringe from a nearby table and pricked the Enforcer’s upper left arm as he watched the clear liquid leave the cylinder.
“What have you given me?”
“Insulin, dear boy. You are in luck that I found more. It will manage your diabetes symptoms.”
Jadyn looked over to the small wheeled table next to his bed and noticed a second hypodermic needle, this one double the size of the one just administered to him.
“What is that?,” asked Jadyn as he pointed to the syringe.
“That would be 70 cc’s of insulin and for someone especially with Type 1, that would put you into diabetic shock, good sir. I prepared that in case you refused to cooperate. So now if I were you, I would remain calm and listen. I have a story to tell. You do recall that you like stories, do you not Enforcer Ross?”
Jadyn glared at the physician. As he was about to lift his body up with his forearms from the bed, he felt a pinch as metal cuffs flung around his wrists.
“Come now, Enforcer, it looks as if you are exhibiting what your people call Emotion Anger are you not? We wouldn’t want to sound any alarms, have you tagged, or sent off for labor at Concentration Camp, would we? After all, that would not look well for an Enforcer.”
Jadyn rolled his eyes as he attempted to free himself from the cuffs.
“You see Enforcer, a few moments ago Cah-di and High Councilor Haq informed you about this most urgent and concerning dilemma of the Pures. And put in language for a Section 1 officer to understand, you were told your people’s specially designed gene segments are dying off thanks to this lovely discovery known as the Kill Switch. They say that is what’s causing you to exhibit symptoms of the diabetes, just as they are experiencing the cancer or losing their mutations.”
“And those nasty, pitiful Darwins are to blame, am I right, Enforcer?,” the physician stammered. “So now they are promoting one of their low class Pures to go gather as many Darwins as you can muster to be used as their guinea pigs. A Pure they assume will ‘blend right in.’”
“Sounds like something the ancients may have called a fairytale, doc,” Jadyn snarked.
“Oh Jadyn, there is no need to try and hide the truth. I know more than you would want to believe. And yes, in a way, the tale you have been told can be considered a work of fiction, Enforcer. Would you like to know why?”
As if he had no choice, “Do tell…,” Jadyn chided.
“Well in all reality Enforcer, the Kill Switch isn’t destroying your T1D code for diabetes after all. It cannot, because you never had one to begin with…”
“Speak in plausible terms, physician. You talk like one of those unstable Darwins,” Jadyn huffed.
“But indeed I am, Enforcer,” Stewart said matter-of-factly. “As was your mum, and father, Charles.”