Weekly Writing Challenge: Dystopia! (The Musical)

Weekly Writing Challenge: Dystopia! (The Musical).

Weekly Prompt – Dystopia

02-25 – 03-04

Is it Saturday? She thinks groggily.  I think it’s Saturday, but why is it so cold? Did Maz open my window?

“Mo-om.” She called, eyes still shut, and curled up coughing, the fit, seemed to take ages.

Great, it’s Saturday I’m freezing and now I’m sick because Maz is a dweeb.

“Mom.” She croaked, still not willing to crack open her eyes. She felt around for her blankets to huddle into them. She didn’t have her covers there was only one explanation. “MAZ!” She bellowed, coughing harshly at the strain it caused.

She sat up, and fell forward. Her hands flew out before her and slammed into some glass. Then she realized something very not good was happening. Finally, blearily she opened her eyes.

Carefully she stood and leaned back, what she’d assumed was her bed seemed to be some sort of tube. She looked forward not up, the pad she was leaning on was mostly vertical, in front of her was a curved glass cover. She took a deep breath.

I’m in a glass coffin. She giggled. And I’m very cold. She looked down. At least I’m not naked.

She fingered the thin white cloth of the shapeless dress she found herself in. It tore slightly it was so fragile. She dropped the edge and took a deep breath.

I’m not learning anything new here. She decided. I have to find Mom and Maz.

Leaning forward she pressed up against the glass. It didn’t budge. She leaned back and hit it as hard as she could and cried out as her knuckles bruised themselves against the glass. Undetered she leaned back onto the pad and pulled up her right leg and slammed the bare heel into the glass. It budged. Slightly, just enough to give her a moment’s excitement before it fell back and sealed itself again.

She didn’t notice the frustrated tear that mared her cheek, or how her teeth were chattering as it seemed to get colder in the small tube. She was determined. Crouching sideways so she could reach the bottom of the tube she pushed the tips of her fingers into the seal of the glass top. She followed it around and up and found nothing.

Look for an opening, sometimes it’s a backpass. The words of her soccer coach rang in her ears. So she turned and pulled at the pad. It slid away from the metal frame with only the slight resistance of velcro binding. There under what had been her bed she found a panel that slid up exposing wires and buttons, and couldn’t understand anyof it. There was however a large red button, and who can resist a large red button.

If it doesn’t let me out, whatever it does should let someone know I’m here. She reasoned and punched the button quickly before she talked herself out of it.

There was a click, and the glass began to slide up and out, like a garage door. She pushed against it and flopped onto the ground. It was so warm. She shivered violently and hugged herself around her middle.

What the hell is going on?  She picked herself up and looked up and down the long hall. The metal grated floor dug into her bare feet and she winced when she took a step forward. She heard a soft *whump* And looked towards it.

Just to the right of her strange Snow White coffin was another, just as occupied as hers had been with a man, thumping at the glass as she had done. With a growing horror she realized that the entire hallway was filled with these things.

I’ve been abducted by aliens. I’ve been abducted by aliens and that’s very, very bad. She may have completely panicked at this point. She banged on the glass that the man was behind and pulled ineffectively at the seal and she was panting with the effort. She had to help.

They put us in; there must be a way to take us out. A whiney voice rang in her ear, it sounded a lot like Maz when he was in a snit and certain he was smarter than his boring older sister.

“Mom, Maz.” She whispered, feeling very, very small. She stopped and stood back, the man made eye contact through the glass and seemed to hold her still with his beseeching stare. He was saying something, but the glass distorted everything and it sounded so very far away.

She shook her head at him in silent despair, she couldn’t understand what he wanted. She couldn’t help him get out. He was shivering. His pad had been pulled aside so it crumpled against the side, the red button did not light up in his tube. He pointed to the right, down the hall, then to the big red button. He did this two more times and she nodded.

Big red button, big red button She ran down the hall, noticing almost all of the tubes were filled with people in thin white dresses awake pounding at the glass, lips turning blue. Big red button, big red button. Her feet were screaming at her and she was terrified to look down, certain at least the left one was bleeding. Big red button, big red button. Why did aliens change our clothes … why would they care at all. She stopped at a large desk, it was a semi-circle metal and dark like the rest of the hallway, there was a door behind it. She started towards it but there were so many *whump**Whump* noises coming from the hall it was terrifying. She couldn’t leave those people there, freezing.

She looked at the desk, there were no words just buttons with numbers and a few toggles. There in the far left, nearest the door.

“Big red button.” She grinned and pressed it. Klaxons turned on and yellow lights flashed, she flinched away from it. There was a symphony of *clicks* and the entire hallway was shrinking as the glass tops lifted up and people were falling out of there freezing prisons onto the metal grated floor. The man who was beside her came striding down the hallway ignoring the people and dodging their grasping fingers.

“You!” He called pinning her to the desk with his eyes again. “Name.” He demanded.

He’s not in the white dress, he has shoes.

“Naomi.” She managed. “Are you working with the aliens?” Her hands flew to her mouth as if to push the words back in, but it was too late.

“What?”

“They let you keep your clothes.” She responded and her hands flopped to her sides, as if to give up keeping her quiet. She coughed and doubled over, certain her lungs were going to collapse.

“No aliens Naomi.” The man managed, with a peculiar look on his face. “Look I’m not into politics, I can’t handle this situation.” He seemed to shrug.

There was a clank and a large group of people rushed through the door. It almost seemed they would collide with each other of get stuck in the doorway there were so many and it was so small. But the managed all the same. There were doctors with masks up snapping on thin see-through gloves, nurses, some carrying stretchers, and several people in suits. It was a woman who stepped forward and eyed the man in his beige coverall and leather boots.

“Explanation.” She demanded, her lips pursed and her demeanor unamused.

“What you sent me to fix was broken, too broken, sealed me in and shorted when I hit the emergency release, defrosted the whole section.” The man shrugged and brushed past her. “When I said it needed yearly maintenance I was serious.” He tipped an imaginary hat at Naomi. “Thanks for the rescue kid.” He grinned and slid through the open door.

The woman sighed and stared at Naomi without seeing her. “The entire section.” She may have sworn at this point but Naomi wasn’t certain, she had never heard that word before, it may have been the name of the man who handed her a plastic square that lit up in her hands.

Everything seemed to blur after that, the woman made an announcement and the suits left in her wake, the doctors and nurses seemed intent on setting the recently released with blankets and warm IV’s. No one was answering the questions being asked.

That woman knows the answers.  Naomi reasoned. Someone had better figure out what’s going on here and where Mom and Maz are.

She snorted and slid through the doors and followed the suits, not quite in ear range of the orders the woman was firing off. The floor out here was not metal grates; it was a freezing cold laminated sheet. She shivered in her thin dress. It didn’t take long for one of the suits to notice her.

“Boss, got a stray over here.” She froze as the group stopped and turned to her. Big and brave, not afraid of a stupid suit.

“You should return to the others.” The lady said not unkindly, but so matter of fact that it caused Naomi to bristle. Right like that’s going to happen.

“Oh really, should I now?” She crossed her arms. “Because I don’t know what kind of sick operation you’re running here, but when my mother find out about this you’re going to be in more trouble than it’s worth. She’s a top notch advocate and liable to destroy you and whoever you’re working for, so if you think I’m going to blithely wander back into that prison back there you have another thing coming. You better have some damn good lawyers, not that it’ll do you much good.”

The woman actually chuckled lightly. “Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons.” She whispered and Naomi only barely caught it.

“Alright Dragon, why shouldn’t I?” I’ll call you that forever now, just try and stop me.

“What year is it?” Dragon asked her suddenly.

“2027” Naomi answered confidently. “I don’t have a concussion; I just want to know what the hell is going on here.”

The woman used her odd swear word again. “That early, this is going to be hell.”

“I’m still waiting. I’m still freezing, and bozo number three is looking a little too closely for me to think its necessarily wholesome thoughts in his mind, white is way to revealing.” She pointed at one of the suits, he immediately turned his head his face flushed red, he shrugged out of his dark jacket and held it out not making eye-contact.

Immediately she pulled the still warm jacket on to her shoulders, its arms way to long for her but she really didn’t care at this point. She pulled the arms up enough to do up the buttons and the jacket fell to her knees.

Dragon sighed. “Let’s not do this in the hallway, would you care to step into my office?” She finally asked and Naomi took that to be a good sign that they weren’t pushing her back in with the others.

A short elevator ride later and she found herself in a bright warm office, sitting in a soft armchair with a hot cup of tea in her hands and a blanket over her bare legs. She watched as Dragon skimmed over several clear plastic squares and discarded them quickly. Eventually it seemed she found the one she wanted.

“2027, female, teen – here you are.” She smiled. “Naomi Heartrite. Fifteen years old. Saturday March ninth. Do you know where you are Naomi?” She asked coming from behind the desk to perch on the edge.

“Your office.”

“Yes, but where?”

“No, that’s what I’m trying to figure out.” Naomi growled.

“You’re in a hospital. Lady Grace North Hospital and Holding.”

“Holding?” Naomi questioned, and Dragon grimaced.

“You’re quick to the point. Yes Holding.”

“Is that where I was?”

“You and about 200 others in that section. What is the last thing you remember?”

“Going to bed Friday.” Naomi’s hands shook, because she wasn’t certain what was happening anymore why she had been in such a horrid place, what had happened last night.

“Friday March eighth, 2027. Naomi look at the date on this file.”

She handed a plastic square to the pale girl. “April twentieth.” She glanced up. “2069.”

There was a moment of absolute still silence. The girl looking off past Dragon’s shoulder and the woman dubbed Dragon looking straight at the girl.

“No.” The girl managed. “That .. That..”

“Forty-two years.”

“But .. but why?” Forty-two? Forty-two years?

“You know what cryogenics is yes?”

“Freezing people when they need to wait for future breakthroughs, yes but I’m not sick.”

“No you weren’t you were, damaged though. Badly. You were in a car crash and needed immediate care, so you were transported to the nearest hospital, but care in the twenties couldn’t help you. So cryogenics at your mothers command. Seven years later there was a treatment, surgeries done and you were healthy again.”

“So why was I still in there!” She screamed standing suddenly tea fell and soaked into the plush carpet.

“Sometimes when there is success there isn’t necessarily anyone left to come back to. Records showed your mother as your holder, and she couldn’t be found. When there is no holder we cannot reanimate and so you, like those other 200 downstairs right now have nowhere to go, no one to be placed with.”

“So what you’re going to stick us back in those coffins?”

“No. You’re awake that would be cruel.”

“But holding us for eternity that’s fine?” They would have kept me on ice forever. She shivered again.

“That’s the law.” The woman stated. “With no one to care for you, you, all of you, become a burden on the state. If a holder is not found financially capable they are ineligible until such time as they become so. It is for your protection.”

“My mother wouldn’t have left me.”

“Naomi.”

“NO! She would have been there when I was fixed seven years later. She, she”

“She was found, but not in a state to be a holder. She was in her own unit by then, in cryo.”

“She’s here?” Mom, I’m going to find you.

“No she’s not in holding any longer. She was reanimated several years ago her form of cancer was able to be cured and her holder was found stable enough that it was ordered acceptable by the courts.”

“So people just sit in those iceboxes, fully healed, waiting for someone to bail them out.” This is what happens, people not worth it unless there’s a payout.

“It’s not as barbaric as that.”

“Try saying that while sitting here. I’m 57.”

“No you’re still 15. Aging is minimum inside Cryo-units.”

“Now what?” Naomi sat back in the chair and curled her legs up under her.

“Now I have 200 reanimated members of society that have nowhere to go and a publicity nightmare.” Dragon sighed.

“Terribly sorry you’re having a bad day.” Naomi scoffed. “I meant with us?”

“There are charities and government programs geared towards helping the reanimated, although they normally work through Holders, so it will be a paper work nightmare. It really would have been easier if that unit had never malfunctioned.”

There was a commotion outside the office and loud voices arguing. The door pushed open and a doctor rushed in followed by a suit, bozo number 3 Naomi knew, since his jacket was gone.

The doctor stopped and just stared for a moment.

“Director, if I may have a moment.” He stated angrily.

“No you may not.” Dragon, who was apparently the Director of this hospital, said. “As you can see”

“Not with you.” He sighed. “With my sister.”

His sister? His sister? Oh my god. “Maz?”

“Omi.” The doctor managed, choking slightly eyes bright.

“But you’re … eleven.”

“And you’re fifty-seven.”

“Dragon over there say’s it doesn’t count, still fifteen, still can’t drive.”

Reality seemed to blur and shift again and Naomi found herself in a bed in the hospital, brother at her side. He was trying to explain to her what had happened.

“I tried to be your holder, when mom wasn’t able anymore.” He said, eyes never leaving his older .. younger… his sister’s face. “But I could only hold one. So I held Mom, and Mom held you, and when you were cured I fought so hard to bring you home but I would have to let go of Mom’s place and then she wouldn’t be eligible for treatment I..”

“You did what you had to.” Naomi realized. “Is she, I mean”

“I called my friend Greg, you remember him?”

“He ate a worm last week.” Naomi laughed.

“Please remind him of that. Greg’s bringing Mom here.”

“But if she’s awake why didn’t she have me woken up?”

“She’s not deemed fit to help you integrate. There’s a lot of paperwork to changing holders, and it’s almost impossible when the old holder was in holding themselves. We, we weren’t certain they’d ever let us have you back.” Maz was crying, his head pressed down into the hard matress of the hospital bed.

Naomi did what big sisters did and held him close. It was immensely weird that her brother was 38 years older than her, and at the same time felt perfectly natural to hold his head and rub his back.

“Wait, so you’re 53. I’m 15 and mom’s 46. You’re older than both of us?” She fell into a fit of laughter and was quickly joined by her baby brother. This was the weirdest Saturday ever.

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