2 Bad Pages a Day
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2 Bad Pages a Day

Against The Tide

#2badpagesaday (7)

Photo by Marco Bianchetti on Unsplash

The 7 members of the Committee arrived separately.

They take their places at the High Table, their every move captured on camera, the microphones discreetly placed to pick up every pronouncement.

Looking up from the Auditorium — had there been an audience for this showpiece gathering — you would have seen the raised dais but not the powerful figures stood behind. They are obscured, hidden in the shadows. Powerful, shadowy figures. Never elected. That would be too much of a nod to ‘back then’.

Too much of a Remembrance.

Floor-to-ceiling banners; ancient symbology in red, black, and white. Disquieting echoes of times past. Rallying points for disciples of the rigid disciplines of the Rules. But no one remembers those ‘times past’. Remembrance is discouraged, of course.

As it says in bold typescript across the raised counter they now stand behind:

There is no good that comes from Remembrance

Elected. Not so much.

Selected. But by whom?

Voices for the future? Or voice pieces? The controllers of Resources.

Holders of the modern-day Offices of Power. Departmental Heads.

Data Food Water Energy Transport Security Media

The levers of power.

Tide was puzzled. Unsure what the day meant.

Unsure why today felt different.

Be ready’.

But for what? In a life given shape by the routines imposed by the System, the only thing you ever needed to prepare for was more of the same. There was no break with the routine. Wake, eat, walk, work, walk, eat, sleep, repeat.

Routines to be followed. Citizens monitored and assessed.

Be ready.

Ready?

His brain felt sharper, somehow. Alert, even. But the fragile connections between the loose threads of coincidence refused to form into any semblance of a decipherable whole. The picture slid into focus … and just as quickly blurred. Coincidences, perhaps. Or …

… or …

Head down; purposeful strides, less weighed down by the imperative to make up time; less pressured by imminent curfew. Fewer cards to process … coincidence? An early finish … coincidence? The voices. Whispers. Messages. Coincidental Remembrances. A clear head … what are the chances?

What does it mean?

Even his gnawing hunger has abated. The rumbling hunger of missed meals.

Missed meals? Strange … one, forgetfulness … two, probably down to the late start … odd that hunger clears the head.

The voices. Speaking. To him. Why him?

At the Junction, the large screen flickers. In the style of Moving Picture trailers in days past {where did that memory come from?}, powerful images of furnaces, food production, the new dam in Zone 7, Citizen Workers at leisure by the Lakes created by the dam … remorselessly positive news and a reminder that today’s Committee Meeting will be broadcast in place of The Announcements.

Tide turns. The long boulevard to the Complex. The final stretch. Still with time in hand. Relaxed, even,

Noticing, for the first time, two side streets — the Alleys. Shadows. Deep, dark shadows. Tide walks past the first. Seeing the camera ahead, high on the pale stone wall, its view fixed on the approach to The Complex and the entrance to Building 13. Risking a glance to his right. Is that … a face? A hooded figure. A hurried gesture beckoning him into the shadows. Coincidence? Too many coincidences, surely. Clarity of thoughts. Tide feels instinctively drawn to the darkness. Summoned to the shadows. He feels ready. Prepared.

The camera holds its position, determinedly scrutinising the boulevard ahead.

Instinct takes over. Tide ducks into the Alley. As his eyes adjust to the gloom, his feet move quickly to match the pace of the figure in front of him. Steam rises from grates in the building walls … the powerful lights from the Boulevard project lengthening shadows, Tide’s now overlapping with the figure in front. He’s committed. Following. Curious, perhaps. Not frightened. Not even questioning.

Ready.

Prepared

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A dystopian imagining of a time in the near future; a time when Citizens are slaves to shadow’y figures who control the resources, the levers of power, and the narrative. Slowly, the seeds of dissension are sown as people are called to change. It is in their Nature.

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feastsandfables

feastsandfables

A life well-lived; celebrating people, places and purpose; an encouragement to stay curious, optimistic and adventurous. Newsletter, every Sunday, 6pm sharp.