2017: Chapter Three

Later, she heard, they made a huge bonfire of the signs.

Chapter Three

When she did sleep, the dreams shook her awake. Always dreams of the bus.

But before the bus, the march. So many kindred souls, standing up, standing strong, signs held high on that blustery January afternoon. She’d agonized over her own sign but in the end had kept it simple: “Love trumps hate.” Angie’s had been more direct and in-your-face: “Fuck Racism!”
She’d never felt such a surge of collective energy; it coursed through her whole body, exhilarating. Her achy knee that needed to be replaced ceased to hurt as they marched, chanting in call and response:

“Who owns our bodies?”
“We do!”
“What do we want?”
“When do we want it?”
Under a low gray sky, her heart soared. It’s gonna be okay, she’d thought. It’s really gonna be okay.

Like a beautiful soap bubble, the moment popped into nothing.

A siren blared. The sea of marchers ahead of her and Angie began swaying, parting like the ocean in a tsunami, as riot squads swept through, a seismic rift. Blue-clad men, stern and no-nonsense, impossible to disobey, barking out: “Terror situation, evacuate immediately! Terror situation code Red, evacuate immediately!”

Like assault-rifle-toting border collies, they parted the flock of marchers neatly into smaller bunches, toward the waiting buses, where Megyn stood on a little platform, megaphone in hand, “board quickly, the buses will take you to safety, please don’t panic, board quickly, assist those who need help…board quickly, there isn’t much time.”

Inside the filling bus, chatter covered the panic rising.

“I bet the sirens are just a ruse,” scoffed an older woman. “There’s nothing going on. They just want to clear the way for their own Reich parade.”

“But we showed them we’re not going away,” said a younger woman, maybe the older woman’s daughter. She noticed they both moved the same way, slowly but firmly, like determined tortoises. The bus was packed full, people three to a seat meant for two, and more people in the aisles.

“Hell, YES, we gave them something to think about! I bet they never expected so many of us to march,” Angie said, her dark eyes glittering fiercely. She was trying to hug Angie when the doors of the bus shut with a loud locking click. The lights went off. Everyone fell silent on in-drawn breaths, then relaxed as the bus jolted forward and they began to move, toward safety.

That’s when the sound track began. The President’s voice, jeering. “She’s a zero, she’s bleeding out of her whatever! She’s a nasty woman, a liar…the hyenas, howling…No one respects women more than I do.”

(This is part of a series of flash-chapters in my mini-novel of a dystopian future. It is a work of fiction. I hope.)