The UMA: Benedicts Rising

I don't really write at all, but I figured I'd give it a try. I started this idea in my head a while ago (while I was bored at work) of a not so distant dystopian future. This is just a short initial introduction to a few characters and the world they live in.

I have an idea of where I'd like it to go. I want to include chapters chronicling how the US transformed into this different world, maybe in the form of flashbacks through some of the main characters ancestors. And even though the whole idea is still in its infancy, I think it'd be neat to have a sort of series. Tell side stories, introduce new characters, maybe explore other countries and areas of the world in this future. I hope to put the "historical" stuff in writing soon, so people can grasp how and why things happened.

Like I said, I'm new to writing fiction, but just putting this little bit on paper has been pretty enjoyable. I just want to get some feedback on the idea, the characters, etc.

I hope you enjoy!

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5. Chapter 5

Kelley woke up early Sunday morning, took her pill with a glass of water, ate some bread, and went back to bed for several more hours. When she finally got out of bed around 11am, she felt even better than the day before. She remembered when she first started taking Zanix after her 15th birthday, like all children, and how great she thought she felt afterwards. This new feeling was the exact opposite, but it was infinitely better.

 

She looked out her window. The world was brighter, full of color. She saw things that she never noticed before. The intricate stone masonry along the top of the old building across the street, carved to look like blooming stone flowers. Small yet elegant, the red brick providing a beautiful contrast to the bland white of winter. The beautiful painting of an old man in a blue jacket on the old rooftop water tower, looking directly at her through the window…

 

That old man! she thought. Her Friday night suddenly rushed back into her memory. The stairs, the person following her, running into that large figure with the pin of the white haired man. Who were the people in the stairwell? Who is the old man? Questions she couldn’t even begin to answer. What do they want with her? Was that painting always on the water tower? Up until now she’d never even noticed that water tower, or the beautiful stone masonry.

 

She knew it had to be painted there for her. The way it seemed to look directly in her window. Whoever put it there had to know she would see it, they had to know she’d be captivated by the world around her in her new clear mind, observing her surroundings. And she knew her clear mind had to be a side effect of the medicine she was on. The doctor, she thought.

 

She didn’t even think about him not being at his office on a Sunday. I’ve had appointments on Sundays before, she thought as she opened the door to his building. She made her way up to his floor and into the waiting room. No one there. She rang the bell at the reception desk. No one there. She looked around, thought about leaving, then forced herself past the reception with discomfort. She felt weird walking around other people’s offices without permission.

 

When she got to Dr. Jack’s office, she knocked softly a few times. And when no one answered, she found herself walking in anyway. To her surprise and alarm, the office was completely ravaged. Books and papers strewn about. Drawers emptied and shelves tipped over. Even her favorite couch was sliced down the middle like a gutted fish, foam covering the floor. For some reason, the destruction of that antique couch saddened her. When she realized this scene could mean something terrible has happened to the doctor, even more sadness welled up in her. That sadness turned to fear when she heard the door to the waiting room open, followed by two men’s voices.

 

She quickly looked around and ran into the closet just behind the desk. Managing to slip behind a partially destroyed filing cabinet, she crouched in the dark. Unless the men came right up to cabinet, she would remain out of sight.

 

“Our guys scoured the office, as you can see,” one of the men said, laughing a little upon seeing the trashed room. “Unfortunately, we found very little information. He must have known we were coming.”

 

“So no leads as to who he could have been recruiting?” the other man asked.

 

“It seems not, sir. We found a list of names and contact information, all had been crossed out. We’re still going to follow up on those names, but we’ve basically assumed the doctor had given up on recruiting them. A piece of the bottom of the page was torn out, we think that was the one he was still pursuing.”

 

His voice was getting nearer.

 

“That document was in that filing cabinet,” the man remarked.

 

Kelley’s heart was racing. They stood in the closet doorway. Luckily, their bodies obstructed the light flooding into the dark closet, keeping her invisible.

 

“I assume you’ll be investigating all the doctor’s patients?” the second man asked.

 

“Of course, sir, only problem is half the guy’s patients weren’t actually his patients. He managed to forge transfer requests and then file them under different patient names,” the man replied. “We’ll be able to find them, it just might take a little longer.”

 

“Well hurry up, put more people on the case if you have to. We’ve been seeing more and more Benedict tags around this city. We need to start focusing more resources on finding and eliminating these sympathizers.”

 

The voices were moving away again, to Kelley’s relief.

 

“I understand. We’re on it,” the man said.

 

Kelley heard the the door open and close again. She stayed in her spot for another 20 minutes, both out of fear and confusion. She was trying to grasp what she had just heard. The Benedicts have sympathizers in the city? she thought. And Dr. Jack was a sympathizer recruiter? And the tags. The old man on the pin, and outside my window, could that be the tag? The doctor gave me the medicine so I’d see the tags. Was it my name on the list that was missing? Was I the one he was sure of?

 

She figured she should leave before anybody else arrived. She wondered about Dr. Jack. The men said they aimed to “eliminate” the sympathizers. He could very well be dead, she thought, for trying to recruit me. She had to find him, if he was still alive, at least to get some answers.

 

Kelley stood outside the building with the water tower. She wanted to go inside, get to the roof, and investigate the painting of the old man. While she thought about this plan and where this whole situation might ultimately lead, she wished she had someone she could count on. Her closest thing to a friend was Rudy, and that was basically a one way friendship, her lane completely shut down. It’s not like I could trust him with something like this anyway, especially concerning Benedict sympathizers, she thought. But then again, two days ago, she was just as gung-ho against the Benedicts as Rudy was. And now she was actually contemplating seeking them out.

 

When she reached the top of the stairs, she came to a small landing with an undersized door just to the left. She jiggled the handle; it was locked. Looking around for something to try and budge it with, Kelley noticed a marking on the wall opposite her. Painted on a brick in the dark corner of this low ceilinged room was a single white star. She reached out and touched it, noticing the brick wiggle slightly from her soft touch. She pulled the brick out, dust falling to the ground, revealing a small open space with a piece of paper inside. Written on it:

 

Revolutionaries may sometimes betray their revolution, but revolutions always betray their revolutionaries.

 

    She hadn’t the slightest clue to what this meant. Weren’t the Benedicts and their sympathizers revolting? she thought. Why would they say this about themselves? She flipped the paper over and found a key taped to the back. She struggled to get the small key in the seemingly ancient doorknob, but with a little jiggling, she got it to turn.

 

    Finally, she was standing on the open rooftop of the building across from her apartment, the rooftop she had never even noticed until today. The sun had set while she was climbing the stairs, and the buildings between Kelley and the city wall a few miles west stood dark like shadows before the twilight sky. The colorful sky awed Kelley while the black buildings in front of it struck her with a sense of fear, the city scarring the natural beauty.

 

    She walked towards the water tower, looking up at the detailed painting of the man in the blue coat with the long white hair. She felt a sense of comfort in this man. He seemed important, powerful, and noble. She looked around the base of the water tower. There didn’t seem to be anything unordinary, no clues or notes. She walked around to the ladder and began to climb slowly towards the painting. Up close, the painting was unrecognizable, just a large steel canvas. There was another small white star painted on the tower just to her right. She was unsure what part of the man this was, but just below the star was an envelope. She reached for it, missed, and almost fell clear off the ladder. She stabilized herself, moving her feet slightly to the right, and reached again. She grabbed it and pulled. The envelope wouldn’t budge. She continued pulling, leaning her body to the left, trying to use her weight to break the envelope free. It still wouldn’t budge. She leaned right, then quickly moved all her weight to her left. The envelope broke free, and so did Kelley. She fell several steps down the ladder, crashing her forehead into the beams in front of her.

 

    Once her vision was clear again, she opened the envelope, ignoring the droplets of blood that fell onto the thick plastic casing.

 

    Congratulations! You’ve just completed your first assignment as a Benedict. We knew you’d come through. We will be in contact soon. You should run.

 

    Confused, Kelley read the last line again. Suddenly, she heard a loud cracking noise and felt a stream of cold water hit the top of her head and run down her back. The water tower had broke, there was a steady stream of water flowing from where the envelope had been. Realizing what was happening, Kelley descended the ladder, slipping and falling onto her back from the last few steps. More water was flowing now.  She got up and sprinted through the small door. She ran down to the first floor as fast as she could, skipping steps here and there, barely staying on her feet.

 

Once outside, she tried to act calm, as calm as a soaking wet, freezing cold, bleeding person could act. Luckily the streets were empty, and she was she made it to her apartment with ease. She stood in her window and watched as even more water flowed out of the tower. Then it happened, the bulk of the tower seemed to split down an invisible seam and collapse, half onto the roof, half onto the street seven floors below, crushing cars, streetlights, and the pavement beneath.


Kelley stood there in her dark apartment, eyes wide open, fear taking over her expression. What have I done? she thought. A drop of blood fell down her face, onto the plastic envelope she still clenched in her fist. Her legs gave out and she fell to the floor, awake and conscious. She laid there, shocked and confused, until she fell asleep.

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