Produce Island

Set in a distant future,two girls in two separate worlds discover each other with a stroke of luck. As they meet, they find out the terrible truth and their identity. Born to be machines, follow Olive and Ilana in a compelling tale of humanity.

*cover by Secrets Unfold, many thanks!


13. Allies

A map was easily found at some kind of tourist’s stand. But the unfamiliar address took a long time to find. They gave up about the numbers and searched for the road. After a few minutes of being sure that the road was not on the map, they found it was quite close to the toy store. ‘Hamleys’ was the only building around that was marked big on the map, so they went back and carefully looked at the map and the road. After making a turn to their right instead of their left, they kept ending up in queer places or the place they left off from. The ten-minute distance took them twenty minutes, but they finally got to a hotel near ‘Hyde Park’, where the protest was going on. They cautiously stepped in, worried that they were not welcome. But there were so many people inside that no one took notice of them. They pushed through the crowd, trying to reach anyone who might be any help, and instead came across a panel that read ‘Grand Hall- MCDO (Mayfield Charbon Defense Organization) meeting’. The girls looked at each other, and nodded. This was it. These people might be able to help them. “Excuse me, but where is the grand hall?” Ilana asked a clerk in a black suit over a white shirt and skirt. She replied with a puzzled frown. “It’s just on the right over there, but you girls really shouldn’t go. There’s a very important meeting and you don’t want to bother them.” “We won’t. Thank you!” Ilana pulled Olive to a fast walk. They stopped in front of a pair of huge doors, framed with gold, and with all kinds of grand decorations on the doorknob. It was indeed the ‘grand hall’! They made sure that this was the right place, took a deep breath, and with a determined look, burst through the door with a bang. “Sorry to interrupt. We escaped from the islands and we need to save our family and friends. Please help us.” Ilana spoke with a kind of urgency and convince she always managed to have in her eloquent speech. There were many old people sitting around large tables in a very serious manner. All eyes turned toward them. The air was so awkward that the girls were flushed instantly and Olive immediately thought that they had made a big mistake. But she righted herself thinking that this was their only hope, and regained confidence. However, the people were so shocked at this sudden disturbance of two shabby-looking girls bursting into a formal and urgent occasion. One middle-aged, red-haired woman dropped her glass of wine, and after sputtering for a while, pointed her finger at them. “They can’t possibly be from the islands! This is supposed to be a fairly concealed emergency meeting! What are these-“ she struggled to find the right word- “mangy kids doing in here, trying to pull a prank? Run off now!” Olive had been planning a polite speech, but Ilana was more desperate. “No! Wait- listen! We’re-“ Olive cut in in worry that this might not be the people they were looking for. “No, before that, just one thing- are you the organization against bombing our- I mean, Mayfield and Charbon?” Olive asked. “What in the world is everyone doing, not taking these kids out?!” The brunette woman shrilled. Large men in black started shuffling forward uncomfortably when an old man with glasses and wrinkles around his eyes stopped them. “No, no, let’s hear what they’ve got to say. They might just be curious kids.” “But, sir-“ the woman started to protest, but the man was clearly of a higher position than she was. “It’s okay. Right?” He asked. “I… right.” The woman relented, and the man turned to them. “So, yes, girls, we are an organization devoted to world peace and human rights. Currently we are focusing on saving the two produce islands Mayfield and Charbon. We had a plan for an actual protest on the islands, but have failed to get the transportation information from the government. We are active in the park instead, but I doubt that’ll be any help.” Olive and Ilana looked at each other. ‘We have to trust them. There’s no one else to hold onto.’ Now it was only a matter of making them trust the girls. Ilana took a deep breath and spoke to all the people. “You won’t believe us, but we’re from the islands.” Ilana had already won many shocked gasps, just from the first sentence. “I’m Ilana Charbon, and this is Olive- I mean, Olivia Mayfield. We are twelve years old, and were working as supply clerks. From some point, our bosses and other government officials started getting ‘fired’ and mysteriously departing. Our rations decreased. One day, our radio lines crossed, letting us discover that there are things beyond this island. With continuing suspicions, we found clues to the other island, and went on to discover the train, which got us here. We saw our previously departed bosses in the station, and followed them to watch the news about the bombing. Our families are in danger, but we’re powerless. But you guys have the power to do something. We can help you, too.” After Ilana’s long but clear speech, Olive was amazed. She never knew Ilana was such a convincing speaker! Sure, they had gone through the lines together, but she had worried. Now, she was sure, these people would help. There was a moment of silence which was scary for the girls as they held their breaths, anxious to find out whether they believed it or not. Finally, the old man cleared his throat and spoke out. “Well, I… I don’t know what to say, really. There is no reason for us to believe you, and yet… if this is true, it might mean hope for us.” “Hope for us, you mean,” Ilana said. Olive shushed her, but Ilana had a fiery look of determination in her eyes. “Okay. Well, there seems to be something that you girls don’t quite get. Islanders are very primitive. They don’t get educated enough to think much. They’re… not the same. All the islanders are kept in a state of strict, second- to second- timetable following simple orders. They’re worked to their bones, and we take the produce. They’re just like machines, but they’re human. See, that’s why it’s much more likely that you are just any kids looking for something to do. If this is a joke, then… I hope you understand that this is a very urgent matter, one that might save thousands of people.” “We understand better than anyone else. What could we tell you as proof?” “Actually, anything that you say might be a lie. I am sorry to say that this is very hard to believe. Islanders are primitive people, as I can’t repeat enough. The government thoroughly brainwashes the islanders to keep them ignorant. Escapes are unheard of. You see that two young girls are unlikely to be the first to break that barrier.” Ilana lowered her eyes. Tears were brimming. All the way here, and they wouldn’t believe them. This was their- my- our only hope. No, she had to do something. Ilana looked up. There was something new, desperation, in her eyes. She opened her mouth, as if to say something, than it closed again. When her mouth opened once more, her voice was cracked. “You have to believe us. You have to. This might be the only chance to save my parents. They don’t know anything, and we were just the same a few days ago. Proof? What have we got? Nothing. But you know, here’s the proof. We’re honest. We two girls here, we’re the proof. We’re right here. We’re here living, breathing, respiring, perspiring, we’re very real and we are every bit as human as any of you are. We know how to get there, and we know you could help us and that we can help you. Please. Please, just believe us.” “I- you girls look like honest people, but we can’t take chances, I’m afraid. If we spend time following your directions and they are false, there’s nothing we can do. We might still have a chance with the Hyde Park protest. We’re-“ Both girls were in tears. “No you don’t! No you don’t. You don’t have a chance. The government won’t listen! So here it is. It’s this or nothing. You have to take chances.” Olive was practically screaming. “We know how to get there. There’s a train. We’ll take you there, just help us, please.” Ilana backed her up. The girls looked up at the people, who were still not sure in their decisions. This sudden turn of event was such a commotion. But no, there was still an uncomfortable disbelief in the air. The girls’ hope was crushed, their minds went numb. Mom? Dad? Poppy? Vanessa? We don’t know what to say. If we knew that was the last day we’d ever see you, we should have done something. There should have been something special. It’s not going to end… just like this. When the girls were standing there, faces, thoughts, minds blank, lost swimming in the ocean of despair, a hotel clerk suddenly ran in, carrying a radio. “Listen to this!” He shouted at the organization and held up the radio. There was a painful continuance of static. Then, a woman’s voice hit the line. “We apologize for the sudden disruption. The broadcast of Newcastle and Sunderland’s game will be back on in a few minutes. But first we have a news flash. The escape of two 12-year old girls have been reported, one from each island. One has brown braids, and the other had short red hair. The government is now sending this message out to the whole nation over television, radio, even mouth-to mouth. Please reach as many people as you can with this message. The escaped will soon be taken back to their islands after a short discussion of what to do. Please report as soon as you see any suspicious girls. Thank you.” Olive and Ilana smiled through their tears, for now the organization had to believe them, and were worried, for now they were being hunted down. They weren’t safe anymore, they had to be even more careful than they already were. Somewhere about half a mile away, a worn-out part time worker took off her tiger costume just in time to watch the news flash on the television. She became wide-eyed. ‘But those girls- they just- I just-‘
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