The New Beginning

It was the year 2089. Exactly 2 years after ‘The New Beginning’. It was a cold, windy winter morning in the city of Edinburgh. The air was dry, the sun was creeping behind the clouds and everything was as still as a tomb. She stepped out of the shower and put on her special occasion clothes. As she slipped into her burgundy coloured satin dress, she looked at herself in the mirror. All she saw was a helpless and incapable woman; a previous widow whose only job was to serve her husband. At least that was what her ‘companion’ told her every morning.

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1. The New Beginning

 

It was the year 2089. Exactly 2 years after ‘the new beginning’. It was a cold windy winter morning in the city of Edinburgh. The air was dry, the sun was creeping behind the clouds and everything was as still as a tomb. She stepped out of the shower and put on her special occasion clothes. As she slipped into her burgundy coloured satin dress, she looked at herself in the mirror. All she saw was a helpless and incapable woman; a previous widow whose only job is to serve her husband. At least that is what her ‘companion’ told her every morning.

As she was getting ready she glanced out of the window and contemplated her future. She glanced at her surroundings; the octagonal grey buildings were the first thing she looked at every morning. They only reminded her of a bleak future. She looked at the walls of the rooms; all concrete and always making her feel trapped; which she technically was. She snapped out of it. She knew that she could not be having these thoughts. They were watching, listening, reading ... they were everywhere.

She went back to getting ready. She let her blonde hair fall freely to seem young and innocent. She put on some gold earrings, a simple gold chain and went downstairs to meet her husband. As she crept down the stairs, she envisioned another kind of life; where she was happy, where she made her own choices, where the government would not manipulate people and most importantly where she did not have to bow down to men.

He heard her coming down the stairs and proceeded to wear his coat in preparation to leave. He turned around to look at her. He started at her with dark and cold eyes. Even in this state of annoyance and anger, his eyes look so real and with emotion, she thought. But she knew that the only thing behind those eyes was metal.

As he opened the door, he just shut down. His metallic back caved and he fell to the floor.

She froze. It must be the magnet on the new door locks. She was not very competent under pressure.

I could do it now. I could escape and run somewhere safe. Where would I go? There is no place to run, no place to hide. I am trapped in this senseless society.

“SYSTEM REBOOTING NOW…SYSTEM REBOOTING NOW.” The alarm blared.

He rose again and resumed his activity. The universe had supplied her with only a few moments of peace; peace from this cruel lifestyle. But it was gone now. And who knew when she would ever get a chance like that?

As they left the house, the camera tilted its cold, metallic and threatening head to assure the leaders that they were in fact headed to the ceremony.

As soon as the door shut, the gold hawk awoke from it dead state and closely followed them. The man was completely unaffected because after all he was a man and they controlled this world. She, however, was terrified and trembled with every step she took.

This new world was still terribly new. It was only two years after 'the new beginning' and the event was still fresh in everybody's minds. This ceremony was a reminder to all the women of who really controlled and would always control this universe. Images from the first ceremony still scared her.

She used to be a respected and rich member of the society. She had lived a decent life and never truly experienced torment. She remembered the ear piercing scream that rang throughout the whole nation. She remembered being rushed out of her house and being brought to a big white room along with many other women. She was separated from her husband and they never saw each other again. Next thing she knew, she was assigned a house, a cold robotic husband and a life with no freedom.

They arrived at the ceremony and the hawk went to its resting place. They took their seats and the ceremony began. She knew what was coming because this was nothing new. This ceremony would be the same as the last. A public reminder of what would happen if anyone stepped out of line. They went in alphabetical order and before she knew it her name was being drawn.

"Claire Hawkins!"

She sat, the fear paralysing her. She was not allowed even a moment's hesitation. The gold hawk swooped below, grabbed her by the collar and dragged her to stage. They all stood before the crowd; with humility, acceptance, and fear to rage in their eyes.

Two men, two real human men, came forward and began announcing their punishments.

"Annabeth Sawyer! Seventeen lashes for five minutes of neglect of household duties." yelled one of the men.

Claire's closest friend stepped forward and bowed down. The two men brought the whip down with ferocity. They channelled all their rage in the strokes. Some of the men were left alive to do the bidding of the higher officials. Perhaps they too felt trapped in this horrible society that their sex had created.

Annabeth took the lashes with grace and dignity. She did not flinch or scream even once and remained with her head held high. The only way to fight back was to not let these monsters affect her.

Soon Claire's name was being called.

"Claire Hawkins! Seven lashes for thoughts of attempting escape." yelled the taller man.

She had completely forgotten about the mental chips that the government had installed. About a week ago all the women were once again called to the big white room and had chips implanted in their head. They had created a new technology which allowed the government to read each and every one of their thoughts. This was a further invasion of privacy but then again they did not have much to start with. Now they utterly and completely owned them.

But something was wrong. Having thoughts of attempting escape, even for a few seconds, would deem a punishment much worse than only 7 lashes. She remembered just the other day when her neighbour Isabel was given 45 lashes for thoughts of attempting escape.

Claire stepped forward and knelt down. She let her head drop for she was in shame and definitely not as strong and her friend, Annabeth. Even though pain such as this was not anything new for her, she let out an ear piercing scream with every stroke. Claire was a weak character. She had lost complete faith in a better world. The government had succeeded in breaking her down. She was strong once and there is a possibility that the same energy and will for freedom were inside of her but it had been numbed.

Once the two men were done making a spectacle of these women's pain, Claire along with everyone else, headed back to their base. Their base, #264 was significantly far away. As soon as Claire and Sam #2656 rose from their seats, the golden hawk arrived just behind them. It was a long walk back to the base so they only made it home before it got dark.

Once they reached their base, Claire and Sam #25656 both headed upstairs to their bedroom.

“It's time”. He said looking at her with dark lustful eyes.

Claire had already suffered so much this evening. She was beaten and bruised and in no position to give herself up. But she knew it was her duty. It was a daily occurrence in order to remind women of the stupid and useless things they are. As slowly as possible she headed towards the bed. She at least wanted this to be as comfortable as possible for her. It usually only lasts ten to fifteen minutes. The worst ten to fifteen minutes of her life. This was a tool that the government used to control the women.

Before she knew it, Claire was forced onto the bed with her front pressing against the satin bed sheets. Claire closed her eyes and tears rolled down her cheek. She tried to avoid thinking about the pain and the humiliation she was feeling. She closed her eyes and imagined her old life. She remembered back to a Christmas morning with her family. She assumed that her father was killed but what happened to her mother? She envisioned her mother in the same position as her. She wondered is her mother also had a robot for a husband and would face humiliation every day. She always had a closer bond with her mother. They would do everything together and their relationship was something that everyone envied. She trusted her mother with her life and knew that she would always protect her.

Early next morning Claire had set out to go to the market. She used to run her own little bakery what seems like a very long time ago. She had gone to culinary school and spent years and years developing her own recipes and perfecting every intricate detail there is to cooking. As she browsed through the shelves, she remembered the loss of her dear friend, chocolate. As a baker, it was the one essential thing in her life. She has read in history books that a long time ago, back in 2020, chocolate had become extinct on Earth. There were many droughts occurring all over the world. Chocolate was the victim of the dry weather in West Africa, where over seventy percent of the world's cocoa was produced. Cocoa farming was decreasing and the prices of chocolate were rising as quickly as an eyelid's beat. Luckily Claire's family was rich enough to save some pounds of chocolate which she, fortunately, had the opportunity to taste, bake with and experience the wonders of. But now all of that was irrelevant. Nothing from Claire’s old life mattered now.

Claire picked up a few things for that night's dinner and headed back home. On her way back, she encountered the strangest animal. It was a real live animal. Once the new world began, all the remaining animals were killed. Even Claire's childhood falcon, Astor, was killed. She adored that animal as much as she adored her mother but the helpless bird was killed right in front of her. So when she saw a white falcon; remarkably similar to her childhood pet, she immediately followed it. It was almost as if someone sent the falcon to follow her. She followed the falcon through dark alleys behind large buildings and muddy open fields until, after 25 min, later she arrived at a broken down hut at the edge the city. Outside of the hut were two giant hover boards that only the government used to travel to places.  

She stepped into the hut her mind racing with numerous possibilities of how the next few minutes would be. As soon as she pushed open the door, two men immediately withdrew their sonic guns and pointed them at her. They retreated their guns once they recognised her. They stepped aside and Claire assessed the room and the things in it. It was a poorly lit room. Spider webs hung low from the ceiling, making the atmosphere even eerier. There were many holes in the walls and ceiling of the house, normally, through which bright sunlight would creep in. However, since the government installed a fake atmosphere above them, making the sky grey and dark permanently, the atmosphere inside the room was the same as outside the hut. Claire noticed whips hanging the corner which made her fear for her life even more than she was before. Lastly, she noticed the tall bony woman standing in the shadows in the corner of the room, gazing out the window. The woman turned around and came out of the shadows.

"Hello Claire." she said with an authoritative but tender voice.

"But you can't possibly be here, Evelyn," Claire said, her tone rising with every word.

Claire was shocked. It simply could not be. They had separated. She never thought she would see her again. Mother and daughter; reunited.

"It has been two years since I have seen you, dear," Evelyn said.

"How are you here? Why are you here? Who are you?" demanded Claire.

"I came for you, Claire. I run this world. People do everything I say. I can give you anything you want. I can offer you a better life. Don't you understand? We can rule this world together. We have always been truthful with each other. So come with me! Let me show you the wonderful life you can have." said Evelyn.

Claire wondered what she should do. If she went with her mother she would not have to live an abusive life. She could live in luxury and comfort again. But if she had learned anything from the last two years, it is that standing up for the right thing is always better.

"No. Absolutely not. You are the reason I can barely look at myself in the mirror. You are the reason millions of women are suffering right now and you want me to join you in this little game you are playing with people's lives? Are you absolutely mental?" yelled Claire.

"But you don't understand Claire. I have been helping you. I have decreased your punishments and your life has been much easier than the other women here." said Evelyn calmly.

Evelyn and Claire continued to argue most of which could not be heard but finally they exited the hut.

"I cannot believe the words that are coming out of your mouth. What happened to the mother that I knew and loved? I have had enough of this nonsense. I am leaving. I hope you have a horrible life and rot in hell!" yelled Claire.

She stormed out the hut and began walking back towards the city. She did not get far until she fell to her knees. Only seconds later did she comprehend what truly happened. Claire lifted her hand and touched the back of her skull. Her hands were as red as murder. Murder. She never imagined that she would die of murder; murder at the hands of her mother. Two more shots were fired; one into the small of her back and one more right at her heart when she turned around.

During her last moments, Claire looked up to the sky and once again imagined a better life. She imagined a life where her mother wasn't a villain and where people got a happily ever after.

"The moral of the story is that to never even attempt at defying the government because in truth that is what happens. Even an attempt may cause you your death. "

The old man shuts the book and looks up to the children. The children must know the history of their great country so that none of them tries to attempt to overthrow the government again. In this case, history should not repeat itself. This tale occurred thousands of years before this moment. The old man loves to tell the story because he was there, right by Evelyn's side.

"The other moral of the story is that to never believe in a happy ending. A great author once said, 'You know what they say about hope. It breeds eternal misery.' So give up all hope and accept the life that you have." said the old man.

Moments later the bell rang and the class was dismissed. He erased the words ‘Welcome to history class’ from the board and packed up and went home.

 

 

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