Jaz is a young Unaltered girl, living in a world ruled by rich Modified and controlled by vicious Mechanics. She embarks on a interfallacting journey to raise enough money to undergo the process that will turn her into a Modified, but she ends up in a desperate fight for her life where she finds out more about herself than she'd ever thought possible.


4. Chapter III

Chapter III




I arrive back home, not a care in the world. My mother asks me why I'm out of school so early, while my father ignores me completely. A my younger siblings, Kia, my sister, and Dax, my brother, dance around the small apartment, the walls cool white plastic, the floor made up of gleaming metal squares. There is minimum furniture, and only one side room to the main room, which served as my parents bedroom, I either slept on the floor in the main room or on the couch, only if I manage to beat my siblings to it. 

I head to the basement hatch, which was actually an illegal addition to the house. The basement was used mostly as a storage area but also as somewhere to hide, if Mechanics of Assembly members ever invaded. 

Dropping down, I prepare my stuff for the journey aboard the Stormer. A couple of shirts, some pants, and a few talismans of sorts. Charms, necklaces and bracelets, bought from markets set up around the city. 

One, pearly white beads with a jade focal point, was for luck, another, a pendant carved from pink rock salt, was for health. My parents called it foolish. 

I throw my stuff into a bag, then add a couple more changes of clothes. We would have uniforms, but it was good to be prepared. 

I didn't own dresses and skirts like most girls my age, I had old and weathered pants and threadbare cotton shirts. I pieced them together, making clothes that would suffice, unlike the sleek spandex garments of the Modified, showing off their artificially thin bodies, their machinery speeding up their metabolism and lowering their ability to produce fat cells. 

I didn't need robotics to make me skinny, I was bone thin as it was. I only had one or two small meals a day, my parents unable to afford anymore food than that. 

Our financial state has also given me one of my less pleasant hobbies, thievery. I was good at it too. Slim and able to slip into small spaces, going unnoticed because no one cares to see me. I am invisible. 

 Once my bad is packed I hurry upstairs, placing it on the floor by the door. 

"Going out!" I call, my mother nods in acknowledgment and my father doesn't move a muscle, not even a twitch. 

I sprint down the streets, my thoughts whirling and legs pumping. I wasn't exactly a pretty sight. My hair flies wild, strands of artificially dyed bright purple flapping in the wind. 

The hair dye was stolen, my parents unable to afford to buy it. It had been stolen from a rich family, they had had so much of they wouldn't have noticed a couple of bricks gone. 

It bothers me how some people have such great lives, filled with luxuries and delight, while others live in poverty and pain. 

It wasn't fair, that simply because of cyborg parts, some people were better than others. 

We are all human, some more than others. How come it was considered a disease? Why did we feel the need to replace parts of our selves with machines? 

Exhausted, I stop running, leaning over and coughing. No one even glances in my direction. 

I am in one of the busy rich shopping centres, venders shouting at helpless riches, who gladly hand over their cash. I throw myself into the throng, using my quick fingers to grab a couple of bills here and there. 

I only take from the people who can afford it. The rich Modified who wouldn't even notice a missing bracelet or ten less Taxas. Taxas are our currency. It was nothing to them, and everything to me. 

As the sun begins to set I make my way back home, with a new bracelet and twenty Taxas worth of coins, mostly ones and twos. A few bigger ones, a three and a five, and feel strangely accomplished. 

As I walk home I notice the difference between houses. The crumbling, small and filthy Unaltered houses, peppered with the occasional Modified mansion, but as I go the wealth fades, leaving behind filth and crumbling buildings. 

After almost an hour of walking, I finally get back home. Exhausted, I grab a ratty, threadbare pillow, and a blanket that smells like spoiled cabbage and sweat, and collapse on the ground, falling asleep before I even pull the blanket all the way over me.

I dream of wealth, of returning from my trip aboard the Stormer a hero, having earned enough money to afford a better life for my family, and enough to receive the procedure to Modify me. 

The way it works is that everyone has a job. Whoever does the most work in that job gets the most money, sort of like household chores. You get so much for each time you do something. 

It would be a race against the other workers, all Unaltered and wanting a better life. 

The guards would be Modified or Mechanics, more than likely Mechanics, unable to feel emotions and fiercely brimming with robotic strength. 

The dream ends, and I descend into blissful black sleep, my mind to exhausted to fantasize. 



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