Coloured Errors

"The world is not what you think it is, it's much worse."
Flynn likes how he goes unnoticed by the government. Andrew thinks he's an asset. Together they work out why the world doesn't fit right.
Wait, the world doesn't fit, right? Who told you that? Don't trust a word of whoever told you that.

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2. To Be Mercury

 

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Flynn woke to sun dials and star bursts, his head still in pain from the non-existent glass shards that had cut into his skin back at Sentire. For a moment there he had blacked out and for a moment there he woke again, still in the exact place he was before he passed out.

When he had accepted Andrew’s question he hadn’t expected to feel like there were chains attached to his shoes. But he was, feeling like a prisoner even though he was free.

This was not in his contract to Sentire. Sentire was an Emoticon Centre not a place where employees ran away with men who had unmarked wrists.

“You look like this is the end of the world.” Andrew remarked from the front of the boat.

Yes they were in a boat, Miss Jackson she was called like there couldn’t have been a more absurd name. Since escaping Sentire – even though they had just walked out because everyone seemed to turn a blind eye to the pair– they had went to Andrew’s boat docked near a tree. Usually, when the Taxed came to exchange emotions for money they arrived on government issued boats from the nearest building site. Flynn refused to call them cities because ever since the First Disaster cities were more like construction sites on stilts.

“Why did you choose me?” Flynn enquired from the back of the boat. Andrew hadn’t asked anything about him since they had come out of the hallucination phase and Flynn didn’t think that the man would just choose a random person to glass and escape the hallucinatory club.

“Why did you agree to come with me?” the man replied as his arms rested against the automated dials at the front of the boat. All boats were upgraded to water manoeuvring AI’s those days, this one especially so and Flynn had to wonder where Andrew had gotten a private boat.

It took time to think on that particular question and Flynn consulted the murky water around him first to force his brain to comprehend the question. The First Disaster had occurred two years ago and had resulted in a near Atlantis with Londoners forced to move into skyscrapers until the building sites were created. London two point oh was new and still finding its sea legs when the Second Disaster was noticed.

“I didn’t really have much choice did I?”  Flynn may have only been in the job for three months but he hadn’t had many options, he refused to be stuck in a lab and studied for the rest of his life when he had the choice not to, and he made enough money from inheritances to avoid the worse off jobs that would take him. Sentire, although it was a good job compared to the rest, was draining; he couldn’t feel even when the hallucinations prompted him to. To go from hours on end of not feeling to hours on end of feeling was taxing enough thank you very much. “Enough with the questions though, get with the answers instead.”

Andrew didn’t look like he had even registered Flynn’s last response and Flynn wanted answers as to what was the plan damnit.

“Now you know how I feel,” Andrew muttered referring to the strict contracts in Sentire as he threw a wry quirk of lips towards Flynn, “The endless questions and the deadpan answers drove me insane back there.” He paused for a moment, barely gulping as he looked at Flynn with studying eyes, “It also made me think that you were a part of the Sick for a moment but then I don’t think they would have employed the Sick to work at Emoticon Centres.”

Two years before the First Disaster, children started to be born with increasingly less emotions, they simply couldn’t feel as much as adults, and it took after the First Disaster to realise that. By that time adults started to lose the ability, their brains just unable to produce the chemicals needed, and so the population became apathetic quicker than first realised. They were named the Sick because people could be reckless when they just did things for the hell of it.

“Then I saw the dot on your wrist and I knew that our sources were correct.”

“What sources?” Flynn asked picking up on the plural pronoun quickly. But the answer was left to the water and the barely there breeze and the other man kept his eyes on the horizon instead of Flynn’s eyes.

“Sentire does employ the Sick actually, only stage ones but the Sick nonetheless.” Flynn knew that Sentire was the most popular Emoticon in London and therefore could not keep up with the demand that came to its doors. A stage one were those who lost a small percentage of their emotions but deemed to still be able to function by the government. The entire staff of Sentire were either stage ones or Dots, Flynn being the only Dot there. Despite that stage ones had their degrees on how many emotions were lost so he felt somewhat safe in Sentire. Being a Dot meant that he was a human lucky enough to have the correct balance of emotions, and even then Flynn considered it bizarre. How come he was one of the rare ones left in the country?

“I wouldn’t have come to you if you were a stage one, we don’t work that way,” Andrew remarked and watched Flynn’s face grow into an explosion.

“What even is this?”

Andrew drew away from the controls and came closer to the other man. Here Flynn could tell that he and Andrew shared the same dark hair, even though Andrew’s was shaggier, and Andrew had hazel eyes instead of amber.

But it was impossible that they could have been in anyway related. When you were classified your family tree was traced back to the infinitely small heritage. It was just strange that apparently a nearly there doppelganger had come for Flynn at Sentire.

The boat drew away from the current and more into the shallow parts of what used to be the Thames before it swelled into every ground space.

“I am not with the government and I can’t really tell you anything until we get to our first checkpoint but we need Dots like you, we need the government to look away from our bare wrists and we need to use your dot as a distraction.”

Flynn wasn’t much of a distraction. Andrew looked at him strangely, had he said that aloud? Maybe he had.

“Have you never noticed that because you’re a Dot, the government don’t check on you, they don’t really care what you do as long as you’re not in the labs?” Andrew shook his head as puzzle became a freckle on Flynn’s cheeks and the boat drifted down swollen waters, “There’s only one percent of you in the country, which means you’re useful.”

Andrew must have mixed up the definitions for useful and expendable because Flynn was in fact expendable. He could be used like a full stop instead of a person.

“Stage Ones are too unpredictable, you don’t know what they are going to do even though they range from one percent to five percent apathetic. They may be better than stage two to six but they are still not what we need.”

“But…?”

Anyone could have guessed that anymore questions went unheard and unanswered because Andrew was up and back to the controls. The button down and dress jacket were classier here, and no wonder the man had got through the doors of Sentire – the professional but not the businessmen could charm their way through the women on the doors.

Why had Flynn agreed to come with him again? Because curiosity, that was why. The emotion that coloured the vials with stale, slate grey like dulled mercury. Andrew had been new and original and his file had put him down as non-descript and normal, a stage one like the rest of them because the man had apparently faked his mark and records. The man had done everything to keep him interested and it had worked.

They must have been watching him, the organisation that Andrew worked for, sending people in to track what made him interested, what made him tick more than the winding down clocks. Flynn couldn’t think of people that had strode into Sentire with an agenda of targeting him, but wasn’t that the point of a secret organisation?

It was then that he didn’t know what he had gotten into and maybe if he had been part of the Sick he wouldn’t have cared enough to say yes to stepping into full on craziness. 

 

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