Saturday, February 18, 2017
A Change of Perception - A Story from a Devoted Future
Lori had grown up in New Denver, a medium-sized barter town a few clicks south of New Adeimus, known in the Barter Towns as simply 'The City'. This was where the Citizens lived, far from the dirt and heat and violence of the Barter Towns, in gleaming ivory towers, with new technology and medicine, and good food that supposedly came out of the wall - all you had to do was ask for it. What The City didn't offer its citizens, as Lori had been told all her life, was freedom - they did horrible things to people in there, she was told. Her mother had supposedly escaped being mutilated, turned into a freak, by running away to the border towns on her eighteenth birthday. There, hungry and alone, she had slept with a man for a half a loaf of bread. That was how Lori had come to be.
Over her twenty years in the barter towns, Lori had seen a lot of women, and some men, escape from The City, still in their clean clothes, their neatly trimmed hair, their perfumed skin. Lori didn't know what could be so awful in The City that they would choose the wastes of the Barter Towns, but her mother always forbade her from speaking of it, even commenting about it. It was simply a terrible place, and it was not to be discussed or spoken of.
Lori had seen New Adeimus once, from a distance - she had snuck a ride with a boyfriend at the time, and they rode out there on his donkey. The ride was long and difficult on the smelly animal, but once she saw the gleaming towers of New Adeimus, she knew it had been worth it. She never knew men could build such marvels - it was massive, bigger than her mind could comprehend, with towers reaching the sky and vehicles driving around, shining in the sunlight. She couldn't imagine what could have been so awful in such a wonderful place.
Lori had many loud arguments with her mother about The City. She was curious, she wanted to go there, but her mother just shrieked and yelled about monsters and that she'd never return from that awful place. Better to stay there, in the squalor of New Denver, than risk being caught near The City.
And so it went, and Lori lived her day to day life, tending a small garden and scavenging for technology in a nearby landfill, trying to find a few trinkets that might be of some value. She had no real education - she had learned to read and write and count, but really nothing more - and the more she thought about it, the more she looked at her mother, wasting away, losing her teeth, the more she realized that she had no future, no real future anyway. Two weeks after her twentieth birthday, she made her decision.
A Story from A Devoted Future
Linda had always been very bright, ever since she began school. Her grades were always the highest, her projects always the best and her parents were always the proudest. She had always loved media, from books to videos to holograms, but her foremost love was computers. She started playing with her house computer by age four, and her parents got her a deck of her own when she was seven. By nine she was already an adequate programmer, and by thirteen she was actually improving on consumer wares, making them run more efficiently or add to their capabilities. Of course she could never sell or gain credit for her skills, at least not for another six months, on her eighteenth birthday- after she went through Puberty.
Linda had many friends, but the girls who held the distinct honor of ‘Best Friend’ were Karen, Libby, and Iris. They had grown up in the same neighborhood, gone to the same school, and the four had been friends for as long as any of them could remember. They were all almost the same age, though Linda was technically the youngest. Iris, the oldest of the group, would reach puberty in just six weeks, and like most girls she was
very excited about her impending womanhood. It was actually one year ago, on Iris’ seventeenth birthday, when the beginnings of a plan started in Linda’s mind- a plan that, to Linda’s knowledge, had never been tried before.
I wrote the 'Devoted Future' series many, many years ago, and it was posted on one of my early websites. The website got shut down at some point, and I lost the originals after a computer crash, so I assumed they were gone forever (which was sad, because I liked these). Recently, a fan got in touch with me, asking about them, and shockingly he was able to come up with copies of the originals that someone had saved, so I'm re-posting them here and over on my DeviantArt site to share them with people again. This series was a kind of weird concept, but one that I really liked, and I'm really glad to be able to read them and share them again!
A Devoted Future
Jenna was fast approaching her eighteenth birthday, the time for puberty. For so many of her girlfriends, the decision to go through puberty or not was easy, they would or they wouldn't, they had probably made up their minds years before. Jenna, on the other hand, was torn. She would look at the empty sleeve of her mother's shirt, from when she went through puberty, and she would think about how great her childhood had been, her schooling, her doting father. Everything turned out fine for her mother, it was true- she had been a great head of household, she had a good state job teaching school, the good pay, the state housing, a state-approved husband, and even TWO approved children, Jenna and her big brother Charles. Charles had entered state service through the military and hoped to be approved for a wife some day.
Jenna knew that she was expected to go through puberty- all girls her age were, really. There were some, a minority, who didn't go through it, and most of them turned out alright- if living in trailers outside City Central and working in the co-ops and on farms for barter was considered all right. Without going through puberty, a girl wasn't considered an adult, ever, and therefore couldn't hold a state job, couldn't get an approved husband, and couldn't ever have children, at least not in a state hospital. Her friend Eliza had chosen not to go through puberty and her family had actually kicked her out of their house the day after her eighteenth birthday. Jenna knew that could happen to her, too.