06 July 2011

Number 53 (7/6/11)

It's Wednesday again, and you know exactly what I'm going to say here, don't you? That's right! Time for a flashing. Here's this week's, and don't forget to check out the other great flashers below.

*PROBABLE LANGUAGE WARNING* I honestly can't remember sometimes, so this is a default warning these days. lol

“Number 53!”

I stepped forward and pushed my hair out of my face. The Superior demanded to see our faces when we received our daily ration of bread and meats. The retina scanners wouldn’t work if our eyes were blocked, after all.

“How many in your family, number 53?” The soldier’s voice was quiet and respectful, a stark contrast to the gun hanging behind his back and the jagged scar running down the side of his face from temple to jaw.

“Just me,” I replied. The measly hunk of bread and eighth pound of meat I received would feed me for a whole hour, but they expected this crap to last us for a day. A family of four got a pound of meat and a loaf of bread, barely enough to hold over two kids, much less a husband who had to go into the coal mines and work all day. The family across the hall from me were constantly malnourished, and I often sacrificed my meat for the children.

Number 76 watched as I scurried away, my parcel clutched tightly to my chest. The grey buildings stared down at me, and I knew that any of those windows could hold Superior Agents, watching my every move. But 76 insisted on following me, straight to the backdoor of my apartment building.

“53,” he said in a clear voice.

I froze and swallowed before looking over my shoulder at him. “Yes, 76?”

“Did you see the feral cat?”

A meeting, then. “No. Where was it at?”

“I saw it outside of building 44. I think it’ll be back out around 8 tonight. See you later.” He pivoted on a heel and walked away. I watched until he rounded a corner. Number 76 was the revolutionary of our society, forever trying to find a way to bring The Superior down.

After the war of 2370, the world disintegrated. Literally, the nuclear weapons left everything a shell of its former glory. Farmlands were scorched, cities leveled, and entire cultures decimated. My parents had taken me, just an infant, to the heartland of America, the one place that seemed impermeable. We assimilated into a society, and The Superior took over. He assigned the men to the coal mines and the women were to stay home and bear child after child to strengthen the society.

But my parents couldn’t have any more children. The radiation from the war had rendered mother infertile. When her condition was discovered, she was taken from us and I never saw her again.

I was ten. Number 76 found me in an alley behind The High Command Offices, bawling in an alley. He took me under his wing, just five years my senior but already so much more educated. When father passed away, 76 ensured I had an apartment and a job.

8 o’clock rolled around much too quickly. I stepped out of my door and found the doe eyed little neighbor girl staring at me. Her ribs were clearly visible through her shirt and her cheeks were gaunt.

“Hello, 434,” I said softly and knelt in front of her to pull a small parcel from my coat. “I have some leftover bread, if you want it.”

She reached out with tiny hands and took it slowly. I smiled and patted her on the head before I left. Getting to building 44 was tricky. The Superiors had guards roaming the city at night, and if a woman was caught out alone, I would be in quite a bit of trouble. The grey structure loomed ahead of me, dark and apparently abandoned.

I slipped into an ajar door and let my eyes adjust to the darkness. Nothing moved, and I couldn’t find any light. “Hello?” I whispered. “76?”

A hand shot out from the darkness and grabbed me, dragging me into the shadows with his hand securely clasped over my mouth. I froze and let him take me. If he was a guard, I would be killed for fighting. If he was 76, I was safe anyway.

He pulled me into a dark room and shut a door behind us before releasing me. 76 stepped into the slanting moonlight coming through a window. I breathed a sigh of relief and smiled at him. “Hey, 76. What was all that about?”

76 bit his lip and stepped towards me. “53, there’s something you should know.”

“What is it?” The urgency in his voice made me wary.

“I’ve always loved you. I would walk through fire for you.”

I blinked a few times, trying to absorb what he was saying. A loud bang from the hallway made me jump. “I don’t…What’s going on, 76?”

“Everything I’m doing is because I love you. Can you understand that?”

Panic began to seep through me as the loud noises neared us. “76, what are you talking about?”

“I had to do this, 53. To save you, and to save all of us.”

The door burst open behind him, and guards flooded into the room. I screamed and threw my hands over my head as I fell to my knees. Their flashlights honed in on my head, the lights blinding me when I tried to look up.

“That’s her,” 76 said, his voice cracking. “She did it. She killed The Superior.”

My jaw dropped as they wrestled me to my feet and slapped handcuffs on me. A soldier shook his head. 

“It’s always the quiet ones, you know?”

76 hung his head in shame as they led me away, and I knew I would die while he rose to power. The son of a bitch.


The other great flashers:

Victoria Blisse (m/f)

Pender Mackie (m/m)

1 comment:

Julie Lynn Hayes said...

Wow, short and powerful. Well done, Lindsay. Good use of the prompts.