Hi all! So I have decided that at least once a month I will be posting some creative writing on this blog. I intially started this blog for that particular reason, however, the blog has developed into more of book blog which is not a bad thing.
But I need to gain some confidence in my writing because I have realised that the only thing that keeps me from writing and finishing things is this fear that I am not good enough. And as it stands, I probably am not good enough but the only way to improve is to keep writing, keep sharing and listen to the crit and advice I recieve from others.
This piece is something I wrote a while ago and is part of a current Work In Progress, so to be fair I will warn you that there will be not closure by the end of the piece. (Sorry guys…)
A distress siren sounded, it echoed through the North Quarter signalling the thirty minute warning before The Dome would be completely sealed off from the Outside.
Maya gathered her daughter’s backpack and jacket in her arms and walked over to the couch on which Lila slept, each step an affirmation to the inevitability of their awaited separation. Maya peered down at Lila, she looked so peaceful curled up in a ball, her battered red blankie barely covering her length. Maya had tried to get rid of the old thing but Lila wouldn’t hear it, she said it kept the monsters away at night and so she let her keep it, if only for the Lila’s peace of mind. She reached down and gently brushed a curly lock of auburn hair out of Lila’s face.
“What’s wrong Mama?” Lila blinked through sleepy eyes.
Maya tried to smile as she held out her hand urging Lila to get up. “Remember, I told you that I have to go away for a while baby?”
Lila’s eyes widened. “Is it time for me to go Granny’s?”
“Just until I get back ok?”
Lila sat up slowly and tucked her blankie under her arm. She was about to slide off the couch when she suddenly stopped and looked up at her mother, her eyes filled with curiosity and a hint of wisdom beyond her years. “You’re going to the Outside to help Daddy stop the monsters.”
Maya knelt down, cupped Lila’s face in her hands and looked her straight in her wandering amber eyes. “You have to promise me you won’t tell anyone where I’ve gone Lila.”
She leaned forward, took a deep breath and rested her forehead to Lila’s. Lila smelt of lilies and strawberries and for the moment Maya considered how their lives might play out if she stayed. Perhaps they could lay low in one of the coastal suburbs, or they could buy a farm somewhere far away from the city, change their names, live off the grid and Lila could grow up with at least one of her parents present in her life. But Maya knew that until the Watchers were eliminated Lila would be safest with her grandmother. Lilith was a respectable and valuable figure in the community, what with funding all those government projects the Watchers guarded so dearly. Nevermind that the last time Maya had spoken to Lilith was four years ago just after Lila was born. At the time she was too proud to accept her mother’s help, but now was not the time to let ego and pride get in the way of her daughter’s safety. For the moment the Watchers did not know Lila’s unique parentage, and it was a secret Maya planned to take to her grave. Under Lilith’s care they would not suspect a thing.
“I promise,” Lila whispered, wrapping her arms around her mother’s neck, nipping Maya’s cheek gently.
Maya had to believe that this was not the last time she’d be seeing Lila, holding on to that tiny bit of hope was the only thing that kept her from backing out.
Another siren sounded from the nearest Watchtower. Twenty minutes. It would take her about about five minutes to get to the Guardian House and another ten to get to the northern gate where she was to meet Issac.
“Come on sweetheart, we’ve got to be quick.”
They hurried out of the studio apartment – which was really nothing more than a bare room and a bathroom – into the narrow passage and headed for the stairs. The last thing she wanted was to answer any unnecessary questions from prying neighbours.
She flashed her KomBand at the AI doorman and the door dilated.
A south-eastly wind howled as they stepped on to a busy street. It always amazed her how despite being surrounded by a dome-like force field, the city was not protected from the course of mother nature. As Maya had expected, they could not avoid encountering the Watchers and their Shields. Parols filled the street, they were on high alert and were doing everything they could to stop an internal attack. There was no avoiding a few questions, they just had to stay calm make sure that they did not arouse any suspicion.
“Civilian,” a broad shouldered man in a midnight blue uniform stepped out in front of them, his hand held out motioning them to stop. It was as if Maya had hit an invisible wall; she fell back abruptly, barely able to find her balance as she tripped over Lila who was trailing behind her. With a simple flick of his tattooed finger the Shield gestured for them to come closer. Maya gawked as an invisible force pushed both her and Lila towards the Shield. No amount of effort could counter the motion. Lila let out a shriek and clung tightly to her mother’s side. “It’s ok baby.” Maya squeezed her tiny hand put a finger on her lip.
She found herself both appalled and fascinated by the Shield’s capabilities. The endless possibilities of genetic modification were astounding, however the implications were so dangerous. The fact that this Shield, with a flick of his finger could hold them against their will was one of the many reasons why the issue of genetic modification was extremely problematic in the wrong hands. And as it stood, Isabel Singh-Rupert was proving to be a power hungry leader with absolutely no compassion for the country she ruled over.
“It is past curfew. What are your reasons for violating safety precautions?” The Shield’s voice was thin and cold, almost robotic, it was so eerie how the Shields seemed so emotionless, as though they were anything but human.
“We were traveling home when the first siren was sounded.”
“The siren is a final emergency precaution, all citizens were requested to return to their homes hours ago. I do not enjoy repeating myself. Why have you violated the curfew?”
“My daughter was not feeling well.” Maya stared at her feet. “We were out, she had a fever. No cab would take us ’cause of the curfew.”
The Shield snatched her arm and for a brief moment his hard blank face betrayed him, his mouth formed a scowl in annoyance as though he could not bare even the tiniest bit of the physical contact. He scanned her KomBand, his face settling as he viewed her information as it flashed across his retina display.
ID: Gray-Braithe, Maya
Genealogy: Daughter of Gray-Braithe, Lilith (CEO of the Gray-Braithe Foundation for Critical Studies and Pharmaceuticals) and Braithe, Ismail (Deceased)
Citizen Status: Platinum (awaiting review)
Criminal Record: Minor misdemeanors – CLEARED
His eyebrow twitched as he realised who she was. He stared at her, wide eyed. “Apologies Miss Braithe.” He stood at attention. “Allow me to escort you to the Guardian House, Lady Lilith must be worried for your saftey.”
Maya rolled her eyes at his sudden formality, she hated the way people treated her once they realised who her parents were. Only moment ago he was just about ready to arrest her. “Oh, so now you’re a gentleman?” She tugged Lila’s hand and headed for the Guardian House. The Shield notified his superior as he accompanied them.
If he had known that Maya had been written off when her mother had found out that she was pregnant with a bastard child perhaps then he would not have apologised so quickly, perhaps then he would not have escorted the disgraced daughter to a mother that had absolutely no interest in seeing her. But he did not know and she was not about to tell him. A Shield escort may not have been what she had in mind but for the moment it was convenient. More than convenient. At least there would be no more questions; this one didn’t seem eager to talk, he was content with keeping a fair distance from them as they walked.
They just needed to make it to the Guardian House, one more block and they would be safe. As long as the Shield did not alert Lilith that they were on their way; Maya knew she would be reluctant to see them until Maya had the chance to explain herself. As the Guardian House came into view Maya hoped that she still had authorisation to enter the building without having to contact her mother. If the AI doorman denied them access she would have to think up a plan B fast and quick or face arrest.
She glanced back at the Shield, his midnight blue uniform made it harder to spot him on a moonless night, if it weren’t for the white vest beneath the jacket he’d be all but invisible. At close range Maya could see the tattoos creeping out from under the collar of his vest and trailing up his neck. Tattoos were indicator of rank amongst the Shields; Maya wondered how many tattoos he had under his uniform. Judging from the ones on his neck and the fact that his left hand was covered she deduced that he must have a sleeve and that he was probably held a high rank within his dominion.
His face was set in a scowl, glaring at her accusingly for staring at him. He would look somewhat if he could just manage a smile, but she doubted anyone had ever seen a Shield smile, did he even know how to smile?
“I think we can find our way from here.” She grabbed Lila’s hand and sped up a little as they near the door.
“I’ll escort you inside.”
“Oh, that’s not necessary.”
“Protocol Miss Braithe.”
She hesitated before entering the building, she was afraid that the AI doorman would turn her away. She stepped inside and submitted to the retina scan, holding her breath as she waited for the elevator door to open.
She exhaled in relief when it slid open. She picked up Lila and hurried inside nodding goodbye to the Shield. Her mother would have been notified by the OS that she had entered the Guardian House. The elevator automatically selected the ‘PentHouse’ as her destination.
“Well its was now or never. Time to meet your dear grandmother.” She tried to to muster up a reassuring smile for Lila’s sake.
“What if she doesn’t like me Mom?” The little girl whispered.
Maya pinched her cheeks teasingly. “How could anyone not love your cute little face?”
There was no point in letting Lila know just how nervous she was to finally face Lilith after so long.
When the elevator door opened to reveal the foyer Maya could not help but feel nostalgic when she was greeted by an old family portrait. Her father’s bright eyes beamed back at her eagerly, the little red haired girl on his shoulder a stranger to her, a reminder of a time when things were so much simpler.
They walked quietly into the living room to find a middle aged woman, her face framed with auburn curls, sitting in an armchair peering over wide rimmed spectacles.
“I was beginning to think you’d forgotten all about me deary.” Her spectacles looked like they might just slip over the point of her nose.
“Lilith,” said Maya. She thought it odd that her mother still wore those plastic rimmed glasses even after having done the eye corrective surgery.
“Still tip toeing around the M-word I see.” She took off her glasses, uncrossed her legs and stood up. “Who do we have here?” The corner of her mouth curled up, a ghost of a smile lingered on her lips for moment and then it was gone, and was replaced with wide eyed awe. She bend down and let her fingers brush Lila’s cheeks.
“She looks strikingly like you did at that age.” Maya nodded. “Four?”
“I’m almost five,” Lila said meekly.
Lilith smiled. “Miko,” she said. A hologram of a woman in a white and red checked uniform appeared before Lilith.
“Yes, mam?” her voice was crisp and sweet.
“Show Lila to her bedroom.”
The hologram nodded and gestured for Lila to follow. Lila stared at her mother and shook her head.
“Go on,” Maya encouraged her but she only clung to her leg tighter. “I’ll be up in a moment to tuck you in before I go. Promise.”
The girl followed the holographic housekeeper blinking away tears.
“You knew we’d come.” Maya said.
” Of course I did, I know everything child.” Her words were icy, she’d lost all trace of warmth in her eyes. “I know that you’ve sleeping in dingy little room in Mowbray, barely able to feed your daughter and living off the graces of the Tainted.” She inched closer to Maya, forcing her to take a step back. “I know you’ve been in contact with that disgraced traitor who’s responsible for our current state of emergency and that you intend on abandoning your daughter to join his rebel forces on the Outside. There is nothing you can hide from me child.”
“Child”, the word was like a blunt knife being dragged down her back, each time she uttered it, it only became more and more degrading. It made her cower. “Not then and not now,” Lilith said, never breaking eye contact with her.
Her back hit the cold wall and she fought the urge to cry. No matter how long she stayed away her mother still held the most power over, she’d hope that by now at least that would have changed. Yet she found herself wanting to apologise for disgracing her family, that she had never meant for any of it to happen. She never wanted to betray her mother’s trust, she only did what she thought would protect Lila. But saying those words would mean that she was giving up and conceding to the ideologies of the Watchers and she couldn’t do that, she couldn’t stop fighting for what she knew was right. She refused to give up hope and abandon the Tainted when they needed her most. Apologising meant that the Tainted lives no longer mattered. She’d rather die helping them than living with the guilt of allowing them to be slaughtered at the hands of the Guardians.
“Please,” she said. Her head was bowed as she stared at the dark wooden floors. “Please, just keep her safe.”
“And what do you suggest I do with you?”
“Let me go peacefully.”
“Ah, you see I can’t do that. It is completely out of my hands.”
Maya looked up at the woman before her, she was a stranger, her mother had been replaced by a merciless Guardian with the eyes of a creature that could put fear in the most dauntless of souls.
Miko appeared next to Lilith. “The General has arrived.”
“What have you done?” Maya demanded. She surveyed the room trying to figure out what would be the most efficient way to escape.
“I wouldn’t put up a fight if I were you, it’ll only make it harder. If you just confess and repent I could help you get your life back.”
“Don’t you see what they’re doing? How can you condone the extermination of the beings you created? They will kill me too you know. Your own flesh and blood.” For a moment she thought she’d hit a sore point, maybe her mother did still care for her. But it was so briefly she couldn’t be sure. “Dad would never have allowed this to go so far.” Lilith’s hand connected with her cheek, she barely felt it, she had lost the ability to feel physical pain, her emotional turmoil was too much.
The moment the General walked into the living room Maya was flung against the wall. A Shield stood behind him, his eyes baring into Maya’s. The corner of her mouth twitched as she recognised him. She should have known he wouldn’t let her die.