Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Microstory 752: Grace

Twins Grace and Hannah were not born in a very loving world, yet they were loved. The sky was completely dark, with no sun, and no other stars. Their only sources of light were harsh and artificial. Time was also never on their side. There were 53 minutes to an hour, and nineteen hours in a day, making the simple act of calculating the future needlessly difficult. With no celestial movement in the sky marking these time periods, this arbitrary system served only to remind the people that they had no control over their own lives. The average work shift lasted literally the entire day, followed by a single day of rest in between shifts. After their mother’s death, they were raised by their father and uncle, but rarely saw the two of them together, since their shifts had to complement each other. This was particularly problematic since Uncle Torin and their father, Reid had fallen in love with each other, a relationship which was strictly forbidden. The religious order that dominated every aspect of their lives was not fundamentally opposed to homosexuality, but rejected it for logistical reasons. Their entire ideological system was built on strengthening themselves through numbers, so a couple incapable of procreation is entirely useless to them. Torin and Reid did the best they could with their daughters, but nothing would help what would inevitably come on the girls’ eighteenth birthday. Halfway towards adulthood, children are almost always removed from their original parents, and placed in a home so far away that their real parents have never even heard of it. To make matters worse, their new parents will always have just lost their own children for the same reason. The religion leaders claim some children are allowed to remain with their birth parents throughout their entire lives, assuming they receive the required results on their test, but this has never been witnessed. Most people believe this to be a lie purported to maintain the religion’s control over everyone, even if parents always hope it is somehow not a lie, and that it happens to their own children. Some families try to escape this fate by running away, but there is no evidence that anyone has ever succeeded. There is nowhere in the world that is not under constant monitoring, and no one ever otherwise strays beyond the boundaries of their town. Hours after taking their test, Grace and Hannah were expected to be spirited away, just as all the others, and their fathers were fully intending to run. The test showed results that no one had ever heard of before, however, which severely complicated matters. They would still have to run, but they would not have to do it alone...

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