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*Hi, one and all. I honestly don’t know how this story happened. I got an idea and it poisoned me until I got it out. This story is by far the longest story I’ve written in so short of a time. The time between when I got the idea and when I posted it was only three days when I worked like a maniac.
Rest assured, the end chapters to both Tenderness and The New World are nearly complete. They should be on the site before April.
I have written this story in a new style, and I hope that you enjoy it. This is the first time I’ve written a story like this, so PLEASE give me some feedback.
All Characters are 18+*
WELCOME TO THE UNITARIST CHURCH MAINFRAME
CONFIDENTIAL; DO NOT OPEN UNLESS YOU HAVE A LEVEL 3 CLEARANCE OR HIGHER
PRISONER FILES; FILE 66
PRISONER 26617; TAM BERLING;
TREASON, ACCESSORY TO MURDER, GENDER TREACHERY;
FILE 66 CONSISTS OF STATEMENTS, INTERVIEWS, INVESTIGATIONS, AND THE PERSONAL HANDWRITTEN JOURNAL OF PRISONER TAM BERLING.
STATEMENT OF THE HIGH CHANCELLOR OF THE UNITARIST CHURCH.
We had no idea how this one young man would effect us all. It’s just another sign of how easily faith can be lost. He was an ordinary young boy. His IQ was only slightly above average, he came from an average family, he worked in an ordinary Hospice and had ordinary friends and acquaintances. He went to church three times a week and volunteered for extra hours at the Hospice. He was an exemplary citizen.
Many of the high councilors say that Tam Berling is nothing, a figurehead. They say that the real danger is Taylor Bashke, the man who poisoned Tam Berling’s mind and faith. I agree, the so-called ‘Undesirable
‘ is very dangerous, but it was not him who cast our magnificent country into turmoil. That was his goal, but his efforts have only been surpassed by the events surrounding the trial and execution of Tam Berling.
Ever since the trial and execution of Tam Berling, we have fallen apart. National violence is on an unprecedented level. There is rioting in the streets, demands for foreign poisons under the guise of medicine. Enemy propaganda is rampant and we have had to increase Peacekeeper forces and arm them with cattle prods to end the violence. We have had to make new divisions to stop enemy propaganda.
Tam Berling and Taylor Bashke.
I believe, that these names will be remembered in infamy.
END STATEMENT, JULY 7, 2122
STATEMENT BY THE HEAD OF THE NEW ANTI-PROPAGANDA CREWS
This is my first report, and it is also the first report of the Ralting County Anti-Propaganda Crews. The name is too complex for what we really do. We exist to erase rumors and scrub down graffiti. Before the trial and execution of Tam Berling, we didn’t need to exist. Graffiti was almost non-existent, and everyone had good faith, and was a good patriot. Tam Berling poisoned the people’s minds. Now me and ten others patrol the city with our hand-drawn carts and we scrub paint from the bricks from dusk until dawn.
Sometimes, I feel like Ralting County is crumbling. There has even been a riot. It can all be laid at the feet of Taylor Bashke and Tam Berling. I hear that they will have to form Anti-Propaganda crews in other counties soon. What is happening to us? Have so many lost faith because of two men? And sodomites at that? I don’t know what the Unitarist Church is coming to.
END STATEMENT, MARCH 15, 2122
THE FOLLOWING IS THE JOURNAL OF TAM BERLING. THE JOURNAL WAS DISCOVERED THE DAY AFTER THE EXECUTION INSIDE TAM BERLING’S CELL AT THE RALTING COUNTY GAOL. IT WAS FOUND IN A CLEAR PLASTIC BAG, AS WELL AS THE REMAINS OF A PENCIL, A STOLEN PAIR OF TWEEZERS, AND FOUR BLOOD-STAINED FEATHERS. THE JOURNAL WAS WRITTEN IN THE MARGINS OF PAGES DEFILED FROM A GOV’T ISSUED BIBLE. ENTRIES ARE DATED FROM NOVEMBER 18, 2121, TO JANUARY 15, 2122.
November 18, 2121.
I’ve been in this place for about a week now, but only now have I managed to get the materials to write anything down. Taylor told me that one time, long ago, there were thousands of books. That ordinary people were allowed to write them. He told me that books had been about everything, not just records and God. He told me that he had even read some of them. His favorite was one called ‘Where the Red Fern Grows’. He told me what happened in it, he had memorized it from all of the times he read it. He told me about a boy and two dogs that lived almost two hundred years ago, while we lay in bed. I wanted to read those books someday, but now I don’t think I’ll get the chance.
I don’t think I would have been able to write in the first few days anyway. I was so numb when they caught me. I cried all of the time. I still do, but for the first few days, I did nothing but cry and sleep. I didn’t even eat my meals. There’s so little in the meals, I wish I had. I was already hungry on the outside, but soon I’ll be able to play my ribs like a washboard.
I’m not sure why I’m doing this. Maybe it will keep me from going insane. Maybe It’ll just happen sooner. Who knows? Who cares? casino şirketleri I have a pencil stub. There are no writing materials in here, so maybe when I smuggled it in, I knew already that I was going to write this. When they brought me in, I knew that they wouldn’t let me hide anything on my person, so I hid the pencil inside of me. I’m glad I did, because the instant that the Peacekeepers brought me here, they took away my clothes and sprayed me against a wall with a powerful hose. The cold water hurt, but I barely noticed it. I was too busy crying for Taylor.
I don’t know where he is. I think he got away. I hope he got away. They want me to tell them where he is. They haven’t started in for real, haven’t really sunk their teeth into me, but they’ve questioned me twice. The first time, they spoke to me in a small private room. I sat on a chair while they sat across the table from me. Two men, one young one old. The second time, a light was shining in my eyes and they talked to me for three hours at least.
I’m afraid of what they’re going to do to me, but I’m not afraid of betraying Taylor. I don’t know where he is, or where he’s going. All I know is that he escaped, because now they are questioning me about him. I’m still afraid for him though. I hope he can make it out of Ralting county, out of the Unitarist Church and back to his Community, to the resistance. Taylor was smart, he never told me where the Community was, where anything was. These fuckers can torture me to their heart’s content, and they’ll never get anything useful.
I have to stop writing now. The guards are making their rounds.
November 20, 2121.
I wasn’t able to write yesterday either. Lights are only on for portions of the day. The electricity is coltish and finicky, and there are no windows where the prisoners sleep. During the hour or so where the electricity worked, the guards were everywhere.
I wonder what Taylor is doing now.
I met him about four months ago. I have lived more in these last four months then I have in the rest of my life. I didn’t know how to think, how to breathe, how to open my eyes until Taylor came into my life. He told me about our history. He told me about the aftermath of the Great War. Fallout poisoned the wombs of all women, and our population dropped to nearly nothing. A new religion, a new country, the Unitarist Church, rose from the ashes in the former United states. They forbade technology. They said that we had brought the Great War on ourselves, by playing God and living in sin.
Taylor sometimes went into paroxysms of rage at the Unitarist Church. He spoke of how Technology would have saved more women, increased the childbirth rate. He said that they had gone so far in their anti-technology crusade that they began to censor everything. First it was just a blacklist of foreign propaganda, then they censored the news and put novels on the blacklist. Then they got rid of secondary schools, and children were just trained for their livelihoods.
‘The stupider we get, the easier we are to control. For the Unitarists, it stopped being about protecting us, and started being about control. They use your faith to control you, like cattle that worship the slaughterer.’
I miss him so bad it hurts. It’s like a physical pain. I have to stop writing, it’s time for roll call.
It’s almost eight, when the lights go out. I can maybe write a little bit more. Every day at the gaol, they go through this routine that I think exists just to break us down. Roll call. Every one of the prisoners are taken outside to this yard surrounded by concrete and razor wire. First we have to run around the yard a number of times. Sometimes, it’s just once, today it was fifteen. Several of the weaker prisoners collapsed, and the guards beat them. Two of them had to go to the infirmary.
After we run, we are told to stand in the middle of the yard, and speak our names over and over. Like the running, time is subjective. One time, we were only standing for an hour or so, today the sun was high in the sky when we started and halfway below the horizon when we finally stopped. My legs cracked like my bones were broken when I finally got to move. My voice was hoarse. When you say your name hundreds of times, the name starts to lose significance. It becomes nothing but a hoarse sound, with no more value then a dog’s bark, or a crow’s caw.
I defy them. Before I met Taylor, I never would have defied anyone. I was a drone. I wouldn’t have said shit if I had a mouthful. I did nothing but survive before I met Taylor, and once I met him I finally started to live.
When the guards pass me close, I croak out ‘Tam Berling’ like they want me too. When they are out of earshot, I murmur, ‘Unitarist Church’. The Unitarist church replaced our leaders. Taylor told me that other countries have presidents, dictators, kings, but we have a church.
Maybe if I say their name over and over, they wont mean anything anymore.
November 23, 2121.
I’ve casino firmaları looked at what I’ve written so far. Since I’m writing in tiny cramped scribbles in the margins of the bible pages, I’ve covered the margins of three pages, front and back. It’s all about the Unitarist Church. It’s all about the gaol. I have to survive the gaol, and I’m suffering because of the Church. I don’t want to think about those, so I’m going to write about the past. I’m going to write about Taylor.
My mother was rare. She bore three children. It made her something of a celebrity in the county where I grew up. The Church told me my entire life that birth rates were up, but Taylor told me the real numbers. He told me that only one in three women are even able to bear viable children. The rest are impotent, or only have stillborns or freakish mutants, with swollen heads or distorted eyes or limbs that trail into twisted nubs.
However, once you bear a child, you can’t stop. That is one of the Unitarist beliefs. Taylor told me that in the first days of the Unitarist church, any doctors that had ever prescribed birth control or given an abortion had been hung in public executions. ‘Crimes against Life’ became the most deadly offense. Any woman or man who tried to deter a child from entering the world could be put to death. When my father died, she had a Government wedding to replace him. When Taylor told me how they chose her husband, I laughed and cried at the same time.
They told her that they found her a husband who was ‘harmonized’ with her personality, and would love her and give her many children. Taylor told me that men applied for a Government wedding and the one with the highest sperm count got the prize. She’s still having children, for all I know.
I know that she didn’t refuse him. Taylor told me that men and women used to choose their partners, and that if they wished, they could have relations out of wedlock, or split a marriage. Now you can be publicly flogged if you have relations outside of wedlock. And divorce is considered a Crime Against Life, and is punishable by death.
When I was twelve, like every child, I took the aptitude tests and I went to a trade school to become a caretaker. When I turned sixteen, I graduated and they told me that there was a deficiency of caretakers in another county. We had to go through one of the polluted areas to get to Ralting County. The Van was lead-lined, and it was one of the scariest experiences of my life at that time. When we got to Ralting, everyone in the van, even the driver, had to get naked and take a bath. I was surrounded by two men in radiation suits, and they scrubbed me everywhere with lye water. I got a burn on my thigh, and my skin was red and smarting. I was crying like a baby, and I wasn’t the only one.
I never saw my mother again, but that’s how it worked. If they needed drivers, or caretakers, or matrons, or Peacekeepers in one county or another, they just got moved. Like resources, or like cattle.
As a caretaker, I worked in a hospice. I took care of the elderly and people who needed to heal for extended periods of time. Taylor told me that there used to be places called Hospitals where you could get medication, and surgery. Unitarists don’t believe in medication. They said that it had been the overuse of opiates and antibiotics that had contributed to infertility. In Hospitals, people healed. In the Hospice, most of them just lived out the rest of their lives. Deformed and consumed by tumors.
November 24, 2121
I had to stop there, quick. I was writing and all of a sudden, roll call started. Roll call, that business in the yard… it can happen at any time of day. I was writing at eight AM when it started yesterday, and I didn’t get back into my room until well after lights out. I was in roll call until late afternoon, but then I was questioned, and that’s what took so long.
They haven’t hurt me yet. I think they might soon.
Today I started my job. I have to go to roll call still, but for three hours every day I work in the infirmary. The guards keep a close eye on me, but it was good to do my job again. There are eight people in the infirmary now. I helped to feed them and clean them. I got to talk to them even.
I’m saving my dinner for after lights out, I don’t need light to eat, just to write. I spoke to a prisoner during roll call, it’s forbidden, but fairly easy to do. He said that for each meal, prisoners get about 200 mL of either soup or porridge. Sometimes there’s more, sometimes less. Tonight, it’s some kind of clear broth with a slice of bread.
I’ll talk about the past more tomorrow. Maybe I’ll make a book out of this. Maybe I can find a way to get these pages smuggled out of the gaol and the Community will make it into a novel. It’s a nice thought.
I have to stop, I’m hungry and they’ll turn off the lights soon.
November 26, 2121
They almost found my journal the other day. They searched all of the cells. They randomly do it when they suspect prisoner activity. Most of us are güvenilir casino so weak, I don’t even know why they bother. I keep my journal hidden under a loose tile. They check for loose tiles, but this one fits very tightly and I keep one of the feet of my cot over it, so they don’t check it. I keep the pencil stub taped to my inner thigh. The pencil stub is precious, I don’t dare let it out of my sight except for when we take our bi-weekly shower. Showers are a common time for guards to ransack the rooms, so during showers I do what I did when I came in here. I wrap the sharpened end with a wad of cloth and hide it in my ass.
The rooms are so bare, and we have no personal belongings. Nothing but a cot and a bucket. We have canteens, and we have to ask the guards to refill them. It’s not uncommon for the guards to piss in the canteens. They are bored. They have a lot of games to play with the prisoners.
The thing that I miss the most often, changes. It shifts and changes rapidly. For a while, I would have killed, literally killed, to have an apple. Just a single tart green apple. Sometimes it’s food, but most of the time it’s Taylor. But it’s different things. This morning, I longed to see him smile. Just a few minutes later, I would have given anything to have him with me, to feel him over me, making love to me, and whispering my name in my ear.
But now, I don’t even care about the sex. I would gladly throw myself off a cliff just to touch him. To feel his warm smooth skin against mine. To feel his cheek, rough with stubble, against my cheek.
I think I’m done for now. I just don’t have the energy.
December 3, 2121
I have to write about the past. So much has happened in this past week that kept me from writing, but now I think I realize that I might not be able to finish this story.
There was a terrorist attack seven days ago. A grenade went off outside the gaol. We’ve been in lockdown mode. The guards never ceased their rounds. Prisoners were roughly interrogated at random. I still worked at the infirmary, and I stole a bag made of clear plastic. If they found out that I stole that bag, I wouldn’t be writing right now. I would either be lying in a mess of bloody twitching limbs in the infirmary, or a corpse hanging from the outer wall as a warning to the others.
I am now hiding my journal in the one place that I know the guards will never look. When I finish writing this entry, I will fold these pages and tuck them back into the clean interior of the filthy plastic bag. I will tie the knot and place the bag in my shit-bucket. I might shake it around a bit to make sure that the contents cover it up. I hope it will work. Prisoners have to empty their own buckets when they are full, march out with a guard to the septic tank.
Enough of shit and journals and grenades. I want to write about Taylor.
I lived in Ralting county, and my life was blank. It was nothing but survival. I worked as a caretaker on the night shift. Every morning at ten I would get back to the tenant house and go inside my little apartment. It was only slightly bigger then this cell. It had a tiny lofted bed with some storage space underneath. I had a tiny living area with a hot plate and a sink and a sagging secondhand armchair. I was paid in basic ration chips, though as a caretaker I got a few extras, like coffee, butter, and salt. I traded the coffee chips with other tenants for things I craved. I would trade any of my ration chips for sugar, and sometimes a man who was a field-hand by trade managed to bring back hazelnuts from some trees that grew in the wild. I love those so much that I would eat them green, I would eat them rotten.
There were a few people I would talk to, but no one that I would consider a friend.
It was August when I met Taylor. Back then, he was just another face. He was a man who had come into the Hospice because of a broken wrist. We couldn’t give him pain medication, all we could do was bind it up for him and let him live in the Hospice for two weeks. He couldn’t do his job as a construction worker, but for two weeks he would eat Hospice rations and get to rest easy.
I think that we must have been destined to meet. Why else would he have been so bold in those first days. We were both cautious, paranoid even, but how could he have possibly known that I was gay? That I wouldn’t tell the Peacekeepers, or panic and never speak to him again? Maybe he could just see. Maybe he was desperate to touch another human being in any way. Maybe we were both incredibly, insanely lucky.
The first night he was there, he was in too much pain to sleep. I was making my rounds and I heard him groaning. I came in and asked if there was anything I could do to help. He told me to tell a story.
I felt silly, but I told him the only story I knew. The story was little red riding hood. My mother told it to me when I was young, and I used to have nightmares about the wolf. I had never seen a wolf, or even a picture of a wolf. In my mind, a wolf was a huge spiky lizard with big yellow eyes and an extra pair of hands. After the story, I told him I didn’t know what a wolf looked like, and he told me. When Taylor told me what wolves looked like, I was embarrassed, and he laughed, but in a gentle way. He thanked me for telling the story.
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