LJ Idol: Exhibit B: Week 6: Out of Reach

This is the last in a three-part series based on my entries for weeks 4 and 5. :)


"Children are our future?" Gregory laughed in a short, raspy burst, holding out the wafer-thin flyer so that his coworker could see it. "They're what got us into this mess, Debbie!" He dropped it on the floor: just a piece of hospital propaganda, typical in all its normalcy, depicting a smiling mother and child with some polite scribblings about breastfeeding and bonding.

The pale, wispy blonde's skin looked almost yellow, and she shook a bit as she nodded, looking as if she were biting down an oncoming roll of nausea. "Yes, sir," she looked down into her arms and let out a sigh. "But, what shall we do with ... ?"

Gregory strode over to Debbie, two quick bursts of energy, and peered down at the bundle cradled in her lap. "This child," he said, lifting the bundle from the warm safety of Debbie's arms and dropping the blankets from around it, "will be the first of many. This child will know nothing of love. Thank god you found it, Debbie." The infant, suddenly without its warm swaddling clothes, let out a siren-scream of panic. Gregory held it in one large, meaty hand and bounced up and down for a minute. Debbie could have sworn she saw the baby narrow its eyes at him, sizing him up meticulously.

"Yes, sir," Debbie shuffled through the bag at her feet, withdrawing a slip of paper and reading it to herself before saying it out loud. "her name is Piper."

Gregory wrinkled his nose. "From now on, these children will be taken before the parents have a chance to name them. Piper? You don't look like one of those!" he exclaimed to the infant. "Nevertheless, this is the start of something big, Pipes. Just you wait."

Piper McClellan was late for school, and every bone in her seven-year-old's body was worried sick. As she crammed her feet into her soft, shapeless boots she heard another baby begin to wail in the nursery. Piper rolled her eyes and turned to look through the picture window: it was number 206, as always. She stormed to the window and pounded her fist against it: "Shut up!" she screamed through the glass. Not only did number 206 keep screaming, but number 134 and 171 started as well. Great.

"I'm leaving!" she said to no one in particular as she ran down the stairs and out the back door. Luckily school was just a ramshackled house two doors down from her own, so she was a mere ten minutes late as she slid into her seat.

"Piper," her teacher warned as she yanked her books from her backpack and swung them onto the table. She grimaced, but bridged her fingers and fought back tears. "you have got to be on time. You're not starting off on the right foot, now are you, young lady?"

"No sir." she said softly as she opened the cover on her Breeding textbook and traced an image of a woman holding a squirming puppy, both the woman and the puppy were smiling and looking like they were having a lot more fun than Piper.

"We were just about to discuss one of your favorite subjects, Miss McClellan. Boys!" All around the room, the little girls let out nauseated vomiting noises. As the oldest, it was Piper's job to lead by example, so she made a small gagging noise too. "What's wrong with boys, ladies?"

"They smell awful!"

"They don't clean up after themselves!"

"They don't put the wiping paper on the thing in the bathroom!"

The girls turned to look at Piper, who arched an eyebrow before realizing what she was supposed to say, what the phrase was that would bring them all home.

"They get you pregnant."

"Pregnant!" said 24 from the back of the room, conspiracy rife in her little six year old's voice.

"24 is right, as is Piper," her teacher said, pointing to a photograph on the board. "before, when you were born, even, men and women loved each other. They loved each other so much that they would do a very Special Thing, and have a baby. That's where you come from!" Piper felt ill: she hated to be reminded that she was born out of the Special Thing. "But we know better, don't we, class?" a room full of little girls nodded enthusiastically. "What are we doing instead, 32?" 32, a heavyset six year old with curls the color of flame, stood up next to her desk to speak.

"We are starting our own club, where the gross Special Thing only happens when it has to!" she said reverently.

"And what will happen to the men and women who don't do what we do and do the Special Thing whenever they want?"

"Mister Gregory will make them come live with us in our club, where we have all of the money and nice things, because they will be poor and sad. Then they can do the Special Thing, too, at the pre-approved times if they win the lottery!"

"And if they do not come with us?" At that, 32 paused, panic setting in. Piper could see her teacher start to reach for the paddle he kept by the laser board, and Piper vaulted out of her seat.

"They will be em- ... ema- ..." her teacher turned back to the class, a smile creasing his face.

"Yes, Piper?"

"Emancipated," Piper spat the word out like it was vinegar on her tongue. "Emancipated, sir." The teacher nodded approvingly.

"Good girl, yes they will. 32, what does that mean?" Grateful for the help, 32 inclined her head in a nod of thanks toward her friend before turning back to their teacher.

"It means they will not be in our lives any more, they will be free to go away and do the Special Thing somewhere else so far away it's not even on earth!"

"Yes, ma'am," said their teacher, leafing through his teacher's copy of the textbook. "Class, please turn to chapter eight and read silently to yourselves." Piper paged open to chapter eight - Converting the Breeder - and let her eyes wander around the classroom. She was glad to be Mr. Gregory's daughter, even if it meant she had to take care of all the babies he took. It made her safer than many of the other children, who weren't even really his children ...
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God this world of yours is so gut wrenching. I love it like I loved the other two but it's still so disturbing. :/
I wonder if the children with numbers are jealous because Piper has a name. I sure hope the world never comes to this.
This should be a novel! I find myself always wanting more and more detail, more information about the characters and their background and more and more everything!
Goodness! This world is so intriguing, and horrifying too. I really want to find out what happens next :D Thank you for sharing!
Well, creepy certainly comes to mind. Interesting that Piper believes herself to be Mr. Gregory's daughter.
It's not, actually. I wrote on it for topics 4 and 5 and figured I'd just take it home for week 6. I don't typically write novel-length anything!
Eee. There's nothing like the mentality that a mass-managed low-emotion approach is the best way to raise children. It's the work of a monster, and it creates MORE monsters down the road. :O

"Piper" starts to look like elegance next to being named "32" or "206."
To me this reads as more of a prequel to the prior two entries, but I like it. :)
The scary thing is that there are times it seems our society may be heading that route, if we can't get control of the population. On a sidetrack, there's a very nice older Chinese woman who works in the local coffee shop. She's constantly gushing over my son and trying to urge me to have another. I politely tell her that we're happy with one. Once, with a hint of wistfulness, she said, "Oh, but you don't HAVE to just have one!" Immediately I knew what she meant and imagined that, if she'd had the choice, she would have had several children of her own.
It truly is. The way she dotes on him, I can tell she's one of those nurturing woman who would have loved nothing better than to be surrounded by happy young children. I do know she has a son, though, because she's mentioned him on occasion, so at least she did get to be a mother.
Urgh! Scary scary world! It'll be interesting to see more of what happens!