This is for the DP Challenge, themed Dystopia. We couldn’t travel too far into the future, but provide a peek of the bleak future that perhaps awaits in 100 years.
I think this mostly speaks for itself, but in case context is required…
This is set at I suppose approximately 100 years in the future. Reproduction is strictly controlled due to overpopulation. I don’t really have more than that I guess, and I did want to look at some other paths, but probably couldn’t do that without writing 5000 words, instead of just 500. Comments always welcome!
Crap, crap, crap. My knees jog up and down nervously, and I bite my lip. What the hell am I going to do?
The dingy bathroom light flickers, and I push myself off the toilet, wondering what the hell I am going to do. Christopher knocks on the door.
“Hun? You okay in there?”
I’ve been sitting in here for over an hour, unable to face what comes next. I can hear Sophie babbling happily in the living room outside. How could we have been so stupid?
Chris knocks again.
I move slowly towards the door, as the light buzzes dangerously above me. I reach out and slowly pull the bathroom door open. Chris takes one look at my stricken face and goes pale.
“Baby, what is it? What’s –” his eyes drop to my clenched hand. “Is that a –?”
I nod slowly, tears welling in my eyes again. He opens my fingers.
“Are you sure?” he asks softly. Sophie coos to herself.
I nod again. He lifts a hand to his forehead in shock.
“I thought we were careful… we were careful!” he bursts out in anger. I move past him, and pick up Sophie, cuddling her to my chest, letting my tears soak her shoulder. She grabs a fistful of my hair, and shoves it in her mouth.
Chris moves in front of me. I lift my eyes to him.
“What happens now?” I ask softly.
“I don’t know,” he answers, stroking the back of Sophie’s head lovingly. We stare at each other for a long moment, but soon Sophie’s wails force me to focus on her. I murmur softly to her, swaying her in my arms as I circuit the living room. I hear the door click, and look back to find Chris, but he has slipped out of our tiny apartment. My eyes fall on the worn kitchen table. The pregnancy test glares at me with its two, horribly positive lines.
I stand on the train, amongst hundreds of other drab commuters, letting the thunder of the train drown out my thoughts. Will anyone notice? I nervously flatten my shirt, and button my blazer.
I feel so tired, scared and lost. The train pulls to a halt, and I squeeze through to the door, slipping out just before they close again. I glance around the station, shuddering involuntarily. Graffiti is plastered everywhere, and the same dim fluorescence gives the whole underground an eerie glow. It smells, and I notice a huddle in the corner. I quickly avert my eyes, as it does not do to draw attention from the homeless. I walk past dirty, cracked columns and harsh advertisement posters, quickly making my way to the escalator.
Reaching street level, I pull my coat closer around me, and keep my head down as I walk towards my building. I avoid eye contact, and pray I am not noticed by any authorities.
“Good morning, Elise!” the receptionist bubbles at me, but I merely nod at her, keen to get to my desk as soon as possible.
I hunch over at my computer, pretending to work while instead I am frantically searching online for solutions to my dilemma. I have such limited precious time before I must act.
“In the case of any unapproved pregnancies, please contact the Department of Population and Environmental Control…”
My eyes scan through the search results, looking desperately for some kind of alternate solution.
“Please note that if you fail to register your pregnancy; approved or not; severe penalties will apply. It is recommended to visit your local PEC representative within one week of the assumed pregnancy. Your representative will assist you in termin…”
I can’t even read it. It’s too awful. I click away to another link.
“I just got a positive test even though we are not approved for a child, can anyone help please?”
“Do you have any existing children? They might approve if it’s your first…”
“It is my first! I will register now thanks!”
I sigh. It was useless. I jot down the phone number of the PEC contact, and put it in my purse.
The rest of a day is a grey blur, and I quickly find myself off the train again, walking home. I stop by the local daycare, and have to fight Sophie into her coat. I scan my Allowance Card at the door, but the security attendant barely even glances at me. The daycare cost is subsidised, as Citizens are encouraged to work, but we can still barely afford it. There is barely enough on there to feed us tonight. I hope Chris has some credit left. Sophie is sobbing dramatically by the time we leave, but I don’t have the heart to care right now. Let people stare.
I step cautiously into the sterile clinic, shivering from fear and nausea. I threw up three times this morning, and I’m not even sure I can blame the pregnancy. A grim nurse greets me, judging me from her steel eyes. I fill out the form shamefully, knowing what will come next.
I am escorted into a small room with a plastic covered chair, and a technical set up. As I lie back, tears pricking at my eyes, the technician performs his scan without sympathy for my plight. He grunts in disapproval, and I hold in a gasp at the wub-wub sound and the grainy flickering on the screen.
He discards his gloves and tells me to sit up.
I hold the paper sheet over my lap and fiddle with my fingers nervously. He pulls out a clipboard, and settles in front of me.
“Is this your first pregnancy?”
“Did you apply or seek approval for this pregnancy?”
“Did you know that unprotected sex could result in a pregnancy?”
“We didn’t –” He raises an eyebrow over his scribbling, his lips pursed. I fall silent.
“Are you aware of the penalty for conceiving an unapproved embryo?”
“I – ” my eyes well with tears again. My poor baby.
“I-I know that the pregnancy will be ter-terminated.”
“That is the consequence of the crime you have committed, but there are further penalties.”
“You have shown a distinct lack of regard for your country, for your government and for your family,” He says ominously. “We have laws in place to prevent disrespectful Citizens flouting the law as they wish. These laws are there for your safety, and for the preservation of our great Society.”
“It wasn’t – I mean, we didn’t…” I trail off at his glare again.
“You will be scheduled for sterilisation in one week.”
He leaves a pill on the stainless steel table and leaves the room.