Friday, January 18, 2008

Fiction Friday: Adam and Eve

This Week’s Theme: What is your character's lifelong dream? Why didn't she persue it?

This week's story comes from a dream that I had about a year ago ... and will hopefully be the first installment in an exploration of this world and the characters that live in it ....

The screech of the hinges opening on the small door snapped her back into reality. Her body became instantly and instinctively alert, as she waited for the rough grasp of the guard's hands on her bruised shoulders. In the sensory deprivation of the visual and auditory abyss surrounding her, the visceral smell of fear and blood was her only navigation point. With the door open again, she smelt it with a terror that allowed her to centre herself in the moment and prepare for what lay ahead.

A body was thrust into the tiny room and fell limply at her feet.

The door closed shut with a deafening finality and all was again silent. Her chest heaved in a relief that washed over her on the same wave as the adrenalin surge. Tears stung in her eyes but never fell. It was all over in less than fifteen seconds but it seemed like an eternity.

With a nervous hand she reached out to touch the body, warm but barely breathing, crumpled on the floor at her toes. It was a vivid and tangible reminder of what she was here for and she knew it was the first instalment of her torture.

“Is that you Eve?” a voice rasped.

Her stomach lurched at the sound of his voice, but she kept her composure.

“Shhhhh,” she soothed instinctively rather than consciously, running her hand down the cool clammy skin of the face she knew was looking up to her in the darkness.
“I –“
“Shhhh!” she hissed with insistence this time. “They will be listening.”

Stretching her legs that were cramping in the confined space, she adjusted herself to take his head in her lap. She didn’t know why, but it was comforting to have him close to her. From deep within, a saying rose up from the times before Mother.

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

A tactile examination of his head and body found no external wounds or signs of torture which left her shuddering. It was known that those who tortured in the name of Mother never left a calling card but now the urban legend was reality. No one ever left the clutches of Mother alive to say whether it was true or not.

“Eve …”
“My name’s not Eve. That was my code name.”
“Someone in your ranks has a sense of humour,” he wheezed.
“I doubt it. You were a last minute substitute.”
“No I wasn’t.”

She withdrew her attention and focused on each vertebrae of her back pressed against the cold hard metal wall. She didn’t want to think what his words meant. She didn't want to believe there was a mole in their ranks.

Outside of the unnatural darkness that imprisoned them, she knew that a full and glorious moon burned in the sky above. Mother could subvert and control all that was natural within the human body, she could be the Mother of inhumanity with the power, the propaganda and the technology all at her finger tips – but she couldn’t undermine la luna high in the skies above them. As long as the moon rose in her celestial magnificence each evening all those below were reminded that there was once a natural rhythm of life that was beyond human manipulation.

But it was the moon that had been her undoing. With her rhythms in total harmony with the moon, as she snuck into the Closed City, her own biological undercurrents were dragging her in a direction that she was totally unaware of. The rendezvous had been the only thing in her mind as she had crept around the back streets looking for the point of contact, but her own natural cycles had a rendezvous of their own. She had forgotten the venomous arguments in the Caves, that the full moon was a dangerous time for any woman to be in the Closed City. It was only now that she understood so completely the implications of this and her own deep bedded concerns.

She had worn an olfactory scrambler as she made her way to the small door in the rear of the theatre. The small device acted like a cloak of invisibility that allowed her to walk the street of the Closed City without drawing attention to herself. If no one could detect her own cocktail of pheromones then she was just like any other woman on the streets – hormonally chaste. It was the only protection she had bought with her into the vipers nest. The rest lay before her, hidden within the official precinct.

“Will you tell me your real name?” he asked, his breathing more measured and stable than it had been earlier.
“Does it really matter?”
“It does to me – though it doesn’t matter to them. When they strap the electrodes onto your skull - they’ll know everything then.”

She thought for a moment, remembering the passion and ecstasy that swamped her when he had first touched her in his house. She was reeling from the extravagance of running water and electricity – and a television, such luxuries when he had caught her off guard and touched her.

She remembered the speed and voracity with which they had fallen on each other and within the chaos of discarded clothes on the tattered lino fall, they had quickly consummated the controllable fervour within. It had been an eternity for both of them. The natural state of a woman made her both powerful and weak in his presence.

“My name is Brigit,” she answered quietly.
“Brigit,” he repeated. “As in the Celtic Goddess.”
“Who apparently rode into battle with both her lover and husband at her side. Yes, one and the same.”
“You have a husband?”
“No just a lover it seems,” she answered absentmindedly, stroking his damp hair. “but all I ever wanted was a husband and a child. A simple but full life.”
“Your mother must have known you were destined for great things to have named you Brigit.”

“From a simple dream I was born a revolutionary, gifted with the name of a woman who refused to submit, for whom the cycles of life are more important than anything else in the world. "

"Are you angry with me?"

"No. My rage is at a system that has destroyed what it means to be a woman and a man. A country that pretends it’s Utopian, that it’s rich and peaceful. No one at the mercy of the uncontrollable ravages of natural ebbs and flows of biology – women don’t bleed, women don’t bare children, men and women who no longer have sex. People just live to consume. And beyond the gates the masses die without food and water.”

“Humanity has been stripped of everything that makes it human. I thought my life long dream was a simple desire when I was a teenage – my friend would laugh that I would aspire to something so mundane. But now ...”

Her cynical laugh was interrupted by the sound of the security pad being activated and the locking mechanism being accessed from beyond the cell.

The sound bought back the moment, as she stood with Adam, as he punched the security code into a door to give her access to the explosives. The door swung open and there were Mother’s secret police waiting for her.

“You betrayed me,” she screamed as they had seized her by her arm and pressed a sedative into the side of her neck..

The door opened and the audio of protesting steel kicked in for ambience sake. There were no rusting hinges in Mother’s high tech detention centres.

A muscular arm reached in for her.
“You betrayed me Adam,” she spat, as the fingers dug into the flesh of her upper arm. “You betrayed all of us.”
"This was the only way. I'm sorry."

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OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I will have to come back Jodi, to read the whole entry---Michele sent me tonight and I realized after reading the first three paragraphs or so that I am tired and better not read this, when tired, because it is unfair to you and your story....So, I Will Be BacK!

notfrommars said...

Very nicely done. Great dialogue and description. I'd definitely be interested in reading more.

keith hillman said...

You painted such a vivid picture here. A really great read and I'll be back for more!

gautami tripathy said...

Very good story. I too wait for more...

pjd said...

Wow, terrific start. I got lost a little bit at the end with who betrayed whom how. I was unclear what was happening in this paragraph:

The sound bought back the moment, as she stood with Adam, as he punched the security code into a door to give her access to the explosives. The door swung open and there were Mother’s secret police waiting for her.

Seems like it's a brief flashback that returns to the present in the second sentence, but I'm not certain.

I love the whole piece, though, and I hope you do extend it and expand on the world you've built. It seems creepy and severe, but it also has a completeness to it.

Chris said...

This is a very intriguing and well written beginning. I will be interested to see where it goes. The only comment/suggestion/not really problem, but I can't think of another word is -- there is a lot happening in these first few pages. I wonder if perhaps slowing down the pace allowing for greater audience understanding, or if you intend to flesh out the compact information more latter that will work too. You brought us along on this journey wonderfully, but very quickly, my brain needs time to catch up. But, don't take my word for it…ask someone who actually knows something about writing. I hope you write and post more; I want to know where this is going.

Square1 said...

Somehow I knew he was a traitor right off. Nicely done, and I love the futuristic take on this.

Anonymous said...

Cool! I enjoyed reading this one... I just got a little confused at the end... possibly my sleep deprived state?

I feel that this story has a better flow to it than some of the others I have read.

Love the birthing day Mum, Rach. xxxooo Keep up your wonderful discipline, Jodi!

Smiler said...

Very cool. An engrossing read. Elements of the Hand Maid's tale somehow. Or rather, just the ambient tension. Good stuff. You should definitely keep at it.

Paul said...

Highly engrossing - I'm actually very interested to understand more about the type of society that has arisen, and how it came about.

The end confused me a little on the first reading, but it makes more sense if you then re-read the story again. Very nice work.

Pop. said...

You have my undivided attention! Waiting patiently for the next installment.

Jodi Cleghorn said...

Thanks for stopping by for a read Dad - it means a great deal to me to have you hear to read my work.

I guess I'm going to start getting the pressure to produce more of this (not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing) as I was hoping to create 52 unique short stories this year - but well - my new year hasn't officially begun yet ... so I'll see what this week's prompt is.

I can see me needing to ply you with some good food and wine, to assist me to map out this world, so its water tight!!

UL said...

Me What an intriguing read...lots of questions, look forward to the next part.