Friday, February 15, 2008

Adam and Eve: The Story so Far

Here is the story to date, including the promised ending....

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 guards 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 crumpled at her feet.

The door closed shut with a deafening finality and all was again silent. Her chest heaved in a relief that came on the wave of 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.

Outside of the unnatural darkness that contained 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 had been totally unaware of. The rendezvous had been the only thing in her mind as she had crept 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.

She had worn an olfactory scrambler as she crept through the back lanes looking for the theatre and the small door in the rear of the building. 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 already reeling from the extravagance of running water and electricity – and a television. Such luxury!

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. The natural state of a woman made her both powerful and weak.

“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. “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. My rage is at a system that has stolen my dream - 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.”

“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.”

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.”
“No I didn’t Brigit. This is just the beginning.”

The air lock of the cell hissed as the door shut. The guards shoved her quickly against the wall beside the door and clamped handcuffs onto her, pulling her arms upwards and outwards, forcing her to bend down. All the time she kept her eyes tightly shut, the fluorescent lighting of the corridor burning her eyes, after the indefinite time inside the darkness of the cell.

She took a gulping breathe of air and tried desperately to centre and ground herself, invoking an old relaxation exercise. In her minds eye she saw three gently glowing orbs, but before she could discipline her mind to draw the orbs together into a line and then down into the one golden glowing orb, she was roughly and awkwardly pulled away from the wall and pushed viciously down the hall.

Her legs, felt like jelly and she fell heavily on her face, as they failed to respond and carry her forwards with the momentum of the push. Blood gushed from a cut in the top of her lip or perhaps it was her nose. She was unsure, too disorientated with her own body to work out what hurt, what was numb and what felt OK enough to work for her..

“Get up!” commanded a voice from behind her.

Before she could attempt to get herself back onto her knees, she was dragged back onto her feet. A small scream escaped her lips as the shoulder joints and the scar tissue on the right, threatened to release as all her weight hung on the triangulation of her bound arms. Her feet touched the ground and the pressure released.


Placing one tentative foot out she felt the feeling return to her legs. Squinting out her eyes, they began to slowly adjust, until she realised there was nothing to see. Just a long endless corridor of piercing white, punctuated by a door every few metres, that blended in so well it only became apparent as you came to the extact point of it in the wall.

At the end of the corridor she was told to stop, a code was punched into the security pad and she was thrust into a room and told to sit.

“Wait,” the taller of the two guards ordered her, “and don’t move. Whatever you do, do not move.”

She remained seated for what seemed time eternal until she realised that the feeling had gone in her hands. Left with only her thoughts, and a terror that rose in a jaggered chunk up her throat, she surrendered all of the fiery rebellion that had fuelled her for years. This time she had left everyone down.

When she left The Caves she understood the dangers that awaited her within the Gated City. Over the years she had devised a meditation technique in which she would predict, envisage and then overcome all the dangers and obstacles for each assignment before she left the safety of where she was staying. She had learnt the hard way, with her first scrap with danger what would happen if you were not prepared.

She was leaving Brisbane in the days before it had become the Gated City and was heading south for the Coast. Despite her urgency to leave, knowing it was a matter of time before someone from the Government knew she had been there and came searching for her on the open road, she had pulled over for a hitch hiker. She was a young girl, not much younger than herself, with untidy auburn hair and a sunburnt face. Ten kilometres down the road the hitchhiker had pulled a knife on her. In the ensuing struggled the four wheel drive had veered sharply off the road, through the guard rails and down into a culvert before ploughing into the embankment on the other side. Her first instinct at the sight of the knife had been to fight back. It had surprised her as everything until that point in time in her life, had been passive aggressive. But what had surprised her more was the lack of remorse she felt walking away from the body of the young girl in the long grass, her head twisted at an unnatural angle. A huge blood spattered hole in the windscreen on the passenger side gave away the fact that someone else had been in the car.

Brigit’s shoulder ached. Broken in the accident it had been set late by a healer with a little knowledge of bones and never healed properly. Years of yoga, of stretching and building up the muscle had never compensated for the break in judgement that day.The similarities between the hitchhiker and Adam struck her like a blow to the stomach. He was another break with her better judgement, after all these years of being so damn careful.

She had made peace with the fact that circumstances may call for her to detonate the explosives before she herself could leave the building. It had taken a month or more to come to a space within herself where she could unequivocally say she was ready to die. In all the exploration of the possible problems with this assignment had not she seen Adam, or anything like Adam. So firm was her belief in the Sisterhood and their city cousins in the Underground that she didn’t factor in betrayal. Not simply his betrayal of her, but her betrayal of those pinning their hopes on the success of this assignment, betrayal by the weakness of her own flesh.

Disregarding the orders given to her by the guards, she got up off the chair worked her body back through the loop made by her bound arms, until her arms were again in front of her, and her shoulders in a more comfortable position. Doing this engaged her mind and kept her from falling victim to the apathy and desire to just give in that was threatening to overwhelm her. Instead she tapped into the rawness of the anger that was building within her.

She placed her hands on the table and studied the handcuffs. She had never seen a pair of handcuffs, let alone worn a pair. She pushed them back down her arms towards her wrist until they hung like a sloppy masochist’s jewellery. Sliding her wrists out she held them in her hands and wondered what sort of guards cuffed someone’s forearms?

Before she could ponder further, the door slid open and Adam walked in alone.

“You bastard,” she swore, hurling herself towards him, her wrists still loosely cuffs.
“Sit down,” he commanded curtly, pushing her back into the seat she had just launched herself out of. “Have you moved since they put you in here?”
“What’s it to you – traitor!” she spat.
“I’m not a traitor – this was the only way to get us both inside here.”
“I don’t understand.”
“There’s not time to explain now,” concluded Adam, taking the cuffs off Brigit quickly. “Get out the way.”

Brigit jumped to her feet as Adam pushed the table across the room, knocking over the chair that she’d just been sitting on. He climbed onto it and reached up to what looked to be a barely detectable manhole in the roof.
“What about the Genesis Network?” Brigit asked, looking up at Adam fumbling with what looked to be an old fashioned allen key.

Adam squatted down to look her directly in the eye.
“I am the Genesis Network,” he stated bluntly. “There are no others. Just me. Now tell me – how long before you moved when you were in here.”
“I don’t know – five minutes, ten minutes. I can’t really tell. Aren’t there Genesis people here?”
“No – just a couple of sympathisers, but they can only help out in minute ways, like with those cuffs. There will be more time later to explain everything, I promise Brigit.”

He stood again and began working on opening the manhole with key.
“And the bomb – the explosives. Where are they?”
The manhole unlocked and Adam slid it to one side.
“We’re going up.”

She watched him pull himself up into the manhole and then offer a hand to help her up too. Ignoring the hand and the pain in her shoulder, she deftly got up into the airconditioning ducts. Adam pulled from his pocket a tiny disc in a plastic protective cover.

“This is the bomb. Binary Override Mechanism.”
“And the second ‘b’?”
“This is the second version of it.”
“Of course!”
“We need to make it through to the central computing junction and insert this in the operating system.”
“It’s that easy?”
Adam raised his eyebrows at her.
“It’s that easy to topple Mother?”

“I wish it was Brigit – this will give us 24 hours grace. It will act like a virus in the system, to disrupt the functioning of the chips. We then have to gather up the 11 people that I have earmarked for the Genesis Network, and get out of the Gated City before we’re discovered.”
“What if they don’t want to go?”
“We’ll have to use the best of our persuasion to get them out of here. We’re wasting time, let’s go,” he urged and began crawling quickly down the duct.


Square1 said...

More! More! More! I llove this so far Jodi, and what a wonderful way to weave this prompt in.

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Smiler said...

No! I don't want it to end! You had me riveted to the screen. It's a very engrossing story Jodi, I hope you keep at it.

p.s. I noticed you haven't made a contribution to our poor neglected site yet. Feel free to jump in anytime!