Posted by: lordkyler | February 9, 2013

Broken World

I don’t think I’d ever written anything bleak before. Even in this piece, the narrator still manages to hold on to a sort of complacent optimism, even in less-than-ideal circumstances. The setting isn’t post-apocolyptic or even terribly oppressive, just a mild dystopia. Still, when I wrote this, it felt a little… deeper than things I had written before. A little more mature, the writing a bit better, evoking a mood. I don’t currently have any plans to return to this story, but I do think it had some merit to it. Enjoy.

Broken World

Alone, adrift in space. My ship cast off from my broken, desolate world, seeking perhaps, a brighter horizon.  But space is not the best place to seek solace. So much seemed simpler then, before I left, before the solitude cast its whispering doubts in my ear. It all seemed so certain…

•••

Santurin had never been the cleanest city to begin with, in more than one form of the word. Vermin ran rampant in the streets, although some of them seemed to have been elected to public office.

Still, it was a life. It was more than I ever had again. My parents were born into the middle-class, but they worked hard, and as for my childhood, I can at the least say I never went hungry. They died years ago. I work as an industrial engineer, designing the complex machinery required for the lucrative cosmic industry. It paid well enough, I suppose, if I’d have had anything left after the taxes.

Jayson, the leader elect, was rumored to use a good portion of that tax money to support his opulent lifestyle. No one had ever pressed charges, and as long as the local enforcers stayed loyal to him and his favored assistants, I don’t suppose anyone ever will.

I was in love, maybe. I suppose I can say that I was in love, to say that we were turned out to be… difficult. Still, at the time I was not to know. I went to work, slaved over those idiotic equations, and came home to a rundown house and leftovers that hadn’t been fresh when I bought them. Still, it was more than some people had.

I saw them on the way to work, riding the bus that looked good enough on the outside to justify the vast amounts of money supposedly spent on their construction. They smelled like cheap disinfectant and the seats wobbled every time it came to a screeching stop.

The homeless ones would be huddled on the street corners, dozens of them, forming bands that roamed the streets during the day, looking for scraps of food, and taking turns on watch during the night. They had given up begging long ago. Anybody who had money used it to keep from a similar fate. It was dangerous, and murders were so frequent among the squalid that nobody even bothered to look for someone gone longer than a day.

I had a future then, I thought. Maybe Mara and I could start a family. The taxes gave a break to couples, and I was doing well in the company. The spacecraft using my designs were nearly always successful, and life began to look up. I was on the fast lane, full of potholes and cracks though it was.

In fact, I had another date with Mara. We had one almost every week now. We couldn’t afford to pay for entertainment, that was a commodity produced by, and for, the rich. It was certainly too dangerous to go anywhere. I didn’t even walk the thirty feet to the bus stop without a small plasma stunner concealed in my sleeve. I wrote it off as a business expense.

Still, we had a little fun, chatting over the comnet, and making jokes about the local officials. In the safety of my house, at least. Those who had such public opinons of the government usually found themselves arrested on apparently unrelated charges.

She always laughed when I was funny, she listened to what I said, she even feigned interest when I complained about my equally corrupt office politics. But it never seemed entirely there. I think the world was too awful for her, she couldn’t let it penetrate her shell. I can’t be sure. I’ve felt depression before, Everyone who has to live like this does, but for some reason I could always go on.

On the surface, she was happy, and I think perhaps that for a while, so was I.

[That’s all there is, folks. Let me know what you think.]

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