Cyber Carnality -Chapter 10- Sophia

Posted: May 23, 2014 in Uncategorized

Every footfall echoed down the marble hallway. One’s presence was announced the moment you stepped through the door, no matter oh light you thought your footfall was here it was a thunderclap in the silence. It was the last place on earth you wanted your presence to be announced and the only place where you couldn’t avoid it. If the statement this morning hadn’t make things real Sophia’s presence here sealed her fate.

She had been escorted from her apartment after collecting Silver and a bag full of clothing, a few books and brought here to the capital building. The walls were lined with photos, painting and status of the city at different times. Some of the oldest had an antenna like tower pointing out of the skyline easily three times the height of any of the surrounding buildings, another captured the moment that tower had fallen, the newer pieces showed city skylines in various states of re-build, though the closer one got to present day photos the less there were skylines in the mix and the more they focused on ribbon cuttings and meet and greets. The current leaders rebuilding some small area of the community or another, the skyline was too depressing these days. One needed to focus on the little victories.

The status and paintings were your typical portraits and busts of notable leaders which were always present in a building like this. There were little plaques under each with the person’s name and what they were known for, not that this would be required for most, the same information was available via a link inquiry should the viewer require it. Soph doubted that anyone ever actually read the plaques.

Soph’s escort had stopped outside a room known as Determination Hall. She was told to sit on a bench in the hall with a few others like her and wait for her name to be called. There were about 15 others, most around her age, waiting in hall with her. Some looked panicked, some sad, some indifferent. Some of the faces were vaguely familiar to her. Soph had seen them at various puraves or parties no doubt. Most though, she had never seen before. Most of the people sitting in the hall with her were covered in filth with acid burns on their arms. No doubt they had either been living on the streets of hiding from the scrubbers for weeks before they were found and accused of not meeting quota. There were maybe three others that, like her, appeared to have come in without a fight, either voluntarily or resigned to their fate. Their clothes were clean and they each had a bag of belongings with him. Two of them, like her, had a pet by their side.

Soph had been surprised at first that they had let her take Silver with her, at every turn she had expected them to take the dog from her side, but it hadn’t happened yet. As a result Silver was seated on the floor beside the bench with her head resting on Soph’s lap. Every time Soph quivered from nerves or fear Silver pushed her head a little more strongly into her lap and stomach; holding Soph in her seat, keeping her from running, screaming, crying or doing anything else which would only make the situation worse.

One by one people in the hall were called into the Determination room. Some of them were dragged in protesting and attempting to run. Others walked in by themselves, all but running to the door in the way you would when the nurse calls your name at the walk in clinic, knowing that if you weren’t to the door on time another name would be called and your appointment would be lost. For every person pulled into the room another appeared to be brought to the hallway to wait. None of the people brought into the room ever came out, at least not out the same door they entered. No one coming back out to tell you it would be okay or to tell you that it wouldn’t. This left your mind running wild, trying to imagine where one went when they left the room, and what they were walking into.

The others in the hall seemed to be talking to each other. There was a soft buzz in the room and occasionally a word, uttered a little too loudly, would echo down the hallway. Soph couldn’t bring herself to listen to them, her own brain was running a mile a minute trying to figure out what would happen on the other side of the door.

“Are you okay?” Soph’s head swung in the directing of the voice. There was a young man with brown hair and stunning blue eyes looking down at her. He seemed almost happy to see her. He looked familiar to Soph but she couldn’t place his face or remember a name so she just nodded her head and returned her eyes to their examination of Silver’s fur. “Are you sure?”

“Yes!” Sophy chirped back, a little too abruptly and loudly. The word echoed down the hall causing several others to look towards them.

“Okay” he replied grabbing a seat beside her. There was silence between them for a long while. Three others were called in to the room, three or four others arrived in the hall. The number of people who had been in the hall before her was starting to dwindle.

“You know it won’t be as bad as you think” The man said.

This time Silver seemed to response for her, letting out a grunt and moving to side on Soph’s other side with her back to the young man.

“I know you don’t believe me now, you don’t have any reason to. But really it won’t be as bad so you think.” His voice was insistent and desperate, like he needed her to believe him for some reason. Soph couldn’t imagine why. Maybe this was his was of convincing himself of whatever he was trying to tell Soph, his way of quieting his own worries.

“I believe you,” Soph replied, more an attempt to shut him up then an honest statement. She looked up at him to see if he had brought it, this was a mistake. His eyes were piercing blue, he seemed to see right through to her soul. After looking at her for a moment he shook his head resigning to the fact that his words had done nothing. He sat in silence until they called her name.

Sophia Shelly” The name came over the link, not audible. It would be one of the last times she had any communication over the link if the rumors were true.

“Stick to your guns and I’ll see you on the other side.” The young man said as she and Silver got up and walked towards the door.

“You can’t know that” Sophia said back. He only smiled, an eerie sureness in his eyes. He meant what he said and somehow he knew it to be the truth.

Sophia continued to look back towards the young man until the door had closing behind her. Only then did she turn to look at what she had walked into.

It was a lecture hall of sorts. There were benches surrounding a low lying staged area below. From the stage there were three hallways branching off in three different directions. She wondered which way she would be leaving by. She wondered what fate lay for her at the end of each path. She wondered if there was a path in life she could have taken that would have lead her somewhere that wasn’t this room.

Soph was lead down the stairs towards the stage and her three possible fates. As they passed the rows of benches she saw that many of the seats were full, various members of the Neopuritian party seated there, glancing towards Soph has her footsteps caught their attention then quickly returning their eyes to the screens in front of them or to the stage with awaited her arrival.

It seemed as though every key member of the party was here. How they could run the country if every day was a busy in the Determination Room as today was, was beyond Soph. Maybe they really were as useless to the people as some thought, it certainly seemed that way if this was all they spent their time doing. A few steps further down Soph caught a glace of one of the screens and got the answer to her question.

Scrolling across the screen of this party member where a list of current issues and voting options. They were clicking in their votes wordlessly, and with every voting screen that disappeared another issue seemed to pop up in its place. The options weren’t being presented, debated or argued, at least not aloud, they were simply being voted on and forgotten. There seemed to be terrifyingly little thought or compassion going into any of it.

A few more steps and Soph hit the stage in which the whole room looked down on. She was instructed to stand in the center of it. No chair, no pulpit, no anything on the stage just her and Silver by her side. She stood there wordlessly for a moment, watching, waiting for any sign of what she was to do next.

Sophia Shelly, you stand accused of failure to make quota and voicing an objecting to the process all together. Is this accurate?” The statement came over the link leaving the room in an eerie silence. Soph looked around to see who it had come from, but none of the party were making eye contact with her. They were all staring at their screens, voting on items with barely a thought no doubt.

Yes, this is accurate.” Soph was thankful that she could keep her voice from trembling over the link. There was something oddly disturbing about not knowing who in the room you were actually talking to.

Do you have anything to say in your defense?” Asked the same voice which had first come over the link, this time one set of eyes seemed to pop up from a screen to meet Soph’s for a millisecond at the most. Maybe she was imagining it, maybe this was the speaker. She would never know for sure.

Soph took her time to think over her response. She wasn’t sure anything she said would make any difference, the accusations were accurate and she did not intend to re-nag and marry. However, there was something daunting about literally standing at the cross roads, knowing her statement would determine her path but not knowing where each path would lead.

For half a second she though that re-nagging might be the best option. After all it wasn’t her birthday yet, maybe one of these paths lead back out to her old life. Maybe she could settle and marry for the sake of the community if not her own. Just when she was about to beg for this second chance his piecing blue eyes drifting into her head and stopped her.

“Stick to your guns and I’ll see you on the other side.” he had said. He has seemed so sure that it would be okay in the end, whoever he was. And he wasn’t one of the runaways hoping for the best. He had been clean cut and neatly dressed, clearly of the upper class like her, he had chosen to be there as well. Maybe he actually did know something she didn’t.

Miss. Shelly, we are waiting for an answer.” The voice stated in a matter of fact tone. Not impatient per say, but certainly not willing to wait much longer.

I will not defend or apologize for stating what I believe in or sticking to my guns.” The answer came out before she had fully processed what she was saying, yet somehow Soph knew it was the right one. “I will accept whatever consequences this action brings.

There was a brief pause on the other end, everyone’s eyes seemed to flick to the bottom right corner of their screens for a second. Where they voting on her path? “You will be disconnected from the link. As you do not seem to want to further our society you shall be removed from it.

Removed from it? Soph thought. What could that mean?

Follow the hall to your left and you will find the exam room where you will be disconnected from the link. From there you will be taken to the drop off point. Your dog and the belongings you brought with you today will be taken with you. All other earthly possessions you have will be taken care of by the scrubbers. Do you have any final messages for us to deliver to your family?

The last question seemed odd. If they were going to remove my presence why would they offer to deliver a message? “No, I do not.

Very well, leave us.” And with that it was over. Soph was escorted to the hall and sent along her new path in life. A path without a known end in sight.

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