Genre: Dystopian Fiction
It was dark. Too dark. I should have been inside by now. But I just had to go talk to Paul. Nothing seemed right anymore, and he was the only one I could trust. At least I thought that until tonight. I could hear nothing around me, a bad sign. If even the bird and the winds were gone, being outside was pure suicide. Stupid idiot Paul. We had been a team, sworn to make it through life together.
Not that you could call our situation a life. Years ago – when the streets were filled with noisy cafes – when you could touch one another without hesitation – when women still could bare children – that, you could call life. Now there was nothing but surviving. Not falling victim to the new order. To Them.
They appeared during a freezing winter right after the dryest sommer recorded. At first, no one even realized. It was the start of winter, it was normal for people to lose the colour in their skin. Next, it was deemed normal that people liked to stay inside and got aggravated by light. It was called winter depression. The prescription was a UV-light for the breakfast table. Concerns arose when the first of the depressed started to die. Alert only when They started to live again. When everything was lost already.
Countries that mainly cremated their death were hit the lightest. Some even drove Them away. Until today those places were considered paradise. But nobody knew where and even if they existed. The remainder of the world lived through a massacre of innocents. Then, “society” was split into three groups. Prey – Indifferent – Future.
The Prey were food for Them. They had no purpose left in life but to die trying to survive. Nothing would come to them, but death. Social outcasts, not only because of their fate but because of a devilish characteristic. Close proximity to a Prey made you Prey, too. No matter your true standing. They were blinded by Prey.
The Indifferent were truly that. Indifferent to the suffering of others, because They would leave them alone. A society in society, not caring for anyone but themselves. And why should they? Whatever bad thing happened in the world, it would not happen to them.
And then there were the Future. Arrogant, snobby, conceited living creatures. The Future did not have to be afraid of Them. They would become Them the moment they died. Their only worry in the world was not being burned. Another reason to outcast Prey. Prey was known to seek out dead Future to at least fight back with fire. Unfortunately unsuccessful.
When I said “society” was split into three groups, that obfuscated the truth. Because the rest was there, too. The Uncategorized. The problem was, there was no telling who belonged to which group. Scientists had done their best, factoring in every possible factor. But there was no way to tell. No way but the test.
The test that cost a fortune. How I wished I was able to afford it. Then again, seeing the Prey barracks, all those faces waiting for their death, I was relieved to be free. The problem with the test was not money alone. It was a definite categorization. I saw the faces again with their ugly red marked foreheads. Burnt flesh that would never grow back. At least not before you would die.
Indifferents were left to design their own mark. As long as it was blue, the authorities didn’t care. Most Innocents went for a simple pattern, but I had seen the weirdest foreheads. My favourite was a blue whale with Mickey-Mouse ears, the worst a used blue condom with a knot in it. For his mental health, I still hoped the reason for that was a lost bet.
The Future all had the same, preposterous mark. A yellow crown with purple jewels in it. Can you believe that? All these idiots had a tattoo of the symbol of long-gone monarchies on their foreheads. They didn’t even care that every realm had but one king. They felt special even though they were just sheep like everybody else.
I debated taking the test more than once, independent of the money. But neither of the cliques of the new society seemed worthy of joining. So I stayed Uncategorized. Treated like Prey by the Indifferent and Future. Living in constant fear of being Prey. But free, too. I could meet my friends without a categorization tearing us apart. During daylight at least. Also, I didn’t have many friends left. Dead or categorized, it didn’t matter for us.
Us. Me and Paul. Us, who swore to stay together forever, to always have each others’ back. Today, he had betrayed me. He did the one thing he wouldn’t be able to take back. The thing that would keep us apart. He took the test.
Of course, I could take it, too. Paul gave me the money today, back at his house. But I resented him. I resented his poor choice. Even if I took the test, how high would our chances of staying together be? And would I even want to? When he opened the door a few hours back, I instantly hated him. His forehead was telling me everything before he could do as much as blink. Not only had he taken the test, but he had also become the thing I hated most. He was a Future. A self-loving, self-righteous loser.
He would become one of Them sooner or later. My beloved would become a vampire.
Words: vampire, cafe