full screen background image
         
  Table of contents Issue Fourteen AREA 1

Serial Novella Part 2

by
KATHLEEN WOLAK
Home  
   

CHAPTER 2 - MY NAME IS ABBEY



N

umber33349 fell asleep thinking about her grandmother’s memories, as she had every night since her grandmother was murdered. “Murder” was a word her grandmother taught her at a very young age. This had been when there was still an allotment in the Field G schedule for unpatrolled time outdoors. #33349 was walking alongside her grandmother on the path that led from their home to the alarm tower, and a male figure was lying crumpled in the dirt. #33349 pointed at him, as she thought he was asleep. She bent down to try to wake him up, but her grandmother stopped her before she touched the corpse.



“No child, let him be. He paid his dues, and doesn’t need to be disturbed no more.” #33349 looked up at her grandmother, who must have seen the confusion through her hood’s eyeholes.



“He was murdered, darlin’. Shot in cold blood by one of those damn maniacs in black.”



“He was executed, #33346?”



“No, child - and please, don’t call me that. My name is Abbey. I ain’t a damned number.” Clutching her granddaughter’s hand, Abbey began giving #33349 her first history lesson.



“Executed and murdered are two different kettles of fish completely. You gotta do somethin’ wrong to get executed. Only thing I can think of this one doin’ wrong is tryin’ to live his life. Murder is something that these “Regulators” do. It means they is killin’ people for no reason, and that, child, is wrong. I don’t want you to be growing up like the rest of these damn fools, thinkin’ that this ain’t all wrong, cuz it is.”



This was ten years ago, and #33349 was probably five or six. She vividly remembered the hot sun, and the flies circling the dead rebel. Hoods were only strongly encouraged, but not mandatory at this point, and after seeing the dead man, the two pulled off their hoods and the hot sun beat down on their faces.



“Wait here child.”



Abbey started off the path, bent down and came back up, clutching something yellow. She returned quickly to #33349 and showed her what was in her hand.



“It’s a flower - well, it’s a weed - ain’t nothin’ but dandelions out here, but it’ll do.”



Abbey gently placed the dandelion on the chest of the fallen victim, while her granddaughter looked on, confused.



“#33 - Abbey - why did you do that?”



“Well darlin’ - I don’t rightly know how to explain to you how these things work. This man is dead, correct?”



“He was executed.”



“We went all over that, child - he was murdered.”



“Murdered.”



“Right. Well, years ago, we - uhm, well, we used to respect the dead.”



“You respect the dead - what does that mean?” #33349 looked up at her grandmother, as they started to walk again.



“Well child, people would die, and we would have these, uh - celebrations for them. We would gather up, all of us - the people who knew the person and, uhm, we would send them off.”



“Where would you send them? Were they all murdered?”



“No child, this was a long time ago. People would just die, sometimes of bein’ sick, sometimes somethin’ else. Believe me, one of them machine guns was not the only way to go.”



“If someone was sick, why didn’t they go to the doctor?”



“A long time ago, they didn’t have what they have now. There were diseases that took people’s lives.”



“Diseases?”



“Right, well, you’re too young to know what I’m talkin’ about, but before Pill 12, sometimes people would get sick, and then sicker and sicker until they died.”



#33349 nodded, “and when they died, you would send them somewhere.”



“Uhm, yes child, we would send them to meet their maker. I’ll tell you all about that another time though, why don’t we just enjoy the walk for now? We gon’ have to go in soon, we might as well enjoy this while we can.”



“Okay Abbey.”



The two walked in silence while the small girl’s mind swirled with questions. In Field G, the dead, or as Regulators would call them, the Disposed, were typically put in a fenced area next to the alarm tower. Bodies were piled high, and when there were too many, the Regulators would burn them and start all over. A body lying in the middle of the road was not altogether uncommon, but was not typical protocol for Field G.



#33349 decided to ask her grandmother her bottled up questions tomorrow during their afternoon unpatrolled time. For now, she would relish the light wind blowing over her hoodless face.



endmark





#33349 woke up to the sound of the morning alarm. The last few thoughts of that day, ten years ago slowly disappeared as she pulled her hood over her face, and exited her quarters. She made her way down the dark narrow hallway to the eating section of the home and sat down at the food table.



“Will you be eating agreeably this morning?” Asked her father, who was seated at the end of the table, once again glaring at his daughter.



“Yes #33347.”



Her mother was at the counter space, dutifully cutting open each food packet and dumping the contents onto each plate. Whatever was to be consumed before morning inspection was red, lumpy, and unappetizing. #33349 was in a good mood though, and would eat without complaint. Any morning she woke up with memories of her grandmother in her head put her in good spirits.



Her mother finished preparing the meal and put the knife used to cut each packet in a small drawer. A tiny light on the drawer beeped, signaling that it was locked, and nobody would be able to cut anything until it beeped again in the afternoon for the next meal. Her mother placed each plate in front of the meal’s recipient and sat down herself. As the family began to consume, #33349 realized that she couldn’t remember what her parent’s faces looked like. She could remember her grandmother’s vividly, but not her own parents. All she had been able to see of them for the last ten years were their cold eyes through their hoods. They never talked to her in the way that her grandmother did; with familiarity and warmth, rather, they had always simply instructed her. Last night, when her father fed her, was the first time she remembered ever having any contact with him. Her grandmother always made sure to hug and kiss her, even when such displays became illegal. Her grandmother always smiled, even in a world where there was nothing to smile about. #33349 remembered that even through her hood, she could feel that her grandmother was smiling at her.



These thoughts weighed heavily on her mind.



They solemnly ate until all the plates were cleaned. This morning’s inspection would pose no problems. The morning Regulator tested all three members of the family and handed #33349 her Lesson for the day.



#33349 looked at the booklet, which was slightly larger than usual. She wasn’t surprised; undoubtedly the Educators added more rules since last night’s escape attempt. After reading what the new rules were, #33349 would be able to deduce how it was this person tried to escape, and what he did wrong.



“May I take my Lesson in my quarters?” #33349 asked.



“Go.” Said her father, waving her away and reading his Information Packet, an adult version of the Lesson.



She hurried to her quarters and sat on her chair. She removed her hood to see better and opened up the thick booklet. The first 150 pages were the same as always:



LAWS OF FIELD G: TO BE FOLLOWED PRECISELY UNDER PENALTY OF EXECUTION OR TORTURE



LAW 2394 - D: ANY SIGN OF ILLNESS MUST BE RESPONDED TO IMMEDIATELY AND TREATED WITH PILL 12. FAILURE TO DO SO WILL RESULT IN EXECUTION. (DATE INSTATED: 2 MAY 2025)



LAW 2490 - B: ANY CIVILIAN WHO CARRIES A WEAPON WILL BE EXECUTED. (DATE INSTATED: 4 SEPTEMBER 2025)



LAW 3944 - B: ANY CIVILIAN WHO IS NOT IMPLANTED WITH A CENSOR CHIP BY 4 DECEMBER 2030 WILL BE EXECUTED 5 DECEMBER 2030. (DATE INSTATED: 9 OCTOBER 2030)



LAW 4933 - A: CIVILIANS MUST WEAR THEIR ROBE AND HOOD AT ALL TIMES WHEN OUTSIDE THEIR OWN QUARTERS. FAILURE TO DO SO WILL RESULT IN TORTURE. (DATE INSTATED 4, MARCH 2053)



The tiresome laws that #33349 had long since memorized went on and on. She kept flipping through the Lesson until she found the section she was looking for:



ADDENDUM



LAW 4939 - D: ANY CIVILIAN WHO ATTEMPTS TO REMOVE CENSOR CHIP WILL BE EXECUTED. (DATE INSTATED: 4 FEBRUARY 2062)



The person who was executed last night had tried to escape by removing his censor chip. #33349 felt her own chip at the nape of her neck and imagined how he had tried to do it. She ran her fingers over the bump under her skin and shuddered. He must have thought that without the chip there would be no way they could catch him. Clearly, he had been wrong.



She was about to close the Lesson and prepare for examination when she noticed another new law:



LAW 4045 - D: ANY CIVILIAN WHO EDUCATES WITHOUT AN EDUCATION PERMIT WILL BE EXECUTED. (DATE INSTATED: 4 FEBRUARY 2062)



Her stomach dropped. She could feel the food from morning consumption start to make its way up to her throat. This law, 4045, was instated because of her grandmother. She placed the Lesson face down on her knees and put her head in her hands. The Educator would be there soon to examine her, but she needed to calm herself. The stain under her feet, her grandmother’s blood, was a week old, but it still felt warm on the cold floor. Her grandmother had tried to educate without a permit, an offense she had given her life for.



CHAPTER 3 - THE TEST, THE COIN, & LOVE



“#33349, I am here for your examination.”



The Educator was standing in the doorway of #33349’s quarters. The figure was a small man in a purple robe. Unlike the Regulator, his entire face was covered, and he had to speak loudly for his words to come out clearly.



#33349 lifted her head and sat straight up. The Educator came in and stood directly in front of her, holding a piece of paper.



“Yesterday, your exam score was 100% out of 100%, is this correct?”



“Yes, this is correct.”



“You are aware that any exam score lower than 95% will result in punishment, correct?”



“Yes, I am aware.”



“Can you tell me what the punishment is?”



“The punishment is stretching.”



“And?”



“There will be a retest, if there is a failure to get more than 95% on the retest, there will be imprisonment.”



“Correct.” The Educator put his paper on #33349’s bed and took out his tester. He held the circular device in his hands and read the questions that ran across the screen.



“Where are we currently residing, #33349?”



“Field G.” The tester turned green. She got the answer right.



“Field G is located where?”



“The Northern Hemisphere.” Green.



“How many laws are currently in effect for Field G?”



“One million, nine thousand, eighty - fi - I mean, seven. One million, nine thousand, eighty - seven.” Green.



“Correct, I trust you have read the addendum in your Lesson adding the two new laws.”



#33349 felt her face get hot. “Yes I read them.”



“What is the penalty for exiting one’s home without an escort?”



“Torture by stretching.” Green.



“What is the penalty for refusing nutrition?”



“Execution.” Green.



The tester lit green for the next one hundred questions. #33349 was getting exhausted and thirsty, but nutrition wasn’t allowed during examination, as per law 3495 - C.



“Where do our laws come from?”



“DD - 126” Green. #33349 thought of what her grandmother might say to that question and accidentally let out a very soft laugh.



“What was that?”



“I’m sorry. I coughed.”



“Are you sick, or is something humorous? Either way I will have to report you.”



“No - no I’m sorry, I’m just thirsty.”



“You will receive nutrition when this is over. If you make a noise like that again, I will report you to either receive Pill 12 or receive punishment for mocking examination, do you understand me?”



“Yes.”



“What is DD - 126?”



#33349 rattled off the answer. She held in a laugh knowing what her grandmother would say to that question. It would be something like - “the spawn of Satan himself, child.” #33349 gave a more Field G friendly answer.



“The machine that knows all, that keeps us safe, healthy, and regulated.” Green.



“What is the penalty for having more than one child?”



“Mass execution.” Green.



“What is the penalty for educating without an education permit?”



She had dreaded getting this question. #33349 looked down at her feet, where the bloodstain was.



“Execution.” She whispered.



“Speak up!” roared the Educator.



“EXECUTION.” Green.



“Your exam is complete. You have scored 100%.”



The Educator picked his paper off her bed and turned on his heel and walked out of her room, leaving the exhausted girl slumping in her chair. She felt as though she had betrayed her grandmother by answering the last question. She wished she had just not answered, as getting one question wrong would put her in no immediate danger.



“I’m sorry.” She said to no one.



There was an hour left to go before afternoon consumption, and she decided to use this time to think about the day after her grandmother and she found the dead man on the side of the road.



endmark





It was another sunny day, and #33349 was walking on the same road hand in hand with Abbey, rattling off questions she had. Abbey was answering them dutifully, knowing that she was the only link her granddaughter had to the past.



“What did the United States mean?”



“It meant that there were all these different lands, called states, and were all united into one country.”



“That’s what this was?”



“Yes child.”



“Who is the Maker?”



“What, child?”



“Yesterday, you said people went to meet their maker.”



“Oh that. Well, child, I was talkin’ ‘bout God.”



“What’s God?”



“It’s what that blasted computer in who-knows-where thinks IT is. And those damn sonofabitch Regulators are its angels of terror.”



“What does that mean Abbey?”



Abbey held her granddaughter’s hand tighter as she tried to explain religion. They were a mile down the road when Abbey was explaining prayer.



“I do it every night before I go to bed, and you should too. I pray to God for an end to all this damn nonsense.”



“I will Abbey.”



“Good girl.”



They walked silently for a little while until #33349 spotted something round in glittering in the sunlight..



“Abbey - look.”



She picked it up and held it under her grandmother’s nose.



“Well I’ll be - you found a quarter.”



“What’s a quarter? That doesn’t look like my quarters.”



“No, child. Not like your sleeping quarters. This is money, well it was years ago. We used to trade these things in for things we wanted.”



“Money?”



“Yes child. I can’t believe this was here.” Abbey took the quarter and inspected it closely.



“1990. That’s the year I was born.”



“You know the year you were born?”



“Yes child, and I know the year you were born too - 2046, the same year my Henry was killed.”



“Was he murdered?”



“Yes child, he was.” Abbey gave the coin back to her little granddaughter. “He was murdered for holdin’ worship. What did they want the man to do? He was a minister, for God’s sake. Anyway, he was holdin’ a secret church in our home, and those Regulators burst in and started shootin’ everyone in their path. That’s when I came to live with you all.”



“How come you weren’t murdered?”



“I was gettin’ iced tea in the kitchen.”



“Oh.”



“You know, before it became like this, Henry and I would walk this same path all the time. That there is probably his coin, he was always janglin’ with change.” Abbey laughed, but there were tears in her eyes.



“This field used to be so green - and there were benches everywhere and people played music. It was in this field Henry asked me to be his wife.”



“His wife?”



“Right - before DD - 126 matched up everyone and births were regulated, we had this thing called love - but don’t worry, I’m sure if the world keeps on like this, you’ll never experience it. You may not know it but I love you.”



“Oh, Okay.”



“Oh, child.”



Abbey didn’t know it either, but #33349 was beginning to feel things she had never felt before these talks - curiosity, excitement, and even though she didn’t know what it really meant, love for her grandmother.



When they returned to their home that night, #33349 put the coin under her pillow and attempted a silent prayer. She was so excited to tell her grandmother about what she prayed for the next day that she could barely sleep.



The next morning, after consumption and testing, #33349 was given her Lesson. Her heart fell when she read the added law;



LAW 3984 - A: UNSUPERVISED OUTDOOR ACTIVITY IS HEREBY FORBIDDEN AND PUNISHABLE BY TORTURE.



Abbey saw the new law in her Information Packet and her eyes widened. “No. They can’t do that.”



Abbey’s son, #33347, looked up from his meal. “Yes they can, and you may not question the laws in this house.”



“You know, I thought I raised a man, not a damn coward.”



Her son shot up from his chair. Furious, he began to point and shout at his mother.



“Do you want to get us all killed?! If you are living in this house, you do not defy the laws given. If you do so again, I will report you!”



“You would report your own mother would you? I shouldn’t be surprised - it was you who reported Henry wasn’t it? You didn’t want anything upsetting the goddam computer did you?”



“If you keep speaking, I will call for the Regulators.”



“That’s fine, I would rather die bravely like you father than live in fear for the rest of my life.”



Abbey got up from her chair and was now staring at her son across the table, her hood only showing her eyes, which were narrowed and determined.



“You murdered your own father, and my husband. I am so ashamed you are his namesake.”



“I’m not his namesake.”



“Yeah, that’s right. You aren’t. So are you gonna do it? Are you gonna call the murderers on your mother, #33347?”



Her son slowly lowered himself back into his chair, defeated.



“That’s what I thought. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to take my granddaughter to study her Lesson. I want her to be all caught up on the laws that mean nothin’ after all.”



With that, Abbey took #33349’s hand and led her down the hall to her quarters.



“Abbey, I wanted to tell you before - I prayed last night!”



#33349 had thrown herself onto the bed and was bouncing on it, as she couldn’t contain her excitement.



Abbey was pacing around the room, arms folded. “That’s wonderful child, but we have to think.”



“About what?”



“Well, how’re we gonna talk now? I don’t trust your father. I know he’ll turn me in so quick my head will spin if he catches us talkin’.”



Abbey snatched off her hood and threw it on the bed. #33349 copied her grandmother and threw her own hood on the bed as well. Abbey bent down to eye - level with her granddaughter and put her hands on her shoulders.



“Child, do you wanna hear more things like what I’ve been tellin’ you?”



“Ohh yes yes!”



“All right. We gonna have to think up a plan.”



“We can do it after my examination!”



“Oh - right. You know all these laws child?”



“Yes.”



“Listen to me - you may need to know ‘em to live, but you don’t believe a word of ‘em - you understand me?”



“Okay.”



“Now don’t go tellin’ nobody I’m disprectin’ the laws okay? That’s our secret. I don’t want no masked madman gunnin’ me down.”



“Okay Abbey.”



“All right, now you go n’ read your Lesson. I’m gon’ go prepare one of my own.”



Before she reached the door, Abbey turned around to face her granddaughter.



“What did you pray for darlin’?”



“I prayed to God to end all this damn nonsense.”



Abbey laughed. “That’s my girl.”



CHAPTER 4 - ASLEEP/AWAKE



“Wake up!”



#33349’s mother was shaking her violently. As the girl blinked herself into consciousness, she could hear the blaring afternoon consumption alarm going off outside.



“Now! Up!” The female figure gave her daughter a final shake and left the room.



#33349 sat up in bed and, feeling her face, realized she didn’t have her hood on. She grabbed it and crammed it over her head before going out to join her family at the table.



Before she went, she reached under her pillow, pulling out the quarter from that last day she ever walked on the path with her grandmother. She held it tight for a moment before returning it to its resting place. She never told her grandmother that she kept it.



#33349 joined her family at the food table where her meal was already on her plate. She glanced over to her left, where, until only a short time ago, her grandmother ate with them. She would whisper complaints about the food under her breath, and roll her eyes when the alarm sounded for inspection. Now, it was as if nobody had ever sat there. She was never mentioned following her death. To everyone but #33349, she had never even existed.



As she ate, it occurred to the girl that she couldn’t remember what the sun felt like on her face. It seemed like yesterday that her grandmother and she were on the path, honoring the murdered man. Now, though, her memories were slowly disappearing. She feared that she would forget her grandmother’s face. With this thought eating at her, #33349 closed her eyes tight, and brought to her mind the only human face she ever knew besides her own. She pictured Abbey’s face - it was plump, and as time went on, lined. The lines though, were only around her mouth, where she would smile at her granddaughter. Her hair was long and gray, and pulled into a braid that she wound into a tight bun. The girl distinctly remembered that her grandmother used to wear her hair in loose waves, until it was a law to wear a hood at all times outdoors. Her eyes, though, never lost their sparkle - no matter what the laws were. They were bright green, a green never found in nature, and something the girl did not see in her father’s cold steel eyes. The warmth that was in her grandmother was not passed down to her son.



The girl smiled, satisfied that she should never worry about losing the memory of Abbey; satisfied that the woman who taught her everything was safe in her mind.



endmark





The day after #33349 prayed for the first time, Abbey slipped her a piece of paper at morning consumption:



Our lesson: after evening DINNER.



The little girl did not recognize the last word, but eagerly nodded her head in her grandmother’s direction. All day, her stomach turned in anticipation of her grandmother’s lesson. She could barely concentrate on anything else, including the book the Regulator delivered that contained her own Field G Lesson for the day. She barely passed her Examination, but at this time, the required score for children under ten was 90%, so she was safe. When evening consumption was finally over, the child scurried to her room, and yanked off her hood. She sat cross-legged on her bed, and sat up excitedly when her grandmother entered. Abbey threw off her own hood, and sat down in the tiny chair opposite her granddaughter.



“Okay darlin’ we don’t have much time. Listen, you know how I’ve been telling you everything? About how things used to be around here?”



The little girl nodded.



“Well, I ain’t gonna quit til you know every damn thing about America, and the world. At least one young person should know.”



“Okay.”



“So every night, after dinner, in here, I’m gonna try to teach you until one of them damn Regulators beheads me for treason or some such nonsense.”



“Dinner?”



“We’ll start there.”



For the next ten years, behind a closed door, and with hushed whispers, the wise grandmother told her granddaughter everything she could remember about Area 1 when it was called the United States. This time was precious to the girl, who everyday grew with the wisdom imparted unto her by her aging grandmother. The time was also very limited, and the girl started to write bits of information down on a stolen napkin from the eating quarters, which, she learned from her grandmother, was also called a kitchen.



She kept the napkin under her mattress for safe keeping, and by the end of the ninth year, it was almost completely black with ink:



50 States



President



Government



Freedom of Speech



The Declaration of Independence



Do whatever we damned well pleased



There wasn’t much time or space for explanations, but the now teenaged girl absorbed everything like a sponge. She sat in awe as her grandmother tried to teach her about music and singing. Abbey sang hushed lullabies to her granddaughter, and mimed out playing an instrument to give the girl an idea of creativity. Every night after their private lesson, the grandmother kissed the top of her granddaughter’s head.



“You’re gonna get ‘em child,” she always said before leaving the room quietly.



Through her grandmother, who had experienced the transformation of the country she lived in, #33349 was told about when the Regulators were instituted, when learning was limited to inside the home, and why the only thing taught now was the law of Field G.



“After it was realized that a machine could run a country, everything fell apart, child. Information wasn’t bein’ produced no more. Nobody needed to learn nothin’. That’s when people got scared. Everything had to change - nobody knew better anymore, so what that damn machine said, well, people just went on and followed it. That’s when them damn Regulators started to run things. The machine knew it couldn’t control every person all the time. I remember when the law was passed - every sociopathic prisoner was instructed to be castrated and fed this awful stuff - this stuff that would bend their minds to do whatever they was told. They pumped them boys full of fake testosterone and sent them off to different sectors. Everyday they be breedin’ more of ‘em.”



“But why is nobody doing anything about it?” The girl asked.



“Well child, it ain’t like nobody tried. They all got fear on their side. You try to defy one of them boys - well, they’ll kill you - or worse. It don’t help none that the slop they feed us tends to - uh - calm down the brain.”



“What?”



“That’s right child - I ain’t got no proof on it, but I’m pretty damn sure that’s what it does. Makes people soft in their brains…like how the Regulators got changed into killing robots, but the opposite. Why you think we get forced to eat it?”



The night before her grandmother died, she took her granddaughter by the shoulders: “Listen here child - I don’t know how many more of these lessons we got left. You gotta promise me though - promise me that this wasn’t a waste. I done told you everythin’ I know for a reason, child - you gotta know that. Know that!



#33349 sat confused for a moment on her bed, watching her grandmother depart. She was holding the napkin in her hand, and before returning it to beneath her mattress, scrawled at the top:



Call Me Abbey



The next day went as scheduled, culminating with #33349 sitting on her bed, waiting for her grandmother to sneak into her room. When her grandmother crept in, the girl shot her hand under her mattress to retrieve her notes. Her stomach sank when, upon searching, she felt nothing. Her notes were gone. The girl knelt down beside her bed and lifted the mattress up, only to find nothing there. She turned around to face her grandmother, who had removed her hood, and for the first time since #33349 could remember, looked worried.



“It’s okay child,” Abbey whispered. “You don’t need to write nothin’ down today.”



The girl looked at her grandmother, who sat uneasy in the chair across from her.



“Today, I thought I would tell you about literature and all that - but you know what…let me just look at you for a moment.”



Abbey, her eyes welling, looked lovingly upon her young granddaughter before speaking again.



“I taught you almost everything I know - I taught you about God, love, and freedom. Listen child, I love you, and I know that you gonna remember all this, just promise me child, even if you forget me, you’ll have these memories.”



“I promise.”



Her grandmother looked around wildly before saying her next words. “You can escape - I’ve been studyin’ the layout for twenty years child - beyond that path - the one where we walked that day - beyond where they stack the dead - if you run, and I mean RUN…you ain’t in this sector no more. I don’t know what else is out there - but child, you gotta find out. Jus’ please remember child - I love you.”



Suddenly, there was a great noise outside the girl’s chambers. The girl reached for her hood, but Abbey sat still and resolute. There was hurried talking, and #33349 jumped when her door was fiercely kicked open with a large, black boot belonging to a hooded man. Behind him were the girl’s parents, and her father was holding the napkin with all of her notes on it.



No words were spoken, and in an instant, the Regulator held up his gun.



BANG



Abbey’s body fell to the floor. The Regulator turned on his heel and was gone from the girl’s chambers, her parents following closely behind.



The girl, stunned and unable to move, looked down at the blood and bits of brain and flesh splattered onto her robe. Her eyes then went to the limp body lying in a growing puddle of blood next to her bed.



She knew she needed to go to sleep, but the girl just stared at her grandmother for the next several hours, knowing that a Regulator would be by in the morning to dispose of the body, like common garbage, leaving behind not a trace of the woman called Abbey. Knowing this, the girl cried for the first time, silently.



endmark





The girl went over these last memories in her head as the Regulator tested her nutrition levels. Two weeks, it had been since her grandmother was killed before her eyes. Two weeks since she got a lesson that wasn’t just a list of laws sent down from something nobody was allowed to question. Two weeks since her father turned in his own mother to be executed.



Abbey’s words had been swirling around in the girl’s head since that night. It was she who her grandmother trusted to do something with this information, but what? What could one young girl possibly do to change anything when any attempt was certain death?



The girl was handed her Lesson for the day, and went to her room to study. No new laws were enacted since yesterday, which was a relief, as she felt like her brain could not handle any new information. She passed Examination, and afterwards, paced her room, occasionally stopping to gaze at the spot her grandmother was slain two weeks ago.



More than anything, #33349 missed the talks with her grandmother. She missed the interaction. She missed the feeling of love.



The girl flopped onto her bed and took out the quarter from under her pillow. She studied it intently, running her fingers over the upraised face of George Washington and turned it around several times in her hand.



Know that



Her grandmother’s words were echoing in her head. Looking down, the girl noticed the slightest red stain on the floor next to her bed. So there was still evidence of her grandmother. The girl felt oddly comforted.



As she lay on her bed, something started to form in her mind; a series of actions, a plan. It was as though her grandmother was whispering to her. Ideas began to slowly come to her, as though weaved together. This had never happened before, this feeling of strong defiance. #33349 sat up in her bed. The thoughts kept coming, interwoven with her grandmother’s words. She felt strong, for the first time. She felt angry.



She had figured out her first action.



AREA 1 continues in the Summer issue of HelloHorror.



   
   

 

endmark



Kathleen Wolak is a writer living in Hamden, CT. She is the author of The Tasteless, a young adult novel, and co-founder of the entertainment blog Tasteless Entertainment. When she isn't writing or blogging, she is hosting her weekly advice show on HerTube.TV, or marathoning The Simpsons on DVD. Part 1 of Kathleen's serialized novella Area 1 appears in the Winter 2015 issue of HelloHorror.



The authors published at HelloHorror retain all rights to their work. For permission to quote from a particular piece, or to reprint, contact the editors who will forward the request. All content on the web site is protected under copyright law.