Author's Message: So this is the 'prologue' to a story I wrote for NaNoWriMo back in 2012. I wasn't sure if I should post it under Sci-fi or Horror, because it's both genres...so oh well? Anyway, tell me what you think.
The Satellite City of Bodhom
Bodhom. Makes one think of progress, power, peace maybe. Maybe. Stability is a good word for it too. When I think of Bodhom, the only word that comes to mind is boring. A nice place to live. That's what all the adults here say anyway. They say it's nice and safe, as it should be. The sad truth of this place is that all these white stucco apartment complexes aren't much older than I am. This is one of the youngest satellite cities in existence. It's also the largest, the most productive, and the most densely populated.
Now, the words: satellite city. That might make people think of something else. Immigration, segregation, control, command, force, evacuation, and most importantly: racism. Not exactly words that would come to mind when someone thinks of a 'nice place to live', right? I didn't think so anyway.
People would come in waves into the city, ever since I was a child. 'A new crop' as my father would call them. I never really knew what that meant when I was younger. These people would file into the city from inside large, boxy transports. Big, ugly things that would fly over the city, dropping people like bombs. Bags in their hands, and families at their heels, they would file into the empty apartments, just sitting there, waiting for a family to fill their halls. Usually, they seemed more than eager to come to Bodhom. Was life really so bad in the capital cities? I wouldn't have thought so.
But for as many faces that marched eagerly through the streets, there were always ones that seemed less so. Some would head into the city, singing hymns like 'We Come Unto Jerusalem', smiles on their faces, as they walked towards their new life, blissfully ignorant of the meaning behind their songs. But the others would look as though their lives were ending. Those were the ones who would say things about control, and segregation. They never seemed to live here too long. I always thought they went back to the primary cities, or the capitals. They never really crossed my mind after they were removed from Bodhom. But I was wrong, very wrong.
You see, that's what we do here in Bodhom. Our purpose is to supply the primary cities and its people with resources to sustain them. There are thousands of satellites, but none seem to have the reputation that Bodhom does. Different satellite cities have different purposes too. For example, the city of Nesam is a mining city, where as Bodhom supplies the capital city of Fenris with its power.
We learned all of this in school as children. That, along with the basic skills, reading, writing, arithmetic, and anything else we might need to become functioning members of society. But along with that we learned the history of our world, the history of the other cities and of course, what our place in this world is.
My kind, my people, are only good for two things according to my schooling, labor and death. This is a truth that my people have universally acknowledged for over five-hundred years now. You will work, you will pay your dues to the higher society, you will outlive your usefulness, and you will die. That may sound morbid, or sad, but to us, it was the only life that we knew. And truthfully, it was the only life we were content to know.
One way or another, you need to be useful. If you had the intelligence, you were lucky enough to be invited to one of the capital cities to study at a university, and get a sensible directive. Maybe one that would even allow you to stay in one of the capital or primary cities and lead a more comfortable lifestyle. But if you were average, and you could hold your own, you were sent into the workforce, much like myself. I didn't know what happened to you if you were deemed 'useless'. I didn't want to find out what happened. Nobody did.
There were rumors of course, not just spread by my malicious classmates trying to get a rise out of other students, but by the adults too. They tried to keep their theories secret, trying not to frighten us children. But we weren't stupid. We all knew well enough that being deemed useless was bad.
There was a girl in my class, when I was five, they deemed her as 'useless'. I thought it was horrible. She was born with a rare illness, and she couldn't walk. She wasn't anything special either, and I could see in the faces of her parents and our instructor that they were worried. And for good reason.
I remember the day she was taken. It was about half-way through the school year. Since she was just as average as the rest of us in school, she was taken away. Two strange men in black suits came into our classroom. Our instructor just sat there, and let them take her away. I remember her mother and father being there, and they begged the men in the black suits not to take her, but rules are rules. That's what they said anyway. Sometimes I think it would have been better for me not to know what was going to happen to her. I try not to think about it…
We never were allowed to talk about that little girl. I don't even remember her name. Sad, isn't it? I feel like her life was in vain sometimes. Every time someone in our class tried to bring her up, we would be scolded by our instructor, or just slapped on the wrists. We learned fairly quickly not to speak of her again. But that's how it was in Bodhom, and she certainly wasn't the first of the students to be deemed 'useless' nor was she the last.
I have been content to accept that this was, and was supposed to be my life. When I would become of age, I would enter the workforce alongside my parents, and work in the dozens of plants within the city. I would live in Bodhom until I outlived my usefulness, just as everyone else in this world has. I would never leave the city, and I would never strive for more than that. I've never known a life outside of the city's protection, nor did I want to. As I have said, and many others have said before, Bodhom was a nice place to live.
My name is Maye, Maye Holloway, I am not yet eighteen years old, and I was born here, in the Satellite City of Bodhom. I thought I would live here, and maybe die here. My life had a course, and I had purpose. That changed when I met her.