The emptied lockers told of those who had left in desperation seeking safety from what was to come. Emptied spaces echoed with the footfall of the caretaker as he meandered the corridors with the knowledge that soon the remaining boxes would be gone. He had no desire to run and was ready to meet his death. He had lived long enough and was tired of the day to day struggle to survive. He would stay here, defend what belonged to others, and buy them time. And in so doing, he may – maybe – absolve himself of a life lived selfishly.
Harsh sunlight shone on the desolate playground; the lack of children’s voices echoed in vacant spaces. Life was emptier and less purposeful without the younger generation. Two months ago, children had forcibly been taken en masse. Adults were still unsure of the reason for the forced removal; but rumblings were beginning to stir. Distrust of those in charge fanned hidden embers of discontent.
Children were hidden deep within the bowels of the earth. Their DNA had the key to unlocking the solution to future disaster and their resilience made them the perfect guinea pigs. Echoing screams were unheard above ground.
All over the city, lines of people snaked around corners humming with resignation and discontent. Two weeks had passed since the last time these adult men and women waited to receive living assistance from their government. The Industrial Revolution had finally peaked and the machines were doing all of the human work; people had lost a dignified way to earn a comfortable living. Each year the lines got longer; and each year the restlessness grew. The assistance given was paltry causing families to co-exist in small, cramped spaces. The time was near for an anti-industrial revolution. The masses were ready.
Looking up, Mira wondered how she was going to get out. Not only was the underground room far from the main house, but there was no ladder in the vicinity. She thought of her daughter and the question this morning:
“Mommy if you had a super power, what would it be?”
She’d answered flippantly. Now, though, she wished she had the strength of Superman and his ability to fly. Screaming with frustration, she paced the musty space. Her only hope was that Mitch remembered her intention to come here when he got home. If not, she’d have an unpleasant experience.
Taking his glasses off, Thomas slowly rubbed his eyes. Searching for clues in the book was difficult: this was the text she’d been reading when she disappeared and the subject matter wasn’t enthralling.
“You know she may have left of her own accord?”
“No Nathaniel, I know my wife. She’d never abandon her children – they mean the world to her. There was something about Highgate she figured out – something that put her in danger. I know it.”
Putting on his glasses, he turned to the text again. He could not give up! He sensed Sylvia’s life depended on it.
They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.
I say the way to my heart is for the man to cook.
They say if you want to win a man’s affections, cook for him. Daily.
I say if he wants to please me, he should spend the time in the kitchen.
They say women are cooks, men are chefs.
I say I am tired of daily meal planning. Let him have a turn.
Why is it that women are expected to be the ones who shop for groceries, plan the week’s menu, cook the meals. In modern society, women are also working at full-time jobs and bringing in the money. Our second job (raising children, running a home, and cooking) should be shared with the husband/partner.
I say the way to a women’s heart is through her stomach.
I say women are the true chefs, putting together meals on a budget and what is found in the fridge.
I say our reign of the home kitchen is over. We want to pass the sceptre to someone else.
The plant grew and crept along the wall, its leafy tendrils exploring the pristine wall. The creeper had been genetically altered and transformed into a listening device. In another part of the city, revolutionaries listened to the unfettered conversations of councilmen; conversations that lingered on the changes to bylaws that would prohibit personal freedom.
Prior knowledge enabled the freedom fighters to overcome those in power. In their victory, they claimed that freedom was a person’s right.
Once in power, the new leader ensured no plants graced the surfaces of his home and office. Then he began to enslave the majority.
The living room couch was like Grand Central Station: a flurry of daytime activity surrounded it.
Quick early morning cups of coffee were spilt on on the sofa before resting purses and briefcases were hurriedly grabbed from its centre. Once the early morning bustle was over, a sigh was heard and feet were placed on the overstuffed cushions. The lull in activity was welcomed before the beige couch was surrounded by the whoosh of the vacuum and the scent of polish.
Around noon either the twitter of book-club ladies, the rowdiness of the bingo group, or the tranquil chatter of the knitting club as preemie blankets were created was heard. Even though the space was busy, there was a calmness in the activity.
The afternoon lull was short before the plump seats were jumped on by energetic feet happy to be home. Snacks were eaten in the deep recesses of the cushions while in the next room the unmistakable sound of oil sizzled in a pan.
The couch was unused, but the sounds nearby did not bring serenity.
Then a favourite part of the day: storytime and the snuggles between parents and children.
The lull before the quiet.
Parent time while the television buzzes softly in the background.
Then the living room turns dark and the sounds of the night encroach.
The house sleeps as does the couch; resting fully and preparing itself for the repetition of the early morning routine mayhem.