Friday, September 11, 2015

A Child Alone ...

There was no color in her life then, and the incessant advertisements and colorful signage of the blue-zone bars and businesses that passed outside the window left no impression on her. She was a child alone—three years after the Princess attack. Her parents and friends were dead and her sister was light years away.
She knew what she had seen the day of the attack and could not forget, no matter how much she wanted to. The anonymous faces in white jackets with pleasant smiles had told her all the reasons why the Princess attack could not have happened the way she had said, and they complimented her on her rich fantasy life and creative imagination. But the smiles turned cold when she couldn’t align her memories to the stories they wanted, stories of drugs and intrigue that she could never believe. In their notes, her creative fantasies became delusions that had to be controlled by medication.
After months of interviews, therapy, and separation, she doubted herself, and unable to invent a story that made sense to her and them both, she stopped fighting and took the medication.
Now at fifteen, she had no friends and desired none. There was only the job and the biological need to be suitably compliant for the leadership and the young men on her ship. She thought only of her mission to get a part to repair her power loader, without which she would fail her cargo-2 rating and not see the increased income for another year.
Within that lifeless, gray world, a young blond girl bordered the tram accompanied by an older woman who gave her a pathetic smile. From somewhere, Meriel remembered the faces and returned the weak smile, but there was no emotional tug of recognition, and she looked away. It was her sister, Elizabeth, with Aunt Teddy.
Elizabeth sat next to Meriel and took her hand. “I’ve been looking for you, Sis,” Elizabeth said.
“Uh-huh,” Meriel said.
“Where did you go, M?” Elizabeth asked. “I miss you.”

 Meriel shrugged. The briefest memory flickered that once in her life, this young girl meant more to her than life itself, but the thought slipped away, and she just shrugged.
A tear rolled down Elizabeth’s cheek. “We’ve been at the same docks, and you never come by,” she said. “You don’t answer my texts any more. It’s like you don’t remember me at all.”
Meriel shrugged again and turned to the window wondering when the blond person would leave.
Reflected in the window, Mariel watched Elizabeth reach out to her. But just before touching the scar on Meriel’s neck, Elizabeth’s hand clenched into a fist and her frown changed to a scowl. She pulled her hand back, opened Meriel’s purse and rummaged through the contents until she found what she was looking for—the meds, Aristopine, the same drug that the doctors planned to give her and the other orphans from the Princess.
Elizabeth held the tube of meds up. Teddy nodded and tapped her link a few times and looked up to check the tram stops. Four stops later, Teddy waved to Elizabeth who took Meriel’s arm.
“Come with me,” Elizabeth said and stood.
(From Home: Interstellar, Chapter 3: Lander, On station. Get it at Amazon or iTunes.)

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