“Dystopia Today – 01” by Richard F. Yates
In the far-flung future year of 2017, when the forces of oppression have seized control of the land, a rag-tag group of free-thinkers, activists, and crack-pots have banded together to fight against tyranny, hate, and complacency. THIS is their story.
A lone figure, head covered by a grey hoodie, moves up Hemlock Street, ducking from shadow to shadow and trying to avoid the cameras of the ever-present drones flying through the city. The figure walks briskly towards an alley, and making sure that no one is following, moves towards a stairway beneath the old, closed shoe factory. A secret knock later, and she is inside the secret book shop.
“Sorry I’m late,” she says. “They arrested Professor Trance at the Morton School today. I wanted to make sure his husband was okay before I came.” The figure removes her hood, revealing short, blue hair. She looks around the room at the sad faces, all sitting in chairs in a rough circle, then takes an empty seat.
“Not Trance! He was my freshman philosophy teacher!” a tall, skinny, young man says. He is wearing what looks like a sports jersey, but with the name “Camus” on it above a double zero.
“Yep. They got him on ‘teaching indecent materials,’” the blue haired girl, Ingrid, says.
“What was it this time? Henry Miller? Anias Nin?” a deep voice says, coming through a doorway into the room. This is Ossman, owner the of “bookshop,” which was ordered to close in January of 2017. Instead, he took it underground, and started this “BOOK CLUB” a few months later.
“Orwell,” Ingrid says.
The murmuring around the room sounds more surprised than sad.
“Why?” Mrs. Petit, an 81-year-old, former librarian asks. “Why would he be so wreckless?”
“I get it,” Ossman answers. “He’s tired of this shit. He’s tired of the dumbing down and the oppression. It’s only been a year since that Monster took control, so he remembers… Information and knowledge used to be valued. I get it…”
A gaunt woman of indeterminant age, dressed in gothic black, clears her throat. “So I thought we could look at something different for next time. I propose Vonnegut. Welcome to the Monkey House.”
“The motion is open,” Ossman says. “Those in favor?” Eight hands go up. “Opposed?” Two hands. “Abstaining?” Three hands, including Mrs. Petit. “That’s a majority. Anyone who doesn’t want to discuss Vonnegut can skip the next meeting.”
Outside the bookstore, in the alley where Ingrid entered, another figure, dressed in para-military black, leans against the door to the shop, an audio augmentation scanner recording the conversation taking place within. When enough incriminating detail has been captured, the figure pockets the scanner and runs from the alley. A half-dozen drones buzz through the sky in different directions, and the pre-recorded sounds of church bells toll from the clock tower in the city center...
---Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Grand Hoohaa of The P.E.W.)
#writing #fiction #horror #dystopia #reading #nomoredumbingdown