– As a new blogger, I am still finding my pathway as a writer. Therefore, I thought I would attempt this weeks ‘Weekly Writing Challenge, with the inspiration as Dystopia! My extract of writing is set in the monotonous future. I have thoroughly enjoyed writing this piece this week, so I may continue to write short extracts throughout my blog. If you would like to take part visit http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/02/25/writing-challenge-dystopia/ and enjoy! –
Right on time. Five o’clock. The air-raid siren screeched, again, just like it does every Monday and every Friday without fail. Lord knows why they choose these days to attack; Lord knows why they attack at all, it is not like anyone gets hurt. I say, ‘Lord knows’ like I know who ‘Lord’ is, or what he did to make everyone think he knows so much, but it is a force of habit. I heard my Grandpa say it once and thought it sounded like a cool, ancient bourgeois phrase so tried it out and now it is stuck. Lord.
I found a quicker exit to the air-raid shelter last week. It involves climbing through a window and skulking across a roof, but it gets me there before the others. It’s not the bombs that make me want to arrive first, no; I’m not fussed about them. There is this one seat in the corner of the shelter, it looks proper regal. It is made out of some sort of soft material; I don’t know what they would call it. This seat though, it is the only seat in the shelter that has access to this magnificently small stream of sunlight; the cause of a design flaw in the shelter. This is the reason I must act like a male-youth on Speed to get there, I need that seat.
You are not allowed to enter the shelter unless you have your tin-lunchbox. They say they are produced from tin because not even a bomb could destroy tin. I do not know if this is true; but I do know that the higher ones have special lunchboxes made of titanium. Whatever that is, it looks a hell of a lot more expensive than the one I am carrying so I choose to assume there is quite a difference in their infallibleness. Inside your standard lunchbox you can find; a gas mask, a flare, a grenade and this slight thin vial labelled ‘Liquid Cyanide: Emergencies Only’. I was asked if I wanted to upgrade once, for five sterling pounds of my monthly twelve euro salary. I respectfully declined; I doubted the necessity of an extra grenade and strobe-torch. In my opinion, they would be better putting food in my lunchbox. I don’t half get hungry sat down there.
So the air-raid siren does not stop until there has been no sighting of a bomber plane for twelve minutes exactly. When it stops, this timer starts in the shelters counting down from two minutes. Once that has finished the door gets unlocked and the shelter-captives may leave. There is never a particular rush to leave the shelter, just like there is never a particular rush to get in it. What is waiting for us back on the outside is just as unexciting as in the shelter I suppose.
Those two waiting minutes are particularly odd. There is rarely the sound of a siren or a great tragedy. Not for years I don’t think. The attackers are quite predictable. They follow an unfailingly repetitive pattern. Bomb hospital, bomb factory, bomb important-looking parliamentary building. Somebody, probably a higher one, got pretty wise to this common procedure and started painting red crosses on the tops of empty warehouses and reinforced the walls of the important-looking buildings. They didn’t bother protecting the factories because we employees are so in demand, we could easily get another factory job the day after ours got bombed away.
You see a lot of scuttler’s when you come out of the shelter. Those who like to tempt fate and scuttle round the streets looking for a bargain-snatch. This paranoid old man once told me the higher ones were actually the scuttler’s. He said they take our proudest belongings whilst we fear for our lives. He disappeared soon after that, probably too paranoid for his own good. I didn’t believe what he said, the higher ones protect us. That’s what the posters say. And the billboards. And the radio show. And the chants they play to us. ‘You people are our power’ they say. We are their power. We control them. They protect us.
They protect us…
“He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”
George Orwell, 1984