Dystopia, a country the gap between rich and poor is about to be made infinate... This is my first work so please be kind!
The headlines said it all. The divide. The divide that, regardless of houses, families, people that stood in its way, would slice across our country like a dagger. The two sides of a country, once united in happiness, torn apart and forced to deal with it.
One side was rich. One side was poor. And it’s up to us to get enough money to falsify wealth.
As soon my father’s faded blue truck turned into the rain soaked drive that evening I knew something was wrong. Another pay slash maybe – his boss desperate to afford a place on the rich side.
His kindly face is hardened by a frown of the deepest concentration and droplets of fresh rain water drip off his chin and nose. It had been raining for days; a welcome sight in the drought ridden area that I live in Normally at this time, we have rain festivals in the street and at school, people coming out of their houses to dance in the liquid gold falling from the angry sky, but this time there is no dancing. No children splashing bare foot in the puddles. No farmers eagerly watching their crops as if they could actually see them grow.
Everyone is sitting at home waiting. Because that’s all we can do for ourselves, there’s nothing left to do, but sit and wait.
It’d started April twelve three year ago: the election. A new government had been elected, a government that promised wealth to the average farmer, fortune to a hard done by factory worker and, most importantly, lower taxes.
Voters turned up in their thousands, even the Elder generation had voted this election, the generation who had turned their backs on politics after the War to End all Wars. The country needed change and there was one man who could do that; Samuel Swift. He had fought in two wars, earned metal to pin to his lapel given billions of his money to charities all around the world, published so many autobiographies you’d think he was a cat, and captured thehearts of a population. All this earned him the title…President.
No letters could fill the power of that word.
As he seized authority, the truth of Swift’s purpose became bitterly clear to us. Like rose tinted glass disintegrating into a pile of white daggers on the floor. He changed the retirement age from sixty to seventy. He stopped countless news items from being broadcast (an event that only came to the horrified attention of the public when a major broadcasting company went bankrupt and leaked the information). He saw that anti-government protests were terminated in bloodshed that could never be traced back to him. Any mother of a dead rebel would tell you that. He made countless little changes that slowly, but firmly, decreased our power over our lives and increased his.
A country where the rich don’t bother the poor and the poor don’t bother the rich. Where they can sleep in their mansions get good jobs and do whatever the hell they want. Where they can starve and fight and be dirty and smelly without upsetting the sensitive noses of the upper classes. Where people stay where they belong.
That’s what Swift said.
Harmony. He'd said. Bloody perfection. They'd said.
If you were rich. We'd said.
The bright pink flowers growing wild outside my house were drooping with the weight of the water on their delicate petals. I stare at them from my window; too terrified to greet my father and his rage. I hear raised voices from the hallway and the sound the door slamming. My father gets angry; he gets angry when they take away some of his wages or some of our food tokens, but not this angry… never this angry. I keep my eyes fixed on the flowers. Those flowers; usually covered in butterflies, honeybees and humming birds; now they’re weighed down by the life-assuring liquid.
Smack. I hear that and a roar of pain. Out loud! He’snormally so tolerant.
A slap across the face; my brother has tried to calm him down, more cries of anger – my brother’s this time – my mother pleading my father to calm down and I cover my ears. Too much.
After a while everything calms down.
I hear my father stamp up the battered stairs and slam the door to his bedroom. I tentatively wait until I hear the old bed creak in protest as he sinks on to it. My father is not a bad man, yet I am afraid of his anger. Only someone who is foolish will get in the way of a scared father.
Leo, my brother, is sitting at the wooden table, his chin resting in the palm of his hand. The right side of his face is red and the skin is tight. My mother is rocking to and fro on my grandmother’s rocking chair. She has the swollen face of someone who has spent hours crying, but as I tip toe into the kitchen she pins a smile on her lips, for a moment it smoothes the lines that congregate there.
I sit beside my brother and put my hand in his. He looks at me with his passion filled eyes. I search them questioningly; unlike my mother, Leo does not feel it necessary to pretend to make me feel better. “I ain’t going to let ‘em hurt you.” He says angrily. “I won’t let ‘em, Ma. Nor you either.
“I know it.” I say. Because I do.
He stands up unsure of what to do. His anger is radiating around the confined space of the room.
“If we’re on the rich side, it’ll be okay.” Ma croaks from her chair.
“How can you say that?” Leo spits, his anger isn’t aimed at her, but it hits her first anyway. “Like we’ll ever end up on that side! Everyone’s tryin’ to get their money up! Dad’s wages got slashed again! Why does everyone sit around hopin’ when we can stop it?”
Ma stands up, walks over to us and puts a calming hand on my brother’s tense shoulder – its always what it takes to calm him down. “Not while there’s life in my heart will I stop hopin’. And we can’ stop it, not little old us.” That’s funny, little old us. Not even a pimple on Swifts nose to itch him a bit. So small we’re not even there.
Leo wrenches her cool hand from his shoulder. He is reminding me of father, his violent emotions building up inside him, bottling up, waiting for the explosion. “Well, I ain’t as lucky as you then.” He hisses. “Cos’ I can just sit around and wait to stop hoping.”
He’s wanted to be a doctor – he always has.
Now he storms out of the kitchen, bare feet slapping against wooden floor and slams the door so hard two ceramic plates get thrown from their place on top of the stove.
I stay as still as possible as the razor fragments ricochet around the room. They eventually stop bouncing and lie, guiltily watching us. She won’t replace it – she’ll be gluing it back together.
I look over at Ma: she has her head in her hands.