In a dystopian future, all light has disappeared from the universe. The only source of life is the vessel; a floating rock inhabited by evolved humans.
My screams pierced the hollowed metal cave. As they rocketed around my smoky room they were magnified by the cold steel walls. Shooting from my bed, my hands clenched white-knuckled over my stomach and I let out one more agonisingly pained gag. My arm snapped out and poised above the ‘call’ button on the wall, but as soon as my eyes focused, the pain began to melt away. A flurry of dirty blue sheets landed over me and I collapsed onto the floor, tangled in the thick wires that decorated the chamber. Lying there, I tried to catch my breath. Must I always start each day like this?
When I was younger the mornings would be the time to foreshadow my whole day; if I was woken up by a nice song on the radio, it was a good day. If I was woken up by a sentinel barging into my room telling me about new devices and propositions, then it was a bad day. If I woke up with this agonising pain in my gills, then you’d better know it was a bad day. Three years and every morning had been like this.
Pulling myself to the sink and looking through the smoke, I turned on the tap. Rather than water coming out, a shot of yellowish steam spat from thin air in front of me and before I could say “squeaky,” the night’s grit and grime disappeared off my skin. I swivelled in my spot and pressed a button on the side wall that said “vent.” Two seconds later, the smoke that permeated my room faded away and I could finally take in a deep breath. Looking down into the sink, I tried to remember the last time I tasted water. Was it decades? I had been in the Topaz Cascades, trying to siphon jewels from the Hartion Mines. Wauol broke into a spring and the nearby sector 93 drank for a week. I must have been only 120 years old… So young.
The mirror was staring to look foggy with soot so I rubbed my arm over it, simultaneously coughing up a storm. Staring into it, I saw my face staring back. The rash around my gills had gotten worse and these goddamn capsules weren’t doing a thing. Perhaps they were just sugar pills. You never know what you’re actually getting from those crooked chemists.
My eyes, though the palest of blue, were bloodshot and big bags fell under them. My hair grew long and black, dangling wildly below my nose. I took a band from the side of the sink and tied my hair into a bun. Looking at myself, I had gotten thin - much too thin to be well. Hesitantly disregarding how I looked, I threw on a singlet, a jacket and some jeans to start the day. Feeling the cold hard floor between my calloused toes, I stepped with ease over the dangling wires. Slamming my fist onto the door lock, the big great slab of metal swung open, almost hitting Anmia in the head. Her big red eyes widened in shock and as she shot back her long brown hair flew around her.