A Perfect Blend of Function and Taste

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Slated for Deletion

NOTE: Scant beginnings of a new dystopian chapter. My goal is to slowly weave the tidbits of stories I write into one epic timeline (barring Fan Fic, obviously).

The overarching story- taking place over centuries- will take shape once the implicit connections in disparate "chapters" are discovered by the reader.


In the years of the Global Reprieve, that uneasy detente after the First War (but before the Second War and subsequent Great Atrophy), a child was born.

His parents were living off the grid, adopting the subsistence lifestyle that Deletes had been forced to resort to in those days. Squatting in the city's enclaves was common practice, but that was no excuse in the eyes of the Directorate. Like so many other things, vagrancy was punishable by permanent relocation. No one knew this better than those who skirted the margins of the law, having heard stories of loved ones dispatched under night's open sky by gloved hands, disembodied and swift. Much like the occlusive smog that often rolled in from the hills beyond the harbor, days were clouded by anxiety over the inevitable raids to come.

Compared to the others in their enclave, the mother and father lived in comfortable obscurity- the ambiguity of their stock had allowed them the freedom to interact with outsiders, members of the other castes. They had grown accustomed to "passing"- an easy feat but for the prominence of the "D"s etched in kohl that lay beneath each eye like twin klaxons of social irrelevance. Generous applications of riverbed clay muddled the marks of their station, for the most part. For some of the more scrutinous individuals with whom they traded goods, this deception landed above notice, but still shy of concern. There were risks to their ventures, of course, but, like fresh water and flour, options ran scarce in this city.

That "passing" was possible by any Delete, let alone a viable mating pair, was nothing short of remarkable. Many would say in the years to pass that this fact alone allowed for the even more exceptional birth of their unregistered, unmarked child. Circumstances shielded him from the Directorate's awareness, and decisive action spirited him away from its reach at the age of two...


The messenger entered.

"There is talk in the city about an unmarked child. They say that it is safeguarded away in one of the Delete holdouts, and that he is being raised to start an eventual revolution."

Protectorate Commander Wren narrowed his eyes at the unwelcome report. More rumors means more dissent. And more dissent, he pondered, means an emboldened insurgency. Their entire system depended on the continued existence of the Deletes as a marginal community- a people classified illegal by a law left unenforced by political necessity. Actual raids were rare checks on the potential power of demographics wielded by the lowest caste- but, paradoxically, their outright elimination would lead to a catastrophe greater than any insurrection.

There must always be a bottom rung. He recited the words noiselessly, and the ghost of this important reminder echoed in his head.

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