Friday, April 11, 2014

Remote Destination

Remote Destination
“Screw it,” Kevin says, after the first couple of drops of water do nothing to wake his sister. He dumps a whole glass on Celine’s face causing her to shoot upright from the floor.
    “What the--!” she screams.
    Kevin smiles. He reaches out to touch her face, concerned about the purple mark on her cheek from when she went down in the cafeteria earlier.
She knows I care, he thinks to himself, no need to get all mushy about it.
    Celine runs her fingers through her hair and grins at him. Kevin stares at her; still unable to get used to her hair being as short as his.
Celine laughed at his reaction when she showed off her shorn head. Said his jaw practically hit the ground.
“So, you’re trying to copy me again,” he said trying to hide the fact that he missed her long red locks, a trademark of their mother.
In all ways the Middleton twins look alike. But the hair was what made Celine less rigid with her sharp chin and cheeks. Though, Kevin considered that with the new look fewer guys would be interested in her. Now that his sister was sixteen he noticed the courageous or just plain stupid boys at Holyoke glance her way. He noticed that even though every student at Holyoke Reformatory wore the same shapeless gray shirts and pants that the boys seemed to take note of how Celine filled hers out. Kevin would punch his fist against his palm to ruin any kind of thoughts these guys had. And as soon as they caught Kevin’s line of vision their faces went white.
    Celine looks around and realizes they’re not in the Pit or their rooms.
    She sighs. “Damn. The Matron?”
“I’d appreciate no profanity, Ms. Middleton,” The Matron says.
    It was realized by the unidentifiable powers-that-be that the Middleton twins weren’t afraid of the Pit nor were they the type to think things over in their rooms and come to better decisions. It was decided that after any incident Kevin and Celine would go and speak with The Matron, Holyoke’s only religious/spiritual guidance counselor of sorts. When she first met the two she stated she preferred to treat people from the inside/out. The twins found it hilarious, especially considering their experience of the reformers and AG going about discipline.
After a handful of visits they found they didn’t mind The Matron so much. They would sit, listen, and nod their heads as though her words were sinking in. As far as they were concerned it was better than practicing how to block out the unnerving sounds and darkness of the Pit.
    Celine and Kevin take their seats on the opposite side of The Matron’s desk. Each time they enter this room Kevin stares at the pictures along her walls. Images of gods from every religion known to man, old and new. The animal-like gods of Hinduism and the volcanoes of Scientology, and even some of the newer ones like Cantology with pictures of famous poets and New Wave Christianity that has an image of someone shrouded in dark purple shadow on a horse, maybe even a unicorn. The pictures flash over the posters like cartoons, showing scenes from the old books.
    Knowing protocol Celine and Kevin put their hands in their laps and await The Matron’s speech. The Matron scrunches up her face at them causing Kevin and Celine to share a glance. They’re used to her shaking her head as she mutters a few “tsk tsks” by now.  
    “Why the constant fighting? Why do I have to see you two so often?”
    “I’m not trying to be unruly or whatever. Edgar got in my face and I don’t back down,” Kevin states as though she should’ve realized this by now.
    “I was there for support,” Celine adds. She blinks her eyes to convey an innocence everyone in the room knows she doesn’t have.
    “Do you realize that with your growing record things will not be easy for you two? Do you realize that with the plans set in motion you could be ruining your chances to start over?”
    “Plans? What plans?” Celine asks.
    “It hasn’t been announced yet. But you two are smart. I see it. You are hard workers.” She stares at Kevin, “And yes I know you don’t take any…crap.” She seems to stumble on the last word causing Kevin to stifle a laugh at her attempt to curse.
    The Matron folds her hands together and leans on her desk. She lowers her voice making Kevin and Celine pull their chairs closer to hear her.
    “I’m not supposed to say much about this, but we’re going to Earth. Well, some of us are. To repopulate the planet. To start anew. And only a chosen few are going to get this chance. So I wouldn’t screw it up if I were you.”
    “Earth! No way.” Celine waves her arm as though flicking away a bug.
    “I’m not joking, Ms. Middleton. We’re running out of resources here. Have you not noticed?”
    “We’re supposed to notice?” Kevin says with a laugh. “We get crap anyways, so what would less crap be like?” He pulls at his torn shirt for emphasis. Crossing his arms Kevin continues unable to believe what the woman in front of him is saying.
    Kevin remembers hearing about the collapse of civilization. He doesn’t recall exact details since he was often drawing sketches during classes rather than paying attention. What he does recollect is that a thousand years ago something happened, an explosion or chemical or biological warfare or whatever. It spread like dominoes all over the Earth.
    Celine mentioned to him that she heard about rationing more, especially at Holyoke, before the Acting Government applied it to the outside communities. Looking at their protein mush servings get smaller and smaller she said something was up. But Celine was the type to read up on those things and observe her surroundings. His sister understood things in days that it’d take him months or years to.
    Besides the fact that Celine’s female what separates them is that she’s a closet a computer genius. Learned it all from books alone. Given a computer and enough time she could probably hack into any system, Kevin was sure.
    Kevin noticed The Matron look at Celine with sad eyes whenever she brought up the future and the “possibilities being endless.” He doesn’t recall The Matron ever looking at him that way. Of course Kevin couldn’t say what was on The Matron’s mind when she focused on him. He tended to turn away for fear of pity or sympathy.
    She continues, “We’re forging a new world and to do that we have to learn the mistakes of the old one... That being said the plan is to take one hundred Holyoke residents to Earth in the next thirty days. You’ll be paired off and then sent down to start restructuring society. Building things, figuring out how a community will work in your area and so forth.”
    “Hold on. They’re gonna set us free to rebuild Earth. Why us? Like, why me and Celine?”
    “Why not you and Celine? You don’t think highly of yourself, do you Kevin? You really should. I’d recommend you if it weren’t for these stunts you keep pulling.”
    “No stunt Matron. Edgar fuc—messed with Kev first. I saw the whole thing.”
    “And of course you’re not biased in the least are you, Ms. Middleton?”
    Celine grins. “Course not.”
    The Matron points at them both with either hand. “Listen. Get your act together and you two will be part of something amazing. Don’t you want that? Don’t you want to help build the future for your society?”
    Celine and Kevin look at each other. Considering whether or not this is a prank or worse, false hope. 
Story by: Jenn Baker
Photo by: Carros de Foc


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