4 comments

Contemporary Fiction Science Fiction

That’s the thing about this city… it’s not the normal one you stumble across while driving on the interstate. It’s… a little different than your human ones. The buildings are two or three times higher than yours, double the size, and a big white dome surrounds it all, like a shield protecting a broken city. The people have hover cars, and small cubicle apartments where they set down their families for the rest of their lives. The buildings take over all different shapes, some with a pointy roof while some are laid on top of one another. Instead of the smog that covers your cities in a blanket of gray, we have acid rain that sends people fleeing indoors for shelter from the deadly droplets that dare to peel your skin away like a wrapper. I’ve grown up in this broken city just like my parents and their parents and their parents who came here ages ago. 

   Currently, I am running away from the Ikantow, which is like your police, who have caught me in the act of spray painting the side of a boring titanium building that contained anything but character to set it apart from the rest of the lifeless city. In my defense, nothing around the area said I couldn’t do it unlike every other part of the city that screamed their pathetic, childish rules in your face. Some were reasonable like no parking your hover car here or don’t block lane, but some others said that you couldn’t have music playing out loud or the one that I seemed to break a lot of the time: No spray painting. Even in areas that clearly stated it was prohibited, I still of course decided to do it because I had nothing better to do with my life. 

   “Hey, get back here kid!” Shouted one of the Ikantow as they chased me up the long, spiraling staircase. 

   My feet were hitting against the hard concrete roof of a 2,000 foot high building, and my arms pumped wildly as I ran as fast as I could to the edge that towered over the rest of the city. 

   “Hey, stop! Stop!!” Another Ikantow hollered as they saw I kept running even as I got closer to the drop of the highly elevated building.

   I got to the edge and thrust myself off as hard as I could with one of my feet. I soared through the sky like an eagle freeing it’s wings, and when I started to descend, a hover car interfered with my path and I was thrown on top of it, clinging to the little sides of it to prevent myself from slipping and falling to my doom. When I secured a position, I took a look back at the towering building and saw three Ikantow with furious expressions painted all over their red, fatigued faces as if they were tomatoes. One of them threw down their hat and cursed loudly in a gruff voice. I gave a slight chuckle as I found a sense of achievement in giving the officers a rough time on top of their never-ending shifts and running around constantly murdering anything pleasurable in the city that gave people ambition or exhilaration. 

   As the hover car descended steadily to the cracked pavement sealed with weeds and dandelions, I took a glance out at the horizon, wind crackling through my wavy hair. Orange met yellow and at the top white stars glistened in the black background that took up the whole top of the dome. The government programmed it to use a sort of projector to cast lights on the dome and make it seem like a sunset you all have on Earth. I remember that sky since the earliest years of my life. 

“See the sky Isaac?” My father asked me as I stood on the sidewalk swaying my little stubby arms. 

He put his mellow, bulky hands on my shoulders and redirected my gaze up to the sky. I stood there gaping at the open sky, extending to the boundaries of the city. I found it to be a wonderland, a savior. I grew up in a miniscule one room apartment which I shared with my mom and dad and learned very early on the rules of the city and how to behave so I wouldn’t be a hazard and be put in danger. My teachers each morning went over all 270 rules and made us repeat after them. 

“I must not wear any bright colors outside of my home,” My little six-year-old self repeated after the teacher along with my class of 35. The population skyrocketed after the city was founded, and whoever came in never left. They had to expand the city borders over three times since it was created to overcrowd itself with more people inside it’s walls that trapped them like a bug in a cave and let them rot there for the rest of their lives until they died and went to a better place. While others held mournings and spent days confined inside their brutally compact living areas because someone had passed, I always gave a slight smile and wished them a better life then they received in their last. No prayers were sent to those who perished, for religion was something of the old city but resulted in battles and wars. The government banned all practices of beliefs and anyone who continued their practice had gotten punished by the government. Those who got caught doing things they shouldn’t were taken away by the government and never returned. I was almost one of those more times than I can remember. That’s why I always wore a mask when I did anything I thought I would get in trouble for, because I’ve heard from others and seen it happen to the neighbors in the other apartment next to ours. One evening when we were eating our dinner that tasted either like cardboard or paper when we heard thunderous banging that sounded as if it was almost coming from our own door. We all stood up, bumping the table and rushed to the door. When we dared to open it, we saw two government officials assaulting our neighbors door. Their uniforms were sharp and a strong, sour scent filled the air. It almost smelled like after the acid rain pelted our buildings and we came back outside. The smell scorched our nostrils and when we breathed it in it made our throats scratchy and sore. When they answered their door, one of the men grabbed them and put them in handcuffs while the other one told them what was happening. 

“Daniel Nivida of Apartment number 256C of the Graybridge building, you have been caught in the act of practicing religion. You will now be taken into custody of the government,” the man concluded as he took a little gizmo off his thick leather belt and attached it to the back of Daniel’s head. 

The moment it grabbed on to his thin skin, he collapsed into the arms of the other official, paralyzed but still conscious. He then heaved him on top of his shoulders and walked ruthlessly back down the hallway. My parents shoved me back inside the apartment and locked all seven of the locks attached to the sturdy door. They were always scared that I would be taken away by them and screamed into my ear until I was on the verge of becoming deaf whenever I got in trouble. 

The hover car descended and eventually became a few feet from the roads. I leaped off and hit the sidewalk hard. I briskly took cover in a bland alleyway before the people who were riding in the car could see me and report me. I walked on dust and smears of whatever as I made my way through the filthy alley decorated with scattered trash cans overflowing, it’s contents pouring over the edge and dispersed across the ground. Ivy climbed up the side of the apartment buildings which were made of a mix of concrete and plaster. A chain-link fence stood at the end, blocking off all access to the other buildings behind it. I hopped on top of a gray dumpster and flung myself onto the concrete parking lot. I sauntered along slowly, and when I got to one of the building's back entrances, I quickly opened up the door and snuck in, staying in the safety of the shadows. I took the stairs down to the bottom floor and opened up one of the doors saying: NO ENTRANCE. I unlocked it using the key from one of my pockets and slipped inside and shut the door quietly.

“You’re late,” Comes an irritated voice.

“I… ran into some trouble,” I explained myself, turning around.

My friend Jackson sat on an office chair facing three large computer screens. The lights were dim as usual to keep any unwanted attention away from our hideout, but I could see the hints of anger stretched along his face.

“You have to stop going around breaking all the rules. You’ll be taken by the government before we can ever put our plan into action!” He shouted, his hands crossed over his chest. 

“I know, I know,” I uttered as I grabbed my mask and drew it from my head. 

I straighten out my hair and throw it down on the desk where Jackson is seated. I take a seat in the chair next to him, and we turn back to the computers. 

“So, are we done yet?” I questioned, my foot bouncing up and down with anticipation. 

Over the last few months Jackson and I collected data from the early city of what life was like and the improvements in the people’s health in a hope to gain our freedom back. We both dreamed of listening to music and wearing whatever we wanted, chewing gum, and staying out as late as we wanted without getting in trouble with our parents. 

“You can just in time, my friend,” Jackson said as he rolled his chair over to the printer where a single piece of delicate paper met his fingers. 

He took a pin from the little cup we had lying in between the computers and walked over to the walls that served as our bulletin boards. Evidence and photos scattered them and not a single speck of paint was seen in the mess. He went over to one of the walls and pinned the paper into its proper place. I stood up, barely believing it myself. 

“It’s completed,” He said with a satisfied smile.

March 17, 2021 22:10

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

4 comments

Moss Bramall
12:03 Mar 25, 2021

It is quite difficult to build a world within a short story because the word limits are low - but you certainly managed to do so. There is an oppressive government, a fearful police force (whose name I thought was creative- Ikantow), and even some description of the city and the way its citizens live. There were definitely some parallels to fascist regimes we have seen throughout history, and to some of the organizations that resisted them! All of which made it easier to visualize. I would definitely suggest continuing to make submissions...

Reply

Sonja V.
19:16 Mar 25, 2021

Thank you so much for the positive feedback, I really appreciate it! I'll be sure to try some more dystopian or sci-fi pieces in the future for my submissions!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Claire Tennant
04:23 Mar 25, 2021

My, I would not want to live in that city, it sounds scary. You wove this tale by means of humour, mischief and believable scenarios. It had the makings of a thriller All the characters fitted in their place and left the reader with a desire (however scared this reader was) to know more Good writing. Well done

Reply

Sonja V.
11:34 Mar 25, 2021

Thank you so much! I definitely think that this is one of better works!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply