Stories from Refuge – 79 – “Can’t do anything about the nightmares.”

(c) Svedoliver | Dreamstime.com

Refuge: an underground city built to save people from an apocalyptic world. But how will its people save themselves? Read the stories in any order, or start with the introduction at part 1.

Reconciliation Council report B-67, dialogue between L.J. and Emma Black, recorded by James 72A
RY 100.11.2

I was… I don’t know how to talk about it. You spend your whole life not talking about it, not wanting to be targeted as one of those insurrectionists, one of those rioters they’ll send the bots after, break their bones and lock them up. Better to keep your head down and pretend it didn’t happen. Now I’m supposed to talk about it and it’s supposed to make me feel better?

No use crying over spilt milk. My mom used to say that. I don’t know why, I don’t even know what milk is. But I know what she meant. We can’t do anything about the bots, or the arrests, or the Empaths patrolling the tunnels listening for people who sound guilty, or the Commanders coming to your office or your school room and taking someone out who you’ll never see again. Can’t do anything about the nightmares that wake you up. Might as well roll over and try to get back to sleep.

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Stories from Refuge – 78 – “I pretty much had to stay alive if they did.”

Refuge: an underground city built to save people from an apocalyptic world. But how will its people save themselves? Read the stories in any order, or start with the introduction at part 1.

Reconciliation Council report B-66, dialogue between C.P. and Della Goldsteen, recorded by Beatrice 75C
RY 100.11.1

I was lucky. I know I was lucky. I really don’t have any reason to feel like I do. It’s not like what happened to my friends. They’re the ones who actually got hurt, they had a reason to feel bad. They got interrogated, when the Empaths showed up, got their heads filled with nightmares that they never woke up from. I got knocked out before then, when the bots showed up, and I was still out cold when the Empaths got there. I never got interrogated. I woke up in Confinement and never got anything put in my head.

I still woke up with nightmares, though. Bots marching in my sleep, not even seeing them but hearing them, those clanging metal feet, those…

Yeah, I’m okay. Well, no, but I can go on.

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Stories from Refuge – 77 – “I don’t know why it isn’t better.”

(c) Serjio74 | Dreamstime.com

Refuge: an underground city built to save people from an apocalyptic world. But how will its people save themselves? Read the stories in any order, or start with the introduction at part 1.

Reconciliation Council report C-17, interview with Della Goldsteen, recorded by Mary 80C
RY 100.10.31

I thought it would get better. I don’t know why. When we work in Government, even some insignificant job like I had, filing records in a Military procurement office, and the Government is the way it was, we have to expect things are going to get bad. That’s what I told myself, that’s why I felt so bad, because of where I found myself. But everything was going to go to hell any day now and then it would all be over.

I expected to get killed in a riot, when things were really heating up. It was the start of the Revolution, although we didn’t know it at the time. Rioters broke into the tunnel where I worked, down at the end but so close I could hear them. They broke into bot storage, disabled a lot of units, and killed a guard. I was upset that it wasn’t me.

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Poetry corner: In response to e.e. cummings

Not so lonely
we think,
falling where wind
and season take us,
singly perhaps
or in clusters,
one day green
and brown the next –
This is how it is.
We’re not the ones
who wish for eternal spring.

Poetry & photography (c)2017 Michelle M. Welch

There are numerous things I learned about the poem that provided the inspiration for this one while I was searching for a good image of it to add (below). One is that the full title is not “l(a” as is normally stated, (or “1(a” as people’s spell checkers seem to insist on), but “a leaf falls on loneliness.” Also, there’s some debate about whether Cummings used standard capitalization for his name or not. I decided to go with my teenage self, who remembered this poem, and stick with the angsty appeal of the lower case in my title.

From The Ode Less Travelled at Google Books

Stories from Refuge – 76 – “But we just came up with new things to fight about.”

(c) Radist | Dreamstime.com

Refuge: an underground city built to save people from an apocalyptic world. But how will its people save themselves? Read the stories in any order, or start with the introduction at part 1.

Reconciliation Council report B-65, dialogue between N.G. and Van 48C, recorded by James 72A
RY 100.10.28

I broke into Media Production once. I knew a guy who worked there, he was going in after curfew to work on some music of his own, and he said he’d let me in, too. He wasn’t really interested in what I was doing there, he just pointed me to the recording booths and then disappeared into his own. I didn’t really know what I was doing, I had to punch a lot of buttons to try to get the transmission going, and then I had to figure out how to plug in the cartridge where we’d recorded the music. I was sure I didn’t get it right, that I wasn’t transmitting at all, that no one was hearing it, or that I was just sending out white noise or an alarm siren or something.

But then the Empath came in and I knew someone had heard me, at least.

It was this one. I wasn’t really sure when I first walked in. You’d think I’d remember that, the scariest day of my whole life, you’d think every little detail would be etched on my brain. But I can’t even remember the name of the guy who worked in Media and let me in. I can’t remember what songs we sang on that recording. And I didn’t really remember this man’s face. I just remember that he made me sing those songs. He pulled out the cartridge and made me sing what I was trying to transmit, and I didn’t know why. I could never figure out why he made me do that.

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