Stories from Refuge – 126 – “It serves me right but can you blame me for wanting to hide?”

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-31, interview with Ellen Wen, recorded by Beatrice 75C
RY 101.1.12

I was one of the programmers. I wrote the orders that got uploaded into the Commanders’ heads. I’m the reason they marched out into these tunnels and led the companies of bots and got people hurt and killed. I wrote the code that made them do all that.

I should have come forward sooner, probably. I should have revealed my name so that all my neighbors know who I really am and what I really did before the Revolution. I didn’t want to face the fallout so I was a coward. I’m right in the position that everyone else was in before, scared for my life and hoping everyone just ignores me. Sure, it serves me right, but can you really blame me for wanting to hide?

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Poetry Corner: Nuance

Is it just me
or has everything
become heavy-handed
All the stories
all the jokes
everything we say to each other,
in person or on screens –
Desperate to draw lines
and make boxes
and put people in them,
put ourselves in them,
forgetting what it would be like
to look up,
to be light

Poetry & photography (c)2018 Michelle M. Welch

Stories from Refuge – 125 – “They make fun of me for being so scared I got amnesia.”

(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 B-100, interview with B.T., recorded by James 72A
RY 101.1.9

People tell me I shouldn’t blame him, because it wasn’t his fault. The Commander who took me, he didn’t even know what he was doing. Machine-heads don’t know anything except what they’re programmed to do. I think that proves people wrong right there. No one would have programmed him to kidnap me, because I’m not anyone, I’m not some criminal mastermind that Government needed to be afraid of, and I’ve never even been in a riot, not even at the edges of one when it broke out. So if the machine-head grabbed me, it must have been his own fault.

People want to know what happened, where he took me, if he said anything to me. I don’t really remember where he took me, some side tunnel somewhere, and no, I can’t remember how to get back there. Everyone’s disappointed when I tell them that. Some of them even laugh at me, make fun of me for being so scared I got amnesia. Just like a Type 2 yourself, one guy said. I just about hit him in the face when he said that.

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Stories from Refuge – 124 – “I went because I wanted to know what would happen.”

(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-99, interview with O.M., recorded by Mary 80C
RY 101.1.8

I sort of went along with it when I was kidnapped. It happened more than once. Or maybe that’s not quite accurate. There were lots of times a guy talked me into following him and I did it, followed him into the tunnel that’s not supposed to exist between Sec 9 and Sec 21, or under the platforms in Sec 24 after curfew. That’s the reputation you get, I guess. I probably knew it was dangerous, anything could happen, I could have gotten hurt, but I would go anyway. No one ever needed to really kidnap me, tie me up or knock me on the head and drag me away. I went because I wanted to know. I wanted to know what would happen.

So when the Commander came for me I went, because I wanted to know what would happen. What would he look like when he took off his helmet? Were they actually robots under the gear and the body armor? Did all their parts work like normal men? That’s the most curious I’ve ever been, and also the most scared. He did grab me, so hard on the arm it felt like I was paralyzed, and he dragged me off to a side tunnel off the Military section that I really didn’t know existed. That’s the one time I thought that maybe my habit of just going along with it wasn’t a good one.

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Stories from Refuge – 123 – “He was laughing to keep himself from screaming.”

(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-98, interview with M.A., recorded by Beatrice 75C
RY 101.1.6

Yes, I was one of those women, the preacher’s women. You all look nervous now. I’m sure the recorder will put that in her notes, but you really don’t need an Empath to notice how uncomfortable everyone is around me. I’ve seen it my whole life.

What is it about sex, anyway? Everyone gets weird when you bring up the subject, especially if it’s someone like me. You look away and you start telling yourself stories about me – either I was young and stupid, or I was slutty and stupid, or I was too innocent to know what was going on, and that’s tragic but it’s still my fault, somehow. Now this is the part where you get more embarrassed, because no one’s supposed to say it out loud. I’m supposed to go away and be quiet so you can tell stories without me saying whether you’re right or not.

People never want their stories questioned, no matter what they’re about. Those stories are what’s keeping them safe, what lets them build a little fortress around themselves and tell themselves they won’t get hurt in there. The preacher was right about that. Here’s where you start looking all smug and tell yourself something new – if I’m defending him then I must have been in love with him, and the whole story changes. I’m not a victim and I’m not tragic but I’m still stupid. It just doesn’t fit your narrative if someone is right about some things and still horrible at the same time.

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