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-37, submitted anonymously
I’ve lost so many things.
I lost the house I grew up in. My mom left, and I don’t know how someone can leave and disappear in 35 miles of tunnels but she did. Then dad stopped working, we couldn’t pay the rent on the unit we had, and we had to move down to the Government assistance housing in sub-22. Nasty little slot in the wall that they stick people into like storing stuff in a cupboard, and we didn’t even have room to bring my toys or that picture dad had in the living room, the sun in the sky that almost looked like it could have been real.
I lost a boy that I liked in school. I never told him that I liked him, I was too shy then. I just watched him from the other side of the classroom. Then one day during a lockdown he ran out into the tunnel, just as the bots were marching through. I’m not sure what happened to him, exactly, but he never came back.
A friend of mine, we used to hang out together after work, go to the illegal bars and try to meet men, talk about what we’d do if we didn’t live down here. She came up with the best stories, crazy stuff like flying airships and climbing mountains and things I never could have dreamed of. It turned out she was part of an insurrection group. They were stockpiling weapons and making contact with Aboveground, planning to storm the Council offices and overthrow Government. That’s what we heard later. Every one of them disappeared after they were discovered. We were all interrogated, of course, everyone who knew any of them, to find out if we knew anything else. I told the Empath that I didn’t know my friend and he believed me. It might as well have been true. It was like I never really knew who she was at all.
My grandmother had a stroke. When she went thirty days with no improvement they turned off the life support. Medical can’t spare the electricity to keep anyone alive that long. They never even called me to come in when they did it. I lost her and I didn’t even know.
I lost a baby. It hurts too much to remember how that happened.
I want to hate someone for all of this. I want to rail against Government or just start riots like those people who get in trouble for no reason. I know it won’t help. It won’t help to tell my story in front of this fourth Council and accuse someone. I sure don’t want to forgive anyone. All I can do is write these words and send them off and lose them too.
©2017 Michelle M. Welch