This is the beginning of my first short story attempt, a dystopian saga w/an inital twist.
But They Need Me
The alarm clock shrieked in my ears so loudly that they began to ring. I rolled over silently in the vast, empty space and saw a dull, grey light peering into the room under the curtains. For a brief moment, sharp memories of a bright sun shone in my mind, un-dulled by the cloud of smog and fear around me. It shattered suddenly. I remembered. And I was alone.
I rose slowly and dressed for my day. I picked up my badge and keys, and turned out the lights, looking back quickly and wincing. This was it. My last safe moment for hours. Alone. Quiet. And then, I closed my eyes, and began unlocking my door, feeling all five clicks in succession, and mourning the moment. I took a deep breath of clean air, and pulled on my mask. As I stepped outside, I felt the breeze of the putrid yellow-brown haze sting my eyes and exposed skin, searing and marking me with its filth. I locked the door, wincing one last time, and left.
As I sat in my car, I felt almost hypnotized by the continual hum of the engine beneath me. The music pulsed, and the air filtered through from a palpable cloud of brown mist to clear and clean. I breathed in deeply as the light stopped me. The car began to still, my breathing lulled with the music, and I looked up. Six more were chosen. Their pictures, most beautiful and bright, clung to the air in front of the billboard. Five were women. Shockingly young and attractive, I wondered, did they have husbands? Children? And the man? He could have been my grandfather. Sentenced. All of them. Randomly. And for no real reason. I felt the hole in my own chest, the heartache that had no words, and felt for those families. For those people would die quickly and painlessly, but those left behind would be tormented with their losses until their own deaths.
Again, memory came unbidden, with the brightness of the unfettered sun of my childhood suddenly devoured. We sat together there, in that room, as The Plan unfolded. There were simply too many of us, they said. Humanity had effectively begun to destroy itself. The Earth could not sustain us. People were starving, going thirsty, and we had begun to blot out the very sun. The solution was simple. The Lottery had begun. Each person was registered, and no one was safe. Then the computer would choose who would sacrifice their share of the Earth's resources that others may live. No one was immune. And I had no fear.
I found myself unable to breathe. My heart pounded, and the tears streamed down my face despite my desperate attempts to claw my way out of the memory. And remembered: I sat in the car, and felt almost hypnotized by the hum of the engine beneath me. The air filtered in, from a putrid yellow-brown to a clear, clean wave brushing my face. The light stopped me, and as the car stilled, I looked up. Six faces clung to the air in front of the billboard. And as I looked, time itself stopped. I opened the car door without my mask and wretched violently into the street. But, I could make it home before they took him. I could do it. They could take me instead, I thought, as I gazed up at my husband's face on the billboard. But he was gone. And I was alone.
I pulled into the parking lot, grabbed my mask, and silently said goodbye to my family, my love. Hollow, empty shells of buildings loomed over me, covered in the putrid brown mist that clung to everything, alive or not. I opened the door to the hospital to the familiar sound of the hiss of the air containment, and pulled off my mask, placing it gently in my bag.
I walked upstairs and began my rotation. As I entered the first patient's room, I saw him in the corner, and I ignored the eyes. But, as I approached the patient, his eyes followed my every move, no matter how slight, and covered even the bends in my wrists. Still I ignored the eyes. He paid no heed to my words. And his wife lay dying.
People passed through my day, coming and going, some living, some dying, but always with the eyes until I could go home. I washed my hands carefully, finding my mask as I felt the haze touch me. The door closed behind me as I searched for the quiet of my car. And as I drove again, the continual hum of the engine beneath me lulled me, hypnotizing me. Again, I watched the murky air transform into clean, clear air around me. And as the light stopped me, I looked up. More faces in the air. A beautiful child. More men. And then suddenly I flung open the door, barely missing my car as I began to wretch in the street again. My car filled with brown haze, and I could not breathe. I could not move. I slammed the door shut and whipped around, peering forcefully into the haze and night. That last face. That last face. It couldn't be. It could not be. I could not be the sixth.