In other news, which really isn't news to you because the above picture-link clearly shows it, MY PAPERBACKS ARRIVED! Wowzers! I can hold each and every one of my wonderful works in my hands. I can even hold all of them at one time if I want to! (That takes both hands, though, and then I'd have to put down the coffee, so maybe I'll try that next week...) Seriously, though, click the link and then go buy one. When it's Not Right is in the same universe as When it's Not Perfect, and you can get both ON SALE as a Christmas Book Bundle on my Etsy RIGHT NOW.
Speaking of Christmas, are you planning to come to the vendor show? Okay good. I'll see you there!
And, one more quick reminder, this post is the last one this year with a story part attached. New short stories will return in January, with all previously posted stories available free from the Short Stories menu option at the top of the page. Hope you have a good weekend!
3. Carrying Belief
The first transition was to hit up the standbys that had been popular just prior to the initial outbreak. Those monotheistic faiths had done okay for boosting moral, but it was tough to get a population of women who had only ever seen men in pictures to rally behind the thought of a masculine deity. The pitch was nice for having a place in an eternal heaven after a lifetime of suffering, but the main platform was mumbo-jumbo based on some strange and foreign family unit that centered on a patriarchal thought basis. All of us New Birthers couldn’t find anything in that transition to relate to.
So the second transition happened. Hellfire and brimstone. It was all a bunch of soul-condemning mumbo-jumbo that terrified everyone and, sadly, destroyed a lot of educational resources because higher learning got blamed for the current situation. Those two years weren’t packed with great memories, but hey, they ushered in the third transition of peace, love, and understanding that heralded a new era of Druidic based mumbo-jumbo which supported scientific work in the areas of saving the species. Other areas of research were still shunned to an excessive amount, but if there was a breakthrough on stopping extinction while the population was able to hold sustainable levels, those other areas were at least now being preserved so someone might one day be able to pursue them.
I winced accordingly as I felt the pressure of the needle against the back of my hand. Well, the hand I was holding up.
I can pass any lie detection method because I do own the hand. My heartbeat, blood pressure, and nervous system operate the biomotor which keeps it alive, and its attachment is nearly flawless. The scar is easy to excuse away as a personal attempt for my life – also not a lie. My mother is a personal part of my life and she’s attempting to ensure I get the opportunity to remain alive. Blood is literally lying around in every research facility and lab since the third transition, so me, and the few others like me that my mom was able to find and protect with these nifty little cloned hands, are able to undergo the weekly Giving without having to worry about becoming one of the Missing.
We all have that extra Y-chromosome clinging to our double-X DNA. We all work with my mom, undergoing the testing she develops if we choose to volunteer (rather than being locked in cages like the Missing who are tested on like animals used to be). My mom used to work in one of the labs where the Missing were taken. Three of the women I work beside were part of the Missing before my mom faked their deaths and then manufactured other identities for them. I’ve taken over operating the underground system my mom built for getting out one or two Missing every year. It means I have to go inside the deepest facility of the main research dome, but it also means I get to leave.
Today, when I get home from this mocked up religious service, we’re starting on the next injections of the staged inoculations that we’ve been able to develop in secret over the past eleven years. My arthritis makes me a poor candidate for being selected as a child-bearer, and not being a child-bearer means I won’t get new knee joints and that I don’t get a lot of attention from government officials. It also means that – being well known as lame due to my mother being so famous – me walking hunched over and slowly due to being half-crippled and moderately overweight isn’t something that causes a second glance. These things also make it perfectly unnoticeable for me to be in the second trimester of my first pregnancy to reach this duration. The injections today will be the first time we’ve tested the theories this far because I volunteered first. Two more of my mom’s staff are also pregnant, but are still in their first trimesters. We know we’re carrying sons because they were genetically engineered. We also know that these sons will not survive gestation because their existence is to provide the data needed to create treatments that will allow later sons to grow.
I pause for a moment in the long walk to outside after being dismissed and allowed to leave the church, the feeling of fluttering low in my stomach strange and exhilarating and wonderful. That started just a few days ago. The fact that I see him, absolutely alive, on the monitors I’m attached to day and night when at home in the lab is a miracle… but the kicking takes my breath every time. I’ve never seen a living human male before, but I have one inside me right now.
Because I’m so easy to ignore, people simply file past me and my canes with only a few scoffs of inconvenience for having to pause in a conversation to go around me. I mumble the appropriate apologies when those who are scoffing are those who are still wearing their gloves and masks and are clutching their hard little cases too tightly. I smile apologetically and blame menstruation cramping when one person stops to ask if I’m all right. She smiles at me with understanding, her eyes a tawny hazel, and offers to help me down the few stairs leading outside to the sidewalk. She’s flirting and sweet during the short walk together and actually looks disappointed when I beg out of an impromptu lunch date, but her smile comes back with the loveliest dimples when I hint at hoping to sit closer to her next week.
The fluttering in my stomach, which has nothing to do with her dimpled smile, returns in the car ride half-way home. I close my eyes and smile up through the high windshield, enjoying the heat of the sun on my face as my car hums along on its preprogrammed route. If this round of injections is successful, my son will continue living and growing and we’ll monitor his development and plan for the next round of inoculations. If it isn’t, this moment of him being alive will be one of his last and I’ll start again with a new implanted zygote as soon as my mother and I agree that I’m medically able. This science of my mom’s may not be a religion but, as I realize the fluttering right now is stronger than the first time I noticed it a few days ago, this is likely as close as I’ll ever get to having faith.
Why are Authors crazy? I can't answer that, but I can provide bits of my own thoughts so that you can piece together why I may be.