What happened to me? Where am I? Can’t see anything. Can’t remember anything.
A shiver starts at the base of my spine and I hunch over to hug myself. I’m shaking all over.
Must see something, anything. But the blackness is like a living thing—it crawls all over me with blob-like hands that inch up my body and squeeze my throat.
Oh, my God! I can’t breathe. I’m suffocating. I stifle a scream.
Have to remain calm, have to think.
I remember the march where I joined a small group of women. We were going to the Corporate Offices to protest the lack of food for the sick and dying. We’d only walked one block. I think that’s when they grabbed me.
Was that an hour ago?
Wait! They tossed me into a box, set me on a conveyor belt, covered my head so I could barely breathe. I was hysterical, disoriented.
I must have passed out. It has to be them—Corporate Police. They were running at us, using their stun guns and riot sticks, tearing the signs from our hands:
Give us food. Everyone must eat
The Corporates have declared that all available food is now only for the healthy. What it means is that it’s only for the Corporates. Only for them.
My head is getting scrambled. I keep trying to keep things straight, but it’s all a blur. Who am I?
Wait! I know! I’m a nurse. I take care of sick people. That knowledge embraces me and for a moment I feel stronger, but soon the weakness returns. I gave my food to the helpless, to the sick. I haven’t eaten in two days.
I visualize the Corporate Directive I received a week ago: If nurses refuse to euthanize the dying, the patients will be left to starve.
I couldn’t do that, couldn’t kill anybody. I couldn’t stand by and watch helpless people with their hands out begging me, crying, pleading for food, for water.
The memory is too much. I feel myself sinking away. It’s so cold. I can’t stop shivering. Where are the others? The other protesters?
Every day, one by one, nurses have been disappearing. Droids replace them, toss dead bodies away.
Then my best friend Annie didn’t show up for work. I looked everywhere for her—went to her apartment. But she was gone, not a trace. Not a sign that she ever lived there. Ever lived.
That thought makes my heart pound faster. The thump is the only sound in the silence around me. Tears slide down my cheeks, bile crawls up my throat.
“Annie! Annie! Where are you?”
I touch the cement floor beneath me. It’s sticky, viscous, like blood. I thrust a hand into the emptiness. Searching for something.
There’s only an oily blackness.
Red hysteria explode inside my brain. I can’t help it, can’t stop it. I crawl in one direction, then another.
“Help! Help! Help! Help! Help! Help me!”
Nothing! Not even an echo. I’m lost.
Coming Soon: Rx Deferred.
Corporate-Government wars of 2020 have resulted in a global Corporit(sic) dictatorship . Its legacy? Escalating climate change, limited food supplies, and clean air only for the elite.