MURPHY

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Murphy Fenix doesn’t really remember his parents. The Society ran the Protected Level differently in the beginning. Murphy and his wife were apart of the first generation of Synthesizers. They lived with their parents until they were 4 years old, and then they grew up in Sanctuaries until they were 16. As fresh sweet sixteens, they underwent I.D. Synthesis being evaluated every 3 months. Then at the age 20, they selected their gender, sexual orientation, and spiritual practice.

A couple of years after he finished his IDS, the process changed over the span of 10 years. How the process works now was finalized a few years before Jon was born.

Unlike Jon, Murphy never got to see his parents. It was complete separation from their parents for the Collective of 52, believing parental bonds could influence who children decided to become. However, majority of Society members from Collective 52 suffered from severe depression and did not complete I.D. Synthesis. To date, most of the workers in Sanctuaries are from Collective 52 remaining inside a gender neutral environment.

When Murphy left the Sanctuary, he was given an occupation he had to keep secret. He would say he worked as a janitor in the Law House, located behind the wall in the Private Sector. A black car from behind the wall would come and pick him up early in the morning as the sun rose, and dropped him back off at his apartment late at night, after dark.

He remembers the first day he crossed the checkpoint of the wall and ventured into the Private Level. It was his second day amongst the Society. He just spent a wild night at the Lounge with his roommate Gabriel. At the time Murphy was attracted to men and therefore, hooked up with different bulky, manly, men every night. On his first night though, he brought home the most beautiful woman he ever saw. Her outrageous beauty and enchanting charm swayed him to spend one night with her. After that, they agreed to be friends not feeling any chemistry between them. She fast became his best friend.

Behind the wall, there are trees, grass, space from building to building, and smog-free blue skies. Everything looks pristine and presentable. The sidewalks and the streets are so clean at times it seems fake. It was that way back then and it is the same way now.

The sun fully rose and took the sky when the black car pulled up to the Philosopher’s house. Chief Philosopher Silas Angelcrest was and still is considered the wisest man when pondering the state of humanity and directing a path for humanity’s future… Silas’s father, Hugo Angelcrest, was one of the founding fathers of the Society and continues to serve as Chief Policymaker.

Silas was single at the time and lived alone. The man’s black hair went down to his shoulders. He wore beaded bracelets and a beaded necklace. That day he wore a bright red tunic with a golden dragon on it. He did not wear any shoes because he was in a season of groundedness, where his entire being needed to connect with the force in his surroundings. He claimed to feel a connection with all things, living and inanimate.

The first place Silas took Murphy was to his study and explained why Murphy was there…

‘You’re here Blanco (Murphy’s Sanctuary first name) because you tested to be a deeper thinker, connecting with the deep universal truths without being taught them. The Panel and I know you’re destined to be a part of the elect, but it is up to you to choose that path. I will take you under my wing. I will share my wealth of knowledge of wisdom with you. And if you pass your training, if the Panel accepts you, and if you choose this path, then you will become the first Philosopher from the Public Level.’ Silas said with an effeminate tone. He talked with hands whenever he got the chance. He was a very bright person. If personality could be colors, he would be the rainbow with a touch of sparkles.

They began right away. Often, Murphy would be up to his head in books for reading assignments. Murphy’s reading go so extensive that Silas would allow him to spend weeks at time in the huge manor. After a year, Silas made a room for him to stay when wanted to, which was all the time.

The remaining six months of Murphy’s I.D. Synthesis, Murphy (who then was Blanco Fenix, a caucasian, homosexual, spiritual man) confessed he was in love with Silas. And even though it was unethical they proceeded to have an affair.

Then a month before Murphy’s IDS was to be finalized, he was reading the Holy Bible for an assignment studying “The Limitations of Morality for the Stability of the Psyche”. He came across an old testament scripture.

Leviticus 18:22

22 “ ‘Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.’ ” (NIV)

Leviticus 20:13

13 “ ‘If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.’ ” (NIV)
Reading these scriptures infuriated Murphy. He deeply desired to tear the pages right out of the old book, but he didn’t want to risk going to prison for destroying Silas’s irreplaceable property.
He once liked Abrahamic Literature. A part of him wanted to believe in the God of the Bible, even though it was forbidden, but after reading how the God of the Bible would order his death for him being who he was… he then hated the Bible God.
He began having nightmares about a place of fire. The heat hot enough to melt his skin, yet his skin never did. He would cry in agony so intensely he gnashed his teeth, bitterly angry that no matter how much he pleaded for help, no one came to save him.
One late night, Blanco forced himself to stay awake in the study, sitting in front of the fireplace, watching a real fire burn. Silas came in to check on his pupil, his love. When Blanco told him about his nightmares, Silas responded back, ‘You’ve been reading too much ancient history about hell, hades, sheol, the place of death, or whatever you choose to call it… Fill your soul with positive things.’
When Blanco asked what hell was Silas chuckled thinking the young man was joking.
Blankly, Blanco stared at him innocently. Legitimately unaware of a mythical or religious place called hell, Blanco asked Silas to explain what the place was.
However, Silas suddenly got uncomfortable and very irritable. The corner is right eye flinched, which happened when he was frustrated. He said to Blanco, ‘It doesn’t matter. It’s not real.’ He took Blanco by the hands and pulled him off the ground. He reeled Blanco close to him and asked, ‘Come spend the rest of the night in my room.’
Taking two steps away from him, Blanco asked a random, out of nowhere question, ‘You’re never going to marry me are you?’
Snapping loudly, and annoyed to the point of spitting as hollered his consonants, ‘YOU KNOW I CANNOT MARRY YOU. YOU KNEW SNICE OUR LOVE BEGAN!’
Weeping, Blanco fled the manor and ran to the wall desperate to get as far away as he could from Silas, from the cause of broken, confused heart.
Back at his apartment. Alone in his room, he sat at the foot of his bed. All the Bible stories where God would visit them in a vision or in their dreams… Deep in his heart, Blanco wanted to encounter the God of the Bible.
When he managed to fall asleep… nothing happened that he could remember.
Like all other mornings when he didn’t spend the night with Silas, the black car came to pick him up during sun rise. This time, however, Blanco didn’t get in the vehicle. The self-driving ride stayed parked outside Blanco’s apartment complex for days. Days where Blanco sat on his knees pleading to the God of the Bible, asking if He was real.
Day by day, Blanco changed the way he dressed, the way he talked, the way he thought. He would recite portions of scripture he remembered. ‘Be still and know I AM God.’ … ‘Jesus said, ‘I am the way, the truth, the life’… ‘In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.’ … ‘No light can extinguish the darkness’ … ‘He is my shepherd, I shall not. Though I walk through the shadow of the valley of death, I shall fear no evil’… Day bay day, hour by hour, he began to believe these words.
He may have been held up in a white walled room, with a twin bed covered in white linens, and day and night he prayed on a cold, white tile floor, on his knees– but the more he believed the Word he felt like he was on top of a mountain peak, looking over a beautiful valley with a lake. He no longer felt alone. He felt this constant peace and an overwhelming warmth in his heart. He just knew… the God of the Bible was real.
One day, there was a knock on his door while Gabriel was at work. He had three days until his last IDS evaluation.
An old man stood in the narrow hallway and asked, ‘Are you Blanco Fenix?’
Hesitantly, Blanco nodded his head yes.
‘Have you ever heard the Gospel?’
Blanco shook his head, not because he didn’t hear that word, but because he did. He also knew, what happened when that word was spoken out loud, in any language, across the world… well, the world that remained. He shook his head wanting to protect this old man. Who was hunched over, frail looking with very wrinkly skin, and cloudy eyes.
Blanco wanted to warn the man and to tell him to go, but Blanco made contact with those cloudy eyes that once were all dark brown. The sense of pure love that emanated from them, captivated Blanco’s heart. If he remembered his father, Blanco imagined that gaze was the stare of a loving, proud, father. It was odd to miss someone you had no recollection of, but that was Blanco every day, he missed the man who was his dad, but he couldn’t remember what he looked like, or the sound of his voice.
The old man told Blanco the Gospel in the simplest form. Every person is born a sinner. That’s just the truth. Sin keeps people apart from God. Jesus, who is God- the Son of God, came as a human, born of a virgin, fathered by the Holy Spirit. At the age of 30, he started healing broken people, sick people, helping the poor and needy, feeding the hungry, taking social outcasts and giving them a new crew, and bring the dead back to life. Three years later he was put to death on a cross, naked and scared he died a shameful death charged as criminal though he was innocent. This act was taken as a perfect sacrifice by God, and in that moment God forgave every person that ever lived, was living at the time, would live. Three days later, Jesus came back to life, and forty days later ascended to heaven saying he would come back again, but with an army to destroy all that is bad and make everything good. The catch was, to be apart of this, was to believe, and to accept Jesus came and died for the sin of the world, that Jesus died for you and for me, for anyone who may believe. Once you believe in your heart and confess that Jesus is your Lord and Savior… then you are forever apart of God’s family.
Right as the old man said, ‘Murphy, do accept Jesus as your Lord and your Savior?’ the law enforcement came and violently apprehended the old man. Three armored officers tackled him to the ground dog-piling on top of him. When they stood up, the old man lied limp and twisted on the ground, laboring to breath. One officer snatched him by the foot and dragged him away across the floor. As the officer yanked the old man down the stairs, he wailed in deep pain. Blanco knew horrible torture awaited him.
The two remaining officers asked Blanco if he believed what the man said, using advanced technology to check if he was lying based on heart rate, voice pitch, basal temperature, and eye pupil dilation. The technology was built into their face masks.
Blanco could feel every drop of sweat drizzle down his forehead. His heart felt like it was beating in his throat. He was terrified to confess yes, but he felt like it would be wrong to say no. He didn’t want to lie anymore. Yet, he didn’t want to die. In that moment, he wondered if heaven was real or a state of consciousness like he was taught in the Sanctuary.
‘No,’ Blanco said.
The officer standing on Blanco’s left said, ‘His readings are on the cuff, but he’s probably shaken up by what he saw… I think he’s telling the truth.’
The other officer agreed with the once that shared the face mask scans. Then they left.
Blanco went back to his room and he looked at himself in the body mirror that hung on his door. He remembered reading a book on the Gaelic language. He remembered that Murphy means Sea Warrior… Then he wondered in his mind why God would name him Sea Warrior. Then he remember Jesus told his disciples he would make them fisher of men… God saw him. God was calling him to spread the Gospel to the Public Level. The old man, like a loving father, gave his life for Blanco Fenix… for Murphy Fenix.
Three days later, Blanco Fenix returned to the Sanctuary where he was raised. He took his last evaluation. The evaluator asked how the young man identified, he said, ‘Murphy Fenix, a caucasian, heterosexual man, who is spiritual… and I will marry Jaya Patel, the most beautiful woman in the world…’
FINDING JAYA
Seven years, a hundred and twenty-three days, fourteens hours, and sixteen minutes after his final IDS Evaluation, Murphy found Jaya in the most fated away.
He was cooking dinner for his ex-roommate Gabriel and his husband and their girlfriend when he sliced his finger open and had to be rushed to the Emergency Healing Center. As he and his grossed-out dinner friends were waiting for him to get seen by a Healer and an apprentice, when Jaya came in with a medic team bringing in some pretty battered up people.
She looked rugged, worn out, and exhausted and her hair was in a frazzled messy bun, and she wasn’t wearing any makeup, but Murphy knew it was the same beautiful woman from nine years ago, his first one night stand he ever had.
He leaped out of his seat and shout her name across the waiting room just as she was disappearing to the healing corridors. The sound of her name made her come back out into the waiting room. She stared at Murphy without a clue as to who he was…
He rushed over to her and exuberantly pleaded, ‘I know I seem like a total stranger but we do know each other. May I have permission to kiss you?’
‘No!’ She gasped fretfully taking a huge step back from him.
‘Right… creepy question… well, can we meet somewhere for coffee? I don’t drink. But we slept together – you know – had sex – nine years ago and lately, I keep thinking what would have happened if we ever went out on a date… May I take you out on a date…’
‘If we never had another night that meant I felt no chemistry with you, what makes you think that would change in nearly a decade?’
‘I’m different.’ He said gazing deeply into eyes, feeding all the chemistry he could muster in pure awe and fascination of her.
‘I prefer tea… cold tea… why don’t we meet at the Sailor’s Barge…’
THE SAILOR’S BARGE
A few days later, they met by the marina, at the Sailor’s Barge. She had iced tea, fish and chips. He got coffee and a burger with egg on it. Not only did they keep going back for every date, abstaining from sex until they were married. The Sailor’s Barge became their favorite restaurant.
Because for those who believed in the God of the Bible, during the bar hours, believers would gather in the basement, and study the world of God together, prayed together, and worshipped together. Over the years new members would come in after the bold faith of past member led the new believers there. And instead of morning the tragic loss of their martyred member, they would cling to the hope they would see them again in paradise, and thanked God for the new members to join their ranks in the battle for souls.
Two and half years ago, Jon came home to be with Jaya and Murphy. Six months ago, he left their home to get his own place. He works as a Janitor in the Law House behind the wall. He is engaged to be married to Gwendolyn Angelcrest… who meets in the basement at Sailor’s Barge twice a week. She writes new verses down from the Bible in her dad’s study and makes copies. She brings them to the basement group for members to pass out on the streets to those the Holy Spirit leads them to give scripture to.
Seeing them together makes Murphy think of him and Jaya… Jon has become the man Murphy prayed for him to be. He was never tempted with same sext attraction. He found God at a young age. And he found the right woman for him immediately after finishing IDS.
THE CALL
In the middle of the night, Murphy woke up suddenly panicked by the vision he had in his sleep, but when He prayed for strength, he found the courage to get up and to get dressed.
Jaya woke up and asked what he was doing.
He said, “I must go take care of something very important. I love you forever and beyond, Jaya.”
Gasping as fresh tears pooled in her eyes, she covered her mouth with her hands to muffle her scream. She furiously shook her head. Then she latched her arms around his neck and weeping with heavy tears.
“No, no, no, no, no, no… noooooooooooo,” she hushed just below a whisper.
“I have to go. I can’t be late.” He ripped her arms away from around his neck and he held his wife’s face in his hands and kissed her tear covered lips. As he broke away, her grief caused her to collapse on her face into the bed covers that buried her legs. She laid there bent with her upper half sandwiched with her lower half.
Murphy showed up to the spot of his vision. He waited under a street lamp, across from the popular Lounge where Synthesizers and Elects mingle in the landscape of the night scene. He wanted to see the person whose soul was worth his own life. He kept thinking about Jesus… bruised, beaten, scarred and marred hanging on a cross for him. The blood dripping from His side. He thought about Jesus drowning from the fluid in His lungs with a caved in chest. He thought about Jesus being mocked for being who was… the King of the Jews… the Messiah. Murphy thought about Him bearing the sin of the world and becoming sin all for this future moment… so that Murphy would know Him, and love Him, and to make Murphy a man willing to die so someone else may know Him… This was the heart of the Father- to give up everything one has for another with one’s own life, life being the most precious treasure one can own.
Murphy waited for his signal and once it came, he took a deep, and in his head he said, ‘Here I come Jesus! I’ll see you soon..’

 Author’s Note
As I wrote this last part of Murphy’s story… I had worship music playing and I was balling as I typed the last two paragraphs. I’m a typical American. I love my life and I want a good one. When things get rough, I act entitled and go, “Why me God?!”
But Jesus said the greatest thing one could do for their friend is to give their life for their friend.
Sure, I would die for my family, for my best friends, but would I die for someone I haven’t even met yet.
We know God is all knowing and growing up in church, I would hear sermons about God knowing everything about us and having a plan for us… which I believe is true.
But on judgement day, the Lord will either know us or He won’t. What if He doesn’t think about anyone and activates a plan for their life until they get witnessed to or someone prays for them.
Honestly, I don’t understand how God does it. I know He is good, the word says so, and I know He is love, the word says so… But I can’t understand what it is like to be perfectly just and to be perfectly holy… In my human understanding, I think it’s wrong for someone to go to hell just because they didn’t know Him. I can understand if they rejected God after hearing about Him, but what if no one ever told them about Jesus?
Maybe God has plan for that and took care of it, but there’s nothing in my Bible indicating this that I have found… so I can’t live my life based on a small margin of possibility. I must live my life on what I know the word says. The truth is Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. Jesus is who the Bible says He is, and the Holy Spirit affirms that. There are no deeper truths. Jesus was not #WOKE like the New Age Movement says. Oprah is wrong about Christianity. Jesus was more than just a teacher and a good prophet. He is my Savior. He is my Lord.
I’ll confess I’ve been so ashamed to right this story. I’m afraid people will misconstrue what I’m doing here. I’m afraid of getting attacked by people who for the LBGTQI Community.
I still live in a time where I can write a story, based on a thought, and I can share my beliefs. I would rather someone gets offended hearing the truth than to adore my stories on their way to hell.
The crazy part is, from age 8 to age 20 I felt like a boy. I had dreams about dating famous actresses. Intense, visual dreams at that. And I almost thought I would be stuck being a single, lesbian Christian woman because I couldn’t find enough support in the Bible that God made a mistake when I was born a girl.
Now, I proclaim a very different narrative. I am a woman, and boy, lately I got real desires to be married to a man so pray for me y’all!
And no, I never felt judged by the church because no one knew that I struggled with gender dysphoria. I didn’t even plead with God all the time to be free. I pretended to be a man in my imaginary word, and in my made up stories… That is how I coped with a reality being stuck as a woman that tormented me day and night… Then, as I matured in Christ Jesus, I got to a point I couldn’t take it anymore… I needed to embrace my desires to pursue becoming a man or I needed God to change me.
I prayed on election night, in 2012 – deeply troubled and in a moment God set me free. Since then, I have not lusted after a woman nor have had any dreams about being intimate with women. November this year, will be my 7th year of freedom and I believe God has something really special in store, because it wasn’t until last year around this time that I actually felt like a woman… I know… it doesn’t make complete sense to me either… It took six years to restore me into who he designed me to be from birth. God created the world in six days, and on the seventh day he rested in celebration… My seventh year of freedom is going to be my year of rest and celebration!
If you identify with the LBGTQI Community or support the community. Feel free to message me and we can discuss whatever you would like.
I also believe though you’re reading this story for a reason. Someone, somewhere in the earth is praying for the eternal destination of your soul. It’s no so much about where you’re going but who you know. Past the the thorns of religion and religious people is a God who loves you and is so committed to your freedom, He asks you to do something crazy and to give your whole life to Him.
Is your life easy now? Probably not and if it is, you should be worried… This life is meant to be a battle, but it’s important to end the war on the winning side. The victors are with Jesus the Son of Man. What God would call themselves the child of humanity? In its historical context, a Son of Man in Hebrew refers to someone called by God to be the hero for people. But I like to look at it like this… Jesus would have no purpose without humanity needing redemption. The state us in our sin gave birth to his humble entrance into the world and his walk on the earth that led to Him saving us! He may be God but He wouldn’t be our God without our need of Him.
In Revelation 4, it mentions God created us for His enjoyment. Not to torture us. Satan does that. But to enjoy us as sons and daughters. Join the family today by believing Jesus died for you, rose for you, and saves you from your sin nature. Now go tell three people you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord and Savior and welcome to the family! Find a church family and use a Bible App until you get a Bible. Read the word, it’s the only sure way you can get to know God quickly.
Feel free to message me with questions and for prayer.

GWENDOLYN

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She raised her champagne glass amongst her closest friends and said, “Here’s to 18 you ponies, I’m finally free!” The gals, guys, and nons toasted to her declaration by clanging their champagne glasses against each others. Then they sipped on the top dollar champagne Gwendolyn’s points could buy.

The Lounge was the place to hang out for the Synthesizers and the Elect (the unemployed and/or in occupation training for the Private Sector) in New Haven Public. The Night Club sat on the edge of the Public Sector, right at the walled border of the Private Sector. Inside, the walls were gray washed wooden panels. Jade marble floors with various cracks of gold. From the ceiling, hung green and clear glass bottle shaped lights that made it just decent enough to see two feet in front of you.

There was a long, black countertop bar to sit at, with black cushion top stools, on silver poles styled like barber chairs, bolted to the ground. In the center of the club, were black sectional lounge couches and chairs, with glass end tables to set drinks down. In the far back corner, across from the entrance and far from the bar, was a good size dance floor that had strobing, flashing neon lights pulsing to the beat of the music.

Monroe, Gwenie’s fabulous queer male bff, snuggled up beside her at the bar on an adjacent bar stool and asked, “Who will be joining us in the bedroom tonight?”

“What do you mean us?” Gwen smirked sipping on her bubbly treat in a glass.

“We always hook up on your birthday… it’s tradition. But you’re 18 now, so we have to make it interesting. No offense, but I’m bored with just you and me.” Monroe explained.

Eye-ing a male-like brunette at the end of the bar, wearing wire, aviator style eye-glasses. Who Monroe picked out was definitely Gwenie’s type male or female, but Gwenie wasn’t sure who she wanted to take home tonight.

She just broke up with Ness, who was the longest romantic relationship she had. Granted, it was only three months long, but she only had sex with Ness, which is huge because Gwenie didn’t believe in monogamy, but Ness did. They’d still be together if it were up to Gwendylon, but Ness decided at her final ID Synthesis Evaluation she was heterosexual, not bisexual. And although she was madly in love with Gwenie, she wanted to fall in love with a man.

Maybe it was best they broke up. Gwenie was fascinated with the Synthesizer process. As an offspring to a Philosopher and a Healer in the Private Sector, she couldn’t undergo ID Synthesis even though she really wanted to.

It used to be under debate during the Digital Age, Pre-Age-of-Chaos, that gender was psychological. Then they discovered for some people, it was biological. Shortly thereafter, regardless of what science had to say, gender became decision no matter what one’s psychological view of themselves was or what one’s biological make up was. What one decided to be gender wise, whether that was thought, feeling, or biology, that was what one became, and whoever had the money to pay for the process to transition, did.

That’s when everyone got the idea to raise theybies. Parents raised their kids to be gender neutral and let them decide around the age four or five what gender they wanted to be, and then just before puberty, they would begin the process to transition from one gender to the other.

Years later, this led to mass suicides, along with young people dying of sudden heart failure. The hormone therapy the trans kids would take as children, severely damaged their hearts, and later in life they needed heart transplants or they died of sudden heart-attacks. Suicides occurred because they regretted their choices from childhood. They wanted to transition back, but they either didn’t have the money or when they did, they were unsatisfied they still weren’t their gender from birth… they were eunuchs and not intentionally.

Because of this dark history, and because the Private Sector was the future of the Society, the kids were raised the gender they were at birth. Now, if a child was born as both sexes, the child was taken from the parents and placed in a Sanctuary amongst the Protected to undergo ID Synthesis later in life.

Now, Private Sector Kids weren’t discouraged from exploring their sexuality, but there was this expectation, they would get married, and have heirs to carry-on the legacy of their families. For the kids who identified more as gay or as lesbian, usually chose to be bi. They would marry the opposite sex, but would have any type of gender partner on the side. Polygamy was legal, but more of a Public practice than a Private one.

“Ooo, it looks like Mr. Delicious showed up after all.” Monroe said referring to Jon.

Gwenie leaped off the bar stool and stood on her toes waving to Jon outrageously. She called out to Jon. He noticed her and made his way across the high end lounge to greet her.

Quickly, she hugged him lingering a long time. Monroe joined the hug, but Jon jumped when Monroe groped his butt and that made the trio disperse.

“Who are you?!” Jon spun around to face Monroe, “And how do you identify?” He added holding out his hand appearing frazzled from being touched without giving permission.

“Sorry,” Monroe cringed. Lightly shaking Jon’s hands by the fingers, “I’m Monroe, Gwenie’s BFF, and I’m a black queer man, who is a bisexual none.”

“I’m Jon. A-,” and without getting the chance to state how he identified, Monroe interjected.

“A Synthesizer. I know all about you honey.”

Gwenie angrily glared at Monroe.

“And that stink eye is my cue to go. I’m gonna get my pony-butt out of here and go talk to that fine young man over there.” Monroe headed over to the brunette conquest he pointed out to Gwenie earlier.

“I’m sorry about Monroe. He has no boundaries. Both of his parents are Policymakers so he never has to worry about fines or convictions.” Gwenie’s excuse for her friend’s behavior didn’t make things less awkward. She held up her glass to Jon, “Care for some champagne, it’s on me?”

“No thank you.” Jon answered.

Gwenie sat back down a little disappointed. Jon politely took a seat beside her. He added, “I’ve been reading some ancient texts about how sacred the body is and we shouldn’t poison it with gluttony and by drunkardness.” Jon clarified why he said no.

“Have you ever gotten drunk, or high?” Gwenie questioned.

“No.”

“You have had sex though, right?”

“Yes.”

“With more than one person?”

“No.”

“Well, that can change tonight… if you want it to?” And not letting him answer, she grabbed him by both hands and dragged him over to the dance corner. Once they crossed the sound barrier the music blared so loud it was hard to hear one’s thoughts. It was amazing how technology worked nowadays. The entire lounge was quiet so people can hear each other talk, while the dance corner looked like people danced under lights with no music. After crossing the shield that looked like the air in the space you were in, you broke through the sound silencer, and stepped into the party scene.

Gwenie made sure to dance provocatively with Jon, and he didn’t mind when she groped him in places she had no business doing so. But when she would get close to him, he would back away.

She understood he was her father’s apprentice, and if her father ever caught Jon on top of her naked, Jon could kiss his training goodbye. Though Jon was training to become a Philosopher, he wouldn’t be a member of the Private Sector until he completed his training, accepted onto the Philosophy Panel, and sworn in by the Policymakers. That meant he couldn’t touch Gwenie naked for a while. She actually wasn’t sure how long the process would take. A new Philosopher hasn’t been sworn into the Panel for over 20 years, way before her time.

Jon fled the dance floor and escaped to the bathroom. Gwenie found a couple of other guys to dance with, which one of them or both of them, were going home with her tonight. If she couldn’t have Jon tonight, she was going to have someone like him… well… at least some type of manly male.

KYL

Who was Gwendolyn kidding? She found the best deal. Male in appearance, but still physically a woman. Gwenie couldn’t let her BFF down either. She chose Monroe and the brunette, Kyl, to come home with her for the night. Though Kyl played along with Monroe, it was obvious the whole time he was into Gwenie.

Monroe, wasn’t a cuddler, so he saw himself out after the fun was over. Kyl, however, stayed and snuggled all night.

They stayed up talking for a while. His six month evaluation was in two days, like Jon’s. And all he could talk about was Nix, his best bud from the Sanctuary. Nix was who he lost his virginity to and though he didn’t like having sex as a woman, he loved being with Nix. He didn’t understand why, it confused him.

“That’s because you’re in love with Nix, duh.” Gwenie stated the obvious.

“But Nix could never love me like this and no offensive to him, but I won’t love him as a man. Not my type at all.”

“When do you get hormone therapy?”

“Not until my final evaluation, after I complete ID Synthesis. I have to be confident of my choice.”

“So, you like being with women and you consider yourself straight?”

“I have for the last six months… but every once and while there are some guys that are just gorgeous… I don’t get why we have to live with labels.”

“They tried living without labels before… remember? It led to total chaos!” Gwenie giggled. Kyl joined in the laughter.

“You maybe wouldn’t let me take you out on a date sometime… would you?” Kyl asked staring at her eyes locked on each other as they lied there on the bed facing inward.

“I told myself I wasn’t going to date Synthesizers anymore. My last relationship ended badly… plus… I could see myself falling for you hard…. which I don’t think is bad.” Exhaling, Gwenie sat up bringing her knees to cover her chest. “But my brother Garrison is married to a former Synthesizer and though Bailey is a woman now-,” freaked out Kyl cut Gwenie off as he jolted to sit up.

“Wait, Bailey Angelcrest is your sister-in-law?!” Kyl panickedly asked.

“Yes…”

“Bailey’s my sister!” Kyl hurried out of the bed and quickly got dressed to leave.

“Relax, were not related… no big deal…”

“No, it’s not that… But she might think I hooked up with you on purpose to piss her off.”

Curious, Gwen lied down on her stomach and bent her knees, crossing her ankles in the air, and she asked, “Why would she think you would sleep with her sister-in-law to piss her off?”

“She came to me last month asking me to donate my eggs to her.”

“Freaky! My brother came to be asking if I would be his surrogate last week. Not like any time soon. After I like get married and have my own kid or something. Still not seeing how us having sex conflicts with their plans?”

“It doesn’t… It’s just family is really important to Bailey and if we ever got to a non-talking basis, it would really upset her.”

Gwenie slowly got up and sat on her knees wrapping herself in the blue sheet. “Then how about we don’t date and we don’t hookup again. No one has to know this ever happened.”

“Okay.”

REUNION

Holding hands with their fingers intertwined, Gwenie escorted Kyl to the door. The front door opened unexpectedly as Jon rushed inside, abruptly colliding with the two. Immediately, Kyl expressed immense joy to see Jon and leaped to wrap him in a hug and to kiss him on the cheek. Gwenie observed how Jon wasn’t offended by this man hugging him intimately.

Still lingering in their embrace, Jon mentioned it was very good to see Kyl, but he referred to him as Lore.

“My father isn’t up yet. Why don’t the two of you go to the sitting room and catch up?” Gwenie suggested.

“I have to set up for my session with the Philosopher. I-,” Jon tried to make excuses, but Gwenie took them away.

“I’ll take care of it. I’ll get Helga to bring you some coffee.” Gwenie said glaring at Jon making it clear he would sit with Kyl and catch up.

Reluctantly, Jon handed his army green messenger bag to Gwenie, and he took Kyl by the hand and he led Kyl down the hall to the sitting room.

Gwenie observed how feminine Kyl was with Jon as to where Kyl was quite masculine with her. Maybe Kyl wasn’t male or female, maybe he was gender queer…

KEEPING PROMISES

Upstairs in her father’s study, the largest room in the entire mansion, was filled from the floor to the ceiling with shelves of books. The was also an additional room with hundreds of servers only Philosophers had access to for their studies, and the offsite access portals were carefully guarded in each Philosopher’s home. It was said the world’s history of perspectives on life, was housed in the homes of the current Philosophers. After all, it was their duty to give the Society guidance on how to live life, and to offer a compass of morality to a growing grave gray world.

Gwenie pulled the sacred text out of Jon’s bag that he was assigned to study. Holy Bible. She was shocked her father let it leave the house. At one time, the Holy Bible was the number one sold book in the world, and everything in it was believed to be true or used to understand truths about the human psyche. Two old religions used the Bible or some form of it. Judaism and Christianity. The Qu’ran was written after the Bible, though there used to be debate about that. But Islam was hijacked from Christianity and Judaism, and it was a very different version of God depicted then in the other two religions. Though Judaism didn’t accept Christianity, Christianity was an extension of Judaism. The Bible caused a lot of famous wars throughout the history of humanity.

Gwenie was not supposed to know this much about the Bible. She’s not allowed to touch it, let alone look at it. Every Bible and any variation of it (Judaism and Islam Texts) were destroyed and only one copy of each translation was kept, divided amongst the Philosophers.

She thought it was strange the Bible seemed weathered and used. The edges and corner seemed charred like it was pulled from a fire. That was when Gwenie noticed the Code and Conduct of New Haven Philosophers was in the bag too. That leather bound book was crisp and fresh, looking like new. To play it safe, Gwenie stuck the Bible back in the bag, and, but the book that was clearly her father’s she placed on the desk.

Then she hung his bag on the lone standing, black iron coat rack, by the door. From the closet, she pulled out two yoga mats and laid them on the floor by the fire place. On the mantle, she lit the incense, and told Plexa, the House A.I., to play meditation music and to dim the lights.

As she walked by the coat rack, going to leave, the lights flickered, the music cut off, and the messenger bag fell onto the floor open, allowing the Holy Bible to fling out and to flip open. Pages from the ancient text starred up at Gwenie resting at her feet. Curiosity drew her to take a knee before the ancient book and to peer inside. The words nearly jumped off the page as she read:

God so loved the world that he sent his one and only son to save them. That whosoever should believe in the son, should have everlasting life. For he came to save the world, not to judge it.

Her heart raced extremely fast causing blood to rush to her head, and causing her temples to pulsate. An energy she never felt before, even while mediating, invaded the room. It was different than all the other energies. It was electric, yet warm, and it was peaceful.

What does it mean to be saved? She thought.

Then suddenly she felt like an awful, wretched person who needed to be recused from her filthiness. Though she couldn’t define what it was about her that was dirty, but she felt stained to her soul and she wanted her soul made clean.

Not really understanding why, she whispered, “Son of God, save me. I believe in the son and that he came for me.” Freaked out she covered her mouth with her hands. Then she recalled a memory from her childhood.

A memory of her grandfather, her mother’s father, who was also a Philosopher. One day, he came to visit, just after Gwenie’s sixth birthday. He was arguing with her father about a new policy in this very den. The door was cracked open and she listened from the outside in the hallway with her brother.

Her father got upset and fled the study angrily. Gwenie and Garrison remained hidden to avoid punishment from their father. Garrison ran off to his room once their father made it down the long winding staircase, but Gwenie boldly went inside to see her grandfather.

When the old man noticed her, he hunched over to meet her eye level. She hugged his neck and kissed him on the cheek. She asked him what the fight was about. As he stood back up he sighed, and said, “Well, mankind is trying to erase God, and well, frankly, I don’t want any part of it.”

“Who is God?” Little Gwenie asked.

“When you’re older, the Philosopher’s will tell you God is the Universe or some collective consciousness inside of you. That you are a god and that meditating and spirit guides will help you find life’s answers… But that’s just making the latent power of your soul strong so you can’t hear the Spirit of God to learn the truth.”

Little Gwenie understood nothing the old man meant, but she asked a simple question anyway, “What is the truth?”

“That there is one way to God and it isn’t within yourself. His name is Jesus, He is the Son of God, and when you believe in Him, He saves your soul. Until you know Jesus, you’re a Sinner… a dirty person not clean enough to spend forever with God. But because God loved us, and still loves all us dirty people, he sent Jesus to save us. And when we believe in Jesus, we aren’t judged to die, we are gifted eternal life, which is a life beyond this one.”

“Oh…” Gwenie tried her best to get it.

Surprisingly swiftly, her grandfather picked her up off the ground and rested her on his hip. He looked at her face to face, “If you ever read the truth, and the Spirit of God shows up, trust your heart and believe in Jesus. You may lose your life here, but you’ll gain your life forever, and trust me Gwenie, it’s worth it. Promise me you’ll do your best to trust and believe when the Holy Spirit invites you to know God through Jesus?”

Connecting with her present reality she realized what was happening. As her heart said yes to the truth, yes to the Son of God, and yes to the Spirit of God, the all encompassing energy went from around her to being inside of her, and how dirty she felt on the inside disappeared and she felt clean.

A euphoria better than an orgasm on molly flushed her whole being and a giant sense of peace filled her soul to the core. She had never felt like this in her entire existence! She wanted to tell everyone about this Son of God from the Holy Bible, when a still small voice said, “Not yet… you must fulfill your ministry before you can tell anyone you believe.”

And she wasn’t creeped out by this voice. She knew that she knew that she knew it was the voice of God. Hurriedly, she picked up the Bible and stuffed it back in Jon’s bag and rehung it on the rack.

The meditation music started playing again and she left the room.

Jon looked like a happy little kid on Xmas Morning. He took Gwenie by the arms in the hall and shook her excitedly, as he exclaimed, “Lore wants to stay friends! We’re meeting up at the Lounge tonight to be wing-buddies!”

Gwenie brushed his arms away by swooping her forearms in a circular motion. “Do you even know what wing-buddies are?”

“We share me wings and drinks… I don’t know. I don’t care. I’ve just been pray-,” Jon suddenly fell silent. He stuttered to finish his thought, “I me- I go- I do- I- I-…” he sighed.

Gwenie patted him on the stomach and said, “Enjoy some wings on me, I got a feeling you won’t soar as a wing-buddy. Your game is weak.” As she walked away she brushed her pointer finger from his stomach to his back and followed her instinct to trace a fish-like symbol of his left shoulder behind his heart. “You’re all set up in the study,” she added.

Quickly, he turned to face her and his eyes bugged out, “You’re a be- be-,” he stuttered again.

Gwenie put her pointer finger over her lips and hushed him to keep their secret. That was her way of telling him she believed in Jesus. She didn’t know why it was important to him, but she just knew that it was. She winked at him as she spun away from Jon.

The Philosopher came out of his room, separate from the Healer, dressed in loose soft tan pants, and a white V-neck T-shirt. His graying black hair put up in a man bun. His gray and white beard long like Santa Claus’s full. As usual he was barefoot with teal nail polish on his toes. He wore beaded bracelets that matched the burnt orange prayer beads around his neck.

As Gwenie passed her father by, she stopped to hug him and to kiss him on the lips. He said good morning to her and wished her a happy day. When he saw Jon in the hallway, he snapped in his sassy, effeminate voice for Jon to meet him in the study.


Note from the Author

Soon I’ll post a video about what happened between Part 1 and Part 2 that isn’t written to read.

I’ll confess…I brought Jesus into this faster than I originally planned.

If you have any questions, feel free to comment or to send me a message. I kindly ask you keep it as positive as possible though, yet still being honestly you.

See you for part three next week!


 

NIX

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The 4th Commencement of Collective 85 finally arrived. Nix and Lore anticipated this day for eons.

Early in the morning, when they were supposed to be meditating, the two were making plans when they returned home to their families. At mid-day, during their lunch break, they would discuss what they imagined living outside the Sanctuary and amongst the Society.

Lore would loudly express zirs (his/her) lude sexual desires with anyone zie (he/she)  could imagine. Feeling slightly bad, Lore would apologize to Nix, claiming zie wasn’t a bad sex partner, but made it clear finding partners by choice and not assignment would be a welcomed changed. Nix would always pretend to agree even though zie loved Lore very much and couldn’t imagine being with anyone else, sexually.

In the evening, just after dinner, during their evening run and sometimes bike ride, they would talk about what type of identity they wanted for themselves.

In the Sanctuary, everything is gender neutral. The clothing, the names, the pronouns, the titles, the décor, and identity is viewed collectively not individually. In the past, children were free to choose gender at the age 4 or 5, and it worked for a while. Or so the society at the time thought… But that generation, the Generation of Theybies, were the most clinically depressed, most suicidal, heavily drug addicted, cruelest generation to walk the earth in the history of all histories.

After the Age of Chaos, and the Era of Peace dawned, the Society was restricted. It is the Society’s philosophy all are free to become who they desire to be, but a system was established to ensure the well-being of everyone.

Society was divided into three levels: Private>>>Public>>>Protected. Private consists of the Society’s leaders, healers, philosophers, policymakers, business owners, and taskmasters, and their offspring. The Public made up every adult (and children up to the age of 3) not in a profession reserved for the Private Level. The Protected are the offspring of the Public, reared from age 3 to age 16 in Sanctuaries.

At age 16, after commencement in the month of their birth, the Protected become Synthesizers, placed in the Private Level or the Public Level based on occupation placement, and undergo ID Synthesis: the Process of Gender and Sexual Orientation Selection.

Research has shown, to live a productive life, each person needs a settled sense of who they are and how they identify. Failing to solidify this identity early on, could lead to a mid-life crisis, failure to succeed professionally and personally increases the risk to be a danger to self and to others due to more mental health issues and destructive behaviors.

Synthesizers are within the age bracket of 16 to 18, unless they have extensions to complete their I.D.S. Every 3 months, they meet with their Evaluator, meeting at the Sanctuary where they were raised, and receive consultation during their journey to become who they choose to be. Not everyone completes ID Synthesis within two years. Every applicant can get up to four extensions, one year each, but if they fail to complete ID Synthesis in year six, it is ruled they must remain gender neutral and stay as a Protected member of the Society. They become caretakers to the next generation of Protected children.

Lore jokes sie would go mad reverting back to the cage of the Sanctuary after tasting the freedom of the Public. Lore most likely would just miss hooking up freely. Protected adults abstain from sexual activity, or get assigned as sex partners when a month has an uneven amount of collective members.

Nix and Lore didn’t explore their sexual feelings together until a few months ago. Up until then they flew solo in that department because Lore would cry every time they tried. That’s when Nix would be the dominate one, but after Caretaker Everett assessed Lore needed to be the dominate one to be comfortable, it’s been easier to be together. Lore still doesn’t enjoy it as much as Nix, which is odd, because Lore talks about sex all the time.

The reason Sanctuaries assign sex partners at age 13 is to reduce the risk of spreading sexually transmitted infections. Having one partner greatly decreases those chances. Also, no one expects kids to practice safe sex when they are overwhelmed by flooding hormones. Videos are provided when sex partners get bored of each other.

Though Nix was glad to walk across this stage on the 30th of April, sie realized unless Lore wanted to, sie will never kiss Lore again. Nix will never snuggle the night away with Lore’s body against hirs. As the Sanctuary Chancellor raises Nix’s right hand high, the Collective of 85, Months 5 thru 12, cheered in the auditorium. A portrait of Nix appeared on the holoscreen behind sie and the Chancellor. Then sie bowed to thank the Chancellor for approval, pivoted smoothly as practiced and walked off the stage.

Next was Lore. Nix stood offstage in Lore’s sight. Shining the biggest smile of encouragement Nix could offer Lore, such a gesture appeared to give Lore some peace as sie graced the platform. A portrait of Lore laughing flashed on the holoscreen as the Chancellor raised hirs hand and the crowd cheered. After Lore bowed to the leader of the Sanctuary gratefully, Lore darted offstage and leaped into Nix’s arms, and unexpectedly kisses Nix with plenty of tongue.

The moment literally stole Nix’s breath, but also captivated hirs heart. Sie thought last night was their last moment of intimacy. Sneaking out of Nix’s embrace, Lore patted Nix on the shoulder and said, “Don’t ever expect that to happen again.”

“One can dream, right?” Nix raised a brow playfully.

Lore pushed Nix to move and barked, “Only in your dreams from now on!”

Then they were directed to the waiting room of the discharge ward. One by one, everyone was called by their date of birth, surname, time of birth, and Sanctuary name. The Sanctuary name for Nix was Blue Nix and Lore was Sage Lore.

Nix rested hirs head on Lore’s shoulder, enjoying the final sands of the hour glass with Lore. Lore rested hirs face upon Nix’s thick, blond hair. They needed no words. They simply enjoyed one another’s company even though they were not alone. Other 4s of Collective 85 anxiously awaited to be evaluated, to determine how they would each begin ID Synthesis.

“Promise me we’ll be in each others lives forever…” Nix stated demanding agreement from Lore.

“Only if you promise to love me for me and not as you see me…” Lore answered honestly.

“I already love you for you.” Nix said not understanding what Lore meant.

Evaluator Dayln, in a pristine white jumper, steps into the archway that leads to the evaluation room. “4/20/2085, Fenix, 7:07 pm, Blue Nix aka Nix.”

Nix jolted to sit up straight and even though time passed slowly, being called upon felt too soon. Sie took Lore by the hand and stared deep into hirs eyes, “Tomorrow night, don’t forget to meet at the steps of town hall.”

“I won’t forget.” Lore promised. “Midnight at town hall,” Lore smiled to reassure Nix.

Evaluator Dayln called for Nix again to hurry hirself along. Nix lets go of Lore’s hand then hurried over to Evaluator Dayln. Nix wonders how Evaluator Dayln would want to ID oneself amongst the Society.

Evaluator Dayln appeared feminine having a noticeably sized bosom Nix found hirself staring at, wondering what they looked like without being covered. When Evaluator Dayln cleared hirs throat, Nix snapped out of the realm of imagination and focused on reality.

Sitting in a white-walled room, with a random large window in it. A long silver table sat in the middle of the room with two silver square chairs. Each positioned across from each other.

Nix got directed to sit across from the window, while Evaluator Dayln sat with hirs back to the glass.

The questioning began slowly and then picked up. Nix sense of time still remained at a snail rate. Sie answered everything honestly though. Then the evaluation shifted when Evaluator Dayln gave an analysis based on Nix’s responses.

“Would it be accurate to say you feel male in gender and heterosexual in sexual orientation?” Evaluator Dayln asked with a stone solid face. Hirs hands clasped together by hirs fingers on top of the table. Nix wanted to ask hirs if sie felt female in gender and heterosexual in sexual orientation, but Nix knew that would be wrong.

Staring into Evaluator Dayln’s wide, brown eyes Nix answered, “Yes, I would say that I feel male and that I’m a heterosexual.”

“What religion do you best identify with?”

“Monotheistic… Or maybe… the Universe and we are one with it…. I’m not sure really.”

“Are you saying you are agnostic?”

“No,” Nix shook hirs head. “I just feel like we couldn’t all be here by accident. Someone or something had to make the big bang happen or put the dust particles in the sea or use the stardust to make us… Or maybe we just come from the earth, the dirt… However we got here I don’t know… I just want to know the One responsible for putting us here. I feel like it will give me meaning to my life.”

“How do you identify religiously?”

“Spiritual…” Nix grunted unsatisfied with hirs own answer.

“What first name have you selected for yourself?”

“My birth name, Jon… J-O-N, Jon.”

“And will you keep your Sanctuary last name to forge your own path or will you keep your Heredity last name?”

“Heredity last name, please… Fenix. I’m Jon Fenix.”

“You will be missed Blue Nix.” Evaluator Dayln cleared hirs throat. “Do you desire to begin your ID Synthesis as Jon Fenix, a caucasian heterosexual male, age 16, who is spiritual?”

“Yes, I do.”

JON

“Then congratulations Jon, you’re officially a Synthesizer.” Evaluator Dayln stood up, holding out hirs dark brown hand, hirs skin almost seemed black, and hirs short black hair appeared to look like wool. Jon wondered if hirs hair felt scratchy like wool, or if it was soft.

Evaluator Dayln escorted him out of the room and down the hall to the Releasing Area divided into three sections: Clothing Selection, Occupation Assignment, and Society Etiquette.

In the Clothing Selection Section, which was just a wall of clothes on a rack, there were loud colors to choose from. Anything and everything to choose from, but gray and black, which was all Jon wanted to wear. He selected a white t-shirt, some blue rough-feeling pants, brown, clunky boots that sort of look orange. He picked four more outfits of the same thing. The clerk told him he could pick out different things, but that was all he wanted to wear. The clerk advised him to pick a jacket or something to wear over his t-shirts for nighttime, when it got cooler. He picked out a checkered jacket with red and black squares the clerk called plaid.

In the Occupation Assignment Section, he stood before a counter with a glass wall between him and the clerk on the other side of the counter. Sie typed away on hirs holokeys, looking up in the system what \Jon tested into for work. Though he couldn’t seen hirs holoscreen, he knew sie wasn’t staring at space as hirs eyes dart side to side.

Without saying anything, the clerk walked away. Jon called out to hirs wanting to know what was going on, but he got no answer back. Before he could grow bored waiting, the clerk was back and sie told him to stick his right hand through the slit. Seconds later, the wall below the counter opened up with space big enough to fit his hand inside. A little weary, he sticks his hand through, and the clerk took a little black gun-like device, pressed against the skin in between his thumb and his pointer finger and a slight pinch inflicted his skin where the gun touched his hand. The clerk told him to remove his hand. As he did, the clerk gave him details about his occupation.

“Your employment is classified. You will find out more details tomorrow. A vehicle will arrive at your parents house to pick you up at 7 am. If anyone asks you what your job is say you are a janitor for the Law House in the Private Sector. Good-day.”

Jon rubbed his hand where the gun pinched him. He was amazed how there was no blood even though he knew he just got chipped. Chips were vital to Society members. All your points got downloaded onto the chip, and you needed points to buy everything. Chips were programmed to houses, giving you access in and out freely. Depending on where you worked, determined which areas you have access to enter. When you went to the doctor, they scanned your chip, and your whole medical history would pop up, along with a diagnostics of what was currently happening in your body.

Years ago, a chip was considered an invasion of someone’s personal space. But after the Age of Chaos, the Society agreed the chip was best. Jon heard that when you’re thinking suicidal thoughts, it alerts emergency services and a team comes to rescue you. This feature can be turned off Public and Private members of the Society, but Synthesizers have no choice. The feature is kept on during the most trying time of their lives.

In the Society Etiquette Section, Jon watched a short video how to be politically correct and non-offensive to fellow members. In the past, Pre-Age-of-Chaos and Post-Digital-Age, first world civilizations used non-offensive gender neutral terms like they, theirs, them, themselves, one, oneself, etc. However, for anyone who identified as female or male, they found it depressing to not be acknowledged as they chose to identify. Therefore, the Society decided using gender specific pronouns was okay, and in fact encouraged. Before you could call anyone by she or he appropriate pronouns, one had to find how they identified by asking upon introduction, “How do you identify?” Until you learn if someone is a he or a she, you still refer to them as a they or a sie. Anyone who identified as non-binary was rare, because non-binary people usually were employed by Sanctuaries. All Sanctuary Employees live on campuses.

Jon was given a black (a color he liked) duffle bag to put his new clothes in. Inside the duffle bag was a clear plastic bag with a stuffed fox animal- a child’s toy. A blue blanket for an infant that had his name “Jon” etched into the fabric in the corner.  And a blue and purple sippy cup. His parents  must of dropped him off to the Sanctuary with those things.

Next, he was escorted down a long hallway by two guards. Some new Synthesizers get anxiety about leaving the Sanctuary after commencement and try to break back inside. They’re given 72 hours and three more attempts to leave. If they fail the third time, they are forever classified as Protected and undergo training immediately to be employed at a Sanctuary.

Jon didn’t want to go back. He was a little nervous about leaving, but that was mainly because he wasn’t sure if he would ever see Lore again, and everything within him longed to see Lore again.

BEAR, WOLF, & JON

The bright light of the outdoors made Jon squint his eyes until they adjusted. He heard a large crowd cheering. All the parents, and friends and family (of the parents of 4/85), watched the commencement from outside the Sanctuary. Now they wait for their child to be released. The parents were called up to the gate when their child was about to exit, so they could meet face to face.

It’s not like parents never see their children. Parents can visit as often as they want during visiting hours, and Jon’s parents came every week, at least twice, sometimes thrice.  He couldn’t call them mom and dad though, and he didn’t like calling them by their names. So he called his mom Bear, because she was protective like a mama bear, and he called his dad Wolf, because he was so loyal to his mom.

Jaya—Bear—Mom held her arms wide open and called out, “Blue!” as Jon stepped through open gate. He rushed to swoop him in her arms as she embraced him. Murphy—Wolf—Dad joined in making it a group hug affair.

Growing up, Jon wished he looked more like his mom and not his dad. She had beautiful caramel skin, jet black hair, and big, black eyes. His dad had pale white skin, narrow blue eyes, and blondish brown hair. Jaya’s great grandparents were both Asian Indian. Her grandfather was Asian Indian, and her father was half-Asian Indian and half-white. Her mother was part black and mostly white.

As they all came out of their hug feeling warm and fuzzy, Jon corrected Jaya about his name, “Please, call me Jon.”

Excited that he chose his birth name. Jaya stretched upward on her tippy toes to kiss him on each cheek while Murphy slapped him on the back.

The rest of the day went great. They showed him where town hall was. They had dinner at Jaya’s and Murphy’s favorite restaurant. Then they went home and showed Jon his room. The walls were dark gray. The bedding was light gray and his furniture was black. He loved it.

They all sat in the living room watching home movies of them as family when Jon was a toddler. Murphy would go into detail narrating each clip. Jaya cried a lot. Any question Jon had, they answered. It felt so great to be home and wonderful to be with them.

Even though he didn’t need it, they both tucked him into bed. Jaya sat at the foot of the bed while his dad leaned against the post of the doorway.  Jaya pulled his covers up over his chest to ensure he would stay warm.

“Where do they have you working?” Murphy asked crossing his arms over his chest.

“Um, as a Janitor for the Law House.”

“For Town Hall you mean?” Jaya wondered thinking her son is mistaken.

“No,” Jon said firmly, “A Janitor for the Law House.”

The Town Hall was for every day affairs for the Local Public within the Society for New Haven. The Law House was for the entirety of the Society across the world, located in the Private Sector of New Haven.

Jaya looked at Murphy and they shared a long stare. As if they could talk to each other in the silence through their facial expressions. Jaya broke the stare when she rose up and leaned over to kiss Jon on the forehead.

“This will be the only night I tuck you in.”

“Why?” Jon jokingly whined.

She rustled her pointed nose with Jon’s similar nose and they both laughed under their breath. “Goodnight,” she said standing up all the way.

“Goodnight mom.”

She got teary-eyed and she held her hands over her heart, “I love to hear you call me that.” She wiped her tears with her pointer finger and then she left the room, patting Murphy on the shoulder as she walked out.

Murphy went over to Jon and kissed him on the forehead. “It is very good to have you home son, I love you.”

“You and mom don’t believe me about my occupation, do you?”

“You say you’re a Janitor at the Law House, that’s what we proudly tell the neighbors. Now goodnight.”

“I love you too, dad. Goodnight.”

Murphy told the lights to turn off and they did making everything go black. Jon laid there in bed staring at the ceiling. At night was when he pondered the most if there was a God.

In the Sanctuary, everyone is taught is that everyone is part of the collective consciousness and that god comes from within. That there are spirit guides that can come and help people. All a person has to do is mediate properly and master yoga. To Jon, none of that information seemed right.

During free time, Jon was allowed to study different religions none of them seemed right. Plus, none of them were the religions practiced in the past. The Philosophers got together and designed religions that would keep peace amongst the Society. There’s either Monotheism, Pantheism, or Collectivism. Monotheism branches out into two belief systems: Universalism, where the Universe is god, and Theism, where some higher power is in control. Pantheism has two branches as well, Gnosticism, where the flesh is bad and the spirit is good, and multiple gods hide their path of truth in symbols, signs, and various literature. And then Paganism, where people can practice dark or light magic to speak to the spirits the roam the earth and communicate to the different gods. And Collectivism was taught in Sanctuaries, in the past it was New Agism or Metaphysical Practices.

The Philosophers took the best out of all the world’s religions and combined new books to help explore and navigate the ideologies and truths of these new religions. There are three options if you choose not to believe in any of the six choices: None (believe in nothing but humanity and science), Agnostic, or Spiritual.

Jon felt like there was another way to believe and he was going to find out what that way of believing was… He fell asleep thinking about what another God out there may be like.


Note from the Author

Some of the content of this story may be disturbing for some of my blog followers. That’s okay, hopefully, you know me well enough to know what I’m up to here. If you’re new to the blog, feel free to check out my other posts to get a sense of who I am. And if you don’t like what you read on those other posts, hopefully, that won’t stop you from reading this story if you find it interesting.

Thanks for stoping by and joining the journey!

Much love,

Bri

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I stop my alarm, expecting a text from Melody asking if I’m up. Sometimes asking whether I’m awake refers to morning, but mostly it is an inquiry if I’m up in the middle of the night. She suffers from insomnia. A dilemma I didn’t have until lately. For some reason, I partially wake up a split second before my cell screen lights up and the whole device buzzes alerting me I have a new message. Last night I slept straight through until now, and there are zero text messages from Melody.

As I’m debating between Sunday’s Best attire or dress causal my cell rings. I drag myself back over to my bed to retrieve my phone thinking it is Melody and totally not wanting to go through our morning routine. To my surprise however, Natasha is calling me, not Mel.

“You can play guitar, right?”

“Yes, I can. Not ‘Zeven’ well though.”

“It doesn’t matter. Can you play today’s set list or do I need to make some changes?”

Talking under my breath, I say the set list in order trying to recall all four songs. “All but the third song on the bridge… That progression is too tricky for me in Eb Major.”

“What about D and you sing lead?”

The cell slips out of my hand from shock, but I jerk out of it and catch my phone against my abs. I’m not ready to lead worship? Not like Zev. I can’t do it. Negative thoughts cross my mind. Fear rises I my heart and gallops to its out rhythm in my head as more negative thoughts flood my mind.

You’re ready Asher,” I feel the Lord speak to my heart. Determined to listen to God’s voice above all others, I nod my head yes. Then I remember Natasha can’t see me.

“Yes…” I say. I didn’t agree softly or firmly, just generally.

“Okay. Thank you so much, please be here at 9 am for sound check.” She says and then she hangs up.

Forget Sunday’s Best or dress casual. Jeans, black canvas shoes, Desert Streams graphic tee with my black leather vest. Lord knows I’ve been saving that outfit for the first chance I’m blessed to lead worship. I can’t think about it too much or I will psych myself out.

I arrive 15 minutes early to pray and to plea for peace to do what is asked of me today. I find Nicolette at the altar on her knees. Soft worship music by Desert Streams plays subtly in the Youth Sanctuary. Nicolette and I eerily dressed similarly. We have the same gray, blue, and black color scheme. I wonder if the rest of the team is dressed the same? That will be weird if we are, especially since none us discussed color coordinating today.

Put the guitar onstage. I think. As I do this I pray in the Spirit and a soothing peace sweeps over me. I put my electric acoustic guitar on the stand where Zev usually keeps his. Tash didn’t tell me to bring my guitar, I just felt I should since Zev got upset the last time I touched his guitar. I place my case in the closet on stage left, where we keep extra music stands, mike stands, and extra sound equipment and instrument pieces. I set my case on top of mangled chords, piled in a black plastic milk crate.

Offstage, at the base of the stairs, I get on my knees to pray, when I hear Pastor Chastity’s voice from behind me.

“I’m glad you and Nicolette came early.”

I stand back up, turn around and Nicolette comes alongside me to face our Youth Pastor. She seems a little heavy-hearted with something troubling her mind. Her droopy eyes paired with her downcast countenance says it all.

“Until further notice, the two of you will be leading our youth worship team. Natasha and Zeven were asked to step down this morning.”

What? This can’t be good. I begin to think the worst because it’s natural. With Natasha coming from the home of a teen mother, her odds of repeating the family curse is higher than other teen girls. And living on the Reservation where teen pregnancy occurs at an alarming high rate. Yes, I always wanted to lead worship, but not like this, not at the expense of someone else’s virtue.

“Will you be telling the rest of the team or will we?” Nicolette asks.

“How about after church? We’ll meet briefly. I’ll have Natasha and Zeven sit in with us and we’re going to go over the criteria for serving in ministry again.”

“Yes, Pastor.” I agree biting my lip. I try to quiet my worst-case-scenario thoughts, but they won’t quit.

Pastor Chastity leaves toward the prayer room and when she is far out of earshot, Nicolette whispers out loud what I’ve been thinking.

“I knew they were doing it! Do you think she’s pregnant?”

“That could be why Pastor Chastity is so sad… I’m sure the last thing she wanted was Tash to follow in her footsteps like that.” Now I feel worse for saying something out loud. This is borderline gossip. We aren’t certain if what we’re thinking is true. “Wait, how do you know they’re having sex or they had sex?” I ask Nicolette.

She looks over her shoulder to make sure Pastor Chastity is out of the sanctuary. She looks around and spotting Chlonelle in the sound booth, she leans in close to my left ear. She softly whispers, “That fight they had in September. Aden said he heard Zev at school talking to his buddies about going to Third Base with their girlfriends. Zev said he and Tash did all the time. He was working his way to Homeplate by homecoming.”

The front doors swing open and Wilma and Aden walk in. Nicolette walks past me and adds, “It’s so disappointing. No one ever seems to make out of here.”

I don’t even understand all the sexual connotations implied in the baseball plate metaphor. Homeplate would be sex all the way though, right? Zev better join the adults today for worship. If I see him, I will deck him… Okay, I won’t. I’ll do what most Christians will do. Stare at him with seething anger and monumental disappointment, which will equal the unveiling of pure disdain for the boy who stole my dream girl. Big fat, giant lesson learned, and huge, greatly important note to self: DON’T LET THE FEAR OF MISSING OUT STOP YOU FROM TRYING FROM GETTING WHAT COULD BE THE NEXT BEST THING IN YOUR LIFE.

Suddenly, my peace evaporates and restlessness forms in my core like raging seas. Guilt hits me heavy in the heart. I cannot not go onstage and lead worship like this… I can’t let Nicolette either.

Approaching Nicolette and the rest of the band, I overhear them gossip-guessing what is going on with Tash and Zev and why they aren’t singing. Filled with a little righteous indignation and I throw words to proudly monkey wrench this conversation, “Maybe none of us should lead worship today and make the entire Youth Group join the adults in the Main Worship Service?”

“What are you talking about?” Nicolette questions?

“We have no idea why Tash and Zev were asked to step down. We can guess all we want, but until we’re told or the Holy Spirit tells us, and even then, the last thing we need to do is talk about it. In fact, we shouldn’t be murmuring about them. We need to be praying for them. I’ll admit, I gave in to the gossip monster too, but Tash and Zev are family…”

“Good point, Bro.”  Aden says.

I hold out my hands before me, one towards Nicolette on my left and one towards Wilma on my right. “Pray with me.”

The ladies take my hands and include Aden and Chlonelle. We bow our heads and close our eyes together. Nicolette leads us in a prayer of repentance for our gossip. Aden then begins to intercede for Zev and issues with lust. When he finishes Chlonelle prays for Tash about peer pressure and following the crowd. Wilma sings over our prayers with a song of praise. I close in prayer thanking God for the cleansing blood of Christ that purifies. I pray that we all have clear hearts and clean hands so the we may ascend the hilltop of God and receives all His promises. I pray for our worship to be pure and true, in Spirit and in Truth.

Together we say, “Amen.”

We release each other’s hands and we lift our heads opening our eyes. Pastor Chastity stands right behind me. With tears in her eyes and a feeble smile on her face, she hugs me. She whispers a thank you in my ears. She ends up hugging everyone, saying thank you and thank you again, to all of us. Chlonelle offers Pastor Chastity tissue paper to dry her tears, and as Pastor does so, she asks if we would be okay with cancelling the entire Youth Service and joining the Main Service today. The band looks around at one another with hesitation. I’m not sure whether to be relieved or disappointed, angry, sad, or happy. And I’m confused, I thought God said I was ready to lead worship today.

“Pastor Josiah has requested that the Youth Worship Team lead worship for everyone today.”

I titter, freaked out and excited simultaneously. God cannot lie. He is not a man that he should change his mind. Will his word not do what he says it will do? When he makes a promise, does he not keep it? My GOD IS AN AWESOME GOD! Somehow now, I know I’m ready.

All eyes are on me as if I’m the official authority on making this call today. I start nodding my head yes and the rest of band starts speaking yeah as if they’re expressing their approval with a ‘hell yeah’!

Two minutes to 10 am, we take our place. The church worship team sits upfront next to the Pastor and his wife. I go over the set list in my mind when the Holy Spirit lays on my heart to start off with Our God is an Awesome God by Rich Mullins. I tell Aden, who tells Wilma on bass. I whisper it to Nicolette and right at 10 am we intro with a classic oldie worship song. Ready for God to show up and show off!

Two Months Later, New D.C., DCA 2039

Never in a million years did I think I would spend any time in a safe room. Yes, a SAFE ROOM. It’s really self explanatory. It’s a hidden room built into the walls of one’s home to keep people safe in case of hostile emergency. It makes sense Colonel Tucker has one being an active agent for the NDS, the DCA’s version of the NSA.

We’ve spent the full 24 hours of Xmas Eve in here… and we have another 24 hours of Xmas to go. I never heard of Xmas. In the RA, we don’t have such a holiday. Tucker told me over 200 years ago in early USA, the entire country observed December 25th as the B-day of the Christian Savior Jesus. To celebrate the season, people would decorate, sing songs about his earthly arrival, and hand out gifts to each other. They also let kids believe in a mythical figure, Santa Claus. A fat, jolly old man who lived in the North Pole, owned a bunch of tiny people called Elves who built toys and other gifts, and then on the evening of the 24th, this Santa delivered gifts by himself on a sleigh led by flying reindeer to all the good children of their world, naughty kids got coal.

It was the perfect holiday to use against children to manipulate them to be good, and when the USA become a huge consumerism society, Big Business made a fortune off people buying presents for the whole family, even people they don’t like or talk to very often.

In the RA, there’s only one religion- The Way. We celebrate the birth of Yeshua (who is the same Savior a s Jesus in Christianity) in the Spring, before we observe Passover & Resurrection. We call it First Advent. We do exchange one hand made gift the day of and sings songs about His birth, but beyond that, we don’t do anything special. Then in the Fall, we celebrate Anticipation Second Advent during the Feast of Tabernacles. That is our celebration, rejoicing a head of time for our Savior’s return. The Bible says we don’t know when He will return to make His home on the Earth forever, but we celebrate during that time, because it could have also been the season for His First Advent… no one really knows for certain except not trusting He was born on the 25th of December.

I’m not really that religious, but it’s mandatory to attend Assembly on Holy Days, and the school I went to had weekly chapel services, therefore, I know a lot about THE WAY.

The DCA is different. They changed Christmas to Xmas, because the word CHRIST was too offense to people. Any mention publicly of the Christian Savior became a 200 merit fine. People became too coldhearted to spread good cheer and when people discovered the old ways of celebrating pagan festivities on the 25th, it returned to that. People drink, partake in sexuality immorality, and mobs wander the streets forcing anyone left at home to come out into the streets and party. The DCA allows the recklessness and the borderline anarchy to purge “enraging and degrading behavior” before the New Year arrives.

We must stay in here so no one will think we are home.

Tucker observes the monitors where security cameras capture footage of the perimeter, every outer wall of the house, and every place in the house but the bathrooms. All my sense of privacy is gone now that I know I don’t have it.

Milo sits up in his portable crib chewing on his teddy bear’s ear. He’s only supposed to be three months. And though he is average size for a three month old, he’ got the development of a 6 month old. He can sit up if you assist him. He plays with his toes if he doesn’t have anything to stick in his mouth. And he can hold his old bottle during feeding… I try not to go out in public with him to avoid awkward situations when they discover he’s only three months.

I take classes online and offer tech support for Plum Tree online for employment. The most socialization I get is with Milo, Tucker, and every once in a blue moon Cory, Paxton, and Rex when they invite us over for dinner.

I haven’t met Zave yet. He’s away on business and no one knows when he’ll be back. I’m glad he isn’t around though. I don’t think I’m ready to lie to my father’s face yet. It’s hard enough lying to everyone else.

Rex tries to come over a lot to keep me company, but his granddad, Tucker shoes him away. He claims he doesn’t want me to take advantage of Rex and beguile him with my beauty and charm. Is Rex cute? Sort of, but he’s barely taller than, skinny like a twin, he kind of looks like an owl with his big head, wide brown eyes, point nose, and ting lip… And he’s so nerdy and all about video games and sci-fi franchise films. Not my type. I like brawny boys, who like to be on the edge… I wouldn’t say “Bad Boys”, just relevant.

For a girl like me to be with a boy like him is fulfilling some rich nerd’s fantasy. I mean, he could be rich like his dad, Paxton, one day. His dad owns and runs PlumTree Technology. They make cellphone, tablets, computers, headphones, TVs, drones, you-think-you-name-it they have in electronics. They also have a contract with the DCA and build and design all their office technology needs.

I think that’s what weirds me out the most. Rex is mini Paxton, and Paxton is my dad’s best friend.

I forget there really isn’t money in the DCA, there are merits. Every citizen has a right to free healthcare, a free home, a free education, free food weekly, free public transportation, free hygiene products, etc. Depending on what type of job you have and how important it is, determines what level of free things you get. If you work retail, hospitality, or janitorially, you are level basic. If you work in art, influencing, sporting, and entertaining, you are level omega. If you work in technology, science, or education, you are level alma. If you work for the government, law enforcement, medical field or emergency services, you are level beta. If you own a business, serve as a boss in some capacity, serve in the highest level of government, and if your job is high risk and important, you are level alpha. Based on your work completion and efficiency, and performance you are grant warrants that electronically deposited onto person merit account. Merit can a lot you to buy things a retail stores, go restaurants and events, buy other wants and luxuries not basic necessities.

All students, even if they have a job, are one of two levels: dependent or emergent. Dependents are students that live at home, have no job, and obtain merits through school work and community service and/or from guardians. Emergents are students who have jobs and may still live at home or in dormitories on a college campus. They receive merits from work, school, and guardians. What sucks about being a student is that all merits cancel out on the first of the year and have to start earning at the beginning of the year. All other levels are allowed to have merits roll over.

Now, the rest of the world operates on real currency. The government treasury still uses money with the rest of the world for business. And business owners work with real world money to do global business. When a DCA citizen transfers outside of the country, they must apply for a travel visa and a travel spend card, if their drip is approved they can pick up their visa and travel spend card at the airport.

This has eliminated nearly all theft-related crime.

Disgruntled, Tucker slurs at the monitor in upper right corner of his screen wall made up of many boxes on one giant PlumTree Genius TV. A group of six stumble onto the snowy front lawn, will bottle of alcohol in one hand and some sort of battering object in the other- like a couple has a baseball bat, another a monkey wrench, the rest pipes.

In the back, Tucker goes over to his armory way, which has automatic rotating walls that switch out with more weapons. Knives, guns, shotguns, rifles, grenades of all sorts, and some weapons I didn’t recognize. He pulls a pistol of the first wall, and readies the weapon to first. He holds the gun with two hand, barrel facing down, and trigger off the trigger resting on the side of the nose.

“I’m gonna shoot a few blanks at their feet. Scare them off. I don’t need a repeat of what happened last year.”

“What happened last year?”

“Let’s just say I don’t really have a dead pet buried in the backyard.” He says as he opens the safe room door. “Whatever happens, don’t leave this room until the 26th.” He states ominously as the door closes on his back.

I find myself glued to the monitors. There’s no sound but when I see flecks of snow bolt up around the feet of the intruders I jump a bit. The drunken little gang gets spooked and dart of the lawn way faster than they stumbled on.

Tucker didn’t even leave the house, he fired at them from an upstairs window. Closely, with fear subtly resting in the back of my mind, I watch Tucker skip from screen box to screen box. Zipping through upstairs hallways, down the stairway, through the downstairs… until he disappears completely and moments later reappears outside the safe room door. He looks up at the camera and singles to let him in.

I go over to the door and press the open button. For some reason, I can’t shake thing feeling something isn’t right. As if keeping my eyes on the screen box with a view of the outer safe room door is helpful, I do that, and unfortunately witness Tucker getting knocked out by a figure in all black and a mask.

I face the door and quickly duck to avoid getting socked in the nose. Immediately, I find myself grateful mama taught me how to fight. However, doing it in real life is way different. All the adrenaline coursing through my veins is exhilarating, yet, I’m way too scared to enjoy the high. Muscle memory of combat movies does a lot of the work for me defensively, I hardly have to think it and I do it, but getting kicked and hit at full force by a man taller than me hurts way more than mommy dearest prepared me for, but this desire not to die keeps me going.

And Milo, I’m beyond ballistic afraid Milo will get hurt or end up dead or worse, get taken… has this man come from him. Has our cover been blown. Did mom get burned and the RA is here to collect what they feel is theirs?

No, if they wanted Milo and mom was burned, this intruder would have killed Tucker not knock him out. The RA doesn’t play nice. If mom was burned by Guyon, same scenario fate for Tucker too.

The man locks my head in his elbow… Trying to… analyze… the… situation… interfered with my… body’s… autopilot… I dip low as fast as I can, then I back kick his knee as I elbow him in the gut from my force of going down… I think I did that move wrong, but he loosed his arm around my neck enough for me to snatch his hand and roll way twisting his arm into position where I can break it if I band it against a hard surface. Lucky for him, we’re in the middle of the room.

“Who are you, little she devil?” The masked man asks with his voice cloaked by auto-tune.

“Why are you here? What do you want?” I ask back.

The man raises his free arm, I twist the arm I have in hand harder. He winces in pain.

Milo starts crying. Poor little guy can feel everything I feel emotionally. He knows I’m so scared I nearly peed my pants. At least we are afraid together.

“There’s a latch, on the left side of my neck brace… it will demask me… I’m the man in that picture behind you.”

Not looking at the portrait behind me and releasing the latch myself. The gas-like mask splits in half, folds up in cm by cm squares, and slips into the top brim of the man’s neck brace collar.

Accept instead of having my father’s brown eyes, he has the gray-crystalized irises of an alert and an active Theus. He also sports a gray speckled beard and his wavy locks are chopped off into a light fade. He about 20 years older than the photo of him behind with my mom and with Tucker on this houses porch.

There’s a few problems with this picture. I’m not supposed to know how to fight. I’m not supposed to really know who he is. Tucker’s just told me about Zave, because Cory, Paxton, and Rex bring him up… but they all work really hard not to say anything about Theus.

“If I let you take what you came for, will you do me a solid and not mention to Tucker I know how to fight?”

“I’ll make no such promise.” And in a blink of an eye, he gets free from my grasp, and in a breath, he snatches me by the wrist, twirls me toward him while I exhale in panic, and forces me to face the picture on the wall as he holds me with my hands behind my back.

“You’re only conscious because I am amused and curious. It’s as if someone trained you to fight against me, you used your body weight a lot, and you used objects around you to defend yourself. You’re not experienced though, you were too afraid to grab a weapon… from the armory wall.” Theus says.

“You’re not going to kill me. You know Tucker would never take in someone he doesn’t know everything about. He was protecting me in this room. If you hurt me, he’ll never forgive you.” I plead with the truth.

“Clearly, he doesn’t know you can fight… or so you think, why would you keep this from him if he knows so much about you?”

“Because I’m not who thinks I am, but that’s for my protection, not for any other reason.”

“Who are you then?” Theus asks twists my wrists.

I scream from the sudden sharp pain. Milo cries louder, his face lobster red as his tears flood his cheek.

“You’re scaring my kid, can you let me go please?”

Theus lets me go as he steps around me and takes the picture frame off the gray wall. He sets the large portrait down gently on the floor against the wall. I thought a vault door to a safe would be hiding behind the picture, in the wall, but it is just a blank wall.

“On second thought, I don’t care who you are. I don’t have much time before he wakes up to get what I came for…” Looking over his shoulder, he commands, “Get you son and step outside please.” Then he punches a whole in the wall with a kick, close range jab. Inside the wall there’s a safe built into the reinforced steal of the walls that make up the safe room.

I just do what he says. As I pick Milo up with his teddy bear, he holds out his arm and points to the blue bear with pink belly fur.

“Where did you get that?” Theus asks?

I don’t know what to say since my mom packed it in a bag of things for Milo. I definitely can’t let it slip Mara is my mom.

“Ah… it’s just a teddy… babies love them you know?”

“They stopped making those bears in 2013, the company went of business, most likely wherever more were stored got destroyed in the war… WHO GAVE YOU THE BEAR?”

Theus likes being in control. If he knew the truth, he would keep away, and I wouldn’t have to worry about telling my father the truth.

“My mom gave it to my son… her name is Mara… Mara Taylor…”

Wait?! My mom said to never tell Theus the truth either!!! Why don’t I listen to her? Ever?!?!

Cautiously, he takes the bear from me. Like he’s thinking back on the past, he stares at the blue, slobbery bear.

“You know, I gave this bear to Zave… I left him a note with it, promising him I’d never come back because I knew he and Mara wanted to start a family…”

“Why would she give this to you?” He interrogates holding the bear beside his head, but all can I do is freak out by the sight of his flaring nostrils.

Wait, I didn’t tell the full truth… I didn’t say Mara was my mom…

“She saved my life and she owed my mother a favor. When she put me on a plane in London to come here, she had packed in Milo’s bag… I just saw it when we settled in here.”

“She never told you about this bear? I mean, I made Zave swear he got it for her- for their future first child…  I knew she would be upset if I wanted them to have a family more than he wanted to have one- but his lack luster was my fault anyways… Even when I leave, I never leave him alone…” He says and then hands the bear back. He adds, “She taught you how to fight, didn’t she?”

“My mother wanted me to know how to protect myself… She had Mara train me.”

I watch Theus takes out a little domino size of clay explosive I forgot the name off. It’s not quite C4, but it is a lot like it. I hurry to leave the room.

A small explosion occurs. A bright green light flashes. A few weird blaring pitches go off. Then masked Theus barges out the room. He drags Tucker’s body back inside and I walk back in assuming that would be his instruction.

In the threshold of the safe room door, he says, “I won’t tell Tucker your secret, but it won’t take him long to figure it out. I took the footage from the safe room feed, so that will buy you a little time. And if Mara comes to visit, tell her Zave goes to their spot every year, waiting for her to come back. Happy Xmas.”

He leaves. I close the door behind him. I look at knocked out Tucker on the ground and the rubble on the floor. I can’t wait until this Crazy Christmas is over. At least Santa brought me half of my dad… and he is way cooler than my mom’s journal made him out to be. Now I have to think of a cover story of what happened to me… Oh, easy, I got knocked out too! Where should I lay down? First, I have to put Milo back in his portable crib.

History Lesson

Elle After Civil War 2.png

When I was a toddler,  the Republic of America declared independence against the United States of America. Sleeper agents for the RA within branches of military and intelligence agencies rose up. Those who considered themselves to be conservative, patriotic, capitalistic made of the RA. It wasn’t over race, even though race served as a factor. Minorities had a tendency of siding with the USA over joining the USA. Russia backed the RA sending aid and troops.

For three years, Americans were forced to pick sides that offered them the best chance of survival. It was clear the RA was never going away. Out-manned, out-gunned, and at the risk of losing territory, what remained of the USA on the East Coast signed a peace treaty with the RA… agreeing to new borderlines and recognizing the RA as a country.

Washington, Oregon, and California remained as a part of the USA. Everything between those states and the Mississippi River became the Republic of America.

The year of the treaty, the great lakes flooded, drowning Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and most of Pennsylvania and New York. A virus spread across Washington State, Oregon, and California killing 80 % of the population. The land also became incapable of producing vegetation. The survivors were forced to seek asylum in Canada, the RA, and Mexico because USA was found guilty of using biological warfare that devastated those three states. Their target was the was RA, but they miscalculated. Some think the RA did it and framed the USA. Those regions are now the “Dead Zone”, an unlivable place.

The next year, the USA reformed their branches of government and agencies forming the Democratic Coalition of America. The government gave more power to the people over policymaking, eliminated capitalism and started merit economy called meritism, and became determined to be the manifestation of Utopia.


The Republic of America Government & Agencies

(Allies: Russia, France, Italy, Israel)

National Language: English

Agencies of Intelligence for the Republic of America

MIB: Main Intelligence Branch (CIA knock-off)

PAN: Protection Agency of the Nation (NSA knock-off)

CDI: Countrywide Department of Investigations (FBI knock-off)

The Eagle’s Senate

The meeting place of Senators of the Republic that represent each RA State. Just 1 Senator per state.

The Eagle House

The Eagle (President knock-off)

1st Olive Branch (First Lady/First Gentleman)

__________________________________

The Eaglet (Vice President knock-off)

2nd Olive Branch (Eaglet’s spouse)

The Democratic Coalition of America Government & Agencies

(Allies: Australia, England, China and Japan)

National Languages: Spanish and English

HORAI: Headquarters of Reconnaissance and Intelligence (CIA knock-off)

NDS: National Department of Security (NSA knock-off)

DDI: Division of Domestic Investigations (FBI knock-off)

Hall of Democrats

The meeting place of hundreds of Democratic Representatives from each DCA State. (Half the number of the USA Congress)

House of Liberty

Lead Democrat (knock-off president)

1st Assistant Democrat (spouse of the LD)

________________________

Associate Lead Democrat (knock-off vice president)

2nd Assistant Democrat (spouse of the ALD)


Opinions vary but each country still operates a lot like the old USA. Except on is highly conservative and the other is super liberal.


Mom speeds down the highway heading for east border. Clearly, she is not worried about getting pulled over or caught by speed regulator cameras.

The baby stays quiet in my arms. He’s sort of cute. But his constant hypnotic stare at me is totally creepy.

“In New Jerusalem, we’ll get a motel and I’ll go out and get us some things for our trip.” Mom says like she’s still thinking about a million other factors to flee the country successfully.

The RA has spent millions of dollars to rebuild and wipe the memory of the old America away. I hear the DCA mends what is broken, but they don’t generate enough revenue to start over and build everything new.

“Where are we taking a trip?”

“Well, if you never opened the bag, I was just going to take you to a safe house for a few days, but your disobedience changed our plans big time.” Mom sounds disappointed as she keeps her eyes on the road.

“I’m sorry… I didn’t think you were in the baby smuggling business… a weird smuggling baby business that has genetically engineers infants that imprint on their masters/caretakers.” I defend myself, weakly.

What am I talking about? This all sounds nuts! When mom explained it all, I felt more insane by every unfolding detail.

The Chinese were working on Project Hercules, which combined the research of the Prometheus II Project with the concept of coding the Theus Sphere properties into a genetically engineered human being. The Theus Sphere was designed to fuse with a person and make someone average into a superior human being that would a be killer machine taking orders from the boss. Project Hercules would breed humans that at birth would imprint on their handler, forming a bond to secure total allegiance and compliance. (Sort of sounds like a video game about assassins, huh?) The baby in my arms is the very first baby if the reality.

A wealthy mercenary, Baptiste Guyon, stole Project Hercules the Chinese and destroyed all their research and either kidnapped or killed every person connected to the project. At first, when the RA got the intel 10 years ago, they thought Guyon wanted to sell the project to the highest bidder, and the RA was prepared to purchase it, but then it became clear he wanted it for himself.

He set up headquarters for Project Hercules II in the RA near the Mexican border. Mom was sent in to infiltrate his organization. She played herself. A spy without a country to serve. For the past eight years, she’s been a field agent for Guyon, while feeding his plans and operations to the MIB. Occasionally, she would send misinformation to Guyon.

Mom’s original orders, once the first Hercules was born, was to destroy all the research and to bring the baby back to MIB central in True Dallas. But the day this baby was born, mom learned Guyon has several facilities around the world and more babies like Hercules I were about to be born. She called her MIB handler and got a new directive. Fake the baby’s death, bring the child to HQ, and go back undercover to find all Project Hercules Facilities across the globe.

Seeing what Hercules I was capable of, mom planned on killing the baby for real, lying to the MIB and to Guyon. But in case her plan failed and the RA was going to burn her for treason, she wanted to come take me to a safe place. If Hercules didn’t imprint in the first 24 hours of his life, he was going to die. Mom figured he could die slowly and peacefully in that duffle bag not wanting to add baby-killer to her repertoire. I screwed up the plan.

She’s going to still tell the RA and Guyon the kid died. It will be convincing because mom was on security detail transporting the surrogate in labor back to the facility from Guyon’s house, when Mara and her team were ambushed in a tunnel. Mara got out of the vehicle just as it exploded, unable to rescue the surrogate and the baby.

The real story is that mom stopped in a tunnel the MIB was sending a drone to attack. She killed everyone under her charge. Then she ripped baby Hercules out of the surrogate’s womb and fled for cover with the baby in the getaway SUV she parked nearby. She drove away as the drone bombed the tunnel.

I’m not sure how she’s going to fill in the holes to the MIB or to Guyon, but she’s survived being a spy for over twenty years, I’m sure she’ll figure it out.

“Do we have to call him Hercules?”

“You can call him whatever you want. He’s your new baby son.”

“Why can’t he be your kid?”

“I’m not going on this trip with you. I can’t and it will be easier to keep the cover that he’s your son and not your brother.”

I don’t see her logic. But the last time I didn’t listen to her I became a mom, so if I don’t want to end up dead, I ought to do what she says.

“Milo Xavier Taylor.”

“Xavier? You like that name, huh?”

“It’s dad’s name…” I say.

That much she has told me. My father is Xavier Douglas Wace. When they met he was an analyst for the CIA. They fell in love while he was a field agent after fusing with the Theus Sphere from the stolen Prometheus II Project. She was sort of in love two different people for a bit. When dad first used Theus, his own consciousness would be suppressed by a the persona built into the sphere. Agent Xavier was Agent Theus, a different man in attitude, demeanor, decision-making, and personality. But eventually dad figured how to use the properties of Theus without letting the Theus-persona loose. Then they got married and were working on impossible missions as part of a deal with the CIA that would end in their early retirement to enjoy civilian life. More than anything my mom wanted to start a family with my dad and they didn’t want to be spies raising a family.

Their last mission was to intercept a piece of technology similar to Theus, but instead of fusing with the technology, the tech was a giant download onto some willing person’s brain. All this information would be in their mind to learn without having to take time to learn how to do things. What would take months or years to learn, only took seconds after finding the info on the hard drive of their brain. There was one version before the type they intercepted but it killed the person was the guinea pig. The Traverse 1.0 fried their brain into liquid… literally. Good thing that didn’t happen to my mom. Neither of us would be here.

Dad wasn’t as good of a spy as Theus. He got himself captured by the bad guys they took the Traverse 2.0 from. Mom wanted to save him, so she used the stolen tech– the Traverse 2.0, and it worked long enough to save dad. But her brain couldn’t handle all the information and she passed out. When she woke up she could talk and walk, but she couldn’t remember the last five years of her life… She couldn’t remember dad at all.

Mom got pregnant before that mission, but she didn’t find out until that mission was complete and she had already left my dad in the dust. Her mind rebooted during her pregnancy  and by the time I was one, she remembered her whole life with my dad, and was in love with him all over again. But thanks to Civil War 2, there was no family reunion.

Now, all my life, she told me she picked up a regular civilian life after the war. The truth is, the MIB formed and drafted her services. If she refused, they were going to kill her and put me in an orphanage, because they didn’t want her joining the former USA now DCA.

Until a few months ago, I believed her civilian life lie. But then I began to wonder why my mom forced me to learn to Spanish, German, French, and Mandarin. She’s taught me Kung Fu, Krav Maga, and how to use guns, swords, and knives. I know how to read a room to find a way out in case of an emergency. Every once in a while, we would go on free shopping sprees where she taught me how to shoplift without getting caught. When I was 12, she ditched me on a camping trip and left a note for me to get home using what I had and without getting help. If didn’t make it home in three days, she would come for me. Sometimes in sparring she would beat me to a pulp just to increase my pain tolerance. I know how to make a bomb out of household cleaners and house items. Need I think on this more, she trained me to be a spy! So I started snooping on her.

First, I cracked the code to her safe in her closet and found her journal. I know it is a major invasion of privacy but reading someone’s inner thoughts is the fastest way to discover what is going on with a person. I learned fast mom was still in the spy game. I just didn’t what she was doing. I know if I read about this Baby Hercules Project, I wouldn’t have removed that blindfold and I would be childless now.

“You want me to be his mom because if he loves me like a mother, that’s the best way to ensure he won’t become a monster… Right?” I check if I figured out her angle.

“Um, I guess… He’s designed to only form a personal connection with a parent figure. I’m not sure he’ll have the emotional intelligence to care about siblings… But I’ve been thinking. We should kill the baby.”

“What? Why?”

“You’re not ready to be a mom and if my plan goes south, it will be easier to survive on your own. Plus, if anyone ever figures out the truth. They’ll kill you just to get him. Then whoever has him, will make more of him.”

“Cloning people doesn’t work.” I point out.

“No, but anyone with the right background could make an army like him with his DNA. And they wouldn’t hesitate to train him and use him in the field. It’s better to kill him and burn his body.” Mom argues.

Before we make any rash decisions, I have to know, “What is the plan, with me as his mom?” I ask.