BEHIND THE CURTAIN
| EXTRACTED FROM NOEĀL TĀU /
COMMERCIAL LOT 215 OF 81SUB / 29.8.3433/ 1:08ppm |
| KNIJÄ: TWO WEEKS, ONE DAĀY OLD |
I am afraid to admit this to myself, however I feel as if I have no other choice. The past two weeks have been the most challenging weeks of my life for reasons that I cannot even comprehend. It began with that strange sound. My wife and I were having the first late meal after the birth of our wonderful new daughter, Knijä. Since Neēreē and I discovered we were expecting, our heaārts have been filled with more fireworks than the usual program for the night sky on the eve of Newnew year. As we began sipping our Nutrī, we heard it – it was an eerie sound, like an alarm or siren. It was not something we had ever heard before, but it is something that we have come to know well in the last two weeks.
That first night when we entered Knijä’s room, we came upon our new little girl wide eyed, her face turning a shade of red in distress. We instantly drew the curtains closed, turned the audio Receivers in the home lot off and crouched down beside our child.
“We must call emergencī!” Neēreē insisted, petrified.
“It will go down on our U-record, my dear, and hers! We must think of something else. We must be smarter!”
I sit now, recalling the memorī as my mīnd scrolls through the details as if I am scrolling through my U-feed. My body swells with nervousness. Peār, the global company that dominates all of Metravā and its individual subs, are not subtle in their message: there is no U in conformity.
“Maybe pick her up,” I suggested. “Maybe she is restless.”
“Why would she be? Her U-chip should be pacifying her.” Neēreē pressed Knijä’s U-chip and tiny little pixels blasted into the air. “Did they program it accurately?”
“They must have,” I assured her. “Here, look through her U-bar.” We quickly swiped through Knijä’s U-bar which outlines everything from her medī details, her stored and recorded data, her certificates, her personal currencī, official docūments and her U-media accounts which will eventually be for her own use when she comes of age. “Everything looks in order.” I swiped again, before pushing it away, the pixels dissolving in the air. “We cannot call the emerencī or Peār Protocols.”
“They will report it to Peār,” Neēreē murmured, and after realising the gravity of the situation, she picked up our new little daughter, the sounds escaping her lulling moments later. We stayed silent as we tried to make the connection as to why she stopped crying.
“She just wants to be held,” I said in an-almost whisper.
I recall all of this on this bright daāy. It is Mon1daāy, the first daāy of the week. In front of meē, Knijä sleeps in her Portable Pod as the saān shines down on us. The occasional park-goer either strolls or runs past us with a warm and faithful hihi, some even stopping to admire or congratulate meē on my new child. However, I keep a thick blanket covering my daughter, anxiety flooding through meē whenever anyone asks to see her.
The differences are barely noticeable but people will notice and talk sooner or later. I get up and begin making our way back to our home lot, the faint backdrop of Metravā City in the far distance remīnding meē of its authority. It has been very difficult for Neēreē and I, neither of us really knowing what to do, taking best-guesses as we go. Many people have asked to come over, to see Knijä and to celebrate our happy and healthy new baby daughter. Knijä is all of these things though, I think to myself as I open the entrance to 2807. She is just different too.
I wheel my daughter’s Portable Pod into her room and shut the curtains, the removal of the saānlight making the room disconcertingly cold and unnerving.
“Do not worry, my wonderful little daughter,” I say to her as I remove the blanket that conceals the truth. “We will somehow manage to get through this.”
I lift Knijä up to my chest and inspect her differences. My daughter has grown very quickly in the past two weeks. She is unlike anything I have ever seen. At first she had blū eyes and a bare head, just like any other newborn. Yet now, she has brown curling hair that spirals from her scalp, dark almost-wood-like eyes and the most unusual patterns that cover her palms and the tips of her fingers.
“I still love you,” I say to her as she looks up at meē with a mischievous smile. “I love you even though I know deep down that you are not U-man.”
- The Cure will be published in full on Monday the 15th of August.
- The Cure is written by J. R Knight, illustrated by Paul Ikin and edited by Kayla Marie Murphy.
- The first 15 instalments of The Cure will be published week by week on The Knight Life. The next instalment will continue next Monday.
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