| EXTRACTED FROM NEĒREĒ TĀU /
HOME LOT 2807 OF 81SUB / 2.3.3450 / 5:45āam |
I am trying not to, but I am beginning to panic. It is bubbling throughout my body and continues to escalate as every pixel in the sky gradually begins to brighten. This has never happened before; she has never stayed out all nīght like this. Not without letting us know. Noeāl and I pace through the house, our U-chips on high alert, synced only to hear from our daughter. If Knijä were any ‘normal’ U-man, we would have called emergencī by now.
“Maybe she just went straight from the community lot to edūcation,” Noeāl rationalises.
“Why didn’t she let us know?” I ask, raising my hands up in frustration. “She looks forward to reflect period with us! She said she would be back no later than 4āam. That was almost an hour and a half ago. Noeāl, I am scared!”
Suddenly my U-chip pings with a notify from the home lot and both of us race towards the entrance. As it slides open I turn from a state of panic to feeling utter confusion.
“Hoslū?” Noeāl and I both ask, bewildered.
“Hihi!” she says, beaming. “Goodgoodmorning. Well,” she looks up at the sky, “it is almost morning. I thought I would come over before edūcation to go over Economī revision with Knijä.”
“Wait,” I put a hand to my chest as my breath shortens. “You mean to tell us—”
“Knijä is not with you?” Noeāl finishes.
Hoslū’s face dims. “No. Why? What makes you say that?”
“She said she was with you! U-chip,” I command, “call Knijä.” All I get is a dial tone, informing meē that her U-chip has been silenced. I begin to shiver. I sit down in front of Hoslū and Noeāl.
I want to go to a place of fret and delusion, however I do not need another advert for medīcation going on my U-Record. This does not happen to anyone I know. Children do not lie to their parents. Children do not tell their parents that they are going somewhere and then go somewhere else. Children do not cause distress – there is no need to. I know Knijä is different, a fact that only escalates my fear.
“What if they took her?” I think aloud in horror. “What if they finally found out that she is different?”
We sit in silence for a few moments, allowing our mīnds to wander. It is in this brief space of time that I can feel something unusual, something that I can only describe as knowing that something awful is about to happen.
I am pulled from my thoughts by loud beeping and flashing from all three of our U-chips. The walls and windows of our multīspace alternate in flashing blū and red lights.
“WARNING!” A Synthetī voice fills the Receivers in the room and Noeāl and I cringe at the intruding noise overtaking the Receivers in our ears. “THERE HAS BEEN A CONFORMITY BREECH WITHIN YOUR FAMILY AND HOME LOT! PEĀR PROTOCOLS WILL BE PRESENT SHORTLY TO REPRIMAND YOU. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR HOME LOT OR YOU WILL IMMEDIATELY BE PROSECUTED!”
A projection then splashes across the Receive U-screen that forms the room’s backdrop. An image of a line of uniformed people who are all joined at the hands is presented. I recognise the image from an advert that I have seen many times before, “There is no ‘U’ in conformity!”
I am pulled away from the projection by the sound of Navīgator doors sliding open, followed by rushing footsteps and multiple pings to our home lot notify. Peār Protocols burst through the door with their weapons ready. I scream out in protest and jump in front of Hoslū to protect her.
The last thing I see is a swarm of faces lunging at meē as the sound of the first scream that I have ever uttered fills the multīspace.
- 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 this coming Monday.
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