| EXTRACTED FROM KNIJÄ TĀU /
HOME LOT 2807 OF 81SUB / 28.2.2450 / 11:31ppm |
This is meē. The real meē. This who I am.
I’m human and I hate it. I have ever since Dād told meē the name of what I am.
I’ve never seen anyone without light blonde hair or blū eyes, let alone someone with dots all over their skin and body. The cream corrects every difference, changing my appearance entirely. I have, what they’ve explained, ‘freckles’ coating my cheeks and, oddly, one in between my index and middle finger. My parents are mandated to fill out monthly reports for the doctor and whatever organisation that she is a part of. When they made news of my ‘freckles’ it was an incredible discovery.
“Why is that?” I remember asking Mūm after they received a touchable file addressed to them.
“It is odd, they explain,” Mūm says, looking up from the piece of paper, “because they have always believed that freckles came from real saānlight exposure.”
“But our saān is Synthetī,” I say, my mīnd racing. “Where do my freckles come from then?”
“Apparently they are inherited,” she says, glancing at her own skin. “Freckles are also genetic.”
While these discoveries scare my parents, they eventually pacify just like any other U-man once their U-chip refreshes from syncing or updating. Their emotions and reactions dissolve as if they are a Vitī Supplement that has been added to Waterlite. But despite being neutralised, nothing is ever forgotten.
I quickly realised that something as simple as a miniscule dot on my face, my body or in between my fingers is dangerous. Dangerous because I don’t refresh and nothing is ever clear.
I press my fingers through my tight dark ringlets and blink many times at the colour of my eyes. If U-mans are metaphorically comparable to the sky, as we’re taught in class, then I’m comparable to a Lite Plant. A hideous, un-Metraviān, stupid Lite Plant. I have long tangled black roots that spill down my forehead and brown eyes, the colour of soil, the kind that is encoded in Summer2. I detest this secret. I wish more than anything to just belong, to be a U-man, even though I would detest the compliance and limited mindset that would come with it.
My whole life has been a continuous struggle to stay in line, to perform and to make sure that I don’t stand out. But I do and my differences are staring back at meē. Dark hair, dark eyes, spots and discoloration. I’m the odd one out, the incorrectly programmed patch of sky.
A memorī opens up on my U-chip and I see myself reflected in my maāther’s eyes.
“I can’t go back there.” I’m 13 years old. “Everyone stares at meē. They know, they know, they must.”
She wants to make it all better but she doesn’t know how. “They do not, Knijä, honestly. How could they?”
“How can they not?! Even with the adjustments I barely pass as a U-man.” I spit the world out in disgust, despite desperately longing to be one. I want perfection, to not have to worry. To fit in. To comply. “I can’t go back to edūcation, I just can’t.”
“My sweet, you have to.” My faāther’s voice, reassuring and soothing. He takes my hand. “You are stronger than this.”
The memorī shuts down as a yawn escapes my mouth. I’m tired. This is one of the many things that can’t be ‘altered’ or ‘fixed.’ Sleep.
Every daāy I close my eyes and I don’t open them for extended periods of time. It worried my parents when I would doze off as a baby. My eyes would close and wouldn’t open again. They would entertain meē, provoke meē and talk to meē to keep meē awake. The more it went on, however, and the older I got, the more we all realised that it is something that I need to do in order to function properly.
“I cannot fathom it,” my Dād says in another memorī, his concerned face flashing on my U-screen. “You have done it since the daāy we brought you home. You would shut down for minutes at a time. Now it is for hours. It is getting worse, Knijä.”
“It’s been explained over and over again, Dād,” I say. My patience is thin in the memorī, but my voice attempts to remain cool. “This is something that I need. I’m human, I’m not like you. I can’t live the same as you do.”
I now sleep for two to three hours a daāy during reflect period, if I can, but I fear that it will increase as time goes on. I’m growing wearier more easily and I know that three hours is not enough.
This is only one small problem that’s part of a larger, much more complex equation: meē. I close my eyes and shake my head. I look away from my reflection and wonder when I will get my answers.
I hear voices rising. Mūm and Hoslū. They’re coming down the hallway. My breathing sharpens, my stomach tightens. My shaking hand races for the cream to re-cover my skin. I tug the cap of hair on my head, shoving the tendrils of ugly hair underneath.
She’s going to see. She’ll be terrified of meē.
I can hear my heaārt in my ears. I can feel my lungs in my throat.
I’m not going to make it in time.
The door slides open.
- 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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