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Mary Beth W., 22 Oct '12

        Zinc cupped his hand over his eyes, creating a visor, and looked out over the barren horizon. All he saw was desert; bleak and sandy, and stretching for miles.
        Zinc straightened up from his bent-over position, and glanced over at his work partner, Marrow; bare-chested and dark skinned. He had taken off his shirt, unlike Zinc, because of the ferocious heat, and his skin was unprotected from the sun except for the patches where the mineral-paste covered his body, acting like a sunscreen.
        “Time to go back.” Zinc called over to Marrow, his voice hoarse from dryness, and he once again checked the horizon. Marrow nodded and wordlessly started to pack up the many items in their packs; coils of rope, hammers, railroad spikes, shovels, and grappling hooks, just to name a few.
        The two men clambered back up the side of the building, using the safety ropes and grappling hooks to keep from falling in the endless abyss below them. It was deep and dark and black, threatening to swallow them up, promising no return. But Marrow and Zinc pressed on, fully aware of the danger, used to creepy places and dark crevices not unlike this one.
        When the two arrived back at the Miners’ Barracks, they went their separate ways; Zinc to the 30-50 age group and Marrow to the 14-20 group.
        Zinc first packed away his supply pack in the Storage Rooms, making sure to double-check that all the materials were there, and then carefully sliding it back in the shelf labeled Pack # 192, where he had first taken it from.
As a Miner, you learned to take care with your work materials. If The Council caught you, or had any reason to believe that you had committed theft, you would be sentenced to death, even if you didn’t have a fair trial. That was the thing about The Council; it didn’t matter if the decision was fair or not. If they wanted it so, it would be that way.
        After putting away his pack, Zinc made his way through the crush of fellow Miners, heading to the Mess Hall for their meal, to The Showers. Here he cleansed himself with four or five other men. When he had first started working here, the idea of showering with others had disgusted him. But after a while he had grown used to minimal privacy, just as everyone else had. There was no water left to spare, and it was a rule that the Miners had to shower in groups in order to save water. And there was another gross thing; if you didn’t get a shower right away at the beginning, you had to shower in the recycled, sweat saturated water from the guys before you.
The whole purpose of a shower was to decrease smell, not to clean.
        There were two Showers, though, one for the men and the other for the women, so there was some privacy there.
        When Zinc had finished showering, had dried himself off, and had returned to his assigned space in the huge, built-on warehouse, he reported to the Consensus Building, where you had to report once at the beginning and the end of the day, so that they could attach and detach your assigned Homing Device, in order to make sure that none of the Miners had run away. Not that anyone would be stupid enough to run away. Here the Miners were fed, had a warm place to sleep, and could talk to other humans, even if their interactions were limited. No one would run away from them, would they?
        'Them' as in the T.U.P.N.W., The United Provinces of the New World, more famously known as simply The Council, of course.
        As Zinc entered the Consensus building, the familiar chill of the starkly colored walls and the high ceiling set in. He shivered as he always did, twice every day, once in the soft grayness of the morning hours, and once when the sun had set, turning the now radiation-saturated sky into a dark, burnt-looking color.
        The technician called him into the back office, using her pliers-like magnet tool to chemically remove the tracker from the back of his neck, then placed it into a little container marked ‘Patient 1,532’ and sent him on his way.
        Now it was to the Mess Hall, like everyone else. He was sent into the 30-50 year old Male cattle chute, receiving the gray, tasteless paste that was transmitted with the vitamins and minerals that he needed at his age to keep up strong muscles. The longer he could work as a Miner, the better for The Council.
        As he sat down at one of the long tables in the hall, he heard a loud banging and shouting coming from the West Wing, where the men from 40-70 stayed.
        All of a sudden, a man came running through into the Mess Hall. “You can not keep us from our freedom!” he screamed, surprising the guards that were hanging around the hall, watching for fights or other non-permitted activity. “We shall one day break free! You cannot take away the American spirit! Some of us have consented to your ways, but there are more like me who will not!” All of a sudden, the man whipped out a pistol, and he started to shoot at the on-coming guards.
        The man laughed crazily, his eyes opened unnaturally wide and his pupils dilated. The guards were starting to pull him away now, having clasped his arms and taken away his gun, but he continued to laugh. “We of the Resistance will not stop. We shall kill all of you Council-lovers! We shall not be silenced—“ He broke off his sentence, because one of the guards had hit him over the head with the butt of the gun. He is dead now, a bit of blood trickling out of his mouth, the scarlet fluid flowing over his now cold body.
        Though Zinc did not know it, he had witnessed only the first of the many riots soon to come. In the end, the Resistance would prevail, and America would take on yet another life.

Comments · 5

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  • Mary Beth W. said...

    Hmmm...This was one of my attempts at dystopian/science fiction. I'm pretty happy with it; criticism is always wanted though :) I was actually thinking of maybe doing more Burrsts related to this one, but I haven't decided yet.

    • Posted 6 years ago
  • Matthew Schroeder said...

    Cool start. Great imagery in the beginning. I was a little confused about them looking over the horizon in the sun while also being in a dark and creepy crevice, but I got the impression that they weren't typical miners, like maybe they were post-apocalyptic professional urban scavengers or something. Any way, lots of good stuff to build on.

    • Posted 6 years ago
  • Mary Beth W. said...

    Thanks so much @Matthew Schroeder :)

    • Posted 6 years ago
  • David Taylor said...

    Great burrst! I think you used imagery very well here to create the impression of a bleak dystopian world.

    • Posted 6 years ago
  • Mary Beth W. said...

    Why thank you @David Taylor :)

    • Posted 6 years ago