Hope and Loathing

Sunlight on her eyes wakes her. She’s on the floor. Needles at her elbow. She struggles up, staggers to the window. Sirens wail. It’s a ShockCop raid. She can hear the buzz of their chains. Drones darken the sky. She hides behind the door, fumbles for the switch, closes the ChromaShade; the shade’s been modified to block out drone scans. But they’ll soon figure it out. Soon the ShockCops will break down the doors. But she doesn’t care anymore.

It’s been three years but she still wonders. What would have happened if she’d hadn’t cleaned Callie’s room that day, what if she’d arrived home late? Perhaps if she hadn’t overreacted Callie would still be here today and she wouldn’t need to hide in the dark hating and injecting herself.

She pushes another needle in and feels its merciful release as the sounds of drones and sirens fade.

With the advent of genetic engineering in the 21st century, it became easier to extract individual traits and emotions directly from embryos. Designer babies, especially those without the risk of mental illnesses, became fashionable in the late 2100s.

Fear was phased out as part of the Global Ivanhoe Directive in 2216, which stipulated that all human beings should be entitled to live without fear. Without the threat of crime and terrorism driven by fear, society grew in ways it could never before. However, progress soon stagnated and yet people remained hopeful for further change. And soon, hope would cause worse crimes than those driven by fear. Hope-driven atrocities began to tear society apart and fuel unrest and global terrorism. In 2241 an amendment to the Global Ivanhoe Directive was passed unanimously by all member countries, and a hundred years later hope had been phased out of human evolution altogether.

She relives that day in her illicit dreams.

Get that shit out of my house now! She couldn’t believe it, her baby girl involved in drugs.
Why are you going through my property anyway! Callie’s mad. Her privacy’s been violated.
As long as you’re under my roof, your property is my property! She couldn’t believe she’d brought Hope into the house. Hope was a banned substance. Hope killed people. If they got caught it would mean instant imprisonment and potential genetic correction.
What’s the big deal anyway? All my friends are doing it.
That doesn’t mean you have to!
You wouldn’t understand! Callie snatches the bag of golden powder.
Get out of my house and take that shit with you!

Callie left.

She waited for weeks, the guilt-ridden weeks became months, and then she needed Hope; needed the very thing she kicked her daughter out of the house over. Except pure Hope was hard to come by. Most of the Hope on the streets are cheap copies, cut with laxatives, detergent, and Despair.

But she doesn’t care. She’ll continue to pump herself full of cheap Hope until Callie comes back or the ShockCops come and drag her away.

Bangs on the door wake her. She’s on the floor.

© 2016 Occasional Dreams
In response to daily prompt: Banned
Image: Future City by Ariel K / CC BY


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