Sci-Fi Novel: An-Other World Episode 2
Kathy asks. I work as a bank clerk, wearing the only suit I have and helping customers, which includes quite a few disagreeable ones. This job pays even less than what I make occasionally building fences, but does provide some benefits which are hard to come by nowadays.
Kathy is still waiting for an answer. Her lips stretch into a smile, but her eyes peer at me seriously. “Let’s just wait for my paycheck,” I answer, ignoring her glare. Kathy eats her crackers, thinking. She continues staring at me expectantly. What does she want? To risk everything and become a thief as so many others have? That’s not what I wish for Kitty. Remaining incognito and living a peaceful life is a much safer way to survive for breakers. I glimpse at the clock. It’s a quarter after six. We need to get going. “Finish your breakfast,” I say sternly and head to the living room to change.
*** A howling wind bites coldly outside the building. At least it’s not raining anymore. I shiver, pressing my teeth together. I scan the street, checking for any sign of people wearing black uniforms. Elimination wears black, but thankfully I see none so far. Only wrapped in rags, several homeless men nearby are ripping into garbage bags. I glance at them in passing and quickly turn away. Less attention means less trouble. At the bus stop I hand over most of the coins to Kathy, saying to get something for lunch. She kisses me on the cheek and walks away, both hands filled with books.
I watch her leaving although the school is only two blocks away. She’ll be fine. The bus arrives within a few minutes and I clamber inside, looking for a place to sit. There are several empty seats in the back. I pick the one furthest away from other passengers. A guy selling bus tickets walks toward me. Silently, I hand some coins to him. He counts, shakes his head no and asks for more. “Wait,” I argue. “It went up that much since yesterday?” “Dude, they raised it,” he answers. “Don’t you watch the news?” I don’t. We have no money for a TV. I give the guy a displeased look while counting out more coins. He takes them, tears off the ticket and walks away. I know he has nothing to do with the increased price, but can’t help feeling angry. I stare out of the window, watching crumbling buildings and littered streets passing by. The trees grow chaotically and packs of rabid dogs roam freely, hunting for prey. Long before the Eruption, these same neighborhoods were booming and full of life. At least according to the historical books in the library. Having been born long after the volcanic and earthquake disasters, I never got a chance to witness all the prosperity myself. Our Coastal Republic is little more than the miserable remains of that once great country here before. It now consists only of a few half ruined cities close to the Atlantic Ocean. The Eruption really messed things up. Thick layers of deadly ash covered most of our former territories. Lethal gas stretched for thousands of miles, killing multitudes more. The sky darkened for years afterward, with ash blocking the sun and altering the climate of the entire planet.
The lack of food, shortages of water and fertile land led to long and brutal wars. Now we’re in a deep crisis and on the very edge of extinction. Our Republic is the last known country that still exists in the world. Something catches my attention. I notice a huge red slogan, painted on the wall of a tall building. “Kill a breaker, help save the world!” Might be new, I didn’t see it yesterday. As the bus travels further into the city, more ugly slogans appear. They all have a common theme calling to fight, capture or kill the mind breakers. Looks like Kitty and I being targeted. The government apparently thinks we’re the most dangerous threat to our society. A misstep in the human evolution chain, or so scientists say. Most ordinary people both hate and fear us, believing we’re evil-doing freaks full of bad intentions. I can’t blame them, really.
Who wouldn’t dread somebody with the capability to hypnotize with a glimpse or read all their memories? Too many silly myths and rumors surround us, exaggerating our skills and intent. My method of hypnosis has nothing to do with my eyes. I have no clue how I do it. And it’s hard, really exhausting. It hurts my head like crazy and turns my stomach nauseous. I’ve never been able to hypnotize more than one person or an animal at a time. Kathy and I only use it for self-defense in emergency situations when nothing else works. As for reading somebody’s mind, it’s total trash. I’ve no idea how to steal memories.
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