It used to be such a nice place. All those huge trees, whose trunks reflected the longevity of this piece of land, were reduced to ashes and nothing left here. Just an endless road, never empty and never silent.
We had planned to go forward through the forest that used to stretch here, but now we had to change our plans. And we also had to consider which way would be the best – the safest and the shortest one. The hospital was in the north, so we should take directly the road.
“But we must not be late!” 70304991 said. I heard no fear in his voice, but I was pretty sure he was afraid. This whole situation was very dangerous and our lives were in hands of fortune, maybe in hands of God.
Of course, we were not allowed to believe in God. Our leader called himself the human above all, and there was no other authority of bigger importance in the world. So we were told that at school and later at work. One bad word against the system, one doubt about the authorities and this world would lead to its own destruction, and you were sent to the Central Prison and immediately executed. It was better to be silent and as long as you were obedient and did your own work, you could survive.
I was nineteen. I had graduated from the Preparatory Female School and I was obliged to attend a course that prepared women for sexual life, pregnancy, short maternity, and then for working. The Law commanded us to live in this order – basic education, biological duty, twenty years of working, and then death at the established date we all knew from the day we were born. This fact depressed me the most of all – you knew you were going to have no personal, no emotional, or worthy life and after those 40 years of following orders, you were going to die with no memory, no picture on the wall, no people to mourn on your grave, actually you did not have any grave. It was like you had never existed in real life. You were kept just as a number in Central Computer and your file was closed immediately after your death.
This view of my next life scared me a lot. Until now I was trying hard not to imagine all those inevitable things and the Preparatory Female School helped me to forget for a while. When I had a lot of homework and exams, I could not fail.
But I graduated from school last week and I had to move to the Capital where the course took place. I returned my school uniform and packed a few personal things I had possessed and went by bus, away from the life I had known so far.
When I got to the Capital, I was kind of impressed at the first moment. There were many skyscrapers, modern buildings standing above the unnaturally clean river. The fact that all the buildings were nearly completely glazed did not surprise me. No house was allowed to hide anything and no one was interested in your personal life, no one except for the authorities. But there was no personal life left when you were an adult and a working person. Or better said when you became a countable number for the society.
There was a tiny full-glazed flat given to me as soon as I had announced my arrival. On the next day, I joined the course for the first time. There were a lot of things I had not known before and a lot of questions appeared in my head. But as I visited the course each day for a few weeks, I began to understand things and there was no longer any need to ask for everything. I started to worry and at the same time to look forward to meeting my partner.
Every woman and man had been paired considering the best assumptions to procreate a healthy child, a new piece of machine that humans were forced to live in. Of course, I was really nervous, I had never met a young man before. And when I was told what our duty was, to connect our bodies and create a new life together, I was excited even more. Not to mention this feeling – excitement – was forbidden.
The time was passing by and after another month I was sitting in the Introducing room and he was sitting opposite me, looking as nervous as me. He was wearing a casual green uniform, typical for this course, so I looked at his face. He had big icy blue eyes and very long lashes. There was a tiny smile on his mouth and it encouraged me to begin.
“Hi,” I decided to start the conversation, as we were told in the course.
“Good morning,” he murmured and my knees began shaking at the sound of his voice. “So,” he continued politely, “what is your number?”
He must have already known that it was written in our papers, but I replied.
“10130020. I was lucky to get this combination, it is easy to remember,” and I tapped on my head. He smiled.
“Well, I guess I am going to remember this.”
Then we were talking about many things. This was the purpose of the Introduction – talking, conversing, and preparing for the next step in our short automatically generated partnership.
We were supposed to get to know each other, our minds and our bodies. There was quite enough time for this, but by the end of the term, I had to lose my virginity and become pregnant. If we had not succeeded, it would have had uncomfortable consequences.
Fortunately, we were very closed to each other and we wanted to spend time together and share a room we had got. And so we did. I could not describe my feelings, all I knew is that it was worth it.
Everything went according to plan, I became pregnant, we moved into one flat, he got work in the industry and I was attending the course for future mothers for the next nine months. We were allowed to spend our free time reading and studying books from the public library, by going swimming in the pool and by watching enabled movies on TV.
70304991 and I were often talking about our future. We were criticizing the system, of course very quietly, and we were thinking about the life of our child. What kind of life would the child have here? Could it be happy? Could it become a real person, not just another number working for the authorities? I was not sure. And neither was my partner.
It was a task of great importance to bring a healthy child to the world. I had to visit many examinations to find out if the child was alright and it seemed the child really was okay.
As the term of birth got nearer, there was a need to transport me to the hospital. It would not have been hard if there had not been a car crash, which blocked the road and trapped us in this empty place of land.
We had to be in time, or the child could not be born. But at this very moment, I was afraid, unsure and so was 70304991. If we failed, we both would be executed.
We look at each other and saw a despair in our eyes.