Rainy Day Tales - Volume 1 by Dorothy Davies

EXTRACT FOR
Rainy Day Tales - Volume 1

(Dorothy Davies)


Rainy Day Tales Volume 1

The Russian Doll Ban (SJ Townend)

 

Everyone remembers where they were, who they were with, on the day storing stuff inside stuff became outlawed. The Trojan Invasion of Monkton deflected all paths.

“I remember, Anuk. I wished to wait until you were older to help you understand. You’re still so young, but my time is now. Let me share my story with you, as the last gift you will ever give me. Let me reminisce, for all I’ll be shortly is a collection of memories. And once those memories cease to be relayed, I will cease to exist.” Old man Rhiaj, riddled with fresh pain, pain which pin-balled through every inch of his dying body, searched his son Anuk’s grey, limpid eyes for a neural connection.

“I apologise if this brings you discomfort, but it’s better to understand than to live in ignorance. I hope some of my memories plant seeds within you which will grow into new fruit. How it has spun into where we are now, where I leave you today, I know not, but I know it’s all wrong. Promise you’ll look after your mother once I’ve passed. Take her underground.”

A strong sun hung above Rhiaj, who was bleeding out. He was a collapsed heap on the blanket Anuk had thrown down after the attack.

An urbane skyscraper behind the two men partially interrupted the azure sky. The superstructure both reflected and transmitted the sun’s rays in equal measure. It was the medical centre from which Rhiaj had just been discharged. It had been built from transparent blocks, each of its wards, bays and waiting rooms could be seen from the street. The entire guts of the place were on display, as clear as day to those with good vision.

Every hospital gurney with patient atop lay physically separated from the street outside and from the other patients within, but each patient lay also exposed, dotted between glassy walls, suspended in a transparent tesseract of square cell on cell on cell. Cubist frogspawn.

In Rhiaj’s side was a gash which fed blood to the gutter. From this unzipped fresh tear hung strawberry shoelace lengths of artificial arteries and veins—plumbing—poking out, throbbing each moment with decreasing pace, dribbling vermillion.

“I will receive your story so I can share your history with my children. If I am blessed with finding the underground—if I am blessed with concealment and procreation.”

“Lay on your hands, Anuk. It is time.”

His father’s words hung clarion in the space between them. Anuk closed his eyes, lifted his hands and put them on his father’s temples.

As it pooled, history smouldered, embers hungry for oxygen in the eye of Rhiaj’s mind. The old man’s breathing quickened. He blew oxygen into his thoughts. A great fire grew. Rhiaj whipped up his many memories until they became a roaring cloud suspended between his temples. His memories danced down as luminescent tropical rain into and through the young boy’s fingertips, along his arms. With the power of a million match strikes, energy and data charged along neurones, unlocking and lighting up the mind space behind Anuk’s closed eyes with a fine and beautiful white light. This became a synergistic synaptic pinwheel of imagery, spinning and sharing, firing off and filing away things of significance and of the past in the recesses of Anuk’s skull.

The boy held his hands in place until he could receive no more and the story was told and then he collapsed backwards, falling like a de-strung marionette into the road by which his father lay. His father winced and wailed in pain and became paler as the blood continued to leave his papery shell. The boy rose and returned to his father’s side; older, wiser, yet still the same.

“I see you,” the boy said after a timely pause, his skin whitewashed with exhaustion. “Thank you, Father.”

The boy tried once more to stem the flow of blood with fabric remnants torn from the edge of the blanket, to no avail. “Father, don’t go. I’ll try and recover it. Or I’ll search for the underground until I find the entrance and then I’ll go below and seek one fresh; or one from an ox... or hands that can stitch and heal you. Let me lay down my hands once more and I’ll receive direction. I believe you know where the underground can be found.”

“No, child.” The old man lifted his frail arm and cupped his son’s chin in his hand. “I’m done.”

The boy, his heart breaking, pushed his father’s hand away, despite wanting to hold it tight to his face whilst it still pulsed, albeit weakly, with the juices of life. He wanted his father to cup his chin or to embrace him wholly, to wrap him up in his arms more than anything he had ever wanted in his life. “You can’t cup my chin, father. You can’t conceal my jaw in your hand. We are exposed. The guards are volatile here. If one sees you with your hand on my chin, hiding it like you are, you’ll be killed.”

“I’m already dead, Anuk,” Rhiaj replied. And with that, Rhiaj closed his eyes and exhaled a breath of one thousand wishes, a million could-have-beens.

 

***

 

CLARIFICATION AND EXPOSURE ACT, 2052

Part 1

Part 1 of this act makes provision about the capacity for clarity and exposure, in line with global policy.

All storage of goods, data, belongings, property, livestock, people and anything else as and when deemed necessary by the authority, is subject to the Clarification and Exposure Act (CEA).

Enforced application of the CEA protects individuals with regard to the dangers of concealment, in particular by—

Requiring all of the aforementioned items and any additional items as specified by law enforcers to be readily visible, exposed for communal clarity at all times.

Increasing visibility maintenance as a preventative measure in response to acts of terrorism.

Part 2

Part 2 (to follow) applies a broadly equivalent regime to certain types of storage to which the CEA does not apply. This shall include storage of government devices, government implements, government livestock, government employees, guests and those detained, data and belongings of those detained, and any other items as deemed necessary for law enforcement purposes such as storage of personal data and other items by Storage Services and the Storage Commissioner and the Crown and Parliament.

 

Of course, like every new piece of legislature, loop holes and caveats were written in for the elite, the government; civilians were provided with no access to Part 2 for scrutiny. No questions were asked. No questions were answered.

 

***

 

Policy had been trickling in for months before the day the legislation officially passed. Official edict had been relatively rapid with civil servants using the infrastructure already in existence from the Freedom of Information Act brought in fifty odd years earlier.

Changes had been subtle at first.

Sales of Tupperware boxes and transparent-backed smart tech such as mobile phones, televisions and handheld tablets had sky-rocketed in the lead up to the shaping of the new transparent world order. The construction of crystalline Perpsex multi-storey apartments had been well under way to prepare a substitute to opaque housing for the handful that could afford it. The many who couldn’t slept fitfully in the run up to the day the law came into action, panicking and fretful about where they would live once the demolishment phase rolled out.

It hit harder than any other event of the millennia. Nine Eleven, the tragic loss of Diana, Queen of Hearts and the 2034 Submergence of Cornwall paled in comparison. Some liberals believed that government changes hit harder still than the initiating event, the Trojan Invasion of Monkton, or TIM day as it had been abbreviated to by the media.

TIM day. One thousand extremists had smuggled themselves into the vast storage units of a world-dominating, well known e-commerce and dispatch company. Three hundred trillion pounds worth of stock had been destroyed as the political extremists concealed within simple taped opaque cardboard boxes detonated themselves in the largest of the dispatch company’s warehouses. A tsunami of international despair followed: people waiting weeks and months for next-day deliveries as a result of the global crisis. Rioting, piracy, violent crime and armed robbery escalated exponentially as the aggrieved needed and lusted for things which had suddenly become unavailable online. Supply and demand became a lopsided see-saw, tipping the planet into an existential capitalist nightmare.