The Russian Doll Ban (SJ
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.
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.
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.”
strong sun hung above Rhiaj, who was bleeding out. He was a collapsed heap on
the blanket Anuk had thrown down after the attack.
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.
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.
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,
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
on your hands, Anuk. It is time.”
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.
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.
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.
see you,” the boy said after a timely pause, his skin whitewashed with
exhaustion. “Thank you, Father.”
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.”
child.” The old man lifted his frail arm and cupped his son’s chin in his hand.
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.”
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.
EXPOSURE ACT, 2052
Part 1 of this act
makes provision about the capacity for clarity and exposure, in line with
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.
visibility maintenance as a preventative measure in response to acts of
(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
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
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.
had been subtle at first.
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.
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.
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.