User:Lin xxx

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Z?

Thoughtcrime


She took the milk out of the refrigerator and spilled the last of it into her cereal. She knew the family didn’t have any more in the back, but she didn’t care. The rest of them weren’t up yet, and so the rest of the milk was hers. Not that she liked it, anyway.


She spooned the remainder of the Alpha-Bits quickly into her mouth and ran out the door, leaving her jacket on the chair in the living room. She really didn’t need it; it was thirty degrees warmer than the average winter day, or, at least, what she remembered the average winter day to be. She was about to make a mad dash for the bus when she realized that it wouldn’t leave while the driver could see her walking towards it, and she might as well make them wait for her. After all, they cut her breakfast short.


Nauseous, she put on her headphones. Out of them slipped the beautiful man-made noise. The noise that wasn’t supposed to exist anymore, as the maker of it was dragged off by some guy with a badge a couple years ago. Nobody said anything, of course. The hardcore kids just kept on listening to their “dissident” music files. They wouldn’t be bothered. At least, she knew, not yet.


There are things,

That I said I would never do.


The grinding, industrial undertone only supported the ironic lyrics. The voice, nearly covered by the noise of machines, nearly yelled, as if he, too, was trapped in this reality. Of course, the song was written seventeen years ago, so there wasn’t much he could understand about the new decade. Then again, the album he released after that one had to make you wonder just how much he knew. It almost felt like a soundtrack to the year.


The other kids on the bus were absolutely silent. A few of them were listening to music, but even the little kids wouldn’t make a sound. She felt a pattern. She knew she wasn’t that tired coming into school when she was younger. Even she had had vigor at a certain age. All the little kids wanted was to go and go home. They were growing up so fast, with none of the benefits or wisdom of age. They were stone.


For my soul,

Is too sick and too little and too late.


She looked down at her shirt, almost expecting to see right through to her heart. It was dulled. Not dulled like everybody else’s; not dulled in a sense that she was indifferent. Dulled from seeing that she was the only one who wasn’t. She wondered when all of it started, the apathy.


She thought it might have been around the end of middle school, but that couldn’t have been right. Children much younger than that were just as uninterested. It was like an epidemic of silence. She knew that she was the only one to still embrace a breezy spring day with open arms.


The more I stay in here,

The more I disappear.


The bus stopped short at the school. She grabbed her backpack and made sure she was the last one off the bus. She still had a few minutes, and she wasn’t about to waste her time before homeroom on uncompleted homework. As the bus pulled away, headphones still in her ears, she stood there, in front of the large brick building. The nameplate, Orwell Public High School, was being removed in favor of one that mentioned a much less thought-provoking author.


As far as I have gone,

I knew what side I’m on.

But now I’m not so sure,

The line begins to blur.


She never really knew why, but that part, the chorus, always made her look up at the sky in awe. There was never anything in the sky (with the exception of clouds and birds and such), but the sounds lifted her gaze. She didn’t believe in a god, or aliens, but it was like she just expected something to happen. Naturally, nothing ever did.


She made her way to her assigned seat and crossed her black jean-clad legs. Her watch read in neat letters, 9:07 Feb 3 2022. She smirked. She knew it was illegal to keep a calendar or watch that displayed the year as anything but 0000. A boy with short blonde hair stumbled into class. Drowsily, he took a seat next to her. His sunglasses shielded his classmates from his blank, tired stare. By command of the teacher, he promptly removed them, showing his black left eye. Not that his eye was black in the old sense of the word, not the eyelid, but the eye itself. The whites of his eyes looked like they were tinted with oil. Everybody sitting there knew exactly what was going on, but nobody was going to say a thing. They boy was too inebriated to be thankful for his classmates’ lack of interest.


She was getting nauseous again. She couldn’t deny her stomach anymore; she hadn’t had water in a few months. Her mother stopped paying the bill for the water truck to come around, and the tap water tasted metallic. The only thing better was milk, which she never had a taste for. The drinking fountain at school was usually filthy, acting more as a garbage can than anything else. She chewed on a tiny slice of watermelon from her lunch bag, hoping her teacher wouldn’t see.


Lunch was a disappointment. Only the thin slices of watermelon eased her sickness. She felt proud, though. She planted those watermelons herself last winter, and worked for them.


“We’re not alone, you know,” a thin boy with light brown hair took a seat next to her, “you gotta look at this printout. I’d link you to the website…but…” he looked around him, breaking into a whisper, “if they found out you were off the water, and started checkin’ your computer, you’d be worse than dead.”


She furrowed her brow, “what are you talking about?”


“You know. The Parepin? In the water?”


She shook her head. “Well, it’s supposed to protect us from shit, but the people who don’t drink the water are so much more…alive…” he glanced over at her, “except for you, who always looks like you’re about to collapse from dehydration.”


“Do you drink the water?”


“Only as much as I need to live,” he shrugged, “I’ve been trying to live off homemade smoothies lately, but making ‘em takes time…and effort. Of course, being the unathletic, sickly child I am, I don’t lose much water during the day, so I’m alright.” He stretched. “I notice so much more now.”


He looked both ways again, “but anyway, I have to show you this website. It’s this whole resistance thing; you’d love it! It’s all artsy, too. It’s really your thing. I don’t have it bookmarked or anything, but I printed some of it out…but if we’re caught with it, we’re doing time for the viewing of subversive material.”


“You know,” she said, “you really talk too much.”


By fifth period, the boy with the black eye had disappeared. She couldn’t say she didn’t expect it, though. Everyone knew that coming to school on opal was a thoroughly stupid thing to do. Anyone brilliant enough to do it really deserved being disappeared.


Disappeared, her mind used to venture, what do they do with all the people they have disappeared? It hadn’t been so long since her uncle Gil had vanished, and she knew it happened often but was never, ever talked about. It was Uncle Gil who had given her the With_Teeth files, her first taste in rebellious music. He said, “You’re growing up and thinking for yourself, girl, I’m proud of you. Here, I want you to hear something.” He took her hand and led her to the attic, where an ancient looking computer sat between columns of even older compact discs. He sifted through the column on the left, pulling out a small disc in a dark blue case. It was the first time a song ever spoke to her.


You’re keeping in step, with the line,

With your chin held high and you feel just fine,

Cuz you do, what you’re told,

But inside your heart it is black and it’s hollow and it’s cold.


Just a year after that, he vanished. Nobody ever talked about him again. The only reason she knew he was gone for good was the look his girlfriend gave her. It was on the street one warm winter night. “Laurel!” she called to her excitedly. Laurel just stood there, like a beautiful statue on the sidewalk. She didn’t frown, but she didn’t look happy to see her, either. She made eye contact, but she looked like she was about to cry.


Laurel kept walking, until she was around the corner, but She ran all the way back home, sobbing for him once but never again after that.


Just how deep do you believe?

Will you bite the hand that feeds?


A couple years later, a headline appeared in the newspaper. “SUBVERSIVE MUSICIAN CAPTURED, SENT TO EXTERMINAL,” it shouted. The artist, writer of the With_Teeth files (also, Pretty Hate Machine, The Downward Spiral, The Fragile, and Year Zero being the most disturbing), was never seen again. And that’s when she knew what they did with Uncle Gil. She wondered if he’d met the artist there, or if they just killed them all instantly.


Uncle Gil’s friends hated that he gave her all that Anti-American music. They never wanted to see a young girl, thirteen at the time, to ever live in fear of the government as they did. He wasn’t stupid, though. In the copy of a subversive book he gave her, he highlighted the passage, “The consequences of every act are included in the act itself. He wrote: ‘Thoughtcrime does not entail death: thoughtcrime IS death.’” That book was the one she found the most enlightening. The ending was realistic: the main character becomes a brainwashed drunk who was carried away by the government, to his death.


Will you chew until it bleeds?

Will you get up off your knees?


Uncle Gil had never said anything to the officers about her possession of his illegal materials. In a way, she made it easier for him. It was a few more music files, a few more books hidden far away from his home.


She spent last period finishing her life-giving watermelon slices. There was nothing more she wanted than to move to New Zealand, where there is no totalitarian theocracy or thoughtcrime or anything that might get her killed.


Are you brave enough to see?

Do you wanna change it?


When she got home, she saw the water truck pulling up by the door. Her stomach was screaming at her, but she knew very well


That the last thing she wanted


Was a drink of water.

This page was last modified on 28 April 2007, at 04:40. This page has been accessed 6,684 times.