I've grown used to explaining Stanley and Linda's situation. My teachers, and guardians of my friends were always asking about them. Usually it's only one woman taking care of what we are called, 'Futures'. After women retire from their occupation, if they have enough time left, they become guardians and keep us 'Futures' safe, before letting us go on our own.
Plus, the 'Officers' have that aura around them that you makes you feel like you have to give an explanation for everything. Luckily the woman just simply nods, not pressing the subject any further.
We enter a small room, barely big enough for the both of us to sit in. The walls are made entirely of metal, making me feel as if I'm locked in some sort of cage.
I can feel the room temperature changing along with her breathing.
Inhale. Temperature drops.
Exhale. Temperature rises.
"File 2743037692221. Name; Eleanor Marie Renolds. Organ Donors/'Parents': Alexis Lynn James and Geoffrey Scott Petersburg. Date-of-creation: July 17, 2173. Expiration date: December 4, 2263. Occupation: Photographer." She reads off of my file, which is enclosed in a neat Manila folder.
"90 Years, impressive. You'll have a great career. I just got finished with a woman that had only 2 more years. Don't know how good of a job she'll be getting." She informs me, attempting to make conversation, but it only makes my stomach churn, thinking of the poor woman.
I'm sure this is the 'Officer's' idea of a normal conversation; talking of the death of others, like it's no big deal. We've been taught as children, to accept our expiration date, and I do; I really do. But it doesn't make watching others expire any more enjoyable.
The woman has to do all sorts of odd tests. She checks my height and my weight; informing me that I'm slightly shorter than the preferred height. She checks my breathing, my flexibility, my reflexes, my strength and my 'total-body-fat'. The more she focuses on my body, the more self-conscious I get. She even checks my teeth, and my shoe-size; again, shaking her head at my tiny feet. She makes me run on a treadmill for as long as I can, to check my stamina. I run 8 miles. She writes everything down on a piece of paper, and puts it back in my folder.
Then she checks my scalp, digging through my short, chocolate brown locks for any signs of sickness, or diseases. She checks my fingernails, and my feet.
"You are a very impressive human-being. It's a shame you're just becoming a photographer. You have the potential of being great." She sighs, frowning, creating deep creases around her mouth.
Great? At what? I don't see how she can detect greatness from any of these tests. They all seem pointless to me. And what exactly is great? An 'Officer'? No thank-you...
"Well, I have your new address and job right here. Tonight you are to spend the night here, at headquarters and in the morning. You'll fly out to your new destination." She explains. She slides over a piece of paper. It felt thick and important; it felt official.
I open it carefully, knowing that the contents of this envelope hold my entire future. My hands start to feel clammy as the 'Officer' watches me carefully, her patience growing thin.
Residency: SAINT PAUL, MN
Address: 317 WILLOW AVE.
Business: ARGILE STUDIOS INC.
Minnesota. Up north where they get snow on the ground during winter? Great.
"Good luck on your new life." The woman nods her head and exits, not much warmth backing up her words of encouragement.
"Gee, thanks," I mumble after she shuts the door behind her.
But a few seconds later, a new male 'Officer' introduces himself to me and shows me the room I have to sleep in tonight. I feel vulnerable as the 'Officer' towers over me, by at least two feet. I am sure to not even step a toe out of line, knowing that one blow from his wooden baton and I'd be a goner.
The room is cold and heartless. Steel walls and a small cot. That's it. It fits the headquarters perfectly. I can't help but to crack a small smile as the 'Officer' locks the door behind me.
|Phoebe Tonkin||as Ellie Renolds|