The sun glistened on Harumi Lake. Its warmth reached down on Alfie and his mother paddling around the lilies. The goldfish passing by seemed friendly with the frogs bouncing on the leaves. Catherine twirled around. Giddiness with being so close to nature made her feel like a child again. Showing off in her bikini, she ventured deeper into the lake and began to swim.
"Come on, Alfie!" she called. "It's nice down here."
Alfie sat down by the bank. Fingers interlaced as one hand splashed after another. "Must keep hands clean." Nobody liked dirty people and cleanliness was divinity for him. Shivering, his nails started clawing into his skin. Taking his hands out, startled the fish close by.
He screamed at the soil trapped in his fingernails. Catherine swam to him. "Alfie? What's wrong sweetie?"
"Why do you hate me so much?" Tears streamed down his eyes.
"Alfie...what makes you think I hate you?"
"A lot of things."
"Oh Alfie, I know it's hard to settle in!" Catherine jumped up and sat next to him, squeezing his shoulders. "You know I don't hate you. It wasn't our choice to come here."
"You love my sisters more than you love me."
"Alfie!" Catherine squashed his face into her chest. "Behave! You and your sisters are treated the same."
"My sisters got better presents than me," Alfie screamed, gasping for air. "And I'm the one who stayed with you."
Catherine lowered her voice, released Alfie's neck for a few moments before clutching him again. "I can't do anything about that now."
"Plus, you vaccinated them."
Catherine gritted her teeth, pushing Alfie into the water. Realising the error, she dragged him out of the water and into the lake. "I was trying to protect you." She cupped his cheeks and sat on top of him. "I didn't want you to get autism or nasty parasites from the needles."
"How could you be so stupid?" Alfie threw his fist at Catherine. The myth that vaccines gave autism angered him to no end. Because it had been proven false, and fools still believed it. Where was the logic behind it? Flashbacks of being bedridden covered in spots angered him.
"And as for the gifts," Catherine carried on stroking him with her shoulders back. On the surface, she appeared kind. People on the streets praised her for the way she brought him up, only critiquing his tiny physique. "It was the packaging that made them look better and bigger."
His mother gave him that pout to tell him to not be stupid. "You're wrong. I'm not stupid. I get nothing. Macey and Mimi get everything they want."
"I can't afford game consoles. We're lucky to have food on the table."
"But you can afford 40 cigarettes, two bottles of wine and a chocolate bar a day!"
"That's my choice. When you're old enough, you'll understand!"
"I'm 18!" Alfie roared. "I AM NOT A CHILD ANYMORE!"
"Alfie!" Catherine pinned her son on the grass. "Darling! Angel! I love you so much. You'll always be a baby to me. You see, it's your condition, you don't understand how cruel the world is. Better for us to stay together. But things will change! I promise. When we go home, we'll be billionaires."
"You'd just spend it all on yourself!"
Catherine kissed his cheek. He wiggled, trying to get out from under her. "You have no idea how hard it is to be a single parent on welfare."
He knew she said it in every argument. And he knew that there were parents in the poverty line who would sacrifice everything so their children could have the bare necessities. "Why didn't you just get a job like everyone else?"
"Alfie, you talk so much crap. You should stay silent and submit to me."
"Ah! Mother get off! You're hurting me." It hadn't been the first time he had come onto her before. It only happened when she was intoxicated.
Catherine blocked his pleas with her mouth, unzipping his pants. "I have to do this. I promise you, I'll make the pain go away."
Alfie slid away from her, shaking his wet hair. "No! I'm not doing this!" His mother grabbed his hand, but he flicked it away. "I can't do that." He picked up his bag and fled towards the library. His mother hated libraries so it would be the last place she would enter.
His path became blocked by a robot with his hand out. "Excuse me, do you know where I can get some custard?" Alfie panted for breath, charging towards it. The moment their feet touched was when he whacked its head. The base of the pan left a fierce dent in its skull. The robot stroked the dent. "How rude!" In frustration, Alfie continued attacking the robot until it hit the floor, then jumped on its torso until the stomach ripped open.
He gasped as he heard his mother wailing for his name. "ALFIE!" Widening his eyes, he shook his head in each direction, straining both his neck and eyes. He carried on running until the steps of the library greeted him.
A piece of paper was nudged beneath the door. Crawling up the steep stairs, he picked it up, admiring the shininess of the paper. He wondered if it was one for the haiku hunt. He let himself in. The eerie sound of the creaky doors soothed his ears.
He unravelled the piece of paper and smiled. He was not a child anymore. He was going to play the game his way.
We were all born weak
In a world of slavery
Be your own icon
Catherine & Alfie – 47 points
907 robots remaining
YOU ARE READING
Game of Mass DestructionScience Fiction
Sia Bucks hosts the Government-funded reality TV show, Game of Mass Destruction. The 30th season is about to start, and the chosen twenty are bestowed the task to destroy a thousand flesh-eating robots for a chance to win two billion dollars. Acts o...