Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: CHILL (10/29/15)
- TITLE: Zoe
By Marty Wellington
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Then, the next part of her morning ritual began – stretches and breathing exercises before she moved out of her chamber to eat breakfast with the other tenants of Block 1600.
A metallic drone from some otherworld announced the normal breakfast menu – it never varied. “Tenants of Block 1600, proceed to your places for the morning meal. Strong tea, eggs and bread. Fifteen minutes.”
Andromeda walked to her assigned table, sat down and quickly ate her breakfast. Every meal was an appointment with Silence. Furtive glances across tables, nodding heads. Everyone was frightened to speak or even think. The only sounds--the clink of forks and knives against aluminum plates.
The tinny, disembodied voice returned. “Tenants of Block 1600 proceed to Zeta Area for daily work assignments.” The people shuffled out into the work areas and began their monotonous tasks once again. Andromeda looked around at the greyness. Something did not feel right and that word kept rolling through her mind—Zoe. But, what did it mean?
As her day neared an end, surprisingly one of her co-workers, Dinah, leaned close and whispered, “Do you remember?”
Andromeda turned to her with a quizzical look. “Remember what?”
“Your life... before the Silence.”
Andromeda thought back to the many times, in the dark, when she couldn't sleep, when she willed her mind to remember something, anything of the life she had before. One word seemed to keep her going—Zoe. But, what did it mean? Was it a name or just a word? “I remember Zoe.”
“I remember Daniel. He is my husband. But where is he?”
Andromeda shook her head in sadness. “I do not know.”
Suddenly, an Informer was standing between them. “Silence. Work.”
The two women returned to their work, exchanging knowing glances. Something had finally broken through the darkness. A glimmer of a memory, a word shared. Now maybe Andromeda could remember what or who Zoe was.
Once again, the evening meal brought more Silence. Watched over by the Informers, after the evening meal, a brief time was permitted for workers to talk amongst themselves. Andromeda watched and listened.
Andromeda tried to focus her mind on the word--Zoe. That night, she willed herself to stay awake and remember. It always seemed just out of reach of her consciousness. And then, of course--the frosted windows. Somehow she had to discover the secrets beyond.
Andromeda's fitful sleep resulted in a deep longing to remember. When artificial lights announced the morning, she reached out to the windows, scratching them with her nails. This time, she thought she saw something through the fog – colors maybe. Something different than the gray sterile world she inhabited. She searched her meager belongings for something to break the thick glass, but it was useless. The Informers were meticulous in their control. Then a plan formed in her mind. She would take a knife from the breakfast hall and break that window—one way or the other. After breakfast, she sneaked back to her chamber and hid the knife under the mattress near the wall.
When the Informers locked the doors for the evening, she took the knife from its hiding place and began to scrape the window frost. She dug around the casing, frantically trying to loosen something, anything to get a glimpse beyond. As the night slipped away, she grew tired, but still persisted in her task of discovery. A seam began to loosen. Andromeda pushed and a small pane fell into the great beyond.
A bright light moved across the horizon and Andromeda saw the sun. Colors dazzled in a rainbow of life. Was this Zoe? Was this home?
Another child had returned home. And God saw that it was good.
Zoe - (Gr.) life, both of physical (present) and of spiritual (particularly future) existence (Strong's Greek)
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