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Female Occupant of No. 71

 

 

 

 

 

 

Female Occupant of No. 71

By AJ Stone

Copyright 2016 AJ Stone

Shakespir Edition[*
*]

 

 

 

 

Shakespir Edition, License Notes

 

 

Thank you for downloading this eBook. This eBook remains the copyrighted property of the author, and may not be redistributed to others for commercial or non-commercial purposes. 
If you enjoyed this book, please encourage your friends to download their own copy from their favorite authorized retailer. Thank you for your support.

Female Occupant of No. 71

 

[_Somebody would remember, eventually. Memories are dangerous. They can derail a functioning human being’s performance and lead them to the abyss. There is no need for anybody to know anything or everything. They can look it up if they want an answer. 
_]

 

Alarms vibrated in Female Occupant of No. 71’s mind. Her family remained oblivious in their silent slumbers. Her pulse monitor flickered from standby to the glowing green light that indicated she was ready to begin her day. The bathroom lights awakened at 0612 hours, the hot water knocking on the taps at 0617.

 

Muted gurgles from the kitchen indicated that preparations were underway for the morning routine. The grinding started prior to her entering; the sensors in the tiles measuring the pace of her footsteps and how many shots of caffeine were required to reach her optimum stride. Male Occupant and Male Minor appeared to devour their portion of breakfast. A twitch in their necks encouraged them to exit the dwelling at 0756 hours.

 

The intelli-TV came alive at 1700 hours to replay the weather forecast, analyse celebrities’ lipsticks and predict how long until the royal baby was due. The Prime Minister had recorded his podcast earlier in the day before the country’s credit rating had been downgraded, but that could be included in tomorrow’s next week’s public address. 


 

Why is the Federal Trade Minister mad at China?’

Because they rejected a shipment of our cattle. Because they insulted his tie. He is not mad; do not believe everything you hear. Everything is under control.’

 

The city’s libraries had extra storage space after their shelves were cleansed. Female Occupant of No. 71 gritted her teeth in frustration as the words in older books faded when exposed to the new flickering lights. The librarians informed her that the pages gradually rejuvenated and were to be updated by society’s appointed historians. Language was evolving, history should reflect that. There was no need for future generations to worry about deciphering old grammar conventions or past atrocities.

 

World War 2 occurred due to the Polish people taking the German’s rightful jobs.’

Where did you find that?’

Wiki’d it.’

FB says it was because the French insulted Hitler’s moustache.’

Oh, that must have been it.’

 

Power outages were uncommon in the city, but during their occasional occurrence most people stayed in bed or on the couch. Instructions were distributed with every new dwelling built to ensure nobody did anything dangerous. Female Occupant of No. 71’s flashlight’s GPS was disabled so she used it to tackle the stairs. The old suitcase in the cellar hummed for attention. 


 

She fumbled with the clasps, joints unused to such maneuvers after years of scanning her fingers and tapping buttons. Her childhood dreams greeted her. The violin, whose string snapped six years after becoming obsolete. The alarm clock whose battery had corroded. The can opener that was no longer required. Paper and an ink pen. The pack of cards that won her ten bucks–cash! Knitting needles without the ball of wool. A manual toothbrush.


She inhaled the simplicity of the past, only to realise Male Occupant had found her. His watch showed a pink blip on the house’s floorplan, her inbuilt chip betraying her.

‘You should have surrendered those at the last collection. You are setting a bad example for Male Minor.’
The algorithms that matched them must have been experiencing bugs the day they had joined. He was a progressive, a forward thinker, a techno-embracer. She was a preserver, a keep-saker, a relic of the manual way of life.

‘Can you remember how to use a can opener?’ she asked him

His glasses illuminated his scowl. ‘Why would I have even known how to use one anyway?’

The power returned, the lights automatically turning on as they sensed people were in the room.

‘You better dispose of that rubbish. Remember what happened to the blonde woman down the street when they found her calendar from 1984?’

‘Polly.’

‘What?’

‘Her name was Polly.’

‘Whatever. Buzz me when dinner is ready.’

 

***

 


Female Born c.1927’s rocking chair creaked as she peered at the diary on her lap. 1948. She had conquered the attic stairs they thought she could not climb. Her home was scheduled to be renovated tomorrow. She must streamline her life, cleanse her memories, and defrag in order to counter the evils of dementia. Her monitor beeped at the bottom of the stairs, her carer would arrive soon. What happened May 26th?_] Her eyes flickered as the words bombarded her fragile mind. Uneven scrawls danced across the pages, filling line after line. [_May 1st, 2nd, 3rd17th…Footsteps below startled her, her fingers fumbled. 23rd, 24th…Voices proceeded her carer’s appearance. 25th, 26th…Hands tried to wrench the diary from her, but her glassy eyes found what she wanted to know. Geoffrey. Heart failure. By the river. Augusta taken. Unfit to parent alone.

 

Female Occupant of No. 71 observed the ruckus across the street as the elderly neighbour resisted relocation. She closed the blinds. The fridge hummed behind her, dispensing Male Minor’s daily orange juice. Male Minor of No. 71’s vacant eyes briefly glanced up from his tablet as she placed the juice beside him.

‘So, did you learn anything interesting at school this week?’

‘There is a new app to identify the ripest apples in each store.’

Female Occupant of No. 71 laughed as she wiped down the benchtops.

‘Just pick up an apple and look at it. You can tell whether it is ripe or not.’

Male Minor looked at her incredulously. ‘Why would I do that when an app can do it for me?’

She paused before answering, but his attention had already reverted to the screen in front of him.

‘Yes, why would I do that?’ she asked herself as the microwave beeped impatiently.
It was time to defrost the low-GI, organic, free-range, all natural mince.

 

Looking for work? How quickly can you Google this? Excellent, here is a desk and the Wi-Fi password. You do not own an up-to-date smart watch? Sorry, we are not hiring atm. Try the take-away across the street; you only need a smartphone for that occupation.

 

***

 

‘Mother. This is not my usual cereal.’

Female Occupant of No. 71 glanced up from rummaging in the freezer. Its contents-log was informing her there were three fillets of steak hidden under the ice cream, but she could not locate them.

‘The shop was sold out of your usual one so I had to buy a substitute.’

Male Occupant of No. 71 sighed as he read the morning news from his tablet, but did not say anything.

‘But Mother,’ said Male Minor of No. 71. ‘My phone’s app tells me that this particular brand of cereal contains 50 more calories than my usual one. If I eat it, my entire day’s food intake will be disrupted.’

‘Then don’t eat it or have less cookies at lunch,’ said Female Occupant of No. 71 as she found the steak behind the frozen bread.

 

At 0756 hours Male Occupant and Male Minor of No. 71 prepared to leave.

‘Honey, have you decided when you will return to work yet?’ Male Occupant of No. 71 asked Female Occupant of No. 71.

‘Apparently I need to upskill again before re-entering the workforce.’

‘I did advise you to learn to code properly instead of wasting your time doing that degree.’

Female Occupant of No. 71 shoved the breakfast dishes in the dishwasher. ‘Yeah, cause a masters in environmental science focusing on the impact of climate change is useless knowledge.’

‘What’s climate change?’

They realised Male Minor of No. 71 had failed to leave the kitchen. His neck kept twitching as his inbuilt chip sensed he was still in the room.

‘Nothing important kiddo. It was a conspiracy theory your mother examined at university that has been debunked. Don’t listen to her, she will tell you the sun rises in the east next.’

‘It does,’ Female Occupant of No. 71 hissed at her husband as he picked up his workbag.

‘No dear, that was debunked also. It rises in the south. Look it up if you don’t believe me.’

 

***

The recent power outages were unusual during off-peak times. Engineers investigated the street’s infrastructure while residents were occupied with their daily purpose. Female Occupant of No. 71 discovered one in the kitchen after his pass had overridden the dwelling’s security system.

‘I just need to check the switch box in the lower level and I’ll be done.’

Female Occupant of No. 71 followed him down the cellar stairs, the lights automatically illuminating the confined space.

‘I would offer you a coffee but–’

‘Your next caffeine allowance is not due for another seventeen minutes. We have your appliances’ regular stats. Might have to encourage residents to stagger their appliance usage so the power grid doesn’t overload until it is upgraded.’

Silence occupied the room while he checked the switch box.

‘All good.’

His eyes darted about the room as she headed for the stairs.

‘What’s that?’

She glanced back realising he had spotted the suitcase, ‘Some old junk we found to be surrendered next collection. Got to keep it away from the Male Minor until then.’

The lights dimmed as they climbed the stairs.

He passed his tablet to her to scan her finger in confirmation that the dwelling had been checked.

‘I’ll let myself out.’

 

Female Occupant of No. 71 observed him via the security monitor as he jaunted to the neighbouring dwelling. A glance at her watch confirmed it was eleven minutes until her next coffee.

‘Sod it.’ 
She re-set the appliance’s schedule and manually poured herself a mug of coffee.

 

The safety of the public is paramount. Lone wolves are unpredictable; it is difficult to determine when they could strike. Data collection and analysis is the best form of prevention. Report anything suspicious to the authorities. They are here to protect you.

 

Metal met chip, short circuiting and spewing blood on the handheld mirror. The bathroom mirror recorded everything from neck up so she had resorted to the old fashioned kind that was hidden in the spare room’s closet. One stamp and Female Occupant of No. 71’s chip squeaked to its demise.


She seized her bag, small and unremarkable, and marched down the hall. Makeup and hair dye were a mode of expression for most, but had become tools of escape for her. The sirens were already sounding as she reached the office window. The emergency hammer allowed her to squeeze out.

 

Engines announced the arrival of the law enforcement. She dashed to the rear fence that bordered the neighbouring property where the FIFO worker lived. A concealed loose sheet of fencing allowed her to leave the dwelling behind.


The gate that provided emergency access from the street to the rear of the neighbouring property was protected by an electronic lock.

‘Dammit.’

She dragged out the ancient jump-start leads she had swiped from the garage clear out five years earlier. A corroding battery and some sparks later, the lock whined then fractured. Female Occupant of No. 71 rammed the gate open and sprinted to the street where a cab was idling.

 

‘Where to Madam?’ asked the automated voice of the cab.

‘The city’s east border. Where the sun rises.’

 

####

 

 

Thank you for reading Female Occupant of No. 71.

Remember, the sun rises in the east.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[About the author
**]

AJ Stone is a young writer based in Western Australia. Female Occupant of No. 71 is her first foray into dystopian fiction as she mainly concentrates on equine and Australian themed stories. When not writing, she can be found wandering around the paddocks in search of wayward horses and sheep.

 

 

Connect with the author

 

Follow me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AJStoneWriter/

Visit my blog: https://ajstonewriter.wordpress.com

Favourite me on Shakespir: [+ https://www.Shakespir.com/profile/view/AJStonewriter+]

 

 

 


Female Occupant of No. 71

Female Occupant of No. 71 inhabits a dwelling with Male Occupant and Male Minor. Their lives are harmonious–or so it appears. Female Occupant of No. 71 remembers things that others have been encouraged to forget. How does she know what she knows? Is the past worth remembering? The accumulation of knowledge is discouraged, but Female Occupant of No. 71 knows too much to surrender now. What does she know?

  • ISBN: 9781370709458
  • Author: AJ Stone
  • Published: 2016-10-21 06:05:08
  • Words: 2043
Female Occupant of No. 71 Female Occupant of No. 71