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The Speck

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This is a story of the so-called "new race", the most advanced evolution of the human race to date. A race of individuals with superior brainpower and technology, albeit at the cost of a lesser physical strength. It was technology which had ensured their survival on an increasingly hostile planet: nuclear fallout, rising sea levels, staggered acidity levels that came with the rain, colossal swarms of locusts that had arrived in the United States. The new race had lived on in enclosed, purified sanctuaries, under futuristic "city-domes" as large as New York itself. These new forms of civilization only accommodated the wealthy, and the authoritative. The "old race" humans, those who had average intellect and were capable of superb physical effort, had died out in the hazardous environments.

It dragged on for half a century before specialized decontamination equipment had been capable enough of wiping out large amounts of radiation that clung to the soil, buildings, and the air. Of course, the new race only wanted to decontaminate arable lands with residential and industrial potential. Abandoned ruins of old cities had nurtured small "rebel" hierarchies, those who had stocked food, water, clothing, and weaponry right before the entire world went to shit. Those who had been mocked and ridiculed due to their "paranoid" methods of preparation, they were those who later became the lucky ones.

Of course, with all the unfortunate events that had taken place, the new race wanted to eliminate their rather rebellious brethren from the old race. Hence decontamination teams were equipped with military-grade weaponry as well. Large-scale, overnight shellings would carpet the cityscape, levelling old apartments, civilian neighborhoods, industrial power plants, and office structures like the Chrysler building. Such was the destruction that the homo sapien sapiens were left for dead, entirely eradicated. The new race had felt its dominance spread further.

This a story of their ruthlessness. Their greed, and their corruption, and the struggle of "The Speck". The last surviving member of the old race of homo sapien sapiens, who existed as a legendary figure, if not a myth, in the books and documentaries of the people of the new race. This Speck, as aptly named, was perhaps the most rare of all creatures in the era.

The Speck, is you, and only you.

The legend

In the old days of your childhood, your mother has always told you stories about your birth, and how the world had heralded your coming. She constantly nurtured your will, the will to endure the hardships you faced as a lonely child. Your days as an ostracized member of your first-grade class. It was racial apartheid at its worst. You weren't given the right to a chair in class. The right to a tray in the cafeteria. The right to play with your classmates, with whom you so badly wanted to socialize with, as your teachers threatened you with a long ruler, prodding you as they pushed you away from your "friends", if you ever really had any. Your father was terminated from work because a new-race youth, a college-graduate with barely passing marks in his thesis, had replaced your dad the instant he applied for the job. Your mother was constantly ridiculed and pointed at whenever you went grocery shopping with her, and the mere fact that she didn't get discounts from valid coupons, or the fact that taxi-cab drivers avoided her, it all brings tears to your eyes.

When you became a college student, your parents were the proudest folks your side of the planet. You studied with earnest and pride every time you went back to your dormitory, even as your dorm mates threw looks of disgust at your exhaustive efforts. In the span of a single term, as much as your professors had disliked the idea of it, you became one of your class' best students. It was on that day that you wanted to tell your parents how you were doing, and wanted to ask them how they were. You dialled in their number, but no one had responded, in the last thirty minutes or so. The next day, as you were anxiously trying to contact them, your phone rang, and you picked up the call, but it wasn't your mom, or your dad's familiar voice on the other end. It was the voice of a young female, informing you that your parents had passed away in a tragic house fire, caused by a mob of rioters of teenagers, presumably the new-race youth. Disheartened, you end the call, and run out of the campus, shedding tears, as the other college students look at you in jest.

You spend the next day, sleeping on a park bench, still in unspeakable disbelief that your family was gone. In the morning of that day, you wake up to the sound of birds, chirping. You rise up and open your eyes, feeling the crusted-up streaks of tears you had spent the day before. You take a deep breath, and take in the sight of the park you are in. Paired with the cold air, it almost seems strange, but you find it rather relaxing. You decide not to panic, or shed tears once more, and just breath. You just breath, and calm down. Suddenly, a hand slams on your shoulder, and as you turn around, you see a police officer, who is rather frail, in a standard-issue exoskeleton. He states charges against you and recites the Miranda rights. Your pulse increases and your vision narrows, his hand still tightly gripped on your shoulder as his other one reaches for a pair of electromagnetic handcuffs. In that instant, your brain switches to a feeling of rage, and you decide to fight back. You stand up in a flash, and slap the officer's hand off your shoulder as you prepare to make a run for it. Right before you do, his head snaps to the left in a spray of red, his body ragdolling against the pavement.

You reel backwards in utter shock, as the blood from the lawman's head pools onto the grass. A deep voice beckons your name twice, telling you to make haste, as you turn around and see a person on a white sport motorcycle, presumably male, wearing dark overalls and a red helmet. His arm signals for you to come over, so you run to him, instinctively. He swings open his visor and tells you to hop on, and you do.

He takes you to a seemingly abandoned apartment, and leads you into its basement. After what seems like an eternity of staircases and a lone, continuous steel handrail, you reach the bottom-most floor, cold and eerie, your shoes' squeaks echoing through the tower of stairs, if it were to be called that. A steel door with a sliding peephole reveals the barrel of a rifle, but as soon as the man utters a word, which you've forgotten by now, the large door slides open, and illuminates two armed men in tactical gear. They both nod to your supposed rescuer, and take a good look at you before resuming stoic stances and closing the door,

In the lair-like setting, you notice a small group of about eight to ten, physically proportional-looking humans like you. Most of them are adults, and as was told to you by your rescuer, the leader of this small, rebel group, have backgrounds in law-enforcement and the military, most of which had guaranteed their means of survival in the first place. These are the old-race humans.

A new life

One of the group, a member of the opposite gender, is about your age. From a glance, you instantly develop feelings for the person. This person approaches you with a look of fascination, amazed that you had not been taken captive by the new-race's corrupt government, comprised of thin, pale, old men in suits. Captives were often held at gunpoint, forced to live in transparent ballistic-polymer cages with ventilation holes, where they are fed a limited diet, dressed in plain, bland, unmarked clothing and treated rights to personal hygiene. They are then paraded in zoos, where children, adolescents, and adults, all wearing mechanized exoskeletons as a way of compensating for their weaknesses, view these captives as if they were animals. This enrages the members of your group so, yet in messages told to you, the group is incapable of retaliating, and can only afford to survive.

They leave the task of "continuing" the old-race's species to you, in the hopes of rebuilding the "old" civilization one day. The person you had developed an affection for, is assigned to be your partner. A quite informal ceremony of matrimony by a Catholic army lieutenant weds you both, your bond only to be broken in the case of death of the other partner. Strange as it may seem, and as hesitant you and your partner are, you both gradually learn to accept your being together. In the months that pass, you learn of this person's struggles, problems and story. That their family had been captured by government forces, and put in "pens" to breed, and form offspring that would be nurtured, and eventually shipped to other zoos as a form of business. You sympathize with this individual and learn to accept your differences. Every night, you shared intimacy by sharing a blanket, or a bed, as you find it more and more comfortable, becoming a source of consolation and happiness for you since it all began. You made promises to be faithful, to be always there when that person needed you. Likewise, this individual made promises to you as well.

It was one of the best times of your life.

It all changes one day, when an earth-shattering quake disturbs your quarters, as the steel door entrance topples down in a puff of smoke, as military personnel in mechanized suits armed with rifles storm the inside of the dome-like basement. Almost everyone you've known in the past eight months is tasered and hand-cuffed, including your partner. You make an attempt at a heroic rescue, but are unsuccessful as the lieutenant, who oversaw your wedding, directs you into a small room with a ladder that leads to the surface. Hesitant and full of seething rage, you climb up the steel protrusions as he apologizes to you, and bids you a final "good luck", saying that "you weren't that bad at all".

You reach the top, open the hatch, and catch the smell of soil, of plants, and the cold air once more. You look up to see the star-studded night sky as you pull yourself out of that hole, and see a thick woods before you. A voice from the chute yells in anger, as a shot is fired. You begin to run, heart pacing like an automatic weapon, as you weave through the trees, with tears running down your cheeks; your chest heaves, not only from the physical effort, but from the loss you sustained. The loss of a possibility of a new life, at the hands of those who raided the hideout.

A helicopter with search lights drones overhead, unable to see you through the thick foliage. Radio static echoes tens of meters behind you. You run faster as a burning sensation runs down your throat, your lungs exhausted from the running. Unexpectedly, you reach the side of a lone highway. The black asphalt brings you slight relief, as a mysterious SUV revs by, its headlights turned off in the darkness. The passenger window opens, revealing a silhouette of the driver, who seems to be alone and unarmed, beckoning you to get in. Assuming this was a contingent rescue operation, you slide into the passenger seat, and close the door as you zoom away, undetected. You are instructed to remain silent, as the driver tells you that he is of a "secret society" of the new race, dedicated to preserving the 'old race' humans without the use of zoos or artificial, inhumane habitats. This frightens you a bit, although he reassures you that he does not have any intent of inflicting any sort of harm upon you.

An hour later, the vehicle stops at a home in a quaint suburb. He deploys the parking brake, and instructs you to get inside the home.

"There is a family, waiting for you there. They will then provide you with a room in their attic, give you the same kind of food and water they drink, provide you with clothes as normal as theirs, and will make sure that the government does not find you."

It all seems too suspicious, but the driver explains to you that these are committed people, with a "higher calling" in life. He tells you to imagine them as the environmentalists of the old race, fanatics of peace and preservation. You take his word for it, as you get out of his car and walk down the front lawn, weary and traumatized. The door opens before you can even ring the doorbell, with a middle-aged woman of the new race greeting you warmly. She introduces you to her children, and relates to you the fact that she is a single mother. Her name was Arielle. That's what you remember, isn't it?

Surprised at your disposition, she lets you in, and gives you your first decent meal in eight months. A hot, succulent steak, mashed potatoes, peas and a cold glass of iced tea. Just like what the "driver" said, you are given a refurbished room in the attic, along with every piece of clothing your size. You take a shower, which feels utterly divine and cleansing, and are given new clothes to sleep in. You thank this family for their assistance, and proceed to sleep as they bid you a good night. But you can't sleep.

You think of what you had just lost. It was everything to you, including your partner. Those good people, with ambitions in life just as good as anyone else's, killed and captured for whatever dark purpose the government had planned.

You cry yourself to sleep. Blissful, uninterrupted sleep, drowning away those most regrettable thoughts.

For a moment, the pain of the world is washed away by the darkness and peace of rest. You feel as if nothing will get worse than this, as you contemplate the prospect of a vision of life anew.

You open your eyes slowly, a scene resolving before you.

You suddenly glimpse your partner, the one you spent time with underground, being forced to have intercourse, being tortured and ridiculed. Violated. Screams and cries echo through your head as tears run down your cheeks, as you are unable to do anything, powerless in an unknown restraint.

You wake up with a gasp at 3:12 AM, realizing it had just been a dream. You wish that it wasn't true in any manner. Of course not. Your partner had passed away...

Attempting to comfort yourself, you decide to go downstairs to help yourself to a glass of water, and see that a dim light, presumably from a small lamp, is still turned on in the living room.


You pass by the living room and see Arielle on the phone, but she doesn't see you walk into the kitchen. You hear her asking about a sum of money, and out of your curiosity, hide behind a utensil closet to eavesdrop on her conversation. She gasps as an inaudible response is muttered by the operator on the other end of the phone. She agrees to something, and throws a few "uh-huhs" and "yeah" expressions as the conversation is about to end. You lose interest and proceed to go back upstairs, not having hydrated yourself..

Just before you climb the staircase, Arielle looks around and sees you, looking slightly jolted as she gasps. You are confused and are just about to ask her what's wrong.

With eyes staring wide open in great fear at you, she utters a set of words into the phone that make you run out of the house in your night clothes, for fear of capture from the authorities.

"The Speck, it's here. Please hurry.", says Arielle.

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