Category Archives: The Oracle’s Sketchpad

A Dystopian future, and a rebellion led by a woman no one has ever seen.

The Oracle’s Sketchpad Preview

I’ve been bad and haven’t posted anything for so long. But I’ve been working on stuff besides trying to normalize my sleep schedule, I swear! So, Here are the first few pages of the dystopian fiction I’m working on as an apology.

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The day is June nineteenth, two thousand and…The rest of the year has been lost for some time now. At this point, is seems to be less important than the fact that we still find ourselves standing. And where exactly are we standing now? It seems we have long forgotten its original name. Since the start of the regime, it has simply been called “Our Country” or depending on the speech being given “The Nation”. Though it had a name once. Everything did. My own name has been lost for nearly as long as Our Country’s. They call me The Oracle now. And this is my story. In the broadest sense of the idea, this story is mine. But it is yours too. It’s all of ours. It started years before I was a part of The Nation, before The Nation was part of the world at all. The Nation is even younger than I am at only thirty years old. Imagine their surprise when they see a woman still soft on the eyes and without wrinkles whose hair has gone as gray as mine has. But it is my voice that they will be afraid of, and my eyes. But it makes so little sense to start with me, to start with now. After all, we have had quite the journey up until this point. Until this collective, frustrated, heaving breath of a sigh started this story, there were others.

It can be argued that the book opened the day the Chinese figured out that those fine, black, granules could be used for more than lighting up the night sky with explosive Tiger Lilies. It could also be argued that the first page of it was penned when the peasants raised their fists and muskets to the sky to curse the Bourgeoisie and waved their red flag to take control of something this time. Closer, though, to the real start of this story was the Second World War. When Western Europe ran black with the smoke of ovens and waded in rivers of red. When those black granules and swords made way for carbon and lead. And those paved the way for The Atom. And that is where my story starts and where I shudder. The mere idea that something above and beyond the microscopic burned through flesh worse than the hottest of hell’s fires. And the pain and devastation that echoed through space and time on the wings of a Monarch Butterfly that was only half of an insect and more of a man pushed us to, at this moment, force the collective breath from our solitary lungs as if to assure them that we understood and recalled.

We had hoped that they learned back then. Once was enough. Beyond that, once may have even been too much. In elementary school History classes, they still showed the images: the primitive mushrooms staining the sky, as if they were a part of some sick pasta pesto. They burned into our eyes the screaming Japanese women and children, trying to outrun the spores of the looming Shitake that burned holes in reds and oranges through the atmosphere. The emaciation of the skeletons that hung on to barbed wire fences, staring with white, wide eyes. Innocents, they told us, all of them, locked up like livestock to be slaughtered and eaten. But that would have disgraced the farmer, looking at the way you could pinch their bones through the fabric of their shirts, count their ribs through the garments that hung as heavy weights on them. The eyes were the scariest parts of it all, I recall with dread. They were large, bulging in the black and white photographs, taken once upon a time when cameras required film to function. They looked like the eyes of a deer that had just seen the headlights of the oncoming semi that could not stop, void of hope or anything for that matter. I remember wanting to reach out and touch them, the withered faces, the broken hands, to promise them to look again. We all did then, look ahead that is. When there was so much potential, it was hard not to.

But things had changed, we were all told. The world was at peace, for the most part. Certainly no one was going to run around dropping what they had called then the “death particle” on to people’s heads anymore. Each country had its own part to play, and so intentionally arming yourself against a neighbor seemed like a waste of time to us then. We had a sense of absolute security even if it was, perhaps, false at best, that nothing would happen to us or our neighbors if we did our damndest to stay out of one another’s way. It hardly mattered what your face, your God, and your bed looked like and were occupied by. Harmony was the most important part of it all then. That and not killing one another. The Great Nations had banded together, and now the people had become less like different sections of a large mural, and more like pieces of an intricate puzzle. All of us with our own design, the paint and colors on each piece a touch different than the one next to it. All of the slots just slightly differently positioned than one another, but perfectly interlocking none the less, with the end result some kind of recreation of an antique painting. And without one of these pieces, the picture would not be finished. We had learned, finally, that it was illogical to throw bodies on the pyre when we needed one another after all of the fighting.

This was before me too. When the World Conglomerate came together, my parents were in their younger years. My father said he was just starting the fourth grade when the man in the black suit came to their Morning Prayer assembly. Father had gone to a Catholic school, after all. There were fewer public schools then, the government turning most of its funding towards scientific research. Schools were secondary, for the privileged. Father always said they had been, anyway. Public schools, he quipped one day, were simply large day care centers for parents who worked low income jobs and needed a place to freely set their children while they worked to provide ,and just meeting, a meager living for themselves and-

I have lost track of the story, though: this is not about the people then. At least, not that far back in the past. The man in the suit stepped up to the microphone and told my father and his classmates that they stood before a great change. The United Nations, a primitive form of a global initiative is what the history books tell us, had evolved. They called themselves the World Conglomerate. By a shocking landmark unanimous decision, they would be in charge of things now, for all of the nations in the so called “Civilized” world. It would breed stability, they had said, and bring with a promise for a more unified and stronger global economy. No one had any care. Anything to take one more burden off of the larger population, after all. We had better things to do than think of the rest of the world and its politics. There were machines to make, hands to shake, and profits to be had.

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