The AlbanianA Story by HoWiE
A tale of administration and regulation set in a dystopian future perhaps not so far removed from our own...
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Mary Worth, 33, Class 4. ID: X217467
14 Augusta Compound
Administrator Grainger tapped the PDA and wiped a gloved finger across its surface with a tick-tock motion. He sighed and lifted his eyes to the lacklustre ball that laboured at the skyline, its pale light filtered weakly through the standing buildings of Augusta Compound and a faint breeze followed it. Housing Unit 14 stood on the first floor.
He cast a glance at Senior Administrator Ribero who gestured onwards; the mans mouth, as always a savage gash in a pockmarked landscape. The lips twitched, it could almost been a smile. Something the matter Grainger?
The younger man shook his head and returned the PDA to the pocket at his side. No nothing he muttered.
Ribero sniffed and stalked onwards. Good, Im hungry, I dont need to be messing around in there.
Grainger rapped curtly on the door to HU14 and waited, his heart thumping in his chest. Silence. The breeze picked up and blew sand across the walkway with a sibilant hiss, a small eddy of blown sand twisted at his feet. Ribero moved suddenly reaching for his weapon.
No, wait, Grainger said quickly, throwing up a hand. He knocked again, louder this time. Just let me handle this will you?
Ribero cursed sourly and returned the firearm to its holster with a look of disgust. He stepped back and turned to stare out across the interlinking blocks that comprised the sprawling Augusta Compound.
The door opened as Grainger made to knock again. A woman answered, half-hidden behind the door, a bathrobe bound tightly at her waist and her auburn hair in disarray. Her eyes widened slightly and her mouth moved noiselessly.
Hello Mary, Grainger said with a light nod.
Mary Worth clasped a hand to her chest, her eyes creasing and the corners of her mouth curling ever so slightly. Frank? My God Frank? Its been how long?
A long time He acceded.
How are you? she said, blinking rapidly and exhaling, her relief palpable.
Grainger set his jaw and raised his warrant card so that she could see. Im sorry, can we come in?
Mary blanched and her hand tightened on the door frame, her words tripping and stumbling from her lips. II its not a good. not a good time, Frank, Im just on my way out and and hows Judy?
Grainger placed a steadying hand against the coolness of the door, his gaze hardening a little. Mary were coming in.
Mary sat on the couch and clutched at her robe, her fingers bunching and twisting the soft material. Grainger sat opposite her, his hands clasped between his legs and his shoulders hunched. Ribero leaned against the far wall arms folded, his fingers tapping impatiently, his mouth twisted into a disagreeable line.
Mary, Grainger said softly, extracting his PDA, weve had a tip-off and you know as Administrators we have to follow up every-
She shook her head wildly, exaggeratedly. A tip-off? What what about? I havent done anything wrong.
You know why were here, Ribero snapped, scowling.
I just need to a check a few things, Mary, Grainger said, ignoring his partner. Youre a class 4 citizen arent you?
No, no Im class 3, just waiting for my papers-
Mary, hold out your hand.
Trembling Mary held out a hand whilst, Grainger passed the scanner across it briefly. It clicked.
He raised his eyes to hers. ID number X217467, Mary Ann Worth Class 4.
She shook her head. There must be a mistake, but its okay, I can go down to the Municipal Sector and get it straightened out this morning.
Wheres Larissa, Mary? Grainger asked.
Shes not here, shes at her Grandmothers, Mary replied swiftly, blinking back big blurring tears.
F**k this. Ribero spat. This is taking too f*****g long. He started towards the rooms beyond the living area.
Mary sprung from her seat, a terrified gasp escaping her lips. As she flung herself before him, Ribero brought back his hand and swatted her from her feet. She crashed back across the couch with a grunt but scrambled to her feet and moved towards him again. Grainger caught her arm and wrenched her back. Mary no! You know its an offence to impede a Administrator-
Riberos boot crashed against the door.
Well, well, well. He cracked a humourless smile. Grainger moved beside him, already knowing what hed see, his heart heavy.
And who is this? Ribero said crouching, his dark eyes danced dangerously and his thin smile was mocking, almost jubilant. You must be Larissa but you, you shouldnt be here at all
Mary pushed past them both gathering the two children in her arms. One, a girl around six years old, honey ringlets hanging to her cheeks and her green eyes glistening. A coded tattoo marked the inside of her right wrist, a signature, a seal of approval. Wrapped within the girls secure embrace, a baby, a few weeks old at best, its azure eyes inquisitive, round and blinking. The girl removed her hand from its mouth, the need for silence no longer required.
The scanner clicked in Riberos hand and he arched an eyebrow. It seems we have an unchipped child here. He stared into Marys eyes and his gaze tightened.
Please, Mary choked, hes not mine Im looking after him for a friend, I I
Then you are harbouring an illegal neonate and liable to prosecution. Ribero stood and produced his PDA configuring a design upon its screen with a finger. As he did so he tilted his head slightly to speak into the mic at his throat. Bring me the Albanian.
Grainger watched as the door opened to permit the tall man who ducked his head as his entered and removed a wide brimmed hat. The Albanian was skeletal with a waxy pallid skin, stretched like parchment over flat features. His head was bald and domed and his eyes were colourless and bleak. Wordlessly, he set down a black case upon the table and opened it with long tapering fingers.
Tears ran down Marys ashen cheeks as Ribero began to read from the PDA:
By issue of the State: citizens of the Fourth Class are subject to governing rules in accordance with Para 13a of Article 9 of the Population Bill, 2047
Graingers eyes flickered between the three, his throat tight and his chest thudding, unconsciously he tightened his grip on Marys arm. The Albanians emotionless mask was in direct contrast to the horror and anguish that wreathed Mary Worths features. Riberos eyes glinted as he read on seemingly oblivious of the ministrations of the Albanians hands as they moved over the cases contents.
Unauthorised or surplus offspring are deemed property of the State
Please Mary said, please dont...
Her knees buckled and she crumpled to the floor.
and are therefore liable for confiscation, destruction or employment if it is considered beneficial to the State.
Please Im begging you
Ribero lifted his gaze and nodded to the Albanian.
Rules are rules, Mary and the law is the law. One child per family unit. You brought this on yourself
The Albanian tapped the syringe with a long finger and removed the cap from the needle. And then, looking down at her as if seeing her for the first time, said.
Which one do you want to keep?
According to estimates published by the United States Census Bureau, the world population hit 6.5 billion on February 25, 2006.
The Worlds population is currently growing by approximately 75 million people per year and is expected to hit 9.1 billion by 2050, a rise of 40%.
© 2008 HoWiE
Shelved in 2 LibrariesAdded on February 22, 2008
Plymouth, Devon, UK, United Kingdom
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