A Story by S.S. Petrichor

What if scientists had the technology to make stillborn children live?


I’m supposed to be dead.


I was born dead, and I should be dead. I shouldn’t be here, on this rooftop, looking over this city that is so full of life. The glass panes on the skyscrapers that house offices of executives and cubicles of accounts-receivable and secretaries reflect the shift in the lighting from purple to orange. The cement that makes up the buildings begin to warm up slowly as the sun rises, but through my jeans I can still feel the cold in the soul of the cement. A slight babble reverberates off the walls in my mind. I ignore it.


I shouldn’t be able to see the traffic backing up or the people walking on the sidewalks, trying to get on with their everyday lives as the day starts. My body shouldn’t be able to move at all, but it does, so much quicker than what is fair to the enemies of the institute. My lungs shouldn’t be able to breathe this smoggy air. But they do, and as long as they do that, I’m screwed. As long as my lungs breathe, I’ll have a constant babble in my ear to ignore, a constant person trying to control me; turning me into their weapon. There’s no way out of this vicious cycle of killing the people who I think should be living. I can’t stop.


“Jack,” I hear Tyla call from the rooftop door. “It’s time to come in. They think that you’re mind control device is going wonky and that they need to fix it again.” A group of teenagers on their way to high school walk past my perch, not even looking up at me.


“I can hear them just fine,” I answer.  A bite of cold air manages to sneak through my jacket, almost giving me a chill. The sun begins to thread rays of light through the winter atmosphere. The traffic begins to flow down the street. “No need to fix it. I’m just rather good at ignoring them.”


Tyla walks up behind me, her uncaring amber eyes looking deep into my insides. I fidget under her glare. She should be dead too; the amber eyes are the mark of the Stillborn. “You and I both know what happened last time they fixed it, and frankly, I’d suggest that you not do that to everyone again. You’d lower the morale of everyone more than you already do.” I sigh and shake my head. I honestly don’t care about the morale of the other soldiers. This is slightly due to the fact that I highly doubt that the other soldiers even have such a thing. Plus, a mutiny happening in this place is more than welcome to me. Tyla’s eyes are still burning the back of my head, trying to make me feel guilty for disturbing everyone. Her control-freak attitude is what got her on the top rung of soldiers in this institution.


“Right,” I answer, still looking down at the city moving underneath my feet like a pulse. A bus stops at the corner to my right, close to the hotel we inhabit. People get on and people exit, all of them in jackets or trench coats. I’m on the lowest rung of soldiers because I tend to not listen very well. But I’m one of their favorite weapons due to my conviction. That’s why they want to have full control of me. With their mind device they can turn my conviction against me. It’s happened before… “Guess I’d better listen to them then,” I say sarcastically.


“There’s no need to be so moody all the time. We’re alive, Jack.” Tyla whispers with a hint of a smile. No one but me around here acts like they have emotions.


“We’re alive when we shouldn’t be Tyla,” I snap. A man selling newspapers at a stand gives the daily paper to a usual customer. They trade greetings and move on with their day. “They tell us that when they bring us to life we take another person’s place in the world because the world just isn’t big enough for so many people. They tell us that we should be grateful to be alive, like everyone deserves. And you know what? I think that my life should’ve never started as it was supposed to so one more normal person can experience the life I can’t have. I should have never been Jumpstarted so I didn’t perpetuate this cycle of killing the people who should be living.”


“The living kill other living people all the time, Jack.” Tyla’s amber eyes turn a bit darker, turning her pale skin even more paper-white. That’s another trait of ours. Our hearts beat, but not hard enough to make us blush or have any facial coloring whatsoever. “You forget that. Not all living people are good. We’re alive too, but they just can’t comprehend that.”


“We aren’t even people, Tyla. Do you think you emote on the same basis a teenage girl should? No!” I turn to look at her full on for the first time in the conversation. My teeth grit with the type of anger that makes my body shake. “It was the Scientists who brought this war upon the living with their technology to make everyone live all the time, but that can’t happen, Tyla. Not everyone lives all the time. That’s why we’re outlawed. That’s why we have to kill the people who hate us! Not because we want to, but because they make us. They control our minds and make us do things I don’t think we would ever do if we were normal. They’re things that no one should ever do. The living didn’t start this war, they did, the scientists. Do you even think for a moment that you would participate in this war if it weren’t for your mind control device?”


Despite my long-winded argument her amber eyes are un-moving. I exhale a white cloud of pent-up anger into her face. Quiet fills in the space that my loud voice once did. I haven’t changed her opinion. “Just get inside,” Tyla almost sighs with resignation as she pushes away pieces of brown hair from her face. “I don’t want to have you go through another procedure and make me have to listen to you screaming the whole time.”


“I didn’t scream.”


“Believe me, you did.” Tyla moves aside to open up a path for me to get to the rooftop door. “I swear you are the most emotional out of all of us,” she murmurs without so much as shaking her head at me.


I get up huffily and blow little white puffs of air in her face as I say; “I guess being dead didn’t stop that part of me from being fully developed.”

© 2013 S.S. Petrichor

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S.S. Petrichor
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Added on January 28, 2013
Last Updated on January 28, 2013
Tags: science fiction, mind control, yellow eyes, amber, rooftop, city, war, living, cold, teenager, issues, problems, angsty, angst