2. A Day in the Life

2. A Day in the Life

A Chapter by Peter Rogerson
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PARADISE HELL - Part 2

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Dear Diary, I lay in my cot before the lights came on and wondered what manner of person would find you and read my words. Would they know what we are like, we underground dwellers, we troglodytes. Probably not, so I will try and tell them something about my life in your pages.

We have been in this massive cavern for so long the beginning has been forgotten, the when and how and so on. But our home is a natural space vacated of stone and pumice over an unbelievable age and quite inhabitable. In fact, I can’t think of anywhere better!

We have everything we require. There is water running in a stream at what we call the eastern end, and that gives us plenty to drink and wash in. And that is important, is washing though I sometimes think my boyfriend Timmy could be a little more thorough with the water! But then he’s a boy and mummy said before she passed away and was laid to rest in the Cemetery Cave that boys can be like that!

I hated it when she died. She was my strength and my guardian. I suppose I must have had a father because that’s the nature of life, but I’ve no idea who it was, just that he can’t have been given The Snip when he was tiny. But mother said she had always wanted a child and in order to make sure she did she slept with a great number of lads in the hope that one of them would be fertile. And, obviously, one was, though she had no idea which one. I’d love to be able to be able to run up to a man and call him “daddy”.

Our days begin when the lights come on. They are powered by the boys who spend their days on their pedals, generating whatever it is that makes light. They explained it in the school cave when I was five, but |I wasn’t interested on account of having to avoid those dreadful stinging moths.

Once, there were many more boys and so they could share the pedalling, but now with so few people there is talk that we girls will have to help out in the future.

Timmy leaves me I n my bed. We sleep together, of course, but I fear he must have had The Snip because I’ve not fallen pregnant even though I am well past the age when I might start swelling. We know it is our duty to contribute to the future, but it’s not happened and Timmy has suggested already that I should try other boys, but I hate the idea of doing that.

The main trouble is what they call the Algorithm that controls life down here. It works on the original principle that people live for so many years and therefore in order to prevent overcrowding some males are Snipped when they’re newly born. But our lives are shorter than they were in the beginning and more babies are needed to keep the population at what was called the perfect level, but our controller, which is automatic, follows orders from the Algorithm, and that is never updated because nobody knows how. So our population shrinks and maybe one day we will all be in the Cemetery Cave, which is sad.

But to my intention, to paint a picture in words that tells of our lives in Paradise Hell.

When the lights come on it is time for Timmy to go to his pedals, and it is forbidden for him to be late. He never is, because boys who are late get to be punished, and that leaves them covered in blood and bruises, which leads to them not being able to pedal the next day, which leads to another dose of punishment.

I wonder if the boys had to go pedalling before the war that drove us down here was threatened? Maybe they did, for surely people have always needed light. I heard tell that perhaps there is a gigantic light in the heights that fills every corner of above with brilliance, but surely that is a fairy tale meant to frighten toddlers?

When Timmy is out of the way I get up and clean myself in water. It is important to keep clean, because dirty people get diseases and that can lead to them dying even sooner than they would otherwise, and there is a limit to how much flesh the Cemetery Cave can handle before it is overflowing.

In the mornings, which is the first half of the Light, I am free to do what I like. It is morning now, and I am writing my diary. Other girls do exercises and even others are in a choir, and sing.

What do I look like, you might ask. Well, I am average build, at least I think I am, and dress in my grey smock. It’s got to be grey because other colours show the stains of dirt, which looks unpleasant. I have hair which started growing when I was born and now reaches down to my waist. It is light brown in colour and, when I wash it shines in the light and Timmy says it turns him on when he looks at it. Timmy also wears a grey smock and the only real difference between him and me is his winkle, which I don’t have. His hair is the same colour as mine and probably a tiny bit longer

In the afternoons I help the old lady Martha, who lives in the hovel next door. She can’t do everything for herself any more and is beginning to forget who I am. I reckon she’ll be dead by the end of this year’s days. I will have to help take her to the cemetery cave when she’s gone because she has no offspring of her own. I told her I would and she was so pleased it made me sad. When she was twenty-one she was punished for not having a baby and still has scars on her back from the thrashing. They will do that to me in a few years if I can’t find a boy to inseminate me. Timmy tries, but fails, so he encourages me to lie with as many lads as are willing, and tell the truth, I’m far from being ugly so quite a lot of lads are more than willing. The trouble is the guilt I feel because I really like Timmy.

The afternoons are for washing and working. Washing smocks and drying them wherever we can, usually somewhere in the hovel where there’s a bit of a warm draught from the communal heating.

Then comes the Night when the Light is over. The lamps that illuminate our world dim out and we lie in our cots. I was entitled to a double cot when I reached thirteen, and I share it with Timmy. But Night is for sleeping, and the two of us sleep so that tomorrow will be as interesting as every day has been.

! wonder how people lived in the dead old times, before we became troglodytes? They can’t have had the joys that our life gives us, if we obey the rules, surely.

Or can they?

© Peter Rogerson 14.02.21

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© 2021 Peter Rogerson


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Added on February 14, 2021
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Tags: troglodytes, punishment, population


Author

Peter Rogerson
Peter Rogerson

Forest Town, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom



About
I am 77 years old, but as a single dad with four children that I had sole responsibility for I found myself driving insanity away by writing. At first it was short stories (all lost now, unfortunately.. more..

Writing