16. A New Beginning

16. A New Beginning

A Chapter by Peter Rogerson

PARADISE HELL The End, part 16


For what seemed ages Timmy and I were oblivious to everything as the explosion of what could only have been a much delayed love affair swept over us for the very first time, properly., Although we’d been affectionate with each before, down in the land of the troglodytes, it had never been anything like this. I guess it was the conditions, uncomfortable at best, and the fear that one of the sometimes marauding Stewards of Discipline might suspect we were getting too close to each other. Anyway, the softness of the bed and the fragrance of the bedding must have got to us and propelled us from the people we’d been to something so different I can hardly find the words for it.

Anyway, down below Timmy had his pedalling to do during the hours of light, and when he returned to me he was often too tired for anything but going to sleep. Quite often I’d been tempted to put my arms round him but he’d shaken me off, telling me that it would be all right later, but klater never seemed to come.

So with renewed vigour provided by a soft and fragrant bed we were in no shape to notice the door open and the surgeon Simon who had befriended us earlier putting his head in and stare unbelievingly open-eyed at the pair of us.

Well, well, well,” he said as we broke for air mid-way through a passionate clinch.

I leapt, naked by then, off the bed and blushed bright red, I’m sure. I pulled the pretty dress that had somehow come off me against my skin and tried to work out whether I was angry or happy.

I’m sorry,” I stammered, aware that maybe we’d been engaged in something that really ought to be kept secret.

You shouldn’t have left your door ajar, then,” he said, “and now I understand why our people were provided with a surgeon to deal with a quarter of the baby boys so that they’d be infertile in their adult life, and why a quarter of the ladies are offered daily tablets that are effective contraceptives, though, sad to say, I believe stocks are almost exhausted in the world below where we are now.”

I looked at Timmy, and smiled. Occasionally, very occasionally, we had mooted the idea of trying for a baby, not then knowing the effects of the tablets I was taking every day.

We wouldn’t mind having a baby sharing our time with us,” I said quietly, giving voice to a thought that had been on my mind ever since I’d first met him.

Well, you certainly seem to know how to go about it,” grinned Simon, “and from what I saw it won’t take long once you stop taking those pills,” he added indicating my supply of health tablets that I kept on a sweet little table next to my side of the bed.

Is it these?” I asked, and a kind of anger swept into me. “But why?” I asked.

Think about it, child,” he said quietly, “space for our society to grow was severely limited in Paradise Hell, and the best way to ensure there wasn’t any overcrowding was to limit childbirth. So a quarter of the men are sterile, and a quarter if the women had been educated to take contraceptives. The result is that new childbirth was a bit of a lottery. You work it out!

Timmy climbed off the bed once his excitement had died down. “But there aren’t enough new babies being born down there,” he said, “even I’ve noticed it. The cemetery cave is filling up because our life-spans are, we’ve been told, shorter than they were in the beginning and people are getting old too soon. When our ancestors first took the troglodyte road away from the dangers of war it’s said that people lived for ages.”

It’s the unhealthy life we were forced to live,” agreed Simon, “none of us can expect to live even half as long as Kim and Philip and all the overground people will live. Kim told me she is considered to be young still, being only forty. And here’s me, the same age, and counted as old. I’m just hoping we can regain the old path to old age and then I’ll be young again!

I hope so if the games we’ve just discovered together mean anything, we want to play then for ever,” I told him. “Now was there any reason why you interrupted us at our fun?” I was sounding cheeky, I know, but I was aching to get back onto that bed with my Timmy.

Yes,” he replied, “and it might be bad news. We’ve had word that the Stewards of Punishment, that is the group that decided to go back to Paradise Hell, are returning and from what Kim told me they’re in a black mood.”

Oh,” I said, “I didn’t like that lot very much and was glad when they opted to go back rather than come here with us.”

Same here,” added Timmy, “but they’re not dangerous now, surely, with no mechanical voice instructing them to wield their rods.”

We can hope so,” murmured the surgeon, “though I’ve a feeling they might resent losing the control they had over us. You know what they were like, obeying the voice and when there was nobody to punish, sticking their noses into everyone’s business. I had a word with Kim and she listened to me quite intently before telling me that they’re subject to the same rules as everyone else, and there are ways of dealing with trouble-makers.”

If they can deal with powerful leaders who tell lies in order to get their own way then I’m sure they can deal with a handful of bully boys from the lands deep down,” agreed Timmy, “now if you don’t mind, Simon, my girlfriend and I were exchanging a few words in private.”

He sighed. “I noticed,” he said quietly, “I guess I was envious, that’s all. Carry on and this time I’ll make sure the door’s shut properly.”

We heard it click as he left and I grinned at Timmy.

Now where were we?” he asked, pulling me towards him.

Falling in love,” I told him, “falling very much in love…”


© Peter Rogerson 06.03.21


© 2021 Peter Rogerson

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Added on March 6, 2021
Last Updated on March 6, 2021
Tags: contraception, population, conclusion


Peter Rogerson
Peter Rogerson

Forest Town, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

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..