by Shronda S.
forum: ERA
speculative fiction for the internet generation.

......... ....... ..... ..




Dr. Yolinda Glenbrook sat in front of the XP-340 computer in the underground lab of ERA. Her curly brown hair was pulled backed into a tight bun. Her small framed glasses sat on the edge of her round nose. With her middle finger, she pushed them back and continued to type. At her side, the holographic screen flickered the afternoon news on mute. A fire flickered on the screen.

      “Volume,” Yolinda said as she watched the screen. The volume was turned up to a moderate sound.

      “A building fire broke out in New York earlier today. Twelve were found dead with many injured,” the news reporter said in a deep Yorkshire accent.

      “Off,” Yolinda shouted. The holographic screen disappeared as Yolinda continued to type. Yolinda removed her hands from the keyboard and picked up The Mirror. She read the date: May 14, 3006.

      “Yesterday’s. Atlas?” A computer beeped. “Where is today’s paper?”

      “Dr. Wright has the paper,” the main computer said. Yolinda sighed as she stood and walked to the large window of her office. Yolinda Glenbrook lived in New York her whole life. As she moved through her life, she dreamed of her job as a member of the federal government. Once the United States went up after the loss of the southern states, Yolinda moved to London to start her college education. The world morphed and changed. Powers grew, empires fell until there was peace with the countries but not within them. After she graduated, Yolinda began her job as assistant examiner of London’s ERA. An audible alarm sounded as a white and red light flashed in the office.

      “Atlas, locate Dr. Wright.”

      “Dr. Douglas Wright. Location: 12 Downing Street.”

      “Prime Minister again. Atlas, locate emergency.”

      “Emergency, Location: Warwick Way.”

      “Atlas, inform Dr. Wright of the emergency. I am reporting there now.” Yolinda grabbed her black bag and rushed down to the 170-story building.

Bodies lay on the floor on the 23rd floor of the Warwick Way building. Dr. Douglas Wright walked from the elevator to the side of Yolinda.

      “Amazing how you can pull yourself away from the prime minister at a time like this.”

      “Very funny, Dr. Glenbrook. Let us get to work.”

      “I have counted 72. Unless you have extra in your bag, we can’t do anything.”

      “There are more downstairs. Let’s get to work.” Yolinda sighed as she pushed her glasses back.

      “Fine.” Yolinda walked to a medium-built woman. The short blonde lay flat on the stone floor as Yolinda kneeled down, opening her bag. She removed a syringe filled with a caramel colored liquid, filling half of the syringe. Yolinda lifted the upper lid and inserted the steel needle into the glassy eyeball. She released all of the liquid into the eye and placed the empty syringe into her bag and moved to the next person.

After the doctors finished, 72 men and women stood in the room, chattering softly as Yolinda and Douglas stood on a platform.

      “Everyone! Please listen. I am Doctor Yolinda Glenbrook, this is Doctor Douglas Wright. We are with the ERA, Emergency Revival Agency. You have all been part of an experimental gassing by the government.” The crowd talked louder, arguing the government’s use of the people.

      “Ladies and gentlemen! Listen! You have all been injected with this, the revival serum,” Yolinda said, holding up an extra syringe. “And along with it, a nearly invisible life chip. If you all can make two distinct lines, we will read the chips to assign you to your respective doors.” The group stood reluctantly.

      “Please do as I say, or you will be severely punished.” The congregation murmured as they moved to the lines in front of two men uniformed in black garb.

Yolinda stood next to Douglas as the two lines reformed along two buildings. A white door glistened in the late afternoon as one by one, men and women entered. Farther down the line, men were hugging and kissing their wives and children. Women bawled as their husbands, boyfriends, or children clung to them. On the opposite side, a red door beamed. Police were forcing the men and women into the door as they fought and screamed. The officers grabbed a man. He kicked the officers and ran. Before he took another step, he was shocked with a lightning gun. Yolinda took a deep breath.

      “Something wrong, Dr. Glenbrook?”

      “This just... doesn’t seem right. Why do we do this?”

      “It is our job.”

      “Our job is... When I was in New York, I heard that long ago, there were no doors, revival serums, or life chips. The people believed in two places called Heaven and Hell. The good people would go to Heaven, a wonderful place filled with angels and the ancestors of the people while the evil would go to Hell, a fiery place below the earth’s crust where they are punished to unspeakable lengths.”

      “Isn’t that what we are doing now?”

      “No! We are bringing people from the dead and making them go through a door to the unknown.”

      “It is our job. Those who cross over are the only ones who know what is on the other side. And for your information, we are ‘bringing them back’ to tell their grieving loved ones goodbye.”

      “Long ago, the souls would go, not the bodies.”

      “What did they do with the bodies? Why not let the loved ones talk to them before they go?”

      “I don’t know.”

      “Your memory is going bad.” Yolinda looked at her predecessor.

      “I... I didn’t mean...”

      “Along with your memory going, you are questioning the government. I think we have a glitch,” Douglas said, turning to her. Yolinda slowly backed away.

      “I never meant to! I was just asking a simple question.”

      “Robots aren’t supposed to ask question, just do as they are told.” Douglas removed a black handheld console from his lab coat pocket. With a flick of a switch, Yolinda Glenbrook fell to the ground. Douglas clicked his watch as Atlas beeped.

      “Atlas, have respondents come and pick up Dr. Glenbrook and have her repaired. Also, when I return to the lab, have a new assistant ready.” Atlas responded with a beep. Douglas walked down the grassy knoll between the buildings as the sun set on another day.




copyright 2006 Shronda S.

Shronda S. is a college student back at the University of New Orleans. She is eighteen years old and began to write at the age of twelve. She is from small town and dreams to go to the big city, New Orleans, where she will return in the Fall of 2006. She is studying Sociology with a concentration on Criminal Justice. Her inspirations for writing began with her 7th grade reading teacher, Mrs. Warren. She aspired to be a writer after reading S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders. She has a young adult novel being looked over for publication and is writing a short story crime drama series. She says she aspires to be as great as her favorite writers: R.L. Stine, Anne Rice, and Patricia Cornwell.