‹ Prequel: Martyr's Run

Storms in Utopia

Prologue: The Girl with the Pink Hair

The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.

-Albert Camus

The woman turned into the quiet Cul-de-Sac with a heavy plastic bag filled with a four pint bottle of milk and a loaf of bread in her hand, and her young son running on a few paces ahead of her. It was still early in the morning, though the early June heat was pleasantly warming, and there seemed to be no one about. Few people did go out this early; it was stupid, really, to run out of basic essentials, but a little glitch in her normally pristine daily routine had made her unable to visit the supermarket this week.

She turned to face the long, empty road with its two rows of identical square, brick houses lining the pavements and began to walk. Hers was close to the far end; the one with the black car. That alone was quite abnormal—black cars, whilst they were a neutral enough colour not to be banned, were always considered a little more unusual than the more conformist silver. But she did not have the money to buy a new one; nor did she have the time to paint it so, like many citizens across the world, the government had pardoned her, letting this little eccentricity slip through their tight fingers.

Not that she should ever think of the government like that, of course. They had done so much for this world, which before was drowning in war and poverty and hunger and disease. They had done a huge amount for humanity, and the banning of individuality and imagination was just a little inconvenience. It was, after all, imagination which led to discrimination—there was, at the end of the day, no real difference between races, genders or ethnicities—and discrimination which had led to the Third World War. Yes. They could deal without imagination. Imagination was...bad. The government had saved them.

Daniel whined aloud at that moment, the only sound in the silent street, his feet tired from what, at his tender ten years old, he would consider a long walk. In reality, it had not been a long walk at all; the woman had walked ten times as far in one day before, but young Daniel, living in this perfect, privileged society, had never even had to think about such hardships. Seeing Daniel, however, reminded her how quickly her life was moving forward. She was in her mid-forties now, having waited until the latest possible moment to have children. Hopefully she was not even half way to the end yet, but she still couldn’t deny how it scared her.

‘We’re nearly back, Daniel,’ she said gently to her son as she squeezed his hand in something that was supposed to resemble reassurance. She waited one moment as a silver car drove past—Mr Fuchs from three doors down, by the looks of it, and a sharp glint of sunlight caught her in the eye as it reflected off of the shiny new paintwork—he had enough money to paint his car silver—before she crossed the road.

Now on the same side of the road as her house, she turned left, coaxing her son that ‘it’s not far now.’

It was only then that she noticed, contrary to what she had believed just a moment ago, that they were not alone.

Just a few metres ahead, walking at a casual pace, was a girl.

So why was this so strange? The woman asked herself why she suddenly became so suspicious when seeing the girl; or young woman as she most likely was. After all, it wasn’t like anyone these days to ask questions.

The first thing that struck the woman that classified as an acceptable reason for suspicion was that the girl was dressed rather oddly. She wore all black but for the slither of white t-shirt that could be seen underneath her jacket.

Yes, the jacket was the main reason for suspicion. It was short; stylish.

And it was made of leather.

When was the last time she had seen leather? She simply could not remember—well, she could remember, but it was not a time she particularly wanted to think about. But as for in society? Well, leather probably hadn’t been worn since before the Revolution. Its connotations, after all, were far too closely linked with rebellion and a non-conformist attitude. This was a proper criminal offence.

And perhaps the most prominent thing of all was the artificial colour of the underside of the girl’s hair.

Hair dye—and not even naturally coloured hair dye. No. The underneath of this girl’s hair was pink.

The woman bit her lip. Of course she could call the police, but what good would that do? The pink-haired woman was only a girl, but the woman was old, and there was no way she was up for a struggle. And she had Daniel with her.

As she pondered what to do about this rebellious girl, she saw the girl’s hand shift from out of the pocket of her strange jacket. As it did so, a little piece of paper fell out with it, fluttering through the air and catching on the breeze where it drifted a few feet in the older woman’s direction.

As she neared the piece of paper, the woman was going to call out to this other girl that she had dropped something, but something on the paper caught her eye.

It was a flat piece of card, about the size of a postcard. As she stopped in front of it, she bent down and picked it up, examining it whilst still crouching down. The writing on it was in big, bold capitals, presumably to catch attention.

The woman gasped, dropping the card in her shock. With trembling hands, she made herself pick it up again and read it through properly.

We are a world in fear. Half of the card was taken up with this statement alone. But on the other side, written smaller, there seemed to be a whole letter.

The government is keeping secrets from you all. It is oppressing freedom; hiding the truth. These people must be brought down. Imagination is not a curse, but a blessing. If you agree, please, meet with us. If you agree, come to the Rotes Rathaus in Berlin so we can put a stop to these tyrants and destroy this fearful world of lies and deceit they’ve created through our ignorance.

The woman dropped the card a second time, her hands now shaking too much to keep hold of it. The girl—the one who had dropped it—she was a rebel. She was a terrorist. She had just witnessed a terrorist, caught in an act of resistance.

All the memories of another life came flooding back.

The terrorists had found her. They’d come like memories from her past, rearing their ugly heads, dragging her back down into the world she’d barely escaped.

But no, she was not that woman anymore. That was back in the early years, when resistance had been a public affair. One could be involved in it back then without having to leave their loved ones behind and live their life in hiding.

But that was before she had Daniel. That had been when she was still young and fit and ready for danger—she had barely even been eighteen years old back then. But now was different. Now was another life. She couldn’t go back to it.

She made her decision, finding her voice enough to shout out to the girl; make her come back. She would get the police on the case no matter what. Those rebels shouldn’t be allowed to scare people like this. She looked up, along the pavement, her mouth open to call out.

But the girl was gone.
♠ ♠ ♠
So it's here guys! I'm so excited about this one - I know this first chapter's crap - it's more of a prologue, really, but I wanted to experiment with a slightly different way of writing it. Normal POVs coming up in the next update, hopefully very very soon.