Soul of the Matter, Part 3

Hannah dropped her head in her hands.  “Stupid, stupid, stupid!” she chided herself.  “Trying to prove that you don’t mean any harm by doing the thing that’s going to get you killed.”

The wall across from her began to glow.  Hannah groaned.  It was time for the Lecture.

A woman’s face appeared on the screen, her blond hair perfectly styled, her electric blue eyes devoid of anything but happiness.  “Hello,” she greeted in the same soft, high-pitched voice she had every morning.  “Welcome to a new day.”

Hannah scowled at the screen.

The woman continued, “I hope you will have an enjoyable day today.  Before we begin, let’s celebrate our great Society.”  Pictures of the United States from approximately 50 years before flashed across the screen as the woman continued, “The past was built on painful greed, and selfishness disguised in claims of a deity leading the way.”  Now the pictures shifted to dark people wearing turbans and thick veils only showing their cold staring eyes.  “Neighbor turned against neighbor until the entire world was on edge with fear.”

The familiar footage of a rocket smashing into the domed building once called the Capitol filled the lit wall.  A huge mushroom cloud dominated the view, followed by blinding light.

“Out of the ashes of this disaster rose a new order.  One based on freedom from hatred and prejudice.”

Hannah trembled.  Prejudice was still prevalent; the fact that Others like her were being put to death was proof of that.  They just didn’t care what color skin you had or where you were from.

Photographs and holographs fluttered around the wall.  Families smiling and eating together, a young man embracing his new bride, young people attending college, older people at one of the many Homes playing golf and laughing at something on their Talker screens.  “And now we live to preserve this state of harmony.  Religion is gone, and with it, all of the threats that came with them.  We live in the moment, relishing the potential each of us holds and disciplining ourselves to never return to such a chaotic state.”

The woman reappeared, her soft smile increasing to a full grin.  “Have a wonderful rest of your day, my friends.”  With a tilt of her head, the wall dimmed and Hannah was left alone again.

2 thoughts on “Soul of the Matter, Part 3

  1. First off: Do you write your stories and search for the right pictures, or do you retrofit your stories to match the picture? (I realize that, at least thus far, it would be merely cosmetic changes in the story to do so, so this is by no means an accusation — simply an observation that your pictures match your stories.)

    Second: This happens every morning? Sort of Big-Brother-ish. Not sure what I think of it. As a storytelling device, it’s a useful way to info-dump and explain how the society explains itself. It also matches what you’ve previously done: signs everywhere. The architects of this society are very pervasive. No one could possibly forget where they stand.

    And so religion=supernatural in this world? I guess it makes sense, but the connection isn’t solid in my head yet. How did this world jump from “religious extremism is terrible” to “religion is bad” (a jump many make, so I can see it on a society-wide level) to “all supernatural anything is bad” — does this include any belief in the soul? Does it include belief in ghosts or bigfoot or UFO’s or fairies? This is pretty wide ranging. Is there any religion in this world at all — does it become vague feel-good and some rules?

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