#WQWWC #Writers Quote Wednesday #Writing Challenge – “Change”
Seven 27, 2341! What a day glorious! My birthday 20, visit I ancestor. Into dream stream travel I; time, space, trivias of life matter longer no.
Machines? No! The Shaman uncle my head touches.
“Wear clothes,” he directs me. “Listen. Speech.”
Down, down, into the dream state I travel.
“My lands!” A voice cries out in the fog. “Where are your clothes, child!”
“Wearing,” I reply.
“That is the dress of whores!” She yells.
I listen to the speech patterns, empty words dividing the ones that have meaning, and change the way I speak to her.
“You are my ancestor,” I say, as if she should know what that meant. “I’m from 2341 and traveled to 1896. I’ve arrived in your dream to learn from you.”
“Cover yourself, child, or you will be taken to the insane asylum as an incorrigible woman!” She says, screaming again when my dress changes from slinky black pants and shirt to exactly the same dress she’s wearing. “Witch!”
“No such thing,” I say, gasping for breath under the onslaught of a corset. “How can you wear this thing? It strangles the body. I…I feel so dizzy.”
The dress changes from a vice grip with bustle to an empire waist. Good. She didn’t scream this time. “You say you are from the future, and I am your ancestor?”
“I’m named Agnes, after you,” I say proudly.
“Tell me of the future?”
“You’ll have 2 sons and 3 daughters.”
“I have no desire to marry,” she says with a deep frown. “Tell me of the time between now and when you are born.”
“The hems go up in 1920, there are 2 world wars and millions die. Then in 2020 there are 8 billion people and there’s this huge world revolution where half of them die. So the machines take over and we’re half machine now but it’s all good because there’s no war.”
“You are half machine?” She asks.
“Not the metal kind you’re used to,” I tell her. “It happens to us in the first year of birth. I was born in month Seven and it happened in month Thirteen. I don’t remember it, but my mother said the ritual was beautiful.”
“That is our future?”
I smile with perfect white teeth and say, “Yes! Isn’t it wonderful?”
I blinked, looking up at the Shaman. Why was he so angry? “Listen, no. Practice again. Line die, no!”
The image in my head! It had been a practice run, not the real thing. If I wasn’t careful, my ancestor would’ve taken her father’s pistol and blown her head off! I had to listen, not speak, ask and not advise, or my parents, grandparents…the lives of 284 people depended on me. I was given life because she was forced by her father to marry or live on the streets.
“No one died in revolution, did they?” I ask. He remains silent. “All it takes is one of us to decide that the hell our ancestor endured isn’t worth forming our family line.”
“Tell me of my future?” I ask, receiving a frown in return. “That bad?”
“Listen. Learn, responsible,” he said, sending me into my ancestor’s dream.
Why was this ancestor chosen? The answer became clear. We were destined to follow the same path in life.
“Agnes,” I say, standing in front of her naked. “Stop screaming if you want to know your future!”
“What is my future,” She gasps.
“Your family line becomes half machine. Tomorrow, your father introduces you to Captain John Forman. You’ll be forced to marry him or live on the streets. He’ll take everything that’s meaningful to you and sell it for his gambling addiction and he’ll beat you to death in front of your 5 children when they are 3,4,5,6 and 7. They’ll go to an orphanage and be miserable all their lives. The only reason our family line lives into 2341 is because most of them are a bunch of ruthless psychopaths.”
I heard the screams of the Shaman, his body disappearing in a puff. I don’t have a lot of time to tell you this before I go, too. There wasn’t a revolution, just people who spit in the eyes of their future and said, “It ain’t gonna happen.”