by Kristina Wright
I am deep in my own mind, lost in a swirl of words written by me. Yes, written. Typed, on this computer, when I have power. Written by hand in notebooks when I do not. Written in my head to be transcribed as soon as I can-- because they must be written down in order to be real.
I dare not tell the others, for they will consider me insane and will report my rebellion. My madness. For surely it must be madness to spend my precious hours constructing words and sentences and paragraphs in a language no one understands anymore. No one would even recognize the computer I use, it is so antiquated as to appear an ancient artifact. But it hums when I turn it on and gives me the ability to do what they will never allow-- write my stories.
The youngest here do not even know what a computer is, other than a dream vaguely recalled during a memory of mother's childhood. Everything that anyone needs to know (which is far less than one might think) is implanted at birth. I have your memories, you have mine. The children have all of ours. The ones worth knowing, the ones deemed useful and for the collective good. How to sustain life, how to create shelter, how to prepare food, how to manufacture clothing, tools, transportation, medicine. How to interact in the most peaceful of ways. How to reproduce, when necessary. (Also far less than one might think-- if one was allowed to think.) How to respect authority, the only authority that matters.
Implants give us everything we need for life. Everything else has been cast aside or banned. For the collective good, you understand. But of course you understand-- you know what I know. You know that there is no need to do these things: question, ponder, wonder, research, study, learn, educate, inform, explain, share, feel, love, desire. Those words are archaic. We know everything we need to know, are allowed to know, are supposed to know. Anything we do not know does not exist.
Books do not exist. Periodicals are extinct. No one reads anymore. No one knows how, the written languages have been forgotten. They stopped teaching cursive first, then no one needed to know how to print. Then dictation software made typing obsolete, then implants made reading redundant. All the great stories already exist, or so we have been told, and there is no reason to create new ones. The classics are implanted, the approved tales are in our collective psyche. All others have disappeared. They do not exist. No one reads anymore. No one reads.
And yet I still write. I cannot stop. If I stop, I will die just as surely as I will die if they catch me. If this is not madness, I don't know what is. And yet I still write these words. Why? For you, dear reader, wherever you are. For the few who escaped, the ones who ran, who fought, who resisted. For the ones who have been declared too fragile, too old, too undeserving, too criminal. For the curious who learned the old ways, for the academics who were not cast out or reinvented. For the other writers, because there must be others. I cannot be the only one. Please don't let me be the only one. I write my words for you. For myself. For the future, whatever future there may be once they have destroyed everything.
I write to keep the faith. My faith.