Authors: Marvin Amazon
Tags: #Science Fiction, #Adult
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
Essex, United Kingdom
Copyright © 2013 Marvin Amazon
For more information about this book, visit www.marvinamazon.com
Book Design by Morgana Gallaway
Cover Illustration by Daniel Yeager
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording and information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review.
I dedicate this to my amazing parents, Edwin and Mabel.
I owe everything I am to both of you.
Table of Contents
re you sure you want it this short, honey?” Suzanna asked me.
I scowled at her. “Are we gonna do this again? I’ve told you a million times. I want a whole new me. I’ve never had my hair like this before.”
She sniggered and continued trimming the edges with her scissors. I studied my red hair in the mirror. It was just past my shoulders. I thought it suited me, but Suzanna and my other best friend, Jenny, always said that my slim face belonged with longer locks. They also didn’t like that I had decided to get rid of my blond hair. But I didn’t want to reach my thirty-fifth birthday, which was a month away, having had the same color hair all my life.
Suzanna dropped the scissors onto the floating, legless table and stood in front of me. Her dark shoulder-length hair had the same salon shine it always did. She knelt and studied my face, moving my hair in all directions. “It’s quite nice,” she said.
“You sound surprised.”
“It’s just … It’s just weird seeing you not blond.”
“Well, Kevin likes the sound of me going red.”
She took her hands from my face and stared at me. “So how is Kevin? Things better between you two?”
I sniffed and looked at the floor.
“I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to pry.”
I met her gaze again. “That’s okay. I guess I feel the same as he does. But I won’t allow myself to cry every night.”
She put her arms around me. “There was nothing you could do, Rachel. It was an accident.”
“It’s been a year,” I said, tears forming in my eyes. I hated talking about my daughter. “She would have been nine today.”
“I know. But you must know that she’s in a better place right now, if such a place does exist. I wish I could have a child, but I know it’ll never happen. You should count yourself lucky that you and Kevin were able to have one of the same flesh and blood. That’s more than any other woman can.”
My eyes narrowed. “I heard a woman in Singapore gave birth.” I picked my cream handbag up from a stool floating four feet in the air. It was the diameter of a dinner plate and, like the table in front of me, had no legs. I rummaged through it for a few seconds. “It was in yesterday’s news.” I pulled out a thin five-inch computer tablet. I scrolled right with my fingers until I reached a
news report dated August 17, 2043. I handed the tablet to Suzanna.
She looked at it for a few seconds before reading out loud:
Singapore’s Prime Minister, Jun Toh, announced yesterday that the country has reported the world’s first pregnancy in ten years. Mursalina Chua, a thirty-five-year-old social worker, had been part of the Reborn program for the last fifteen years. But like everyone else in the program, she wasn’t able to conceive, even after trying numerous pregnancy drugs. Miraculously, however, it was discovered that she was pregnant two nights ago.
Apart from Rachel Harris, Mursalina will be the first woman to give birth in twenty-seven years. Scientists around the world have been summoned to Singapore, where they will carry out tests on the child when he or she is born.
Rachel Harris, meanwhile—the last woman to conceive, ten years ago—was released from her contract with the government last month, exactly a year after her daughter died in a tragic accident. It was feared that with her returning to normal life, it would be nearly impossible to discover the reason she had been able to give birth when no one else had in over seventeen years. But with the unexpected pregnancy of Mursalina, the world appears to have fresh hope.
Suzanna put the paper down and stared at me. “So it’s true. She is pregnant.”
“I told you.”
“But you didn’t say they mentioned your name, honey. Are you okay?”
I shrugged and stood up. “There’s nothing I can do about that. I just hope they don’t drive this poor woman crazy like they did me.”
Suzanna caressed my shoulder. “I’m so sorry, honey. I wish there was something I could do for you. Why don’t we all go out? You, Kevin, Jake and I. We can go to that restaurant by the river.”
I looked at her and smiled. But deep down, I just wished my friends would stop treating me as if a stiff wind would blow me over. “Sure, I’d like that a lot.”
“Yay.” She smiled and sat me back down before continuing with my hair.
I rushed out of the salon at three-thirty, with only half an hour to get to my appointment across town. The rain lashed down with force. I reached into my handbag for the umbrella. It was the size of a pencil, but the longer I exposed it to the rain, the longer it became. Twenty seconds later, a full-blown umbrella was in my right hand, completely shielding me from the droplets in the sky. I walked up the street, past a number of people huddled together under their umbrellas. Cars hovered in the air above me, some flying lower than the legal restrictions allowed. I had not driven in the city for almost three years. I didn’t see the need, with public transportation providing so much comfort and space.
I walked up to a taxi stand and found that there was a short line. Two middle-aged men in suits and a young woman stood ahead of me. I glanced left and right. The streets of downtown L.A. were quite empty. Most people had run into nearby stores or were huddled around floating shelters, about ten feet in the air and with diameters wide enough to cover twenty people.
I moved ahead after the woman in front entered her taxi. I moved my umbrella to my left hand and brought out a sheet of paper with my right. I laid it against the glossy silver tray beneath the panel and typed the address into the touch screen as carefully as I could. My hands trembled. My doctor had told me it was a withdrawal symptom from coming off the drugs I had been taking for the last eight years. Drugs used as part of the experiments carried out on me after my unexpected and shocking pregnancy.
I pressed “enter” when I was finished and stood back. No more than ten seconds later, I heard the familiar rumbling sound directly above me, like that of an air vacuum. I took a step back, and then another, and bumped into a burly man. I waved my hand at him in apology. He smiled and nodded. Then I returned my focus to the vehicle in the sky. The bottom had come into full view, as had its bumper. It was bright red, like all taxis in downtown L.A., contrasting sharply with the yellow still used in places like New York and other cities around the United States.
It stopped three feet in the air and the back doors opened. I peered into the driver’s seat like I always did. The sight of matte-black, metallic arms holding on to the steering wheel filled me with the same sense of awe I always felt upon seeing such progress in technology. The glossy black head of the Lypso spun right and looked at me but didn’t utter a word. I climbed in and the door shut. The robot then faced the road and revved the engine. Seconds later, the car rose into the air.