Eye of the Beholder, Part 17"Aren't you afraid?" said Inga, after hearing my story.
"Afraid of what?"
"Afraid of putting so much faith and trust in someone; afraid of becoming dependent on them; afraid that they might let you down?"
"It's not about dependency," I told her. "That's the game that everybody else is playing, in case you hadn't noticed. No, this is about freedom."
"First, tell me what freedom means to you."
"I would say that it means self-sufficiency, both material and emotional. It means not having to rely on anyone for anything; not having to work for money; not having to worry about the future, but also not looking to others to provide that security, either. It means not needing the love and admiration of others, or feeling compelled to conform to some fleeting social standard in order to gain acceptance and approval. Freedom? It basically means having the strength to not give a fuck about anyone else."
"Yeah, but that could also be interpreted as psychopathy. Besides, aren't you really
Eye of the Beholder, Part 12I'd spent around half an hour rummaging through the wardrobe, without much luck, when a little white dress suddenly caught my eye. It was an elegant design, with a beautiful sash of blue petals around the waist. The shoulders were loosely ruffled and the soft fabric shimmered with luminescence, giving the dress an almost ethereal appearance. It was perfect! "Are you actually going to try this one on?" said Aaron, as I removed the hanger.
"When you see me in it later," I told him, "as I strongly suspect you will, I would prefer it to be for the first time."
"Okay, I get the message," he said, "I'll leave the two of you alone."
There was a time, of course, when I would have asked Aaron why he kept a wardrobe full of girls' clothes in his house, but not any longer. His stated purpose, after all, was to anticipate the needs and desires of those under his wing, and clothing certainly fell within that remit.
The dress fitted perfectly, as I knew it would. Aaron, meanwhile, had started renova
Eye of the Beholder, Part 13The following few days were like a honeymoon, albeit on death row. For no matter what heights of joy we were experiencing together, we both knew that it could end at any moment. Aaron was more philosophical about it, of course, but I could tell that even he was concerned. I had tried speaking to my parents, to straighten things out, but they were acting very strangely. I even began to suspect that my phone calls to them were being monitored somehow. At first I put it down to paranoia. But then, six days after I'd left home, Aaron received a message that would change both of our lives... forever.
"Are you sure?" I asked him. "I mean, who exactly is this mysterious friend of yours, anyway, and how does he know about such things?"
"Remember, Kirsty, we are everywhere. SPUGL has infiltrated almost every field of human activity, including the highest echelons of the police force. Besides, I've known Rob for a long time, and his information has always been accurate."
"Okay, so what doe
Eye of the Beholder, Part 14They were unnerved by our silence – I could tell. The elders had decided to organise a coordinated response to the raids, so the tense scene was likely being repeated in dozens of households across West Cornwall. Peaceful non-cooperation, I think they called it. Interpreted, perhaps, as some sort of furtive ploy to avoid incriminating ourselves.
Aaron gave me a reassuring glance as he was manhandled into the back of an awaiting police car. A part of me wanted to scream at everyone for what they were doing, but I somehow managed to maintain my stoicism throughout the ordeal. Shortly thereafter I was taken home, in an unmarked car, by a couple of female officers. They seemed to believe that my continuing silence was the result of trauma induced mind control. One of them had attended a seminar about it, apparently, and was openly discussing the subject with her colleague. Ironic, really.
I wasn't thrilled to see my parents again, but at least they weren't angry. They evidently still
Eye of the Beholder, Part 16Everyone who'd been arrested the previous day had been released on unconditional bail. Nobody had been charged with any offences and, contrary to media reports, no children had been removed from their homes. Police investigations were still continuing, but it seemed that the greatest threat we faced came from people themselves. There had already been a number of incidents, locally, some of them quite serious. Pippa reported that one house had even been set ablaze overnight, and two of our members had been viciously attacked on the street. Children were not safe either, apparently. Some of the younger ones had been left in tears after being shouted at or spat upon by strangers. It was an irony surely lost on the perpetrators themselves, whose ire was presumably sparked by the alleged abuse of children in the first place. But then, we weren't exactly dealing with conscious human beings. Society now lay exposed to me as nothing more than a complex performance of automata, controlled and m