Oh, the pain! It is all that is on my mind. My body hurts all over. I don’t know who I am...Sally...Cindy? Oh, come on girl! Surely you know your own name!
I can't seem to move. I feel so dusty and dirty. I hear machines or trucks moving about as I raise up. Where in the name of all that is good am I?
My head is pounding, I can stand and I hobble up and look at my hand. I am clenching a delicate gold chain with a rather large heart shaped locket. This locket must be important, I thought. My hand is punctured from holding it tightly.
A man is telling me to get out of the way.
“I’m moving!” I yell back. I get moving out of the way. And the man I assume was yelling is walking toward me. He is tall, dark with ocean blue eyes which had me stand back for a moment. “Lady, how’d you get down here?”, he asked.
Replying, I said that I didn’t know, and he offered to help me out.
Somehow, I had ended up in the middle of a quarry.
“Um, um” I uttered but could not get a word out. Never mind he wasn’t paying any attention and walked way faster than I could keep up. I must have hit my head hard. The pain was still in my head.
He turned and said, “By the way my name is Karl, with a K and I see you are Serenity.”
“How do you know my name? I don’t even know my name?” I asked.
He chuckled and replied that it was on my name tag attached to my uniform. I looked down. My uniform! I thought. My uniform. I’m a waitress at the Tip Top Café downtown. My apartment is just a few blocks away. I’m able to walk to work and school. It’s coming back. I guess I just needed to take a look at myself. My life started flooding back.
Now, where am I?
“Karl? Can you tell me where we are and how I get back to St. Louis?” I felt like if I could just get home and rest all would be good come the morning.
“St. Louis doesn’t exist, the United States isn’t anymore, you’ll find out soon enough. I’ll take to the shuttle which will take you to the village.” Karl told me. He spoke so directly.
“One of you show up every 2 or 3 years, but it must be 5 years now. I’ll come with you on the shuttle and to the village, so you get to the right place. They still need to work on where you all land. Give me a minute to let my boss know what’s going on.”
He walked into a trailer looking thing and came right back out. “Come on now, let’s go. ”Then off we went. We came to the shuttle. I thought it would be a train, but it was a giant floating egg. Several of us hopped in. By now I know this is a dream, it must be a dream. I’ll wake up soon.
We arrived in The Village and we all exited the egg as a voice came over and told us to exit the shuttle. “Come on now, I’ll take you to the clinic.” Karl told me.
“Wait just a second, Karl. Why do I need to go to the clinic, can’t you tell me more about what's going on?” I asked. Can you tell me more about this locket?
“I would love to tell you more but it’s not up to me, they’ll decide what you need to know.” Karl replied and nodded toward the clinic.
I’m completely confused and I have no idea where I am going or where I am. I am totally convinced this is a dream. I hit my head very hard and I’m in a coma. Yes, that is it. I just need to wake up.
As we walked through The Village, it smelled like peaches and fresh laundry; it was so clean and crisp. The atmosphere made me feel at peace.
Karl had been talking this whole time and I was not paying attention. But I did notice he has a nice deep voice. “Karl, I’m so sorry, I’m confused. What is going on? Aren’t we near St. Louis? That's where I live."
Karl’s reply was not what I was expecting to hear, nor what I wanted to hear. He told me that the world as I knew no longer existed, that it is called Life Phase One, and now we are in Life Phase Two. It is the year 3232, there was the Apocalypse that started in the year 2042 and the world was at war for many, many years. There was nothing left of the earth and what was left of the human race came here.
“NO FREAKIN WAY!” I screamed. “My mind is in the year 1964, I just saw the Beatles on television. I’m working my way through college. Tell me you are lying!”
“Sorry Serenity, all that I tell you is true.” And he continued, he walked ahead of me. He stopped, turned around and waited for me to catch up. “I really am sorry, but you should know. They send missionaries to collect people from various time periods they send the people back here to rebuild." He asked about a charm, and I reached for the heart locket tucked under my shirt.
“Like this?” I asked as I looked at it, I remembered the lady. Yea, Meredith. She left it as a tip for me after ordering one cup of coffee and not even drinking it.
“Exactly like that. Well, here we are at the clinic.” Karl said. He walked me into a white brick building that reminded me of a southern Greek revival style home, but this was the clinic. The rest of The Village was red brick. We walked in and everything was white and clean. We went to the receptionist.
“Hello Serenity, I’ve been waiting for you. You can call me Keeya, and I’ll be taking care of things from here on. Do you have the locket?” She asked. I reluctantly handed it to her. It was glowing red, she pulled out a small key from her pocket, unlocked it and flipped a button on the inside and it stopped glowing red. She then placed it in a drawer, opened another drawer lower and pulled out a stack of white crisp linen. She turned and asked for me to follow her. I turned to find Karl had gone, suppose I was on my own now.
“Keeya, can you tell me what is going on?” I asked.
“Well, you’re going to have a procedure. We will be extracting your eggs so that we can build our population. You won’t remember any of this; this is your third visit with us.” She told me as we entered a room that resembled a rather nice hotel room. She laid out the linen gown and told me to put it on and make myself comfortable. She then left the room. I changed but was still thinking I was dreaming.
There was a knock and the door opened. It was a short stocky woman. “Hello, I’m Helen, and I will be handling your procedure.” She told me.
“What if I refuse?” I asked.
“Refuse? She questioned. You can’t, you don’t have a choice, this is an arrangement between our leaders and your government." She was then quick to give me a shot in the arm.
Oh, I do not like this woman.
I woke, strapped to the bed. Thinking the procedure must be over. But it wasn’t, there she was: Helen. “What is going on? Is the procedure over?”
She smiled and told me no. “Serenity, we do no harm to you.” then she went over what would happen over the next couple of days. She pulled open the curtain so I could view the outside. I slowly fell back to rest, going in and out of sleep. There never seemed to be nighttime, there was always light.
“Serenity, Serenity!” Someone was calling. Oh, it was Helen again. “Your procedure is over, and you will be heading home soon, so you must get up and get dressed”
I got dressed but thought. What if I don’t want to go back, what if I stayed?? If I could find Karl, I bet he could help me, I know he would. Right?
A knock and in walked Keeya. “Hi Keeya!” I was so happy to see her. But she looked at me strangely and motioned for me to come along. We arrived at the front desk where I first came in. She got back into the drawer and pulled out the locket again, but now it was glowing a cobalt blue. She placed it on the counter. Just a minute she said, and she walked back down the hall in a hurry. I looked around and there was no one near. I’m staying! I thought. I’m staying!
I ran out the door.