"It was a weird feeling. I was one of them, once. I still feel like I am, but from the thinly-veiled disgust evident on their faces, I was no more than a traitor now."
Disclaimer: The racial epithets and slurs used in this chapter are not intended to malign anyone, nor to reflect the attitudes of the author. Though some aspects of this work are inspired by real life events and people, this work is fictional and such words are only included as part of a narrative. After all, white supremacists do not censor themselves and I do not intend to show them as anything other than pure evil.
I began to fall into a routine over the next few days. I never thought this type of life could be mundane, but after the shock and denial subsides, any kind of life can become monotonous. I woke up on time, asked to bathe and dress, I ate whatever breakfast Opal made. Every other day, I went to the Craftworks with Flora and Kristen to join quilting bees, crochet circles, knitting clubs. I never saw the appeal of such textile crafts before, but now it was the only way I was able to express myself and speak to other people without judgment. Plus, it got me out of the brooding eyeline of Isolde and that goddamn house.
Every third night, I was to sleep with the Head of House. Some nights he didn’t even do anything to me, just went over documents, his thick-rimmed glasses he only wears to read perched on the tip of his nose like a snooty librarian. Somehow, I found this more disturbing than him raping me. In those moments, he seemed like a person, just a businessman dedicated to his work. I could almost fool myself into liking him, then he would take off his dress shirt, down to his wife-beater, and I would see the Sovereign insignia tattoo on his back. At the end of it all, he was still a Nazi and I was his slave.
I’ve began noticing that the only times he goes to bed with the First Wife are three days out of a month. Maybe she was trying to get pregnant. After all, men in this society got boosted up the career ladder for providing white children to the cause. Of all things, it was the children being raised in this world that frightened me most. Hatred and prejudice are learned emotions, something that isn’t inherent in our species from birth as much as they like to propagate such nonsense.
I worried for the possibility of children myself since Arthur didn’t use protection. The Sovereign State’s official stance was no contraception. Such wicked devices tempted to women to be whores and make them forget their God-given purpose: to serve their husbands, make babies, and suffer in silence. Or, as I remembered from a sign on a televised men’s rights march, “Women: Good for cooking, Good for fucking, Bad for business.”
One day, I asked permission to go by the compound fields to see my mother.
“And why would you want to consort with that mongrel?” Isolde asked, her eyes fixed to her cross-stitch. She had an affinity for barnyard scenes, there’s several paintings featuring barns, farming equipment, and wide-open pastures.
“She’s my mother.” I said, trying to suppress the testiness I felt at her insult.
“I know, which is why I don’t see how Arthur finds you attractive, knowing that you have nigger blood in you.”
My jaw clenched. This was the first time I’ve heard her use that slur. Nearly every man in this county uses the word now, like it’s the 1800s. I just haven’t heard a woman say it and somehow, it’s even worse coming from Isolde. She was a woman compliant with this regime that subjugated her gender and it was something that wounded me more than the racial epithets. She represented betrayal, treasonous to the very meaning of femininity.
“I had no say in the making of my DNA, ma’am. Neither did you.” I said before I stop myself.
The resulting glare she shot at me could have frozen the polar ice again and ended global warming in its tracks.
“You’ll want to watch yourself, Lucille. It’s my husband’s perverse interest in you that’s kept you from hanging from the willow branches. I’ve seen coons lynched for less.” she spat, not seeming to notice she had pierced the tip of her finger with her needle. “But go. See your mongrel mother, just get out of my face.”
I retreated out of the house, boiling hotter than the August sun.
My walk to the compound would mean passing the Camps. They weren’t quite as depraved as the ones from the Holocaust, but it was the same idea. Minorites working themselves to death, except instead of burning the dead they used a specialized mortuary acid that dissolved even human bone. Sometimes they spared a collarbone for each of their guard hounds. I hated walking by the fence where the emaciated people stared out at passersby hopelessly. Their protruding eyes were always begging, either for death or salvation. But I had nothing to give them but tears. I would let them see me crying, just to let them know that someone on the other side cared about what was happening to them.
There was a new batch of prisoners in the Camps, an entire bus full of Arabs, Asian Indians, and Hispanics. I always hated the notion of describing people by their race. It was almost like a suggestion that they didn’t belong to themselves, that they weren’t people. These would be illegal immigrants. Even those with visas were rounded up because the asylum and immigration laws were abolished like everything else. The kids were taken somewhere else. I didn’t even want to think about what probably happened to them. I heard the odd rumor of children being given poisoned lollipops, ones that would make them so tired that they didn’t wake up after their nap. I wanted to believe that they wouldn’t be that evil, but I was staring at one of the oldest by-products of evil: slavery.
There were children at the fences, watching the enslaved people working. The parents forbid them from this activity, but groups of boys did it anyway on the way back from school. They looked no older than eight, talking animatedly to one another while peering through the fence, fingers curled through the steel wire. On the other side of the fence, the people ignored the children, knowing not to talk to them. They’d be blamed for talking to these precious children even though the kids weren’t supposed to be at the fences anyway.
They were not precious. They were brainwashed and becoming tiny versions of their fathers. They threw rocks and rotten apples at the Disgraced, the people in designated black outfits. They were the whites who had done disgraceful things against the regime, but were given a choice between wearing the shameful clothes and being put in the Camps. They were the people who’d been caught protesting the Sovereign rule. People who’ve had sexual relations with minorities, including homosexuality and promiscuity. When the Disgraced walked down the streets, you were supposed to scorn them. Give them dirty looks, throw trash, call them names like “race traitor, whore, cuck.” But I felt like we were in the same predicament, only my clothes were whole and untarnished. I felt myself being thankful that I wasn’t a Disgraced, and then I felt ashamed.
I walked past the Camp, eyes on the sidewalk. The Compounds were a ghetto, a la 1940s pre-round up of Jews type of ghetto. They were poorly-maintained apartments crowded with the Slave classes. Basically, any non-white person was designated as a Slave under SS law, though they preferred to be known as workers. These Compounds were a considerable walk away from the cul-de-sac, for which I was grateful. It was preferable to the Adjudicators that we went with partners, but any guards that I passed didn’t press the issue. There were no methods of escape—the Adjudicators were as common as flies nowadays. I didn’t know how the city infrastructures were divided in terms of class. No doubt, the Slaves would be in the poorest, most polluted parts. I wasn’t exactly sure where I was, geographically speaking – asking such questions guaranteed an impromptu stay in solitary confinement for a week. I wanted to say southern Virginia, since I was captured in Richmond and it was only a three- hour bus ride here. I’m guessing, of course.
The whole process of being captured, detained, and delivered all blurred into one long, horrible ordeal…
I packed indiscriminately that morning. Practical clothing: loose, breathable shirts, pants and leggings, shoes for running. I even packed winter jackets, because you never know. Though somehow, I didn’t expect us to last in the wilderness long enough to need winter gear. I remember when this was because it was one of the hottest Julys ever recorded. Parts of Arizona had to be evacuated due to unlivable hot temperatures. I saw that on the news, what was left of news broadcasting. I’d like to say that the climate change naysayers finally understood that it wasn’t a hoax, but the way the political unrest was going, we concluded that the racist, misogynist ideologies were taking over. The match had been struck and dropped near the gasoline-drenched house. Now, there was only time to escape the flames.
Before we left that morning, I ghosted through the house, looking at every room. Subconsciously, I knew that these were my last breaths of free air before I was pulled under the current. In the bedroom I stared at the dirty sheets on our bed. We had made love that morning so passionately, desperately, like it was our last night to be alive. In hindsight, I was over-indulging like a person does before a weeklong fast. Who knows when we would get to express that love again?
There was a guest bedroom that only my mom and Grandpa Blue used whenever he visited. Noel and I had thought of getting pregnant before all this bullshit started. Neither one of us wanted to raise a baby in this reality. Yet, there was an emptiness in the room, like a phantom. It was as though something was missing from our family. I imagined our child, a curly-haired boy or girl jumping, dancing, giggling. I saw them in my mind’s-eye, a reality where things never went wrong, riding their first bicycle, going to school, going on their first date.
Like a popped bubble, I snapped out of that moment’s euphoria.
Noel and I got into our Chevrolet, him driving. I cried as we pulled away, from both the apartment and the life we had built. The time for sentimentality was over. It was an hour’s drive to the airport. I had changed half my last few paychecks to British pounds, enough to hopefully get us a hotel for a few nights while we figured this out. The red-eye flight to Heathrow had been strangely cheap for an international flight. I wondered if it was a last-ditch effort to get as many people out of the country before the shit hit the fan.
Now, in the present, I realized how fucking foolish we were.
There was a narc. I bet it was the man in the commerce building. Maybe they planted him there to catch who’s trying to leave the country.
We pulled up behind the ocean of gridlocked cars. We’d expected traffic, but not this much. Something had happened. And we saw “something” as soon as we were near enough. The wall of rifle-toting guards, all white, all menacing, all powerful. Similar guards were now weaving in and out of the cars, ordering people out of their vehicles. Noel rolled the window down a little to get a gist of what they were saying.
“…who’s in the Sedan?” one of the guards said.
“Caucasian woman, one nigger, and a mongrel.” the other said.
“Jesus…” Noel swore. I nudged him to be quiet.
“You did not just call me a nigger! Who the fuck do you think you are, calling us that?! This ain’t the fucking 1950s!” said one of the people in the Sedan. He was muscular, bald, and wore a suit, like he had just got off work and had to leave his house in a hurry. Again, I was guessing.
“Be quiet, nigger.” barked the second guard.
“I’ll show you nigger, you motherfucker—” the Sedan driver hissed, climbing out of the driver’s side, to the alarm of what looked like his family still in the car.
“Reggie, don’t do this—!” the wife yelled.
The last of his wife’s pleas were drowned out by gunfire and a bloodcurdling shriek of horror.
“DADDY!” I heard a little girl crying from their backseat.
“Get out of the car, race traitor.” the guard barked at the woman, who was sobbing uncontrollably while holding their daughter. “Put that mongrel down and get out.”
“Fuck you!” she screamed.
Another burst of gunfire. Both the daughter and mother let out labored groans as their lives left them and then fell silent, shells clinking on the ground.
I wasn’t crying. I was too traumatized to cry. I froze in place, realizing that this was happening. This was actually happening!
Suddenly, another guard was at our window. I wanted to scream, wanted to yell out the injustice of this entire situation…but I was paralyzed with fear. Noel rolled the window down, not wanting to tempt violence.
“We got two Caucasians. A pretty one, too.”
The bastard winked at me. He honestly fucking winked at me!
“Here’s the deal: You do what we say and no one needs to get hurt.” the guard told us. He was moon-faced with sparse facial hair. The badge on his shirt said Adj. Karson. (All members of the SSoA government replaced the Cs in their names with Ks, a tradition kept within KKK organizations.)
I looked at Noel. He was equally terrified. We both were instructed to get out of the car. They steered us both in opposite directions, him towards the barrier of guards, me towards a blue prison bus that hadn’t been there thirty minutes ago. I tried to look back for any glimpse of Noel, but my captor nudged me along. I stumbled up the stairs of the bus. Inside, there was an Adjudicator guarding the front and back of a load of twenty white women, all in differing states of rattled, confused, horrified. I was chained to the seat, ankles and wrists. No one spoke. A few more women were loaded on. One pissed herself in her seat, urine dripping from the aged leather.
I was on autopilot throughout the ride to the detention center. I lived an average life, a good life. I had a good childhood with no major traumas. I was not accustomed to such brutality. I wasn’t desensitized to violence, hated gory horror movies and medical shows. This was like being in a cozy, warm hot-tub and then suddenly being plunged into ice water. My mind was on fire and couldn’t handle it…so it drifted.
I’m not sure what all went on in the detention center, I was so out of it. Even when I was stripped naked, poked and prodded, stuck with needles, deloused, and showered…I hardly felt any of it. I answered questions automatically. They found out my mother was biracial, so I was designated as a Slave. It was pure chance that my mother would be at the same Compound I reported to.
Or maybe it wasn’t. Maybe it was entirely intentional, Arthur’s doing. Maybe he bought me from that farmhand just to rub it in my mother’s face. “Ha, your daughter’s going to be a concubine for a white supremacist! Isn’t that funny?”
I doubted that theory. He didn’t seem smart enough to entertain such diabolical schemes.
I made it to the Compound. They used to be dorm rooms for the nearby college. There were stringent laws, mandatory room searches, breeding restrictions. They already had Breeders, though we never saw them. Supposedly, they wore brown dresses and slacks, raised the children until they were old enough to work. Then they were sold to whomever needed Slaves. More and more people were backtracking to traditional farming, because it was of the “better times.” But we all knew it was just another abuse of power. The more Slaves someone had, the better they were perceived by the SSoA government, the faster they climbed the ladder.
The rooms were all packed full of people, sometimes ten people were crammed into one tiny dorm. These weren’t supposed to be privileges, after all. For many, the Compound was a stopping point on their journey to plantations, workhouses, and factories. They were also for the Slaves that the Heads of House didn’t want living in their house – they were here to do their God-given purpose, serving their masters. Allowing them room and board was spoiling them. It would give them far too much license to pretend they were one of the privileged.
I walked to the front gates which were nine-feet tall, still fresh from their installation around the Compound perimeter. Two entrance ways were guarded by Adjudicators, definitely the new recruits. They were surly about being forced to look after the undesirables. One entrance-way was a contrived door frame hastily jammed into a space where the fence railings had been sawn to allow it. A metal detector fixture had been installed on the sides of the frame, catching any illegal items – lighters, pens, guns, knives, piercings, etc. There was rumor of a complete list of unallowed objects in the Compound…an entire binder full.
Above the left entrance was a black background with white block lettering spelling, “UNDERMEN,” derived from the infamous word “Untermensch” used during Nazi-occupied Germany. On the right entrance, there was a black-lettered phrase on a white background reading, “SOVEREIGN” designated for privileged whites. The Undermen line was crowded with returning Slaves, all looking disparagingly toward me.
It was a weird feeling. I was one of them, once. I still feel like I am, but from the thinly-veiled disgust evident on their faces, I was no more than a traitor now. I could not join their line, I had to go through the Sovereign gate.
Slowly, I approached the Sovereign gate. There was no metal detector. Instead the Adjudicator passed a sensor over me, deeming me fit to enter, which made me wonder if those sensors actually sensed anything on my person or was just for show. Would he have inspected a Sovereign man passing through these gates? I may be Sovereign, but I am still a woman and women are inherently evil because of the sins of Eve. That’s why it’s called “evil” because “Eve-l.” At least, that’s what the obligatory sermons were about each Wednesday and Sunday.
God, what a bunch of horseshit.
I walked slowly, keeping my eyes to the ground. Kids were outside in the courtyard, playing tag. Some women were out hanging wet laundry. Others lulled on chairs outside, soaking up the sunlight. I could feel their eyes on me, watching my every movement. I recognized a few people from when I lived here with Mom. If they recognized me back, they didn’t say. I went through the automatic doors, into the lobby. People were out of their rooms, talking with one another. There were cameras everywhere inside to ensure nobody had too much fun.
Adjudicators didn’t patrol the hallways here. Something about their “guardianship being used for better purposes” but I guaranteed it was pure cowardice. That was the crux behind the whole movement, fear. All that alpha-male bullshit grand-standing with their rifles pointed toward the protesters was fooling no one. They think they’re the brave soldiers defending their race, but at the end of the day, they all cower in their safe white enclaves like the pussies they were.
“And what’re you doin’ here for? Lose your way to the nigger lynching?” I heard one male voice jeer at me.
“Nah, man. It’s one of them do-gooders. Go out of their way to show how not racist they are. ‘Oh look at me, I’m around black men! Aren’t I brave?’” another voice said.
Despite myself, I began to tear up.
Maybe I was a traitor.