Poetry & Prose by Carol J Forrester – Illustration by Antonia Brennan
The Writer Miss Carol J Forrester
The Illustrator Miss Antonia Brennan
via Writing and Works.
Sasha Meers was out of her office and stalking towards Human Resources with only one thing on her mind. This time, her Uncle would die.
There was little left of Human Resources, and even less of what had been the Head of Department. Three years previously someone had cleaned off the last of the brain splatter from the wall behind Samuel’s desk, and the bullet hole had been covered with a painting of the Scottish Highlands. Sasha rather liked the painting, it was cheery in comparison to the rest of Headquarters.
Her Uncle was not in Human Resources. Nathan Carraman was locked in a cell on the twenty-fourth level of Headquarters, just below the department of biological research and development; a floor that no one but Sasha was supposed to have clearance to. The entrance to the floor just so happened to be hidden in Human Resources. Tuck away behind a filing cabinet that no one had bothered to use in sixteen year,s since the runners had a nasty habit of being rather temperamental and sticking one minute, while whizzing out of the cabinet and slamming into a person’s chest the next.
“What the hell is this?” she demanded, slamming the scrap of yellowed paper against the glass wall of her Uncle’s cell. He blinked lazily, lifted his head from where it leant against the pillow and smiled at her.
“My darling niece.” he crooned. “What brings you down to this dank and dreary place?”
Level Sixteen was not dank. In fact it was very well lit, with soft grey paint on the walls and hardwood floor underfoot. Level Twenty-Four had been her Uncle’s private quarters once upon a time, and now it was his prison with only a single box room sitting at the centre of the apartment, with four solid glass walls that weren’t even glass but a high density material that Sasha had forgotten the name to. It might not have been as pleasant as it once was, but it was by no means dank.
“Are you going to explain this to me or not?” she asked, tapping against the back of the paper with the index finger of her free hand. “Do you have any idea what would happen if anyone topside got a hold of this?”
“It would mean all-out war.” said her Uncle. “Oh wait-” he brought one hand to his mouth in mock gasp. “All-out war is already taking place!”
The muscles in Sasha’s jaw twitched as she forced herself to calm.
“How?” she hissed. “How did you manage to get this out?”
Her uncle shrugged and smiled again.
“We have to keep some secrets to ourselves.” he said. “Even if we are family.”
The message crumpled beneath Sasha’s fist.
Sasha checked the screens again. No sign of any incoming attacks, and most of the western borders were quiet. Something of a skirmish had broken out just north of Paris but her boys were taking care of that; it was nothing to spend time watching.
Leaning back in her chair she double checked, eyes glancing from screen to screen before settling on the keyboard in front of her.
Dear Mr President she typed, fingers hesitating as she debated what to put next. She hovered, glancing back up to see if her boys had finished with the outlying force yet and then re-focused her attention.
“Dear Mr President” she read back, wriggling her fingers. Discussions must be opened… she stopped again. There was no use in it, no matter what she wrote there would be no answer, GODS! There was no evidence to suggest anyone still living top-side still gave a dam about international relations. The war had split them all and no one knew who had promised alliances to who. Each day there was a new list of world leaders and most of the time there wasn’t a whole lot of explanation about how they had taken power or what had happened to their predecessor.
Sasha hit the backspace.