My eyes and brain took a few moments to register the 3d screened numbers before me: 28.10.2044. 10:08AM. I pushed myself up, the fleece blanket slipping slowly off my shoulders and my hands releasing their tight grip on the small teddy bear. Looking around my bedroom nervously, I expect to see someone in a black lab coat merge from a corner or knock on my door.
Nothing happened and my room looked the same: small white wardrobe, virtual table screen, image windows in which the sun was raising in all its orange glory, side table with all my medicines on it, the patchwork arm chair and the crystal mobile. Listening, I couldn’t hear anything, which was odd for this time of morning. My family should have been rushing about getting clean, dressing, eating, leaving for work and school.
Pulling the fleece away, I swung my legs over the bed and stood up. Cold air wrapped itself around me and slide up my favorite sleeping shorts and top. Seconds later, I felt warmness under my feet and the dull buzz of the heaters coming. I checked the date and time again and then, feeling a bit sick in the stomach checked the numbers tattooed on my wrist.
Everyone on Solria at birth received the numbers. They were selected by a Doctor Computer Generator and based on a range of biological and world facts. The eight digits represented a date and that date was your destined death time. And I had woken up on mine.
I wrapped the blanket around myself and went to the desk. I tapped it, waking up the screen embedded inside. An army of icons covered the table top and after staring at them, I selected photos. Images of the Halloween ball floated across the wall above the desk. I had gone as a mermaid, which some might have seen as an insult to mer-folk, but none of them had been at the party.
The smiling faces of my friends and family looked down on me before I closed the icon and went to my last listed Interweb searches. What to expect on your death day. How can I stop my death? Why must I die? How is a death date decided? Why is my death good for the world? I quickly inputted: My death day is today, but I’ve not died and searched it. No matched results, other than a handful of chat spaces and suggests of Do you mean…?
Signing, I clicked on the first link and noticed my fingers were shaking. I’d missed my first meds. Getting up and going across, I picked up the wooden box in which they were kept. It was empty. Placing it down, I dug out my emergency and travel boxes. The realization that no one had ordered or delivered more because of my death day hit me hard. Taking the pills I needed and downing some stimulated water from a bottle in my bag, I decided to get dressed.
If they were still going to come for me, I might as well by wearing day cloth. Opening my wardrobe, I pulled out a blue dress and matching underwear. I got changed, listening for voices or footsteps. I slipped on sandals and brushed my hair in the mirror. My skin was pale and sensitive because the blood disease. It also caused a large percentage of my veins to stand out and often makeup and clothes couldn’t keep them all hidden.
Leaving my bedroom, I walked through the house and found it empty. My parents and younger sisters were gone, but somehow I couldn’t make myself believe they were at school and work. I sat down at the kitchen table eating an apple and drinking water, reflecting on last night. We had the traditional life celebration day and done anything that I had wanted to do with my last twenty-four hours. I was forced into bed by exhaustion and that’s when they are meant to come with the killing injection.
The Interweb had told me all of this and more. My parents had been brief about it, but I hadn’t wanted to discuss it with them anyway. They had been lucky in getting the permission to have three children and they had been rewarded for having three girls in a time when that gene was down. My sisters were perfect, but for whatever reason, I had been born with the disorder and so they had shorted my life.
Finishing off my apple, I went to the front door and stepped outside. I was still expecting them to come for me. My street looked normal. Two opposite rows of small house with the road and pavement strips between. Cars were parked up, someone was walking their cloned dog, which had just spotted a cat rubbing itself against a pot plant. It was all completely normal, expect that I shouldn’t have been there.
Closing the door, I went to the phone and after a few moments of thinking dialed the services. An auto voice gave me a list which didn’t include or have anything similar to death day emergencies or services. Shrugging, I choice the last choice of Other and a ring tone started up. I had thought about trying to reach my parents, but if they thought I was already dead or else there’d been some kind of mistake, I didn’t want to put them through anything.
A dull voice answered and as I went to reply, it began listing off more numbered choices. Once again none of them seemed to fit my problem. I hung up and went back to bed. I was feeling tried and starting with aching limbs. Settling back down, I got the screen to play some classical music and wash the room in soft changing lights.
Dozing off, I told myself that something must have happened. Maybe this time I wouldn’t awake up or perhaps everything had been a dream?