The Final Door
“Move it” snarled the guard as I stepped off the bus and into my bleak future. As the last one off, I was semi pushed and pulled across the frozen mud of the courtyard of Re-education Camp #32. One of at least fifty known re-education camps, this one served the lower south/mid-west, more specifically the 53,179 square miles of Arkansas, USA.
The cold grey end of January pulled the heat from my body as we made the short walk from the 9 foot high gates with their razor wire crown towards the thick oak door set into the side of the building. I was still reeling from the shock of the past four weeks after the raid that woke me in the middle of the night from a deep dreamless sleep in my own home. I remembered only the barest whisper from my brother who said “be brave” and then I was taken my family left behind. I hope they still live. I’d seen some of homes that had mysteriously burned down with all family members lost. Since I was still alive, I had to hope my family had been spared. Vaguely in the back of my mind, I wondered just who it was that turned me in. I hoped they choked on their “reward”.
The guard pushed me up the two steps and bellowed “in you go, hurry up I got places to be”. I tugged the heavy door open and slipped inside.
Inside, what can I say about that? I can smell the fear from the other girls as I step to the back of the line. My canvas slippers do little to hold out the chill of the concrete floor. Over the sea of heads I can see the tops of two doors at the other end of the long narrow room and a large glass window between them. I see a Blue Door on the left of the window and a Red Door on the right.
We learned to not speak during the humiliation of all the poking and prodding, not to mention being “chipped” at the local hospital before we were shipped out like cattle. And now here we were at our final destination where the Decision would be made as to what would happen to us. Our Keepers making it clear that if we did not cooperate fully, not only would we suffer but so would our families.
During our stay at the hospital, it was explained to us that we were the world’s last hope for continuance of the species. That all the tests were to make sure we were fertile and healthy. We knew the story; it was too big for any of the world’s governments to contain. How the world wide campaign to educate all women on birth control was paired up with the vaccine against cervical cancer. The new vaccine hailed as the “new penicillin in cancer prevention”. It was their glorious double goal of having all females from the ages of five to fifty not only educated on their “reproductive rights” but also vaccinated, voluntarily at first of course but then over a three year period –by force, that condemned the human species. It looks like they’ve still not learned from their arrogance.
People began to hide their little girls to keep them from being vaccinated, mostly for religious reasons at first but then there were those who did it based on the principle that government had no business telling them what to do.
I watched as the top of the Blue Door as it opened and closed several times. Then the Red Door opened…then closed and the line inched forward.
Far too quickly it was my turn at the window.
“I have no name” earned me a smirk from the nurse.
“Good! You are learning already. Give me your right hand.” So I slid my left hand through the small window and she scanned it. She began to read all about me on the computer screen “tsk tsk tsk! No wonder you are here. I see your family failed to comply with the new laws.” She sighed and sadly shook her head. “Well you will learn soon enough that the laws are for your protection and you have a responsibility to society. After all, we as your leaders DO know what is best. Go through the Red Door.”
I step off to the right and go through the Red Door.
There were six other girls in the room that I stepped into. There was another door to the right but a huge window to the left. The girls were transfixed in terror as they looked through the window. I stepped up and looked. My blood froze and my heart stopped.
The room beyond the window was quite different. I could see concrete block, barely through the bodies of the girls that had been sent through the Blue door. They were packed into the room, clawing at the window and walls as the gas filled the chamber. Their eyes pleading for help as they began to choke.
There was nothing in my room to throw against the glass so I began to beat on it with my own hands and scream. A guard came in through the back door and grabbed me, pulling me away, demanding I calm down.
“Calm down?” I screamed “how can I calm down, they are DYING.”
I had not noticed the nurse come in “they are imperfect so of course they must be terminated.”
“Are you INSANE?” I yell. “They are just girls!” This earned me a hard slap across the face.
“You WILL BE silent and watch or YOU will join them!” Came the threat.
So I watched and I remembered every face and I buried my rage and pain for the time of payback. Yes, I would make sure there would be a Day of Vengeance.
The nurse was rattling on about how privileged we were to have been chosen and how we were the hope for all mankind, blah blah blah! Somehow my mind registered all the “rules” we were now expected to follow as my own plotting began.
After the “show and tell”, the seven of us were taken to a dorm where we joined a group of 43 other “perfect females”. Over the next two months we were educated on our new role in society. Since the vaccine had not only rendered females sterile but also unable to gestate babies, we were the only ‘baby makers’ now. It was our sole purpose to have babies. Very elite donors would be used and we would be artificially inseminated.
Apparently too many girls had committed suicide due to the rape they had been using.
This also prevented any of the male donors from becoming too attached to their off spring and or its mother. It was done in a very sterile and very professional way. We all were confirmed pregnant by the third month. Mysteriously two of the girls disappeared that month. We figure they had not been able to conceive and so were “removed”. How cold and clinical I’ve become. Even my anger was now cold and calculating.
I’ve discovered their weakness, it’s their own arrogance. We had a schedule each day, every day. We had exercise time and study time and even some free time to pursue “acceptable hobbies”. There were no calendars but we had clocks everywhere. A few of us had kept up with the days of the week and months and we would whisper to each other at night what day it really was. We learned who among us would rat us out for slight misbehaviors. I learned who I could trust with my life and who I was willing to die for. There ended up being only six of us who were willing to break free. We became sisters.
I was not really surprised at how many of the other girls bought into the all the propaganda they were spoon fed. They were so willing to give up their freedom and rights for “food” and “security”. How many horror stories had we been told about the fighting over fertile females in other countries and how they were abused and kept in horrible conditions? How many times were we told how lucky we were, and I had to agree, it was a pretty nice cage they kept us in. But it still was a cage and their hands were still covered in the blood of those girls who were found to be infertile. Casually labeled “dead weight to society” and so removed.
This last week has been different though. The staff was getting nervous and snappy with us. We were kept to the dorm room and not allowed to go to the exercise room at all. The only windows in the whole building to the outside were in the exercise room. They had figured greatly in our plan to escape. We knew we had to leave soon since we did not want to be hindered by our bodies as gestation proceeded. And we thought the new alertness among the staff and guards would dash our plan but they seemed to pay less attention to us. Maybe it was because we were locked up in our dorm or maybe it was something else.
We had been squirreling away things we thought we would need. We had no idea of what kind of world we would escape into so we tried to think of the worst case scenario and plan for that. Our stashes were small, just enough to fit into small bags we had made in secret from the scrapes of a couple pairs of ripped pants. We had told the guards we wanted to use the strips to curl our hair at night, using the rag method. And we did. We simply saved a few of the nicer pieces and made small bags for ourselves. There were so many rag curlers that they never noticed, neither did the other girls. We each had a rinsed out pop bottle filled with water that we had salvaged from the waste basket of the staff. WE were not allowed soda pop but they could drink all they wanted. They stopped counting all the silverware after the second month so we each had a fork and knife, the knife having been slowly sharpened on the concrete floor.
Our plan was simple: sneak out of bed, move to the exercise room, go out the door that lead to the exercise yard, and break through the fence! Well, how does one break through a fence? It’s as easy as untwisting it. Few realize that chain link is only held together by each link. All you have to do is “unfold” the top of a link then you can twist it out of the other links, thus you “break-through”.
Well our brilliant plan was shattered the night before we were going to go -shattered by gunfire and hand grenades. The fence was torn apart and our walls breached. We six sisters were determined to take advantage of the chaos so we jumped out of bed and dressed quickly with shoes on our feet. The other girls were screaming and just running around in terror. It was easy to slip out of the room and into the hall, heading for that Final Door. The smoke stung our eyes but we were determined to make it as each of us helped the others and we got closer to our goal and hopefully freedom!
And then we were there, with our ears pressed to the door listening for danger. All the sounds of fighting seemed to be coming from the other side of the compound.
So we slowly opened the Final Door and stepped through.
I look around at the six eager little faces "And that my dearest ones is how your mommies and I escaped!"
"Wow mommy, you were sure brave."