A Family Affair
Jesper was lying on a floor somewhere. He was certain of that.
He managed to open his eyes for a brief moment before they overruled his decision and squeezed themselves shut again. It was bright. He shifted position with a grunt. Body parts were beginning to form an orderly queue to complain about their recent treatment.
Jesper spent a few moments panning for gold in the murk of recent memory. Not even a glimmer. The floor was oddly warm. Under different circumstances it might’ve been quite nice.
After some trial and error, Jesper found a way of squinting that allowed him to survey his surroundings without blinding him. He peered tentatively through his lashes, trying to discern shapes from the resulting fuzz.
He was in a room maybe eight feet by five. The walls, floors and ceiling were brilliant, stinging gloss white. A solitary bulb set crudely into the ceiling was the only fixture Jesper could make out – no windows, no furniture.
A sudden sneeze forced Jesper’s eyes shut again. He lifted an aching arm to wipe his nose with his sleeve and was only momentarily surprised to find there wasn’t a sleeve there at all.
As he brought his right arm closer to his face, the ache became a steadily intensifying pain. He shut his eyes tightly, then forced them open as wide as he was able. For a brief moment, he believed a second glance would reveal a more favorable result. It did not.
From his right shoulder down, his arm was wrapped in several layers of gauze, secured with small metal clips and encased in a clear plastic sheath. His eyes continued on past the small stump at the end, as if his will alone would cause his obviously absent hand to appear.
Jesper screamed. He sat up and quickly took inventory. His other arm remained intact, as did both his legs. To his great relief, both feet were still attached. His head felt as if it had been placed in a vice, and the pain in his right arm was so severe that tears were beginning to sneak into the corners of his eyes.
“Please,” he gasped. “Why?”
“Mr. Riley…Jesper if I may,” the voice was deep and menacing. “Do not concern yourself about the minor procedure performed. A mere trifle, Jesper. A mere trifle.
Jesper could feel the vibration of each beat right through the floor. He flinched as the light overhead jiggled back and forth. “What's going on?"
“Calm down,” said the voice. “It’s the bombardment. It's gone on for twelve hours now. Soon the enemy will break through the defence dome and then it's hand to hand fighting for all of you."
"We can't fight,” said Jesper. “We're a peaceful colony That's why we all came here. We have no soldiers."
"You do now," said the voice. "You, your family - all the settlers. It's in your contract. Hence the arm modifications – added to your debt of course. Once we implant the smart gun and other systems you'll all be marvelous killing machines. The rescue fleet is close. Just hold them off for just a day, then you can be part of the first invasion wave. We'll pay the bastard's back."
Jesper sneezed as a bit of plaster dust filtered down. “My family? They’re not a part of this. And my son – he’s only nine.”
One of the wall’s flickered, then cleared, revealing a small figure. His son smiled weakly and waved an arm – an arm encased in plastic. "Hi dad."
This is great, Mike. We're getting the bigger picture of who Jesper is and what his role may be. Another piece to the puzzle is added and we take a turn to the darker side. Terrific job with this!
Posted by: Joyce Juzwik | December 13, 2013 at 10:35 AM