Truth and Dare – Chapter 1 (Fiction Piece)

50 years after the 3rd World War Apocolapse – Karie Breaker

The air felt different. There was something about it. I thought I was hallucinating slightly. It happened all the time. The filters wouldn’t quite get rid of all the toxins from the annihilated outside. Therefore, hallucinations.

As I entered into the ladies’ Enforcer’s locker room, I decided not to tell anyone about the slight hallucinations I was having. Some voice inside told me not to.  Little did I know that the voice inside my head would have a lot to say in the quite near future.

I changed into my uniform.  It was a drab suit with gray cargo pants and a black polo. Since I had played major roles in catching deceivers or solving crimes, I was a highly decorated and respected Enforcer. I donned a pin on the collar of my polo that had been presented to me by Patter Macey, the leader of Panremains and it’s government. After I finished changing, I sat with my friend, Enforcer Katie Kruck, as we awaited today’s orders.

“Enforcer Breaker, Enforcer Kruck, Enforcer Jenkins, Enforcer Sawyer, and Enforcer Maxwale, you are all going to the younglings facility. The usual checkup. And hurry because for the first time in a long time, we have news on the Jeny Tyel investigation,” Announced Head Enforcer, Kade Brone.

The Jeny Tyel investigation was the investigation on the disappearance of the previous Head Enforcer. She went out one night to investigate suspicious activity. Alone. By the time she realized she needed back up and called, it was too late. When other enforcers arrived, she was nowhere to be seen.  Since then, an investigation had been conducted to find out what happened.

Myself, being Enforcer Breaker, Katie and the other enforcers in question, leaped up and headed for the garage. I felt that tingle in the air again. And again, I refrained from mentioning it. The lot of us hopped into the squad car and headed west, bound for the younglings facility.

The facility was unchanged, yet I sensed something. The appearance was the same, whitewashed wall that sheltered the young children from the doomsday appearance of Panremains. Younglings and staff all sat in the assembly room, as required.

Suddenly, I knew what was wrong. Someone wasn’t there. And that someone was a very handsome man. Jake Atoms, the science teacher for female younglings of the age 8. I searched the crowd for his face. The intense yet kind emerald eyes, with the easy smile and straight nose. Midnight black hair that was always falling in those striking eyes.

I and the other Enforcers asked what was required of us, “Any suspicious activity?”

We received a flat monotone, “No.”

And everyone would go about their duties. But as the enforcers were leaving, a female 8-year-old youngling scuttled up to me. She motioned for me to move down. I simply rolled my eyes. This happened all the time. The girl would most likely whisper admirations. Tell me how much I was adored. The youngling would gush that she wanted to be just like “you!”

With clenched teeth, I bent down to the girls’ level.

“Yes?”

“Mr. Atoms,” she whispered,” He is a Deceiver.”

“Mr. Atoms,” I exclaimed,” How utterly silly! I ran the background check myself. He has a crystal reputation. I would have noted if he had EVER been involved in any shenanigans of ANY kind!”

“I know what I saw. And I saw him writing. On his own piece of paper. And it had nothing to do with anything legal. It was some sort of philosophy crap. It’s abominable. I know.  But you got to trust me. I feel wretched. He was such a kind man.”

The young girl kept ongoing, but I paid no mind. A knot formed in my stomach. I didn’t want to arrest Jake. I liked him. We had rarely ever crossed paths but when the two of us did, my heart always warmed. And I would hate to see any harm come to Jake Atoms. But it appeared that that would happen. If anyone that wasn’t a respected figure in the community, was accused of being a Deceiver, they were charged with death.

The death penalty was the cruelest way to die. You were released into the toxin remains of the world. Just a little toxin caused slight hallucinations, but if you were fully exposed, the toxin caused hallucinations that were indescribable. And when exposed to large doses of the chemical, it would slowly eat away at your flesh. Victims were lucky if they died as quickly as a week. Most lasted for at least two weeks. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. But those were the ways of Patter Macey.

Without so much as a glance back, I took off heading for Jake’s room. I should have called for backup. Deceivers were dangerous people. At least that was what everyone was told. But most of my experiences with Deceivers went against that proclamation. Anyway, after the Jenny Tyel situation, I definitely should have called for backup. I didn’t want to disappear. But that ever-present voice told me not to.

I stopped at Jake Atom’s doorway, not wanting to be seen. Hoping I could catch him in some devious act. Instead, he was just sitting there with his back towards me. Staring. At nothing. It seemed as though he was brooding. I cleared my throat. Nothing. I cleared my throat again. Louder. Still nothing. Yet, the second I crossed the threshold, Jake turned around.

“Hey Karie, how you doing?”

I didn’t answer. Why should I? Yes, I was slightly attracted to him. The attraction didn’t change the fact that Jake was a traitor.  As I pondered the word traitor, I started wondering if Jake was really the traitor and deceiver. All the Deceivers I ever met were nice people. They were the people with the best morals. How could they be the bad guys?

Jake’s lopsided grin made my insides quiver. Then, I announced, “Mr. Jake Atoms, you are under arrest for a level 10 crime, becoming a Deceiver. All rights you had are now evoked. Please slowly stand, with your hands in the air.”

Jake didn’t look shocked or surprised. His face displayed a serenity I had never seen before. The man smiled and leaned forward before whispering, “Do you really think that I am the traitor? Have you ever wondered how we obtained such amazing technology? Know what an apocalypse is? Wonder why no one over the age of 55 lives on yet Patter Macey is 75 years of age? Because I have the answer to all those questions. My group that you classify as deceivers are wrongly named.”