The Subsequents (An Original Story)

Three-Hundred-and-Twenty-Nine years in Mankind's Future, at exactly 8:12am, the fate of the world lies in the clammy, shaking hands of one young boy.


Chapter 1

The Finding

by: Skyling
“If you are watching this now it means I didn’t come back. And that could mean one of two things, either I found the way out or . . .” The boy hesitates, takes a deep breath and looks right into the camera, “. . . I didn’t. Here in this system of lies I am known as Subsequent Parker, my name though, is Albert. On my sixteenth birthday, in one month's time, I am due to perform the Judging. That is why I have decided to act now; my time is running out. Today --”

I pause the video.

What am I doing? This can never end well; I have no idea what had possessed me to ever press play in the first place. I should have left this VidLeaf concealed in the book where I found it. Or -- even better -- taken it straight to the Precedents.

So what is stopping me from doing exactly that? Questions, I answer for myself, No, more like Answers, or the promise of answers. Isn’t that what this boy is promising?

I turn my gaze back to the screen; Albert’s face is frozen on an expression of serious concern -- his large, dark eyes wide and sombre. It is almost as though, somehow, he is pleading me to keep watching.

Glancing around warily, I oblige. I have to lean in close to hear what he is saying, the volume is so low. No one must hear this. No one must find out.

“-- I am leaving. I am going to try to escape.” He is speaking even quieter now, and my ear is almost pressed against the small speaker, “Since you have found this video, it means you must be searching -- as I am -- searching for a way to escape this prison that we have lived in for our entire memorable lives. It means that, like me, you think something here is wrong. And you want out.”

I have been subconsciously nodding my head in agreement for his past few sentences and, as if he can see me, Albert gives a small smile.

“I have left this video here for people like you and I, people who want answers and who will let nothing get in the way of finding them.”

I frown slightly. Should I keep listening? He is talking of an uprising -- treason even. Do I want to get involved? But, I can't get to involved by just watching a video.

“This is only the beginning. If you are willing, I can open up to you a whole new world.” His expression darkens, “But you must be strong, this world is not a nice one, it is full of lies, treachery, deceit. But it will give you the answers you are looking for. Although in replace of them will rise many questions -- new questions, questions that only you can answer.”

A noise behind me almost sends my heart through my mouth and I quickly shove the VidLeaf into my uniform jacket. Relief floods through me when I realise the cause is only the lone librarian, Subsequent Hallery. She shuffles forward a little way, a small pile of books in her arm.

We are in the ‘Ancient Records’ area of the library, where books are still kept. Only a small number, the rest have vanished long ago. Despite this, it is my favourite place to come; the only place I feel I can be myself, think my own thoughts.

Prior Hallery and I have been friends since I could talk. Even though there are sixty-nine years between us, we share an unspoken accord.

She gives me a small smile and a sweet, 'Come and see me when you are finished, dear.' and hobbles off toward the main hall.

I feel something close to guilt for hiding the video from her, but I know that she wouldn’t understand how I feel about this.

Albert is waiting for me.

“I have left more information in this library, in another book- the only pure things left in the whole of Iriselas, the only things relatively untouched by the Precedents. The book it is contained within is in Section 5, Aisle 12. It is entitled, ‘The Collective Works of Charles Dickens.’ Find it.

“Now that you have watched this video in its entirety, be sure to destroy it. If you know of others who are dedicated to our same cause, tell them of it. But be certain that this video is never viewed again. Who knows what evil may discover it next?

"I warn you though. Nothing will ever be the same after you read the pages contained where I have mentioned. If you are not ready, if you are not strong, if you are not able, if you are not asking, do not find it, do not read it. Leave here, and forget.” He takes another furtive look over his shoulder into the darkness behind and then back to the camera one last time. “Albert out.”

He reaches forward, and the screen turns to black.

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