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They have discovered a cure for aging. No one ages a day now- we are all Suspended in time. Everyone has the chance to be given the meds- but you gotta prove you are worth it, because if everyone could live forever and still have children, the population would run wild. Only the best of the best get the meds.
I am the most gifted piano player in the state. I can play Burnotti’s opus number twelve with only two mistakes. No one else in this state can play as well as I. I was in the first batch of people to receive the meds- you had to be twenty, exactly, and you had to prove yourself. They sat me down at the piano and told me to play. And I flew.
Ten weeks later, they called me and told me that I would receive my meds, and that I had an appointment at the local Health Department. That I was worthy to be Suspended. The meds tasted no worse than a spoonful of fizzy soda. It fizzled on my tongue, and tasted sweet going down. I’ve never aged a day since. My body doesn’t crack when I wake up in the morning. My eyes are still 20/20, no fog shroud my thoughts. In body, I am still twenty years old. In mind, I am one hundred and thirty two.
Many people didn’t make the cut. They lived, grew old, and they died. Many of the second batch didn’t make the cut, and they too lived, grew old, and died. Now, many kids are growing up, knowing they will probably be killed, because they are not worthy. Not good enough.
I have seen many things. I have seen all my high school friends live and die. Many things now are taboo to talk about- the government doesn’t say anything, but everyone knows. I know enough to know that all the newborn babies don’t make it home from the hospital. No one here looks over the age of forty. They die. The government kills them. They are imperfect- not valuable enough to be saved.
The phone rings. I lift the handset off the hook, and catch a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror on the wall. How strange, to be one hundred thirty two, and still look like I’m barely old enough to drive a hover. I hold the handset against my ear.
“Miss Smith,” the voice says on the other side, “We must have a meeting. Please meet with us at the health department. A hover will arrive at your house in a moment.” A click, a tone, and the government official signs off. What can they want? I still can play my piece with only two mistakes.
The doorbell rings. I hop in the driverless hover, and they whisk me away to the Federal Health Department. Now I am here. The room smells to clean… the antiseptic burns my nose. I face the picture window on the other side of the desk. Clean cut grass frames perfect flower beds. The door squeaks and a woman steps in, with a girl. The girl looks twenty, but that could be a lie. Who know how old she is? Many Suspended stop keeping track of years as they flow by, but not me. I keep those years.
“Thank you, Miss Smith,” The woman says, smoothing her hands over her crisp, white suit, “Thank you for coming. Now, this is Kayla.” The woman acknowledges the girl by her side. The white suited woman sits across from me, blocking my view of the pristine garden.
“Miss Smith,” begins White Suit once again, “Kayla, here, plays piano.”
“As you can see, she just went through her Suspend tryouts. Miss Smith, I’ll get right to the point. She played Burnotti’s opus number twelve with only one mistake.”
“So?” I ask.
“ Miss Smith, you are being replaced. You’re no longer the best.” Kayla leaves the room, but I am too transfixed on the small, brown stain on White Suit’s collar. White Suit sighs, at my lack of comprehension, “We can’t have two piano players in the state. It’s illogical, Miss Smith.”
Suddenly, an armed guard that I didn’t know was there presses a gun barrel to the back of my head. There is a bang, and the world is black.