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Surfeit

Author's note: The problem of over-population is not something I made up. I read this in an article about the...  Show full author's note »
Author's note:

The problem of over-population is not something I made up. I read this in an article about the extreme population density in China and from there, my imagination took over. 

I hope people will understand that over-population is a serious issue, however more importantly, I hope they gather the importance of family and love.

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Chapters:   1 2 3 4 Next »

Chapter One

The waiting room is small with only several chairs lined up around the perimeter. Many women have to stand with their husband until someone else is called into the room. Luckily, Tyrone and I came early and managed to find a comfy chair to wait. The hour has been long and strenuous and my nerves have built up an army. My baby kicks violently so I caress my stomach, rubbing in small circles in hopes to settle down. Tyrone sits by my side massaging my back. His gentle hands ease the tension and anxiety that have been building up the whole wait. 
I take a deep breath and rest my head on his chest. He runs his fingers through my hair, saying no words. I relax in the warmth of his body, as my mind calms like a peaceful lake. But every kick of my baby sends a wave of stress filtering back, disrupting my peace. I wince in pain and look to Tyrone for advice. He stares at me and smiles. His pearls shine, like the ocean in his eyes.
One by one, woman and their spouse are called into the room. After a brief meeting, they return to the lobby area with expressions revealing relief, excitement and joy. Eager to welcome a new soul into this wonderful world.
“Trinity and Tyrone Devlin. This way,” a middle-aged man with an expressionless face carries a digital screen showing out names and information. He directs us through a series of halls into a room.
The walls are white, almost as if we had walked into a giant blizzard. The tiles are also white with flecks of grey and black. In the corner a small wooden desk stands, with a pile of glass screens all stacked on each other like papers. In the opposite corner, there is a thin glass screen covered in fingerprints. A metal scanner hangs off the side with only a small red flashing button to interrupt the scheme of whites and greys.
“My name is Dr. Axel. I will be taking your scans and giving your results.” His monotonous voice shows just how many times he has repeated that line in one hour. My mind races, as I look around the blank room. The scanner, the digital screens, the bareness of the room, it all feels so tight. I am trapped in a blizzard like the ones across the globe in Canada. I hate it. I want to leave. Tyrone doesn’t reflect one ounce of surprise because since he works for the government, this technology is very familiar to him.
Like a robot, Dr. Axel grabs the scanner and waves in over my stomach then places it back on the side of the screen. I reach for Tyrone’s hand. For some reason, feeling the warmth of his touch calms me. He takes my shaking hands and kisses my cheek. I nod and let the smile escape my trembling lips. Dr. Axel ignores us and clicks a button on the screen. A few seconds later images flash across the glass then settle to fill it.
The picture reveals a beautiful, crisp image of my baby. The head, almost fully rounded with small, almond shaped eyes and a peanut sized nose. I sigh of relief as I stare into the baby’s closed eyes.
“So precious,” I say then look to see Tyrone’s reaction. But out of nowhere he gasps and rips his hand out of our hold.
“What’s wrong?” I watch Tyrone as his face slowly turns horror-stricken. In the corner, Dr. Axel does not avert his eyes from the screens on the desk as he goes through them moving each into separate piles.
“Excuse me, Dr. Axel. Is that . . .” he pauses, searching for words. “Is that another head? Are there two heads in that picture?” Now my attention is fully on the screen. My heart sinks as I make out exactly what Tyrone sees. I see the two heads. The two bodies. The four arms. Four legs.
“No,” I say to myself, unaware of how loud it came out.
“This can not be right. Scan again,” Tyrone demands. Dr. Axel finally looks up from the screens realizing he’s been requested. “Did you hear me? Scan again, I said!”
“Let me take a look,” Dr. Axel says calmly. He stands from his spot in the corner and walks to the glass. As if he just saw his whole life flash before his eyes, his jaw drops. He raises his black bushy brows and stares. His face remains in that position until Tyrone walks straight in front, blocking his view of the screen.
“Speak,” Tyrone’s face is about the color of a ripe tomato. All I can do is stare. Unable to move. Unable to speak.
“Mr. and Mrs. Devlin,” his voice is cracking and he fidgets with anything his hands come in contact with. “It appears as though you are expecting twins.”
He says it. He said the word. The word no mom wants to hear.
“Twins.” Tyrone and I say simultaneously.
“What does that mean,” Tyrone stutters.
“Due to restraints and government laws, you are only allowed to. . . how do I put this–– you can only keep one.”
As if my two babies are toys that I received as a gift and could only keep one. As if they aren’t two, perfectly healthy, breathing babies.
“Keep one? You’re saying I have to chose between my two babies which one I like better? Well I am deeply sorry, doctor I will not do that.” Tyrone crosses his arms and begins to pace around the room. “I work for the government, there should be some exception.”
“I am sorry but this is beyond my control. Each family is allowed one child. You happen to be one in one-thousand chance to expect twins. I wish there was more I could do but my job is to inform you. After you give birth, you will be expected to chose one of the babies. The other one––”
“The other one what?” I erupt in a crying mess. My vision fogs with tears and I can no longer see Tyrone or the screen. The kicking of my babies increase and I double over. Tyrone rushes over to me and helps me into a lounge chair in the back of the room. But as I sit the pain increases. I slap his arm away in anguish.
“The other one will be exterminated,” Dr. Axel finishes his sentence and looks away.
“Exterminated like an insect? You have the guts to lay all this down on my wife and me then compare my babies to pests. Go to hell.” Tyrone grabs my hand and waste and helps me to the door.
“Please stay. I have more information protocol calls for me to say.” We ignore him and rush through the halls back to the lobby. My face is striped in tears and I cannot  contain my cries. Tyrone says nothing but continues walking me out.
Anxious wives and husbands stare at us due to the scene we’ve created. Tyrone picks me up and carries me like a baby so we can escape the glares. He gently places me in the car and types in “3273 B. Street Apt. No. 334” and we sit back as the car kicks into gear.
The ride home is silent, with only my constant sobbing to fill the emptiness. As soon as the car parks, I step onto the platform. Tyrone quickly follows then the cylinder shuts behind him and shoots up to our apartment.
I race onto the balcony and look over into the city. Cars fill every gap in the roads. Buildings sprout from every corner of every road. Between the crowded sidewalks and traffic lanes, there is no room for trees. No room for a single flower. The only breaks in crowds are where the little robots roam around eating up electro-cigarettes and other trash people dump.
I sigh. The weight of everything is too much for me to handle. I hear the glass door sink into the floor and look back to see Tyrone holding a glass of wine and a cup of water for me.
“I could use some of that right now,” I say and point to the wine. Tyrone laughs as he hands me the glass jokingly.
“Well, Trin,” he takes a sip of wine. “We have to do what is right.” I nod, not wanting to say anything. “I wish we could change this. I really do. But unfortunately, this is not America––”
“Oh my gosh,” I interrupt and jump out of my seat. “That is perfect, Tyrone!” Clearly confused, Tyrone just stares blankly. “What if we went to America?”
“Oh yes, that is simple,” it takes me a minute to catch up on his sarcasm. “The Union would love for us to leave but forget about it. America does not want anyone from the outside going in. If they let people in, they would eventually run into the same problem we face, here in the Union.”
“True,” I sit back down and gaze into the horizon. We sit in silence for a few minutes. Tyrone sips his wine and watches the drones fly by- The Union’s way of constantly watching. “Did you grab the tablet with our pictures?”
“Yes, I will go get it.” Tyrone leaves and I take his wine glass. One sip wouldn’t hurt. Would it? It is a 50/50 chance which baby it’ll affect since I have to give one up anyway. I put the glass to my lips but Tyrone rips it away, “Trinity!” He yells as it smashes to the ground.
“I’m sorry.” Nothing I can say could vouch for what I just did so I leave it at that. He ignores me and pulls up the pictures of our babies.
“Okay. I am not exactly sure how else to put this but, on the count of three, point to the baby you want to keep.”
“Wait, look at the words above. She is a girl. He is a guy. How can we choose? Tyrone, how?” Tears escape my eyes. And suddenly I am crying the Nile.
“Trinity, we do not have to do this now,” Tyrone begins to rub my back in a soothing motion.
“Yes we do. If not, we will keep pushing it off until it is too late. We must choose now.” He nods then starts to count. When he says three we both point at the screen. Our fingers touch and we look at each other. His eyes are glossed over and a single tear drips down his cheek.
Just then, a drone making its daily circles pauses in front of us. A red flash goes off then it begins to beep. The tablet falls out of Tyrone’s hand and smashes on the ground. We are too focused on the drone to pay attention to the shards which scatter the patio.
A screen pops up from the drone and a white face appears. “Trinity and Tyrone Devlin. Hello,” the man snarls. His voice is raspy and his white hair covers most of his face in dreads, leaving only small openings for his eyes, nose and mouth. “You are expecting twins, I hear. And from looking at the tape from the drone, it looks as though you have decided on the keeper.”
I look at Tyrone and can see the steam rushing out of his ears. His hands are clenched in fists so tight his knuckles are turning as white as the man’s hair. “The boy. Why the boy? I always wanted a little girl I could spoil rotten. Which, as a matter of fact, I did. My wife and I raised our little girl. Denise her name. Gorgeous girl. She is twenty-three now––”
“Okay, sir,” Tyrone’s lips shake and he grinds his teeth. I know if one more thing gets on his nerves he will break.
“Sorry, I tend to get off topic. . .” the screen fuzzes and his words are mushed into one electronic buzz. It returns to normal in a few seconds and he regains his position. “I am here to just let you know, I heard your conversation.” He pauses leaving Tyrone and I in deep thought. “Let me give you a hint, America? That ring a bell?” We nod our heads in sync. “Yes, there we go. You see, the issue with that is quite simple. We would love if you would leave. If you leave and we let anyone leave, our population would go way down and our issues would be miniscule. No overcrowdedness, no food rations, no over expensiveness. However, if you did flee to America, the government would catch you. That, my fellow citizens, is not such a good thing for the Union. We are at peace with America. And just two people could ruin that. You understand what I am saying? Don’t let me hear you even say the word ‘America’ again. Things would not be so great on your side.”
Once again, Tyrone and I nod. “Alright, good talk.” The screen closes in and before the drone flies away, it hovers over our heads for a few seconds.
Without another word, Tyrone and I go inside. The glass slides out of the floor to meet the ceiling and the click of a lock snaps. Tyrone escorts me to the couch and lets me rest my head in his chest. He brushes his fingers through my hair and gently works out any knots. His other hand holds mine in a tight grasp. The kind that makes me feel safe. Like no one can get in our way. The kind that shows his true love for me.

Chapters:   1 2 3 4 Next »


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