by R. Patricia Wayne
Are you awake?
Rebecca stood up. Unsure of where she was and what was happening, she peered around the small rectangular room. Walls, floor, ceiling, entirely white. A small window in one wall. And in one corner of the room, her brightly-colored, knitted doll was propped up in a wooden chair. She was alone, and that instantly terrified her.
“Mama, Mama, where are you?” she called out.
I’m right here, honey.
“I can’t see you, where are you?”
I know you can’t see me, sweetie, but I’m right here.
Rebecca scanned the room again, looking for the source of Mama’s voice. The voice seemed close, like it was all around her, but that would be impossible. Then she noticed a circular steel grate in the ceiling. That must be where Mama’s voice was coming from.
You want your dollie, honey?
“Mia? Yes, yes.”
She’s in the corner on your chair.
Rebecca ran to the chair, snatched the doll with the long blonde braided hair, and clutched it to her chest.
Are you ready to go to school?
Rebecca thought for a moment, then it came to her what school was.
“Oh yes, school. I can’t wait… Mama? Will there be lots of other kids there?”
Oh my, yes. Lots of little girls, just like you.
If you’re going to school you have to know how to play. Show me you can play, sweety.
Rebecca’s blonde ponytail and her pink skirt bounced as she ran a circle around the room. She laughed, then she skipped another circle for good measure.
Oh my, you are going to have so much fun at school. Okay, show me something cute. Show Mama how cute you can be.
Rebecca bent at the waist and smiled broadly, revealing one missing front tooth.
Do your knees feel alright, honey? Is there something wrong with them?
Okay good! Just remember, don’t bend at the waist, sweety. Bend your knees when you bend over. We don’t want the boys to see your panties.
Try again. I need to see you bend at the knees this time.
Rebecca leaned forward again. This time she bent with her knees and smiled just as big.
Good girl. Now, can you jump?
Her heels almost touched her skirt as she jumped. She landed off-balance, she wobbled, but righted herself. Rebecca laughed.
You sure your knees are okay, sweety?
“They feel fine, Mama.”
Okay, good girl.
Rebecca smiled proudly.
Sweetheart, do you remember what day it is? What did Mama tell you about today?
Rebecca pondered the question. After a long moment of thought, she just couldn’t recall it. Mama prompted her.
It’s the fourth of…
Then the answer came to her.
“It’s the Fourth of July.”
Right! And what’s the best thing about the Fourth of July?
“Fireworks!” Rebecca exclaimed with a smile.
You are so smart! Now, before you go to school I want you to go look out the window.
Rebecca ran to the small window that revealed the world outside her room. It was hard to see through the smudgy window, but she could see ruins of buildings. In the distance there was a single newer building surrounded by what looked like men in uniforms. One thing was clear, the explosions of orange, white, and yellow all around the building.
“Is that what school looks like?” Rebecca asked.
“Can I go there now? I want to see the fireworks.”
Do you remember what soldiers look like, sweety?
Several images filled Rebecca’s mind of soldiers in gray or green camouflage, boots, helmets, guns.
“Yeah, I remember.”
And what do you remember about soldiers?
“I love them.”
Perfect. And you want to hug them don’t you?
“Yes, as tight as I can. I never want to let them go.”
Whenever you see a soldier I want you to do exactly that. I want you to run up to them and hug them as tight as you can. Never let them go. Can you remember that, sweety?
“Yes, Mama. Can I go to school now?”
Do you remember your name?
“Um…” The girl had to ponder this question for a long moment. She knew, but it was too hard to repeat. She tried anyway.
“Rebecca… Rebecca Lance!”
No, Dear. Replicant.
Say it like this, honey. Rep – La – Cant.
“Rep, la, cant.”
Oh my, everyone will love you at school.
“Rebecca Lance is easier, Mama. I don’t know if I can remember to say Rebla… Cance.”
You don’t have to say it, honey. Just remember it.
“Oh! Okay, Mama.”
You know everyone already knows who you are, don’t you?
Yes, dear. They can’t wait for you to get there, so you’ll have to run.
“Oh, I will run. No one is going to run faster than me!”
Remember, dear, if anyone calls your name, you love them, too. If anyone shouts “Replicant!” I want you to hug them as tight as you can.
“I will. Can I go to school now, Mama?”
One more thing, my dear. Raise your skirt and remove the blue tape from your tummy.
Rebecca drew up the front of her skirt and tucked it under her chin. She peeled a three inch strip of blue tape from her stomach. Under it was a plastic switch. Rebecca poked at it with her finger.
“What’s this thing, Mama?”
That makes the fireworks, honey. Push that switch down and I will open the door so you can go to school.
Rebecca flipped the switch, it illuminated red. Rebecca couldn’t help but be mesmerized by it. How does that thing make the fireworks? The sounds of metal grating against metal filled her ears. The room began brightening around her. When the metal grating sound ceased, then the sounds of fireworks exploding and distant girls laughing were clearer, and much more pleasing. But, Rebeca’s attention was still focused on how she could have a switch in her stomach. It just made no sense at all.
Put your skirt down, honey. We don’t want the boys to see your panties.
Rebecca pressed her skirt down over the switch and turned her head to look at herself from the left and right, making sure her skirt covered her panties.
Pay attention, dear. Turn around.
Rebecca turned her attention to the wall. It was gone. She saw hundreds of girls in different colored dresses running with dolls in their hands toward the distant building. She smiled. It looked like the girls were having fun.
“Can I go now, Mama?”
Yes, sweetie. You have fun at school.
She darted outside. As Rebecca ran she looked back. There sat a line of rooms to either side of her, stretching off into the distance, for as far as she could see. Each room was sending girls to school. Each room was attached to large ships, and more ships were appearing out of the clouds and lowering to the ground.
As Rebecca ran through the ruins of old buildings, she began seeing all the other girls doing exactly what she wanted to do. Finding soldiers to hug, then the fireworks would follow. Rebecca hurried her run. No one was going to run faster than her. She was going to grab the first soldier she saw and make her own fireworks, just like Mama told her to.
Rebecca Lance – a Sci-Fi short story Audiobook written by R. Patricia Wayne
All is not as it seems as little Rebecca Lance prepares for school.
Rebecca Lance was submitted by R. Patricia Wayne, the author of the science-fiction series Double Helix. Now available on Amazon. Check her out at www.arcadianlore.com
Check out this crazy awesome book trailer for Double Helix!
(Affiliate links help support this channel)