Life had once been defined by linears and absolutes, that’s what his father had said. But Jeremiah found it all but impossible to correlate the idea with his own existence. He tried to imagine it; order amidst the chaos. It was an alien concept.
In his world there were no universal truths, and things were never black and white. People no longer believed in good or evil, at least not in a traditional sense. Jeremiah believed in nothing and no one but himself, as he’d been taught.
There were those he trusted, those who wouldn’t shove a knife in his back the moment it was turned, but they were few.
He lived his life by the hour, because that’s how things changed.
The earth his ancestors had once loved was light years away, in time if not in space. In its place was a battlefield, a land that was unrecognisable, an age more dangerous than any of those before it.
Most people travelled alone, if they didn’t belong to a group or committee. It was unheard of for families to travel together. Not only did it make them a target, there was no longer a desire to belong. Autonomy was paramount, and though indifference among his people was common place, in Jeremiah’s experience antipathy now dominated the culture.
His family had been an exception. They had lived together and fought together, until they’d been captured four years ago.
He’d watched as his mother, father and two older brothers were eliminated; their faces solemn and yet somehow unrepentant. Then their captors had turned to him and offered a different fate.
He was valuable. Strong men and women were occasionally saved and recruited, and he was a prime candidate.
It was only thanks to Johnson he’d survived the resurrection.
People were susceptible to any form of conditioning after the amygdala virus had wiped out their emotional centre. No longer did fear run lives, and a regulative conscience was a thing of the past.
There were those, like Jeremiah, who were immune to the plague of 2018. Even the virus he was injected with at the age of thirteen failed to do anything but give him a headache. The disease behaved differently in him, but few knew that, because he’d schooled himself to blend in among the soulless recruits who were his generation.
Johnson had seen it. He’d recognised the truth. He’d recognised that a world of such colour, such potential for growth, shouldn’t be dulled by a civilisation who felt nothing. The world was alive with possibility, with depth of emotion. He saw it in every line. He wanted to be the instrument that brought sustenance to the wilting souls of those around him.
Jeremiah didn’t share his optimism, but he did see the beauty in the sky above him and on the ground on which they walked. Somewhere deep within him he craved connection, and one day, he hoped to trust enough to believe in something more.
“It’s time,” Snow whispered beside him, sharpening his focus.
“Are you sure?” he whispered back.
He knew that Snow’s eyes were on the girl, as were his.
“One hundred percent. She’s one of us.”
Jeremiah nodded once and gave the signal to those waiting in the shadows. “Move out.”
The group of misfits tore down the embankment, weapons at the ready. They were risking their own lives by daring to be different, but they knew the girl would die in the camp if they didn’t take action.
Their numbers were growing and despite how much things had changed, they recognised that strength.
In an age where emotions were redundant and chaos ruled, they were the one constant that made a future possible.
Until next time