Sunday, 6 March 2011

The Promised extract

Here is my first chapter from my novel.  This is the third time I have tried to write an opening chapter for my novel, I believe that this is the best I have come up with.  To me it is a brilliant start of what is to come.  I hope everyone who reads it likes it, and has something to say.  Anyway here goes...
Starting to end, my life as cyclic
My name is Freya.  I live on the planet Panaterra, on the island of Cotta, well I do for the moment at least; although in a few short hours I will change and ditch this life akin to a snake shedding a skin.  I live in the largest city on Cotta, the city of Nom.  I am a member of the upper bourgeoisie.  I have a high-flying job in Nom, as CEO of Ware Scientific Research; the leader in the area of all things that are cosmic.  On Panaterra, it is the females who work and earn money.  The sole purpose of men is to care for the children and the home.   My solar system is on the opposing side of the Milky Way to the Orion Spur.  My galactic spur is just a small starry stretch called the Norma Arm, and Panaterra is situated cosily on the eastern edge of the middle section. 
I love my husband.  Unusually for most people in Cotta, my husband and I live happily.  He has raised our children wonderfully.  He had to give up his job when I gave birth to the first of our four children.  Yes, on Panaterra females give birth to the children, but when the umbilical cord is cut, so is the feminine desire to nurture the child and the paternal instinct kicks in.  A scarily spreading galactic phenomenon known as single parent upbringing is unknown on Panaterra.
Just like any other average sized planet, perfectly positioned in relation to the central star, life of all kinds is plentiful; too plentiful.  There are now more than 10 billion people on Panaterra now, but this figure is now static.  To combat this issue the Global Government, almost exclusively compiled of Cotta people - the elite, myself included, has introduced a cull on people aged 65 years.  If you are healthy when you are terminated then you also automatically become a donor of useful parts and organs.  Sterile children are weeded out at birth, as the world does not need nor can it accommodate those with any form of mental, physical or emotional defect.  If you are identified as sterile at your monthly screening, or any other problems are noticed then you will receive a termination letter, shortly afterwards. 
On your 65th birthday, you are sent a letter, detailing how many months you have left until you have to terminate.  Depending on your social status, you will be given a longer period of time to pull your life to a close.  A typical low-life, one who makes the likes of my circle shudder, will be given one month maximum on the understanding that his or her life is so bland that there isn’t much to be sorted out.  However a person like me, who is well known and who moves in important and influential circles, could be given up to eight months; on the understanding that we have to spend a great deal of time preparing for our exit. 
In a female’s life there are two events to prepare for, her introduction, and her termination.  The introduction is a symbol of adolescence, when her young mind and body prepare to enter the most colourful stage in her life.  You are expected to work until you receive your letter. 
I have one day left before I terminate.
But unlike everyone else, I’m not really going to terminate; yes I’ve just made my grand public departure so everyone can be nicely under the assumption I’ve really gone, but I have found a glitch in the galaxy.  You see, Ware Scientific Research was really an elaborate cover to manipulate the system.  I was given the longest possible time to wrap up to termination as I am the person who invented the means of travelling extremely close to the speed of light.  Not that it was very hard.  All I had to do was to make a few new calculations about light and the centre of the galaxy and the solution was obvious.  I became a billionaire due to my success.  Once I had jumped over that hurdle, I set my sights on the one thing that every girl growing up dreams of - to cross the galaxy on the day of termination, and start life again as if it were your first.  It is the unspoken dream. 
I however, have found a way to do this.  Due to the inconsistent flow of time through the galaxy I can travel at a minute fraction of a second less than the speed of light.  What I have also found a way to do is to send singular atoms of my body across the Milky Way, as a clump of interstellar gas until I reassemble at my target.  I have found out and carefully mapped the path to my destination. 
To my utmost surprise my chosen destination is almost identical to Panaterra, except it is located in Galactic Sector ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha.  What a weird name and how awfully clinical.  I have been researching into this planet.  The one difference that disturbs me is that women on this planet look after the children, while the men have the high flying jobs.  How weird is that!  When I arrive there I will make it my mission to sort that out.  Another thing I have found out is that they have these things called religions; basically people worship a particular person, real or imaginary, for things they have supposedly done.  I find it mind boggling as to why they do this.  On Panaterra you simply don’t have the time to indulge yourself in such fantasies; men possibly might, as they only have to look after the children, but females?  Surely these people can’t choose to compromise their precious sleep hours to worship someone.  I guess I’ll just have to work it out when I reach there.  I wonder if it is planetary self-defence designed to confuse incomers into submission and leaving their strange planet alone.
Two more things have spooked me though.   One is the thought that although the global population of my destination planet is teetering on 10 billion people, the governments of all of their 196 nations in their world, refuse to set a cull age.  I think the word to describe these people is the earthly word liberal.  The other problem is that they have no compulsory donor system, are the people of this planet trying to self destruct?  And why oh why do they use their finite oil resources to propel themselves from a to b, when they have not yet developed a method of hydrogen fusion, the epitome of efficient nuclear power, like we have on Panaterra.  As usual Cotta has led the way for other countries to follow our glorious example. 

As I’m going to be travelling to this strangely similar planet, which I found out has a much less scientific name; Earth, I decided to learn the language of the country I’m going to be staying in, something called British English.  Ever since I formulated the idea of travelling to another solar system, I had wanted to go to the Orion Spur, well it was either that or Betelgeuse, and when I was reading one of the English books; (I feel very smug about being able to speak in a language that no-one else can), it mentioned that Betelgeuse has some frightful creatures. And anyway the computations weren’t nearly as secure as they were for Earth.  One of the ancient languages on Earth is called Latin, and in Latin Earth is known as Terra.  How exciting to have a connection to a planet across the galaxy in the Orion Spur. 

I fall asleep grinning at the prospect of what I am going to face, when the central star reveals itself in the morning.  The next day is my last on Panaterra, I spend time until the peak of the day saying my goodbyes and sharing comforting embraces with my husband for the last time.  I wonder if I will miss him when I am on Earth.  How much of this glorious life will I remember, or does this messed up version of galactic space travel wipe your memory like a magnet over a sim card.  I wish I could take images with me, rather than hope for the strength of my mind.

The grains of sand of my time are slipping away.  My computing device is set up so that all I have to do is press enter twice and I will be sucked through a tear in time, and pulled through to this place called Earth.  Just now I have kissed my husband for the final time; I can’t believe that I’m leaving him forever.  Grudgingly I press the button, once; twice; but I can’t pry my hand away from his.  We are both pulled in all directions at once.  I realise with equal amounts of horror and joy that we are both being sent to Earth. 
Will I meet him on earth?  This was not how it was meant to happen, my poor children losing both parents at once, it should have been a gradual loss, first me then him.  I’m sure they will understand.  Time isn’t kind to me, it rips me away from him and he is lost to me in transition.  Slowly I reassemble as a bundle of multiplying cells in a uterus.  Over nine months I grow and I can feel my body adapting to suit the earthly world.   My memories of Panaterra slide succinctly into oblivion as I gasp breaths of a new world. 
I am born and then without warning life lurches ahead furiously.  As if someone has found my fast-forward button and jammed it.  I see and feel everything, every emotion, success, failure; every moment of Earth time is recorded in my brain.  The sensation speeds up and nearly two decades of life; 236 months or 19¾ years to be exact fly, fumble and flash past me.  However as time reaches forward all my senses are filled with a mind-boggling sensation, as each sense is pushed over the cliff of overload.  I close my eyes and the feeling stops. But I am unable to return and slip into the darkness to embrace my new home.  I have only one ironically appropriate lingering thought that has flown to welcome me. 
“Welcome to the universe Miss Jones.”   

 There you are.  It's long yes, but hey how was I meant to write anything shorter.
All for now
<3 x