Title: AGENDA 21, DISTRICT 14
Word count: 70,000
Maria struggles for survival in a dystopian world. In this society, the sacred Earth must be worshipped and protected. Citizens intone Praise be to the Earth, Praise be to the Republic at mandatory Social Update Meetings and are required to walk on friction boards to produce energy. People seem to live in peace, now that their schools have been closed and they have forgotten the carnage of the “before-times.” Raised by protective parents, Maria is unaware of her world’s dark history until her father and young husband die under suspicious circumstances.Maria gives birth to a daughter who, in accordance with the law, is immediately taken to be raised by the childrearing group at the Children’s Village. Her mother, who has fallen into depression and ceased to be productive, is hauled away to a mysterious, forbidding building within the District, and never seen again. Left alone to survive in a society she now strives to understand, Maria’s innocence is shattered. She realizes no one is safe. Desperate, she makes a dangerous decision: to rescue her daughter and run away, to teach her daughter all that has been forgotten. But first, she must awaken the others of her District to the bloody price their society has paid for the illusion of harmony.
I have been published in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, My Dad is my Hero anthology and six Voices from the Atticanthologies from Carlow University (Pittsburgh, PA). I also received an honorable mention from an Atlantic Monthlystudent fiction writing competition, and am an active member of Carlow University’s Madwomen writing program.
Humanity stands at a defining moment in history. (Preamble, Agenda 21, U.N. Conference, Rio de Janeiro, June, 1992)
[The purpose of Agenda 21 is:] To promote patterns of consumption and production that reduce environmental stress and meet the basic needs of society. (Agenda 21, Chapter 4, Objective 7.a)
They took Mother away today.
I was on my energy board when they came. They didn’t knock. They just came in, men in dark blue uniforms. Enforcers. I shut off my board and stumbled off, hitting my hip against the metal sidebar. They didn’t say anything but held up their hands in a way that told me to stop and not come any closer. My meter was only halfway to finish. Mother had gotten off her sleeping mat when she heard them at the door and just stood there, head down, looking at the floor. How tangled her hair looked, gray and matted.
They asked what sleeping mat was hers. She pointed to mine. I started to say no, that’s mine, but she gave a little shake of her head so I didn’t say anything. One of them rolled up that mat and put it under his arm. The other one tied short, dirty ropes on her wrists.
Mother hadn’t done her duty walking since I was paired with Jeremy two days ago. She had just stayed curled up on her sleeping mat, her face to the wall, her back a row of bony knobs.