A Short Story by: Wendy Laharnar
Release: December 2, 2011
Editor: Anne Duguid
Line editor: Nancy Bell
Cover artist: Tiger Matthews
Bianca, a beautiful Epicurean Supremo from a privileged futuristic society has a flaw which, if discovered and reported to the Rulers, will threaten her life and that of the man she loves. Unable to pinpoint the cause she tries to hide her anxiety until an ingenious birthday present from her husband provides a respite. Now, on her thirty-third birthday, her primitive behaviour and thought patterns return; stronger and more dangerous.
Bianca’s bed swayed in gentle rhythm with her floating condominium. Smiling, she opened her eyes and reached across the white expanse for Derek. He wasn’t there. Damn. She’d overslept; very out of character. What if he noticed? No. He’ll return soon and find me on the balcony exactly where he expects me to be, especially today.
She rolled onto her back, stealing a few extra minutes in bed and glanced up at the domed ceiling high above her: Derek’s masterpiece. The wide, stained glass panels let shafts of coloured light sprinkle life into her sterile world. She watched the lazy sunbeams paint murals on the milky walls. They tinselled the buckles on the two pairs of shoes and spotlighted the confusion of clothes on a moulded chair.
Flinging back the covers, she stretched, letting the sun energize her skin. “What a glorious morning,” she murmured. Only Penthouse Dwellers, like Derek and herself attained this privilege. According to Derek, sunlight symbolized their status. For a moment she revelled in true contentment.
An image of her grandfather snuck into her mind. He’d told her of a time when sunlight shone on everyone, but he’d been a storyteller, a bad influence. On her seventh birthday her parents forbade her to visit him any more, and placed him out-of-bounds. Years later she heard he’d died.
Her happiness shrivelled. “Unimportant.” She scowled, jumped out of bed and slipped into clear, tensile slippers. A filigree tunic lay on the floor where she let it fall the night before. She picked it up, grabbed yesterday’s clothes off the chair, hurried to the primping room and dropped them all down the trash-chute. “There!” She stabbed her finger on the Restyle button.
With her fingertips, she massaged her cheeks and studied herself in the mirror. Thirty-three, today. No obvious flaws, not yet, apart from that one little glitch Derek inadvertently fixed last birthday.
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