2066 – Janek on the run

Thursday 30th July

Notes to myself – 2066 03 and 04 days unknown

“One of the unforeseen consequences of being on the run, is that you lose track of the date. Like so much that we know, what you thought was hard-wired into your brain is only there because you are constantly reminded of it.  Every screen, your wrist-phone, your computer-aided glasses all display time and date in tiny numbers on every page. So much so, that you never need to ask yourself what day of the week it is, or what time it might be. We have lost that facility to even tell the time for ourselves.”

“I am writing notes to myself on scraps of paper; these are harder to come by than I would have thought. I have taken to searching bins late at night, not only for scraps of food but for paper. I found a couple of pencils and try to keep these sharp, but I still yearn for a biro. These once seemed so plentiful, and they were truly disposable. If I only had one now, I would never let it go, it would become my most prized possession.”

“Tired. Tired of walking. No, I do not walk anymore. I trudge. How many more miles of this endless city are there? And I have to avoid the quick roads, the Super Urbanways, as they are so well lit. Even though all cars and lorries are driverless the roads are well-lit, day and night these bright arteries cut through the dark and low-lying clouds, bringing all the goodies from factory to shop, and direct into your home. But I don’t have a home anymore, do I? My home is the unlit back streets, the old parks and un-concreted green spaces, the wastelands where family homes once stood, row upon row and now full of container-homes, stacked like children’s bricks four and five high.”

“Weary and cold. Hungry too. And I am still heading East, or where I think East might be. In the mornings I wait for the sunrise, and try to remember which direction to walk, but you can’t always tell. I talk to no-one, just trudge on, head down, collar pulled up tight, avoiding shops and main streets. And G. L. is vast, it just goes on forever. A forever of nothingness, boring concrete apartment blocks, a few trees sprinkled as if an afterthought, and roads, roads stretching to infinity. Autos and lorries roar past at breakneck speed, and so close to each other, it is as if they are connected by invisible threads in one long daisy chain. Still they hurtle, day and night, feeding the millions. This is what it is all for. Feeding the needs of consumers, and we too are all needed to consume this vast panoply of stuff. Except that now none of it is for me, I am no longer a consumer. I have no cred anymore, I can buy nothing. A scavenger I have become, a sifter of bins, seeking scraps of discarded manna. And on and on I trudge.”

“At last I come to fields. I must have been walking for more than two weeks. My shoes are split and broken and I stink. I have hair growing all over my body and it smells. My body smell disgusts me, I used to think sweat was bad but stale sweat, and your own sweat at that is truly disgusting. My beard is black and thick and covers half my face; it seems to have grown so fast since I stopped taking the follicle inhibitor tabs a few weeks ago. I avoid all human contact, even the lower strata types. I can trust no-one. But at last – real fields and hedges and trees. I haven’t been to the countryside in years. I need to lay down and sleep, here on this grass, away from the road, the roar of the lorries, here on this grassy bank where the tiny flowers still search out the sparse winter sun.”

“I don’t know how many days I walked to get out of G.L. It was early March when I set out and still bitterly cold, but the seasons are all messed up these days, Spring comes later and later and summer is short and blistering hot before we are plunged back into that long icy winter. For now the clouds have lifted and a warm mild sun is warming my cold limbs. I have to find some shelter, maybe a farm, or an old barn. And food, I am hungry all the time, and the superstore bins are all locked up and guarded. Even manna is hard to come by. I am becoming delirious with lack of food. I keep losing even these small scraps of paper. I have no idea where I am, where I am going or even who I am anymore.”