He knew. He just didn’t know how far it had spread. He thought back to when people were protesting the CHIP. Developed by businessmen with an agenda, the implants were in high demand by some citizens of the New World Order (the public). The CHIP would streamline your life, the advertisers said: make theft impossible, money automated, children trackable–the benefits were countless! But not everybody was sold on the idea, including Mom and Dad–it hurt to think of them. Wynn’s parents were among the few individuals who spoke out about the perils of such a chip. “What if?” they’d protested, presenting all kinds of sordid possibilities that such a device could have. They and others of their opinion were silenced. Either they changed their mind after being educated about their false beliefs, or they were give a ticket for an airplane ride from which they never returned–it was rumored that they were all pushed from the airplanes. Wynn had taken shelter when he’d come home from school one day and found the curtains drawn in the kitchen.
The average person may not have noticed such a minor detail, but because of his upbringing, Wynn picked up on the subtle clue that something was not right immediately. His father, a farmer-turned-security guard, had foreseen some sort of disaster and had come up with the signal for danger. His father had coached the whole family, his mother, his sister Lynette and Wynn, that the closed curtains meant something was wrong. They had often made fun of his father, calling him paranoid; Wynn might have even thought his younger sister Lynnie was playing some sort of a joke on him, trying to scare him the day he saw the white kitchen curtains closed. But since he himself would never forget the beating from his father when, feeling mischievous, he’d jokingly closed the curtains on his mother, he knew this warning was for real. He’d run to the underground camp his father and uncle had built for “play.” They’d often advised him that he should go there in case he ever needed to be alone.
In case of what, he’d never asked his father. He somehow hoped he’d never need to know, though deep down he was sure he’d find out one day. He wished his parents were here with him now–though he did know they were in a happier place, and that someday he would join them again.
Lexy’s snoring brought him out of his reverie. He was pretty sure Alexis’ CHIP had been shut down. Otherwise, she would’ve been able to access food pellets, the lasers and monorails. It would also explain why nobody saw here. He knew the feeling. How he missed the days when you could walk down the street and smile at a stranger. Lexy’s existence seemed to have been deleted from society. Being the daughter of Jerry Roberts, she’d have to be extra careful. Surely, they wouldn’t keep her permanently shut off to perish on the city streets with the other outcasts. They’d have to come looking for her, and probably soon, before the next wave of frequency testing.
When people were kicked out of society, i.e., CHIPs inactivated, they were basically sentenced to death, as they could not get food from the machines, and only a handful of people ever made their way out to the countryside (what was left of it) to find the wild herbs and fruit that grew on the trees. Instead, they would try to steal or starve until they were wiped out by the high frequency vibrations that were sounded monthly to basically eliminate those survivors who managed to hang on long enough without their CHIP. Those with the CHIP were able to survive the high-pitched sound waves because the CHIP blocked out the high frequencies from its carrier. CHIP protesters had discovered that holding a piece of copper also blocked the high frequency waves, so they carried copper chips with them wherever they went.
Wynn looked at the floor, thinking about what to do. He wondered why Lexy was led to him. He believed he was meant to help her, seeing he had met her when she was only a little girl and here she was again, almost a grown woman. Was she the one that would make the difference–and was he destined to help her? Maybe they were brought together years ago by “accident” to prepare for this time.
He would help her, he decided, not that it was really a decision. There was never any question about if he would help her, only how he would do it. He hoped Lexy was up for the journey she must take–it would be a long, hard road, but it was their only chance for survival. He had a feeling it might be the world’s only chance, too.