Please Ring For Service

Friday Flash #5

I am as ever thrilled to present you with a brand-new Friday Flash prompt! There is always a story behind a photograph, but I want you to tell me yours…

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This is something a little different to my usual writing, my first piece of fan-fiction, which owes more than a little nod to The Handmaid’s Tale by the brilliant Margaret Atwood, published in 1985. If you haven’t read it I would highly recommend it.

Another novel I was thinking about was East of Ealing by Robert Rankin, which was published in 1992, and in typical Rankin style he explores the idea of what happens when everyone has been tattooed with a barcode, these are scanned instead of using real money. And of course trouble-makers can be flagged in the system.

In today’s society, with our ever- increasing reliance on technology, surveillance and security fears, I sometimes wonder how easily you could suddenly find yourself with no money, a non-person, cut off from those who you thought were friends, too scared to be seen helping you in case they find themselves under suspicion?  Big Brother is watching you.

This story is set in the future of the dystopian society from the Handmaid’s Tale. I would have preferred to have a few more words, sometimes 500 isn’t enough 😀

Born to Serve.

She was one of the first. One of that first generation in the after times when the number of baby girls born far exceeded expectations, far exceeded the number needed for reproduction.

Fifty were chosen, some, for one reason or another, hadn’t made it through the training process, she didn’t know what had happened to them.

By the end of the eighteen years there were just twenty of them left. Highly trained, their only purpose in life was to serve, to do whatever was required, without complaint. She knew that hers was the biggest house. Ten girls, the other two houses had only five each, but then her house was in the capital city.

She was grateful for her position, grateful also that she had been assigned one of the attic rooms, at least she had natural light, not the dim half-light of the basement rooms.

She sat on the edge of her narrow single bed, waiting. Today was day one of a new week, they served for six days, the seventh was for spiritual rest and contemplation. They had been taught that it hadn’t always been that way. In the before, people had spent all their days working, losing touch with themselves. This lack had led to the bad times, no wonder then, as the Aunts taught, it had been called Sin-day.

Trained to wait and trained to serve, she had also been trained to be proud of what she did, and to know that one day she too would be an Aunt and to train new servers. She and the others would have the advantage of first-hand knowledge, to not have to rely on just the old fashioned training films and handbooks.

One of the activities on the seventh day was to go to the library and pick a new manual. Unlike many others they were allowed, encouraged even, to read, to continue their training. This week she had chosen one with lots of colour pictures in it, she had found them very useful and instructive, although sometimes she preferred the thicker books that only contained words. Then she could allow her imagination free-rein. As she waited she flicked through the manual on her bed, the heat rising in her stomach, entranced by the images, as her fingers unconsciously traced the small scar on her stomach, the scar from the operation which meant she would never be a Handmaid, the scar that meant she had only one purpose in life, to serve. As the buzzer sounded and she looked up at the numbered board to see which room she had to go to she closed the ancient manual on the photos of the naked bodies contorted around each other.

More Friday Flash here.

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13 thoughts on “Please Ring For Service

  1. I read Handmaids Tale many years ago and I agree with you, it’s a book I would definitely recommend.
    I think you did a wonderful job here! I do hope you continue it. I think it actually really worked as a very short flash piece and could be an excerpt from a larger piece. Excellent!

    Liked by 1 person

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