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The Wind Blows Stronger West Chapter 2

The Wind Blows Stronger West Chapter 2

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Published by Tris Gibbons
The second chapter of a 5000 word short story I'm writing about a meritocratic distopia.
The second chapter of a 5000 word short story I'm writing about a meritocratic distopia.

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Published by: Tris Gibbons on Apr 03, 2009
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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The Wind Blows Stronger West (chapter 2)
II (946)
Some years previously, when the old man’s cheeks were separated from the bone by athin layer of fat, he had stepped off the cattle train at one of few underground stationsremaining dressed in torn overalls and a creased cap, holding himself with a rarelyseen purpose. Clutched to his body was a blue holdall now containing his mosttreasured possessions. Among the odd old sock and tattered jacket one could have justseen the glint of a pen and the black roll that contained the thin paper he would writeon. It was the only way he could write without immediately being censored. He didn’tknow how but everything that one typed on a scribores found its way to the man onthe billboard who’s disapproving look would force you to start again: lest you needmore encouragement.He fell into line and after looking around the dimly lit cavern with wide eyes; hedropped his gaze to his feet and shuffled towards what passed as a canteen. A mug of lukewarm gruel was thrust into his hand and a tray with a small heap of rice into hisstomach. He glanced over both shoulders once, then a second time for good measureand a third for comfort. In the brief privacy the huge room afforded him, he scribbledsome notes onto his paper and placed it quickly but carefully back into his bag.From somewhere high above him a faint whistle sounded: the miners and wallsaround him seemed to sigh as one. He joined the throng heading back for the cattletrain and as he shifted the weight of his holdall he asked himself why he was reallyhere. Was he here because he wanted to make a difference, or was he here out of aduty he thought he had to these people to get their story heard in the cacophony of shouts and sirens. As he mused he began to pick his feet up a little higher and holdhimself a little more erect, and with this new found sense of purpose he tripped on thesteps leading to the humid enclosures.“Watch it, what do you think you’re doing?” demanded the burly man in front of him.“S-s-sorry, I slipped,” He blurted out.“I’ll knock your goddam teeth out if you do it again!”Hearing this a man behind him put his hand on the young man’s shoulder with suchcare as could only come with the gentlest features. He was one of those people whoyou would never quite be able to forget but at the same time never quite be able toremember. His hair was tinted with the grey dust from the mine and his eyes shonelike searchlights through the crowd, looking everyman in the eye, never dropping hisvigil.“Easy now, there’s no need to knock the poor lad out. He said he was sorry.” Hisvoice radiated truth and trust. They were prodded and poked onto the trucks together and during the next two hours to the surface the young man poured his words into thisnew bastion of hope.“You don’t look like the working type of guy”

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