Brendon had been a wreck since the day of Mr. Wentz’s announcement on the television. He definitely didn’t want to give up his life, just to go get fucked by some commander who couldn’t knock up his wife anymore. He didn’t want to lose Audrey, even if she hated him at the moment, but most of all he didn’t want to lose Rebecca.
So they decided after the address that they would try to escape to Canada. It wasn’t far, about twelve hours from Chicago, and then they would be free.
Brendon already knew that they wouldn’t take much, an extra set of clothes, the babies’ necessities and the money in their pockets, plus whatever they got out of the bank in small amounts. Everything else would stay.
Audrey slowly but surely forgave him, she realize it wasn’t his fault, but she was also happy that he didn’t want to be a part of this entire stupid plan.
They decided to leave a one week.
They stopped buying groceries a week before, started buying take out or went out for cheap food every day instead. Everything was going as planned; Brendon had even scored Audrey and himself a pair of fake identifications just in case they were stopped on a highway outside of Illinois.
Everything was going according to plan until the raid happened, spontaneously, just like Mr. Wentz had said.
It was in the early morning two days before they were to escape to Canada. A hard knock had come to the door. Brendon and Audrey looked at each other with confused faces, but Brendon got up to get the door anyway. Audrey got up and went to get Rebecca who had just woken up and was crying.
When Brendon opened the door four men, each one twice his size, barged in and grabbed him by the arms. Brendon struggled and Audrey ran in to see what the commotion was about.
“What do you want?” Audrey screamed.
“Him. We’re taking him to the re-education center,” one of them answered.
“Why?” Brendon asked trying to pull his arm from their grips.
“You’re fertile,” was all the man answered.
With that, Brendon kicked them and made a run for it, Audrey at his heels.
One of the men tried to grab Audrey but before she could smack him, he shoved her onto the floor. Brendon threw all of his force into a punch towards the man who threw her.
“She’s holding a baby, you asshole. Our baby, so why are you still taking me?” Brendon hollered.
“You’re not married, you’re both single,” the man answered.
Audrey and Brendon looked at each other, both faces expressionless.
“But we have a baby already,” Audrey whispered.
“All single men are being taken in, you should have gotten married if you were having a baby,” the man said sympathetically.
The other men grabbed Audrey and the two of them were dragged out of their home, Brendon turned around one last time to see Audrey put in a black car holding Rebecca in her arms.
The men had shoved Brendon into a school bus. He made his way to the back seat and drew his legs up to his face and leaned his head on his knees.
Brendon stared out of the window the entire way, almost falling off of the seat every time the bus made a stop and the men climbed out to ring or knock on another door. The bus was a little over half full of men who were dead silent except for a few who Brendon heard trying to muffle cries.
He continued to look out of his window when the bus screeched to a halt and the men climbed out. Brendon recognized this person’s house, it was William’s. He saw William open the door and try to close it in the men’s faces when he saw them but they were quick and grabbed William by the legs making him fall. William tried, he really did, but his efforts were futile, within seconds the men had shoved him into a seat.
William looked around at the men obviously looking for someone he recognized. He spotted Brendon and quickly made his way over to him.
“Brendon,” William whispered, “you okay?”
Brendon stayed silent but he shook his head burying his head in his knees.
“Bren,” William said and lifted his head.
Brendon was crying, his face drenched in tears. William felt the prickle of tears coming behind his own eyes.
“Why are you here Bren?” William asked. “You have Audrey and Rebecca.”
Brendon shook his head, not wanting to answer. The tears fell harder and William pulled him into his lap and held him
Brendon clung onto William’s shirt and cried the rest of the way to the re-education center.
A few hours later the men who had picked them up told them to file out of the bus. William woke Brendon up. He had fallen asleep in his lap after crying.
Brendon’s eyes opened and looked around the bus confused, but remembered within seconds where he was and frowned, his bottom lip quivering. William took Brendon’s hand in his and they walked off of the bus together.
The men were lined up outside and they saw a number of buses with other men filing out.
Brendon saw the faces of these other men and felt his stomach drop. What’s going to happen to us? He thought. Brendon felt William squeeze his hand.
They stood a few more minutes when they noticed a woman walking their way. She was tall with a pale face and man shoulders. The floral dress she was wearing did not flatter her at all,
and her face was covered in make-up it couldn’t handle. Brendon gawked and looked to the floor.
“Hello young men my name is Mother Sarah,” the woman, Sarah, looked down at most of them.
The men were silent, and Sarah frowned.
“When I greet you, you reply ‘Hello Mother Sarah’, understood?” Sarah explained.
The men nodded.
“Perfect, then let’s try it again,” Mother Sarah said, “Hello young men.”
“Hello Mother Sarah,” the men said in perfect unison.
She smiled and motioned for them with her hand, “Follow.”
In two straight lines the men followed her up the stairs and into the building they were in front of. Brendon looked up at the sign just in time to notice that they were walking into his old high school. He shivered and walked up the familiar stairs.
They followed Mother Sarah throughout what was the old school. It no longer smelled like pencils, ink and chalk; it had a pungent odor of too much Clorox that was used to clean the floors. Brendon looked into the old classrooms whose doors were wide open, the chalkboards and desks had been removed. None of the rooms looked like they were classrooms at one point.
Brendon shivered and swallowed a lump in his throat that he didn’t know had formed.
They stopped suddenly at two wide doors, the “big gym” as they had called it when Brendon had attended the school.
Mother Sarah pushed open the doors and ushered them inside. They were welcomed to the sight of cots, rows and rows of cheap cots. They were silver with a white thin blanket on top and a pillow at the head. On each cot were folded white clothes, and a pair of black shoes.
Mother Sarah told them to pick a cot that would be theirs until they were sent out. Brendon wondered where he’d be sent out to, but walked to a cot nonetheless. William took the one next to him and another man took the one on his other side.
Brendon lay down on his cot and buried his face in the crook of his arm. He lifted his face just slightly to peek at the man who had taken the cot next to his. He had big blue eyes, brown hair, and looked a few inches taller than himself. The guy must have felt someone staring at him because his eyes turned to Brendon, who was not swift enough in averting his gaze. The man lay down on his cot and flung his arm over his face; Brendon could hear him mumbling something but couldn’t make out the words.
Brendon felt his eyes slipping closed but only for the briefest of moments because he was startled by the piercing noise of a whistle.
“Sit up.” Mother Sarah said to all of them, “We will now begin to teach you all how to behave, what you can do and what you can’t do. But we’ll start out with what you are all here for in the first place. Mother Mary if you’d like to explain.”
Another woman, Mother Mary, stepped up to them and began to speaking a loud voice, enunciating every word.
“Men, my children, you were all given a wonderful gift that in the past only belonged to women. A gift you must all take advantage of. But you haven’t, none of you have even tried. So we are going to make you want to, and you will all feel so blessed when you find out that you are carrying a child,” Mother Mary had a pleasant smile on her face.
“You are all fertile and healthy men, tests have shown this. But aside from health we know that all of you are of low ranking social and economic status. You don’t have much now, but my dears, you’re going to have it all,” she continued.
Brendon gulped and felt the prickle of sweat start to produce on the nape of his neck. He definitely didn’t like where this was going.
“As you are all aware, the women themselves can no longer bear children. They were devastated to learn that the toxic medication had been administered to them. Children are what make the women most happy. You men don’t want to have children for yourselves, so you are all going to have children for them,” Mother Sarah informed them.
“You will become carriers, only existing to bear children for the commanders and their wives, you will all bear children for those who can’t but can and want to support a family,” Mother Mary went on, “Everything will be explained to you, we have months before you are picked up by a family. Don’t worry, and put a smile on those faces.”
The room was so quiet one could hear the talking going on outside of the gymnasium.
“But tonight my children, you rest, sleep now. We will wake you up in a few hours for dinner, and then you may go back to sleep. You all have wonderful lives ahead of you, and tomorrow we
begin to teach.”
Brendon took the white clothes that were on his bed and went into the changing rooms set up for them to change.
He lay down on the cot and stared straight at the ceiling.
“My name’s Spencer. Yours?” the blue-eyed man to Brendon’s left asked.
“Brendon,” he replied, “and this is William.” He said motioning to his other side.
“I’m Mikey,” a voice drifted from William’s other side. A few other people said their names quietly.
Brendon felt today’s stress getting to him, his eyelids slipped shut and when he knew that when he woke up, the real nightmare would begin.