Read Chapter 2 “Maggie and Patrick”
Patrick’s privileged position in the Old World allowed him to have access to luxury goods such as cigarettes, which weren’t available for the rest of the population in the Old World. If any of the luxury goods were around in the Old World, most likely they were smuggled from the New World illegally, often with the help of the New World government, or had to be sent by someone from the Above. The average person who lived under the rule of the Old World had no access to services and the goods the Above had access to. Living in the Old World is far from easy.
Patrick has always been a social smoker, at least before the revolution. Under the Corporate Government, people couldn’t get together to socialise or spend time with people outside of their household. Now he smokes under pressure or when he can’t cope with the reality he helped to shape. Patrick has been battling doubts and was unconvinced about many of the rules the Above has been forcefully implementing in the Old World for some time now. But unfortunately, there is no room for mistakes or doubts in the Old World. Doubts and mistakes are the enemies of the state as much as the people who express indecisions or are prone to mistakes.
The Above was created for the top 1% that made it to the top before or during the revolution, as for the rest of the population, reaching the Above was impossible to materialize. The Old World’s residents mostly survived on artificial food that everyone had to work for in factories that belonged to the Old World’s Corporate Government.
The Corporate Government was formed right after the revolution begun as a strong force opposing change, innovation, and equality the Ecotopians (who before the revolution referred to themselves as Eco-Warriors) were calling and fighting for.
The first time he ever smoked was with Maggie. She was always the first one to experiment with life, passing her newly discovered knowledge down to Patrick. Maggie was also the one who initiated their first kiss. Patrick still believes that that was the best day of his life. He often thinks about the first time they were together, their breakups, and passionate reconciliations. Those memories keep him going in the world covered in darkness.
Since the Corporate Government followed Maggie’s every move, it allowed Patrick easy access to all her files. He knew everything there was to know about her, or at least he thought he did. None of the Old World’s records ever mentioned Maggie’s kids. Could that possibly be some kind of trap? The Above was known for setting traps to imprison the enemies of the Old World’s order.
Maggie was one of the first leaders of the revolution that sprang out of control, dividing Earth into two worlds. The Old World, run and governed by angry middle-aged men, who firmly believed in the old patriarchal rules, and the New World with many women in power, put the social progress ahead of financial and corporate gains. One of the main reasons there was still no peace treaty between the two worlds was because the patriarchal government didn’t accept women of the New World as equal, even though Ecotopia has been thriving, while the Old World slowly and painfully was disintegrating.
Ever since they were children, Maggie believed in a fair society that could function successfully, flourish, grow, and develop their potentials accordingly. Maggie has always been driven by social justice and progress and equal society where wealth is spread amongst the people. Something the Old World’s elite would never accept or approve of.
As a kid Maggie always shared her toys and sweets with other kids in the hood, who were less fortunate than the two of them. Patrick never liked sharing his stuff with others, but wanting to impress Maggie, he did. Later on in life that need to impress Maggie led him to join the Corporate World. Little he knew that this decision was going to ruin his future with her.
By the time his second cigarette was finished, he was trying hard to remember when was the last time he saw Maggie. It must have been when the Old World negotiated with the New World seven days’ peace. After nearly ten years of fighting the Old World finally agreed to exchange New World’s fighters and some of the family members of the Ecotopians who hadn’t manage to escape. The New World was going to provide much-needed medications and seeds that the Old World struggled to produce. The negotiation only lasted a day.
During that time the Old World was already moving its headquarters to the Above and planing to keep their workforce on the ground, which meant that the Corporate Government needed supplies of seeds and medications for the Down Below, while the secret move was taking place. The Above treated the population Down Below as a necessary evil to keep the Above afloat.
Even before the revolution when Maggie and Patrick were just on the opposite sides of the political spectrum, the sexual attraction between them was undeniable. Sexually they’ve always been compatible, and sexually they were able to connect on a cosmic level. The sexual tension always made it hard for them to keep away from one another, even in the most challenging circumstances.
Before the revolution, Maggie broke up with Patrick on several occasions but found it gruelling to keep away from him. Splitting up and getting back together made their relationship toxic in so many ways.
The last night they spent together was right after the negotiation was over. For Patrick, that night feels as if it was only yesterday. It was just like the old times; sex, talking, then some more sex. Unfortunately, he made the mistake of falling asleep at some point during the night. When he woke up, Maggie was already gone. He wanted her to stay, he was even ready to defect to the New World, but she was gone.
Now, he is a father to kids he’s never met and who are gone missing somewhere in the Old World. The Old World was nothing like the New World. It was wild, dangerous, toxic and full of mutated creatures, starving people and drones which captured anyone, who travelled without the right documents, sending them straight to the massive work camps, full of unidentified people who can easily be disposed of.
Patrick was fully aware that helping out Maggie would be seen as betraying of the Old World and its draconian rules. Was he ready?