Read Chapter 6 “Patrick’s Quarters”
The water has always been Maggie’s element, helping her think and make decisions when she felt stuck. Way before the revolution started, when the two of them still lived with Maggie’s parents, Patrick used to tease her about the amount of time she spent in the shower.
Of course, she has changed since then so much; her life became all about sustainability and preservation. However, now and then, she still loved indulging in a long shower or hot bath. She expected that this shower was going to be her last for a long time. She knew that once Patrick knows the truth, there would be not much time left for them to find their children.
Her whole plan was built around Patrick and she was truly hoping he wasn’t going to betray her. In the Old World, without him, she couldn’t do much or rather couldn’t do enough to save her children.
Maggie started thinking how some years ago the Ecotopian government decided to refocus their efforts on research, instead of on following the political upheavals of the Old World. Unlike the Old World, the Ecotopians knew that the resources on Earth were not only limited but also running low and sooner than later they would run out for both: the Down Below and the Above. The Above couldn’t exist without the productive and strong Down Below. That could only cause global war and suffering unknown ever before.
Her hot shower slowly started turning into a cold one. Not only freedom of movement but also all the resources were limited in the Old World. She could never understand why, after all those years of austerity, limitations and suffering, the people of the Old World were still willing to put up with all those. She quickly jumped out of the shower, dried her body as fast as she could, and pulled out a spare jumpsuit from her backpack. Before leaving the bathroom, she looked at her mirror reflection and noticed a few more grey hair and dark circles under her eyes. The past 24 hours were challenging and the next 48 weren’t going to be easier. So there was no surprise for her to see how much she has aged over the past few days.
Patrick tried his best to cook with whatever limited food he found. When Maggie finally came to the kitchen, the dining table was set for a romantic candlelight dinner, not something Maggie expected but she was truly grateful that he tried, despite the challenging circumstances. The quietness and darkness of this place made Maggie feel uneasy. She has never been a fan of dark, quiet places; they always gave her chills.
Patrick served Maggie pasta with what looked like a tomato sauce but didn’t taste like one. However, she was starving; the last time she ate was when she left the Ecotopia, she surely didn’t mind the strange aftertaste. For the desert, they were going to share an apple, which Patrick put in the middle of the table. Real fruits were a true rarity. His droid was still off, which meant that the Above must have suffered a greater loss in London than Patrick expected, leaving the power grid still unrestored.
Patrick wished his everyday reality was like that; he waited for that moment for so long. He wanted a simple everyday life with her, nothing fancy, no revolution, no drama, just eating, talking, and being together for better and for worse. But he knew he couldn’t have that, not now, not ever.
– “Can we talk now?” – he asked wanting to destruct his imagination that was already making huge and gigantic, impossible plans for the two of them.
Maggie put down her fork, she had a sip of water and took a deep breath, as if she was trying to prepare herself for the confession of a lifetime, then she nodded.
– “Do you remember all those years ago when the Old World’s Corporate Government invited us for negotiations?” – she asked.
– “How could I forget?”
– “The night we spent together, do you remember that?”
– “Do you really have to ask?”
– “I got pregnant that night. I didn’t think I could but I did. Now we have two amazing kids. A boy and a girl.”
– “How do you know they are mine?” – he quickly realized what he just said and he immediately started apologizing: “I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean… I didn’t want… It wasn’t meant to sound like that.”
– “I didn’t know you were the father until a few days ago. Our daughter’s DNA doesn’t match the DNA of her father. I mean my partner, my ex-partner.”
The awkward silence that fell seemed like the thunder.
– “What happened a few days ago then?”
– “I need you to listen to me very carefully before you … before you say anything…” – Maggie stopped trying to find the right words: “The Ecotopian scientists have found a way to travel in time. However, the time loop we can use for that type of travel is short and I only have 72 hours to find the kids, go back to Ecotopia, have the blood transfusion for Josephine before the time loop stops working.”
– “Maggie, are you serious?”
– “We have run the experiment a few times and it works. Besides, this is the only way we can try to save humanity.”
– “By time travelling? Maggie, I beg you.”
– “In order to stop the destruction of the rainforests, that your Corporate Government was in full support of, we need to go back to 1999. We must stop the triumphant march of the right wing, the plastic pollution, and the meddling of corporations. That is our last hope.”
– “Ecotopia is safe, you are well protected.”
– “Not for long. Remember that though we are divided by a fence, we still share the same piece of rock. The pollution the Old World keeps producing has been affecting us for years. We had to find a way to change the future. “
– “So, you are going to send our kids to the past to fix the future. That sounds like… like… lazy science-fiction.”
– “Our daughter has a rare blood disease and needs your blood if she is to travel. Otherwise, she won’t make it through the time loop or at least this is what our doctors think.”
– “Maggie…” but before he managed to finish, Maggie interrupted him.
– “Patrick, we both know what the Old World is and what it has done to the planet. In our current circumstances, we must believe in the impossible. When we were kids, did you ever think that this hellish destruction was possible? I didn’t! I believed in society and the good intentions of those in charge. We have been trying for years to find an alternative planet to settle on but so far everything that seems good enough is too far for us to even attempt to travel. As the humanity we’re not running out of time, we have already. And if I can save my children, I’ll do whatever I can and whatever it takes to do so.”
– “Why did you leave?”
– “Leave when?
– “After that night.”
– “You can’t be serious?”
– “I wanted to jump the ship, I was ready and willing to come with you.”
– “The message, Patrick, the message you got.”
– “What?? What message?”
– “The one on your phone, saying that…asking if you got the information from me.”
– “There was no message on my phone, there was nothing. You just left. No note, no nothing…” – Patrick stops mid-sentence and looks at Maggie. A very soft but distinctive sound can be heard coming from outside.
– “The Old World’s droids aren’t allowed to come that far without special permission. I’m the only one who can give them that permission.” – he starts whispering while making his way towards the window.
– “Downstairs! We need to get downstairs!”
Patrick swiftly moves away from the window, grabs Maggie’s hand, and runs towards the safe place. On the way out, Maggie manages to snatch her backpack. By the time Patrick closes the door to the safe place behind them, Maggie can hear footsteps approaching the house from the front and the back door.