My short story, “Tomorrow’s Children,” is an excerpt from a dystopian novel I have just completed. The first book in the trilogy is called After Shocks and explores life after a 9.8 earthquake has hit California, severing the Monterey Peninsula into the middle of the Pacific. The year is 2091, thirteen years after the quake has hit, and an oppressive form of government has taken control of the island. In “Tomorrow’s Children,” women are being forced to take their children to a Cryopreservation Center, where they will be frozen until further notice in efforts to control population control.
A few years ago, I read Margaret Atwood’s classic The Handmaid’s Tale while soon afterward vacationing in Monterey. At the same time, I was working on a thesis for my Master of Fine Arts when the chilling question came to me: What if a natural disaster had struck on the very land on which I had stood and had washed it out to sea?
As a writer, I have an underlying inclination toward dark themes. My writing style also deliberately looks for the twists in plot that add a multitude of tensions for my characters. It is then that I set them free, so-to-speak, and watch as they find ways to cope or not cope with life’s tribulations. I see myself as a scribe who quickly types up the dialogues and inner monologues of my characters, who I prefer to refer to as people, and often say, that if I were to see any of them on the street, I would recognize them immediately.
I was not content to write about just any island that floated into the Pacific, however. I wanted a whole new society to form and all of the ramifications thereof. At first, these were people glad to be alive, but in no time, as human nature will have it when there are no rules and guidelines to live by, the people started to turn on one another. A group of former military men from what was the Naval Postgraduate School, as well as some soldiers from what was the Presidio of Monterey, and several former police officers formed the National Association of Patrolling Officers, the NAPOS. In an effort to force the people to forget the origins from which they came, the Napocracy changed the people’s former names to that of stars and constellations; changed the names of the seasons; came up with codes, similar to laws, such as the Anti-Conception Law; and instituted such agencies as the Euthanasia Home, the Assisted Suicide Center, and the Cryopreservation Center.
“Tomorrow’s Children” seemed an apt name for the title of my short story as it reflects the uneasiness among the people of the island, called Domicile, as they wait in hope for a tomorrow in which their children will be thawed.