Slip Trilogy

Series Information
Book 1- Slip
Book 2- Grip
Book 3- Flip
Slip Synopsis

Someone must die before another can be born...

As sea levels rise and livable landmasses shrink, the Reorganized United States of America has instituted population control measures to ensure there are sufficient resources and food to sustain the growing population. Birth authorization must be paid for and obtained prior to having a child. Someone must die before another can be born, keeping the country in a population neutral position at what experts consider to be the optimal population. The new laws are enforced by a ruthless government organization known as Pop Con, responsible for terminating any children resulting from unauthorized births, and any illegals who manage to survive past their second birthday, at which point they are designated a national security threat and given the name Slip.

But what if one child slipped through the cracks? What if someone knew all the loopholes and how to exploit them? Would it change anything? Would the delicate resource balance be thrown into a tailspin, threatening the lives of everyone?

And how far would the government go to find and terminate the Slip?

In a gripping story of a family torn apart by a single choice, Slip is a reminder of the sanctity of a single life and the value of the lives we so often take for granted.

Where to Buy!

SLIP Sneak Peek!

Chapter One

Past article from the Saint Louis Times:
Controversial Population Control Decree Written Into Law
Since the cataclysmic natural events referred to globally as the Rise and the Fall, American lawmakers have discussed various ways to control the growing population to ensure sufficient resources for survival. A five-year study has determined that the ideal economic and social population for the Reorganized United States of America is 504 million. As our great country is on the verge of reaching our ideal population, a population control system will be instituted on the 5th of December of this year. Prior to pregnancy, all couples planning a family must register with the Department of Population Control of the Reorganized United States of America, and pay a nonrefundable processing fee. After processing, each couple will receive a ‘pregnancy offset,’ which the media is casually referring to as a Death Match, someone who is likely to die in the near future. Only when their Death Match has died will the couple be authorized for pregnancy and child-bearing, thus maintaining the population status quo. This process has been coined Birth Neutrality, and is being referred to as ‘the cornerstone of our survival,’ by recently elected President Ford. In the event of an unsuccessful pregnancy, the Death Match will be voided and provided to another couple in need of a match. At that time, the couple may reapply and try again. Punishment for non-compliance will fall under the jurisdiction of the newly established Department of Population Control, which has been nicknamed Pop Con.  
For more information on the topics discussed in this article, speak “Pop Con and you” into your holo-screen.  
Have a comment on this article? Speak them into your holo-screen now.
JimBob006: I think this is a positive step forward. My grocery store is always packed and the shelves are empty. More people will mean even less food to go around. Something’s got to give.
CyborgLuvr12: This is bulls!$*!
LingLi8: Now I know how my great-grandparents felt.  
GovHater: JimBob006 probably works for Pop Con. 
Michael Kelly’s stomach is in knots.
It’s no different than he’s felt since his promotion to Head of Population Control, except that the knots seem to tighten with each word that his second in command, Corrigan Mars, speaks. “Finally,” Corr says slowly, “we’ve got a Slip.”
Damn, he thinks, but he can’t say that. “What do we know?” he asks instead. As usual, he’s playing his role and playing it well.
“Not much,” Corr says. “Except she’s young, maybe three or four years old, female.”
“The doctor?” Michael says.
“Dead. He was particularly good at keeping secrets, even under our most sophisticated interrogation procedures. His mind was stronger than his body.”
Michael knows exactly what that means, and it makes him cringe inwardly. Torture. But he doesn’t show his revulsion on his face, his false expression stalwart and emotionless. “Just one child slipped through the cracks though, right?” Michael’s chest tightens when he realizes his mistake. His loose tongue. He called the Slip a ‘child.’ A child born illegally is no child, is nothing more than an enemy of the state, something he should know better than anyone.
Corr blinks once, but if he notices the error he doesn’t show it. Instead he only nods in confirmation. “There were others, but none had reached the age of mobility. The doctor started doing illegal births a few years back. He began slowly, as most of them do, but then ramped up operations as he gained confidence. The Slip was his first.”
“How’d we catch the others?”
“After the first, the doc started keeping records. He used code names and misdirection, but we managed to crack the code during his interrogation. From there it was relatively easy. The Hunters tracked every last UnBee down.”
UnBees, Michael thinks, hating the slang term more than ever. Unauthorized Beings. “How many?” he asks, wishing he didn’t have to. Wishing he could walk out and never return.
“Dozens.” His old friend says it with a smile, like killing more children than can be counted on two hands is something to be proud of. When did the gap in their beliefs widen into an eternal chasm?
“Good,” Michael says, bitterness coating his tongue. “Catch the Slip. Use every resource we have available. Our careers may depend on it.”
The smile never leaves Corr’s blood-red lips. “Don’t you worry, Boss. We’ll catch her and we’ll kill her. Her parents, too.”
The moment Corrigan Mars exits his office, Michael Kelly slumps back in his chair, his body shaking with regret. All he wants to do is run home to be with his son, the boy with no name.

Chapter Two

The boy doesn’t even know his own name.
At age five he wonders if it’s ‘Son,’ as his father always calls him.
“What’s my name?” he asks his father.
He knows his father doesn’t like the question because he won’t look him in the eyes. “You are special, Son,” his father says into his ear. “You don’t need a name. A name will only let them control you. Even the smallest and most unwanted seed can slip through the cracks and, against all odds, grow up to be a tall, strong, beautiful thing.”
He doesn’t know what his father means, but he stays silent. He sits on the bed and watches as his father pulls on his black pants, black belt, black shirt, black tie, black coat, and black shoes. Even his father’s socks are black. But he sees his father’s secret: His red underwear is like a brightly colored kite that someone has thrown a dark blanket over, smothering its brilliance. It reminds him of the kites he sees the other kids fly sometimes, rising over the sheet-metal fence surrounding the backyard. A memory flits through his mind.
“What are they?” he once asked his father.
“Kites,” his father said, standing next to him and gazing at the bright sky, shielding his eyes with his hands.
Mimicking his father’s stance and posture, the boy asked, “Are they magic? Like the dragons on the holo-screens?”
His father laughed, and it was like music to his ears—he hadn’t heard such a beautiful sound from his lips in a while. “No, Son. The other children are flying them. Do you see the strings? Look hard.”
Other children. He knew who his father meant. He’d seen them through a tiny hole he found in the metal barrier, just big enough for him to peer through, one eye closed and one open. He’d been trying for weeks to gather up enough courage to ask about them.
He looked very hard, but still couldn’t see the strings, which was strange because he could usually see everything. The kites seemed more like magic to him. He desperately wanted to run to his secret hole to look for the other children, but he didn’t dare.
The memory flies away, just like the magic kites.
Dressed fully in black—other than his hidden red underwear—his father is ready to leave for the day, to go to a place called work. Sometimes he calls it Population Control or Pop Con, too. The boy knows his father must be an important man there, because they always need him. His father never seems happy to leave, however, so the boy wonders why he goes at all. But he doesn’t ask his father. He saves that question for Janice.
As usual, Janice is late, looking as if she just woke up, with wisps of static-charged hair shooting out of a messy bun; and, as always, Janice wraps him up in the biggest hug of his life, even bigger than the one she gave him the day before. Even as he squeezes back, he wonders if one day she’ll squeeze him so hard he’ll pop.
“I swear you’ve grown three centimeters taller since yesterday, child,” Janice says, standing up from the hug. The boy’s not sure if she’s right, but those piercing blue eyes of hers do look a little closer than before.
“Can we measure?” he asks, looking at his father for permission.
His father smiles, but it doesn’t look right. His eyes don’t crinkle at the corners like they usually do. They look wet and glossy. But then he blinks and they’re back to normal. He tousles the boy’s hair and says, “Ask Janice. I’ve got to go.”
His father reaches for Janice stiffly, almost like the robots on his second favorite holo-screen program, Bot Heroes, and touches her shoulder. His lips part like he wants to say something, but then they close and bulge outward. He turns away and strides for the door, which opens from bottom to top with a whoosh as he approaches. He stops briefly and looks back. “Listen to Janice, Son,” he says. “See you later.”
“See you later,” the boy says, copying his father’s words because they taste so good in his mouth.
The door whooshes closed and the boy looks at Janice, who’s wiping her eyes with the cuff of her white, silky shirt. He wonders if there’s something in the air today that causes wet eyes, but his feel so dry they’re burning a little.
“Janice?” he says.
She finishes dabbing her eyes, flashes a quick smile that fades as quickly as his father’s smiles do these days, and says, “Speak your mind, child.”
The question about why his father goes to work when he doesn’t like it rolls around on his tongue, but he swallows and it disappears, replaced by a different question. “What’s my name?” he asks.
Janice closes her eyes. Her face is as blank as one of the white sheets of paper the boy uses to draw on, but there’s no mistaking the quiver on her lips, the tiny drop of liquid that squeezes from the corner of one of her eyes, like juice from a lemon.
“I’m sorry,” he says. “I just…don’t understand.”
“Neither do I,” Janice says, opening her eyes and once more wiping away the moisture, this time with her knuckle. “All I know is that caged monkeys will rebel every single time.” The boy wonders what monkeys have to do with anything, but he doesn’t ask, because Janice’s eyes have that faraway look they sometimes get, like her mind has left the house while her body remains.
He sits on the couch and waits for it to pass.
After a few minutes she flinches, as if startling from a heavy sleep. “Let’s get you measured,” she says, forcing a smile.
She was right. He has grown three centimeters since the last time they marked his height on the wall by the incinerator.
But she never answers his question about his name.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...