I wake up to a dull throb creeping up my neck and into my head, a splitting static sound overtakes me. I roll over to face my mother, her face is frailer than yesterday, the dark circles around her eyes are growing. My face twitches as I try to calm my breathing. When I was 4 years old, everything changed for me. They called them ‘Vigilans’, the future of child protection. It started off so innocently- remotely secure your home, see who is on your property at all times, then eventually, microchip your children to guarantee their safety. At first, nobody went for the chips- Vigilans as they called them. They were overpriced and nobody knew their true outcome. However months past and a string of ugly abductions began to occur around our state. It wasn’t until little Jeremy from next door was taken in his sleep that Mum gave in. She remortgaged our family home, marched me down to the local clinic and paid up our livelihood, for the comfort that I will forever be safe. Then for 6 months, everything did seem safe. Abduction rates began to drop, it was a win-win situation.
A year later, problems began to occur. If a kid so much as walked to the corner store or biked to the playground, the police and parents were immediately alerted and false alarms resulted in fines and punishment. All deviations in routine had to be reported and planned 7 days in advance. No exceptions. It happened almost instantly, one day I had freedom and friendship, then the next day there were no children in site. The system became inaccurate, the chips hijacked. But it was too late, with no way to safely remove them, so we all just live in the shackles of fear and corruption.
We became prisoners.
I began to feel out of body, out of character. It was as if I was in a constant hazy dream. Then came the pain. It started off as a shallow unpleasantness. But when the migraines struck, I was the prisoner, quite helpless in my cage of pain. I become blinded by flashing colourful spots and crave darkness, quiet and stillness. Often the nausea overwhelms me and I find myself hunched over the toilet for hours. Pain sometimes throbs so violently around my skull that I wonder why it won’t just crack open.
I’d heard stories of kids that try to gouge their chips out, found bled to death by their parents. And sometimes, I consider it. When I look in the mirror, my complexion ashen, I truly consider it.
I roll out of bed and draw back the curtains, my head becoming heavy with the sudden movement. In the half-light of the morning, the street is eerie. The sky is empty, no birds nor clouds. Even the silver line of sunlight feels cold against my skin. The houses sit identical, rot and mould crawling up their paint flecking walls. I turn and watch my mother lull in her sleep. Useless. She had taken my life away from me. The day my Vigilan was implanted, she took me for ice cream while my head was still throbbing. She beamed proudly at me like she was some sacred protector. Oblivious bitch, she still has no clue the pain she has caused me. Her love for me was a lethal mix of ambition and fear, to produce the perfect daughter. In the space that should be filled with her love- at my foundations, keeping me a loft- there is a void so black no light can penetrate it. Yesterday, she told me that my bitterness towards her is an extension of my vanity. So, I decided that I have had enough of her feeble obliviousness.
I can feel the throbbing of my own eyes, in time with my pounding heartbeat. They say “there is nothing to fear but fear itself” but in a world as twisted as ours this is simply not true. I want answers. I want solutions. I want to rebel. To hell with my mother, I am not going to live like this. I pull my duffle bag out from the wardrobe, hoist it over my shoulder, and pad softly across the bedroom and out the door. Never to turn back again.