The park was as beautiful as always. Kids playing, adults chatting. Life had become so easy. Tanya was sitting on the bench watching actors doing a play. Real art, art created for the art itself, not to survive, not to make money. Her teddy was lying on the bench beside her. She was laughing, applauding.
Malak got up between the assembly lines. Gunshots. He ran, stepping on toys and things going down the line. Drones were coming after him. At the end of the line there was an opening. He could see the dark sky. He ran towards the edge.
In a distance he could see the cotton fields. Where there once had been people living, cultivating food for their families, now there was cotton as far as the eye could see. Enormous machines were harvesting. Any living creature entering would be killed.
Far underneath he saw robots working. Transport vehicles going out through the highly guarded gate. The fall was too high. He turned, wanting to run back, but the drones were coming. A machine gun pointed right at him.
He fell over the edge.
I forgot my teddy bear!
We can’t go back now, there’s no time. Grandma’s waiting.
But I really liked him…
Don’t worry, sweetheart. We can always buy you a new one.
Mika’s mother was standing by her kitchen. Tears were running down her cheeks. If the poor child wasn’t back by now, he probably wouldn’t be. How could she send a child on such a dangerous mission? Regrets. Shame. She heard the hatch open.
Malak. He had fallen in the transport vehicle, the toys had reduced his fall. The drones had not been able to detect him underneath them. He had scratches and wounds all over, and his clothes were even worse than when he left, but he was whole and alive.
He had a metal lever in one hand, the broken piece to the electricity generator. In the other he held a teddy bear.
A brown one with a red band around it’s neck.