Auto-Park (Part One)

While I am in the midst of doing edits I’m not doing as much pleasure reading. I usually like to post reviews when I can on Fridays, but instead I decided to go ahead and put up a free short story I wrote a year ago titled Auto-Park. Seems appropriate considering the recent political ramblings going on. It is also the only science fiction story I have ever completed, and still has a touch of a love story. The total word count is under 5,000 words. I’ll post the beginning here and will post another installment each week. Hope you enjoy!!!

The car settled into the track with a satisfying click. From above the red light of the sensor glinted across my windshield and I squinted as it paused in my line of sight and then quickly checked to make sure I was in place. My mind wandered as the car was guided forward into the Auto-Park.

I tried to smooth out the wrinkles in the pass that I had been clutching in my hand. I had plugged the listed coordinates into the navigation system and now I was being pulled into the depths of one of the most high tech buildings on the eastern seaboard. I read again the heading in bold black letters across the top, “ONE TIME OFFER.COME NOW OR YOU WILL BE TOO LATE.”

Earlier I left my small cell for a few hours to check in with the Guard and to do the manual labor which was required for all the unemployed housed in what the government liked to call the transitional living facility.  I returned and the pass was nailed to my door. Sometimes these lotteries lasted only minutes and if you were too late your pass was revoked and you would be assigned back to back shifts in the alternate energy plant that was run by the government who insisted that by using the unemployed as laborers they were making sure we made our contribution to society. My job had been taken away six months ago and this was the first pass I had been given.

After I saw the pass I quickly grabbed it from the door and donned the standard issue gray suit used for interviews and had the Guard approve my access to a vehicle. I plugged in the coordinates and was shocked when I saw that they led me here. Serv-Tech. My hands shook as I repeated the name in my mind. There were days in the energy plant where I would have given anything to sit behind my desk again at Serv-Tech and feign ignorance.

Ten years ago our nation was in crisis. Claims for unemployment and disability were at an all time high, people sucking the government dry, social security was bankrupt, and the government had reacted by bringing Serv-Tech online. Serv-Tech facilitated the creation of the alternate energy plant and the system which would keep track of all of the unemployed and put them to good use. Their slogan was: Free Energy Equals Freedom. The productive members of society had thought the idea was a good one. I myself signed up to be a part of the project. In the beginning the protesters had marched outside the plant with signs that replaced the word “Freedom” with “Fiefdom.” There had not been any protests in years.

My car pulled itself into the next available spot and a dulcet female voice came through the speakers in the car. “Please exit. Auto-Park will safely store your vehicle until your return. Have a nice day.”

I exited, and the platform the car was on lifted and slid to the side behind the wall and out of view. I often wondered where all the cars were stored. The ground floor was vacant. There was one door which made my choice easy. I had never been this far down in the building. I swallowed hard with the thought that I would be returning back to my cell in minutes. The fact that there were no people probably meant the job was already gone.

I opened the door which led to a long white hallway flanked with white doors. The hallway was lit with bright globes that were set into the ceiling every ten feet. The light that emitted from the globes made my eyes tear up. The alternate energy plant manufactured the power source that made these lights glow. I had worked enough shifts at the plant to begin developing the light sensitivity that seemed to be a common side effect, although the government would never acknowledge that there was any truth to that claim.

I wiped the tears from my eyes and slid the bar-code on the pass under the scanner affixed to the wall. Ten doors down a door opened slowly. I resisted the urge to run. Part of me still held onto the hope that I would someday be able to leave the cells. The other part of me knew why I was there in the first place and that they would never let me leave.

photo credit: HaoJan via photo pin cc

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