Tuesday, April 12, 2022

#SFF #AtoZChallenge Jubilant

#AtoZChallenge 2022 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter

A speculative fiction short story from a dreamer

A continuous #sff story during April. May Rose is the main character (🧑🏽 they/them pronouns).

The infant sessions were nearly over. May dreaded explaining to students that their offspring would probably only remain with them for the first two years. Many wealthy overlords looked to purchase young ones to raise. Only those with a breeding license could take a grown human, such as themselves. It was part of how they guaranteed mating remained strictly consensual. 

Of course, there were rumors of an overlord who let humans be wild and free. That thousands of years ago, the overlord brought gifts to a people called Chavín. May had heard the people living in that same area had largely survived the devastation and were set to migrate to the homeworld of the ancestor of the generous overlord. 

A fairy tale for people who clung to hopes and dreams rather than dealing with reality, in May's opinion. Besides, trying to get there from here was impossible. Oceans offered no survival, the surface being known as the deadliest place on an already deadly planet.

"Kiss for your thoughts?" Jade whispered as she tiptoed up behind May.

"Just thinking about today's session. Did you check on your robot infant?"

Jade kissed May's exposed shoulder. "Why should it matter? You aren't equipped to impregnate me. You swore not to let me be sold or taken."

May spun around. "Have I not been clear that we need to keep up appearances? That I need you to master this unit? I do not own Budding Manor. This is my place of employment. We could both be thrown out at any time if an overlord on the council is displeased." 

Jade rolled her eyes and stuck out her tongue. "So we'll get our own place."

"There are no places! Food grew on trees in your time, but now? The only trees are at sights run by the overlords. And once the countdown hits zero, those sights will all be gone. This manor is going to be gone soon." May held Jade's upper arms tight enough to leave indents. Tears ran down both of their cheeks as May let go.

"I'm sorry," May kissed Jade's forehead. "Please, just tend to the robot infant. I need time."

A device made a loud chiming sound, summoning May from the terrace to the table where it was left. May clicked it. A message alerted that the weather had changed the timeline of an event. After studying the details, May linked the device to the manor to inform the students of the revised schedule for the day.

Jade came inside and plopped on the couch, still naked. The robot infant forgotten in another room. 

"You're to wear this today," May said, pulling a white sundress from the closet. "Get the robot, get dressed, and meet me in the morning room." May glared when Jade didn't jump to attention. 

"Oh, I'm supposed to act like a student again. I see."

"Please don't be ungrateful for your life. Or for what we have right now." May stormed out, failing to fight back tears. Rounding the corner, May collided with Opal. 

"Walk much?" Opal got back to her feet. "What's wrong?"

May sniffled and wiped away tears. "I wish today would start with us sparring. But as you likely saw, it is time to dress well and meet in the morning room. It's a big day for your class." 

"I'd take fighting you to eating eggs anytime." Opal looked around. Amber and Honey were coming down the hall. "Want to help me pick out my outfit?"

May nodded and followed Opal to her room. Once inside, May gave the override code for privacy, preventing the conversation from being monitored. 

"So, what'd Jade do now?" Opal asked while undressing.

"I shouldn't talk to you about this. You shouldn't know any of it." May sat on the bed.

"But I do know. And I haven't said anything, have I? Kept my promise." Opal took May's hand and pressed it to her heart. "Everyone needs someone to talk to."

"It's wrong to use you as my someone. Besides, the bigger problem is mine. There's a truth I cannot accept." 

"Maybe you could give me a private lesson? Beyond sparring. Honey has been a fine practice partner, but how will I know if I'm truly remarkable unless you evaluate me yourself?" Opal slid May's hand lower.

May pushed her away. "Your ranking in that area was already given. The results were top-notch. I have to go prepare for today's session. It's the one you ask me about twice a week."

Opal went to her closet and pulled out a white sundress. "Fine. Bottle up your emotions. See if that fixes your situation."

May undid the privacy lock and marched out. In the morning room, a cup of coffee waited. May thought of the family that had died. Nothing but memories. "Your hair is like coffee without cream or sugar." That's what grandfather said. Once all the students were seated, including Jade, who was last to the table, May stood to make an announcement.

"It is our most jubilant day. Today we will watch the competition called Palio di Siena. In human times, this was called a horserace, and was held twice a year in a place called Siena, Italy. Though people might not have known, the origin was created by the overlords, and has returned to their design. The males who compete today hope to win a chance to become your guests."

"You mean," Opal dropped her fork, eggs flying across the table, "we will see our potential mates?"

May smiled. "Place your robot infants in the incubation units for the day. All of your attention should be focused on the competition. Because yes, winners who catch your eye will be invited. The graduation ceremony is on the horizon." 

All the girls cheered. All except for Jade, who spilled tears between panicked gasps.

#AtoZChallenge 2022 tribute badge

Question: Have you ever heard of the Palio di Siena before?

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  1. Visiting from the #atozchallenge, from the Writer Zen Garden.

    Intriguing story; I hope you continue!

    I have not heard of Palio di Siena before. :)

  2. Ooooh! Excited that you;re using my prompt :) Love the idea of using it to select suitable mates for the virgins, with jockeys being legendary for their keenness in this area. Looking forward to K.

    Debs visiting this year from
    Making Yourself Relationship Ready

  3. This is going to end badly...

    Ronel visiting for the A-Z Challenge My Languishing TBR: J

  4. Oh my! May tried so much to protect Jade that she might have wronged her inadvertently. I hope they find a quick solution.


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