Change. Short Story.

Hope everyone has had a good week! I’ve lost a bit more weight which isn’t that great, but I’ve an appointment on Monday with my GI doctor so hopefully more will be revealed then, though I expect it’ll be mostly getting tests done.

My sourdough starter should be getting to the point where it’s almost done, I’m not entirely sure if I’m going to try make some bread over the weekend or let it go for a little bit longer before I start keeping it in the fridge.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!


Percy kept his head down as he walked through the streets, he missed the comfort of his hood, how it helped make him another nobody. They’d been banned in July of the last year after there was a terrorist attack in a local market, anyone caught outside with a covering on their head would be summarily arrested and sent to prison under suspicion of being a terrorist. He ducked and weaved through the thronging crowd, not wanting to stop and listen to the agitators, men standing on wooden boxes and shouting their ideology into the din. It wasn’t a good place to hang around but unfortunately for Percy his office building was just on the other side of it. He snaked his way out of the bulk of the crowd and felt himself relax a little, he eyed the black face masks of the police as they stared impassively at the crowd. Percy walked past one, nodding as he went, it seemed polite to greet them, after all he passed the same one every day. Or at least he thought it was the same one, the uniforms were made of heavy body armour that made it impossible to distinguish them from one another, they were even the same rough height. All part of regulations to keep anyone from figuring out who the police were after the last rash of police killings three years before, where almost a thirty police men and women were murdered in their own homes along with their families while they’d been sleeping. Percy felt himself relax a little more as he entered the building, the most dangerous part of his day was over, for some reason the revolutions always seemed to happen in the mornings rather than at night or the afternoon. Not that it was much safer being outside in the evening.
“Good Morning.”
Cassandra didn’t look up from her computer, she rarely did. Percy entered the stairwell, ignoring the taped up lift doors. The elevators had been decommissioned after the last attack, they were too much of a safety hazard apparently. Percy didn’t care either way, he always took the stairs, he could never stand the cramped space of the elevator, the crush of people cramming themselves in and the reek of perfumes, cologne and body odour, all competing to drown out the others. When he reached the sixth floor he was just starting to breathe a little faster, he opened the door to his floor with his eight digit code and carefully closed the door behind himself. The office had been open plan when it first opened fifty years ago, now it was a strange maze of bullet proof half walls that were just that little bit too tall to see over comfortably. He made his way through the corridors calling good morning to anyone he spotted as he went. He entered his small cubicle and sat down on the chair, he waited for the computer to boot then entered his login. While the computer loaded his profile he pulled his mug from his desk cupboard and placed it under the small coffee nozzle, he pressed a button and watched as it filled. It was supposed to have an automatic cut off but that hadn’t worked since he began, despite repeatedly flagging it with maintenance. He stopped the coffee and pressed the button for milk then added half a packet of sugar. When he was done doctoring his coffee his system had loaded, he opened up the programs he needed then went straight to the internet browser. He scrolled through the mornings news stories, everything seemed OK for the moment. He checked to make sure the alert system was still working then he minimised the page and got to work.

At noon the alarms went off and the shutters closed down on the windows, plunging them into gloom for a few seconds while the rest of the overhead lights kicked in. An alert popped up on Percy’s screen, “Please stay calm while the situation is resolved.”
Samantha popped her head around the side of Percy’s cubicle wall, “I heard it’s the New Reformation. They’ve been planning this for weeks apparently.”
“Are they the ones with the leader in the mask?”
“No, the New Reformations leader is a woman, she’s about fifty, severe face, short grey hair?”
Percy nodded, he vaguely remembered seeing one of her speeches somewhere. He didn’t particularly agree with what she was saying, but then he didn’t agree with most of them.
“So what do you think of their chances?”
“Well pretty good I think. She seems like the type to get things done. Though we might have another Walt Ingram on our hands.”
Percy nodded, pretending to know who that was, there were just too many names to keep track of. One government was barely settled before a new one was muscling its way in.
“Do you think we’ll get out of here before close?”
“Hopefully, last time it didn’t take long at all, only an hour or two.”
A voice came over the intercom, “Please note that you are still expected to work your normal hours during this emergency situation. Thank you for your understanding.”
Samantha sighed, “least they could do is give us the day off.”
Percy snorted, “if they did we’d never get any work done.”
“I’ll see you later. Hey, would you mind if we walked home together tonight? You’re close by me and you know how crazy people can get.”
“Yeah, of course.”
Samantha smiled, “thanks! I’ll see you later!” she turned and Percy caught a glimpse of her ass, he sighed to himself as he looked back at his screen, her wife was very lucky. He opened his web browser and was greeted by a not so friendly reminder, “All internet activity has been suspended for your safety. Repeated attempts to get online or attempts to circumvent this block will be met with disciplinary actions.” Percy clicked out of the browser.

Three hours later there was a high pitched whine as the shields over the windows were raised. Percy stood from his desk and stepped out of his cubicle, joining the stream of people going to the windows. He found a good spot and peered down at the square below, the police still stood guard, it looked as though there were still speakers though a worker was spraying down the area with a hose. He moved from the window, letting someone else take his place. It didn’t seem to be too bad this time, he hadn’t spotted any broken windows and while there was blood there were no bodies.

By the time he’d finished work he had the whole story, the New Reformation had neatly and quickly killed or arrested most of the Main Government officials, taking control for themselves. The news didn’t go into the nitty gritty details of how they did it, which was unusual. Most of the groups were falling over themselves to tell everyone how they took over. Perhaps their leader was smarter than the others, who knew, maybe they’d be the government that lasted, though it seemed unlikely. He met Samantha at the door to the stairwell and together they joined the line of people leaving. Outside the air was cold and held with it a faint tinge of copper. Who ever had been in charge of hosing the place down had done a slapdash job, there were still puddles of blood tinged water. That would be gone by the morning though, the cleaning crews would come out after the celebrating was mostly finished. Percy and Samantha walked side by side, heads down. They chatted as they went, the layout of the new data spreadsheets, that jackass Tom from accounting who always seemed to lose files. Nothing personal, nothing inflammatory, it was safest. Samantha stopped outside one of the buildings, “this is me, thank you so much.” She glanced around quickly, “It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be but thank you.” Small groups of revellers were shouting and drinking but they seemed to be leaving passer-by alone.
“It’s no bother, it was on my way, if you want someone to walk you home let me know anytime.”
They shook hands and Samantha entered the building, pausing only to enter the code. Percy waited until the door closed safely behind her then resumed his journey. As he walked he kept his head down, not looking at those celebrating. He passed a group of men and women jeering at an old man, he saw one of them push the old man to the ground, the shouts grew louder. Percy kept going. If he got involved he’d only make it worse for the old man and himself. The police would be making sweeps through the city as the night wore on, calming things down as best as they could.

Percy let himself into his building and went to the stairs, the elevators were still functioning, the dinged open and a young woman stepped out, a young man followed her and grabbed her ass. The young man spotted Percy and pumped a fist into the air “We did it man, we did it!” Percy ignored him and stepped into the stairwell. He climbed the stairs quickly then slowed as he reached the third floor, if the young man hadn’t started after him yet, he wouldn’t. No doubt the young man would get himself into a few fights in the coming hours. Most people intelligent enough to avoid that behaviour also avoided advertising their political stance. Percy himself ignored politics all together as that seemed to be the safest bet in general. Sometimes the new governments liked to crack down on political opposition and the only way to avoid it was to just simply not get involved. He opened the door to the ninth floor after punching in his code, then he walked down the corridor to his door. He unlocked it quickly, stepped inside and closed it behind himself, feeling his shoulders relax as he leaned against the cold metal of the door.

About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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