Re: Form | Chapter 1: Taken
Chapter 1: Taken
Re: Form Volume 1 2020 by Tatum Winters
All rights reserved. No one may reproduce this book in any form or on any electronic devices, without permission in writing from the publisher.
This is a work of fiction. Names, places, scenes, and incidents in the novel are all from the author’s imagination. This novel contains graphic violence and language. Viewer discretion is advised.*
Art by Niizio
Edited by Ben Herrington and Bubbles
Created by Tatum Winters
Published by VoyceMe
Any scanning, uploading, or plagiarizing of this novel is considered theft of the author’s work.
It’s ironic. To say from the very beginning I wouldn’t break; but instead broke into millions of pieces. What a disappointment I must be.
“Izin! Izin! Hurry up kid! I need to take you to school! C’mon dude! You know how your grandmother gets if we keep her waiting,” says Izin’s father, his slim figure leans up against the decaying staircase railing. As he peeps up, his glasses slip down his nose, but he catches them as they were about to fall.
“S-sorry dad! I’m coming, I just have to get this door--- “ A crack suddenly thunders “--- Unhinged... Oops.”
“Izin, what the hell was that noise? Did the bedroom door break off again?”
“Y-yeah. S-sorry dad. I’ll pay to get it fixed, t-that way you don’t have to pay for it again,” Izin stutters as he cautiously scoots past the ten inch splinters.
He glances down at his father, his footsteps hastening once he realizes he isn’t upset, but rather simply irritated. As he thumps on every step, his curly but still unkempt blonde locks seep into the holes of his muddy brown jacket. However, from underneath his green-tinted sleeves, a navy-blue blazer peeks out, matching the glimmer in his bright, golden eyes. His father coughs suddenly, casting his sullen, annoyed gaze at him, prompting Izin to stop his thumping. Unfortunately, his next, careful step sends him tumbling down the stairs.
“Omph!” He falls face first into the dirty rug, raising up a dust cloud, making both of them sneeze.
“Try to be a bit more careful, okay?” Izin’s fathers voice softly scolds, as his eyes light up along with his tone.
“I’m s-sorry... Hopefully I didn’t wake up t-”
“Ken! Ken, You annoying fuck! You and your kid need to learn how to respect your elders! Y'all woke me up from my much-needed beauty sleep!” the voice of Briford Wilson, the 82-year-old-narcissist, continues his nagging.
His small feet dragged across the wooden floor, as he strides towards Izin’s father. Every time his twiggy foot moves the snot dripping from his nose slides further down, treading the braided forest of his scraggly beard, past his trembling hips and onto the floor. He uses his foot to smear the mucus into the already marked-up carpet. With one hand, he gestures aggressively, while the other drags the heavy oxygen tank and heart monitor connected to his chest.
“It’s already hard enough to fucking breathe without you raising up all of the fucking dust in the house! It’s almost my time to fucking croak and rot, so all I want is to fucking sleep through it! Is that too much to fucking ask! Can you do me this tiny fucking favour especially since I only charge you half of the fucking rent!” he barks in-between snorting his snot up. Piss slowly streams down his leg as he shakes with rage, a rancid smell slowly enveloping the small corridor. Izin’s face contorts, as he takes a step away from the growing puddle.
Seriously man? Disgusting. As if this place isn’t already trashed enough.
“Ah. That felt great. Welp, that’s what you two get for disturbing my peace and quiet. Can’t exactly hold it in as I used to,” Briford declares visibly relieved. “Now clean that piss up, or you two are fucking out! Got it?” he orders, wagging his trembling, withered finger in front of Izin’s father. Izin’s father nods in agreeance while Izin stands there in shock.
“Next time I won’t be so generous you shitheads. Now piss off, I’m going back to sleep,” the old man scoffed as he dragged his tank back to his room. “Get it? Piss off!” he cracks himself up on the way, spreading his scent even further.
Izin clenches his fists and grinds his teeth together, but let's go just as quickly as he had clenched.
I can’t lose my temper now. I can’t. I promised mom-
Izin’s father watches Izin struggle against himself. “Let’s clean this up so we can get you to school. No more trouble for today, okay?” he utters with a forced claim in his voice. A pained expression is written across his face, his eyes dull and lifeless. The two begin hastily scrubbing the carpet, their efforts interrupted by a sudden beeping.
“We’ve got to go now, Izin. Your grandmother will throw a shit fit if we don’t get out there right now.”
Izin nods, as he and his father quickly toss the paper towels aside. The two give themselves a cursory sniffing test before sneaking out the front door. The sorry sight they were met was something that neither of them hasn’t grown accustomed to.
Thick smog surrounded the area, restricting the two’s field of view to about two houses up and down the road. Not particular sights to behold, as they were perfectly identical to their small dwelling, as if they were all figurines made from the same mold. Sherjou was a ghetto after all, a savage place forgotten by both God and government. It was painfully evident that no one cared what went on here, nor what its denizens wanted or believed in. But even so, Izin manages to beam at his dad and act like nothing as they head towards the limousine parked up front.
A Zenvo ST1, its black tinted windows appear hollow in the thick fog. With an almost inaudible whir, the back window rolls down.
“Are you two ready to go, or are you both going to make me late? Are you deaf? Get in before I leave!” she suddenly snaps seeing as the two showed no intent of moving. “Did you know a shooting just happened a couple blocks from here, just as I was pulling up! This place is such an insidious, disease-ridden rathole.”
“I apologize for making you wait, madam,” Izin’s father says, bowing down.
“Sure you are,” she retorts sarcastically. Izin and his grandmother exchange glares, as she holds her hand up, expecting the traditional kiss. Her bony fingers are adorned with long, coffin-shaped nails, their bright red contrasting with the paleness of her wrinkly skin. Izin’s father ceremoniously bows down and lays his lips on her golden ring, as his son robotically follows.
“T-terribly sorry for troubling you,” Izin states after bestowing the kiss.
“That’s what I thought. Next time be here ahead of time,” she scoffs as the backdoor opens. The two settle into their seats in silence, under the watchful gaze of the grandmother. Her bright, sunken blue eyes, the wrinkles scribbled into her forehead, cleverly hidden by her curly red hair, the bright red lipstick, they all compliment a piercing figure, sheltered by her red and yellow feathered fedora.
With a press of a button all three of their seatbelts secure them in their place as the limo roars to life. “Security: Ensured. Location: Sherjou Intermediate School: 3,4 miles. Arrival: 8:17 AM,” a robotic voice states.
The limo has velvet seating, accustomed with rhinestones on each seat. The smell of perfume consumes the interior. Izin sits in the far left seat and notices a tear in the velvet. He tries his best to not acknowledge the ripped material, as it would raise suspicion.
Izin’s grandmother turns to them all of a sudden, “Ken, there is something I need to talk to you about once Izin gets dropped to school.” Her tone carries a haughtiness to it, telling of the importance of their discussion. She snaps her neck at Izin, squinting her eyes at him. She looks him up and down. Izin averts his eyes, glancing down into the velvet carpet.
“Sure thing, grandmother,” Izin’s father utters timidly.
A couple minutes of silence pass, the only noise being the monotonous humming of the car’s electric engine. The car stops in front of the destination not a second earlier, the automated voice system saying, “Arrived.”
“Go, now. Get out,” she says dismissively toward her grandson.
Izin looks pleadingly at his dad, but his gaze is locked in front of him. As he slowly gets out, his grandmother grows impatient and slams the door on him, catching his finger. The limousine drones, “Error! Error! Error!” as he walked away, his hand swollen. In spite of the alarm, the car pulls out and the engine revs up once more, preparing for the drive.
I hate that bitch. Dad is just her dog on a leash. But if I do anything about her, I’d be going against everything mom would want. Those last words, they will forever pierce me.
“No matter how hard life gets, always treat others with kindness and compassion, even if they don’t deserve it. Even if they are the worst person on the planet, because kindness and compassion is the best revenge.”
Izin’s school wasn’t any more outstanding than any other building in the vicinity. A plain square, its torn walls mirrored the potholes in its walkway, a path Izin knew how to traverse all too well. Two police officers scrutinized the area, their icy cold gazes apparent from behind their dark shades. Used to him, they give him no passive glance, their figures unflinching behind the safety of their uniform and bulletproof vests. “Fucking bitch! Did you think you could steal my purse without me knowing!” a girl shrieks as she approaches the culprit. With a quick hand, she pulls on the other’s hair, trying to bite her.
“I didn’t steal that shit, fuck you talking about!” retorts the other, pulling her accuser’s pants down. Her legs tangled, she trips and stumbles, falling to the ground. Izin catches a glimpse of her butterfly thong as she sits there with her legs splayed open.
Izin’s chest tightens, swiftly turning the corner to avoid the inevitable. The officers’ steel-toed boots trod on the floor, and soon the screams from an annoyed catfight become wretched, blood curdling screams. An electric crackle fills the air right before Izin enters his first period class.
No teacher is present, not yet at least. The room is empty, most of the students standing around, watching the fight between the two. Now that it’s gotten more interesting with the tazers, Izin, like the model student he strived to be, was the only one sitting at his desk.
“Dude did Shia just get tazed?” one of the boys asked.
“Yeah, bro. You can see her panties, that’s so hot,” exclaims another.
Izin covers his ears, trying to drown out the insufferable noise that marked yet another morning in his life. His thoughts begin to wander, back to the scene from earlier, to his own hopeless existence.
Why does she hate us so much? Why does he not stand up for himself for once? Why couldn’t we have just gotten lucky like her wrinkled ass...
With the day coming to an end, Izin promptly leaves the school grounds, settling at a quiet spot near a roundabout by the entrance. A quick scan reveals that his grandmother’s car is nowhere to be seen. With one last cursory look, he plops down, taking out a worn notebook from his backpack.
“Day 562 Without You:
Today was a rough day. My bedroom door broke again, and old man Mr. Wilson pissed himself. Of course, dad and I had to clean it up. It was awful. Then grandmother came and picked us up, like she always does. She was a bitch, like she always is. Remember when you used to pick us up? I miss that. Life’s so much harder without you here. Dad’s losing it day after day and I don’t know how much more he can take. I wish you could come back. I’ll never forget those last words you spoke to me. I’m trying my hardest to be a kind human being, but I don’t know how much more I can take myself. I’m sorry.
I love you.”
As he finished his entry, one of the sun’s last rays touched his eye. Having lost track of time, Izin quickly gets up, stashing his diary away.
Izin reaches in his pocket and calls his grandmother.
“The number you have reached is not currently available. Please try again later,” states the phone's automated voice service system.
Of course. Looks like I might have to take the city bus home. She forgot about me on purpose. Ugh. Why do I have to be related to someone like her?
Disgruntled, he reaches in his pocket and calls his grandmother, but to no avail. “The number you have reached is not currently available. Please try again later,” the operator rang robotically.
Looks like I’m going to have to take the bus home.
Dialing his father, Izin scours the depths of his pockets for loose change. A couple of quarters jingle as he pulls them out. Just as he was about to count them, the operator rings again, giving the same ‘not currently available’ spiel.
That’s strange. Dad never has his phone off.
Thinking little of that, Izin makes his way to the bus stop a couple of blocks away. As the city settles into the early hours of night-time so does the noise of it all. A couple of sirens echo in the distance, drowned out by the sudden and ear-piercing creak of the bus’s tires, screeching the hot asphalt. With a tired moan, the door slides open, a tired middle-aged man welcoming Izin inside from the driver’s seat.
“$2.75 kid,” he croaks nonchalantly, without even making eye contact. Hurrying, Izin drops the money into the coin slot and is let through.
The bus is crowded, but in spite of that there’s an empty seat, next to a moderately strong man holding a pitbull in his lap. Cautiously, Izin sits down next to him, quickly realizing why the spot was open. The second he got near it, the dog started snarling at him.
Just don’t look at the dog. Just don’t look at it.
For ten minutes, Izin twiddles with his thumbs, trying his best to ignore the pitbull’s incessant barking. Luckily, his home was just at the end of the road the bus just stopped at, so Izin takes his chances and instantly jumps out of the bus.
As Izin approaches his home, he spots a limo parked in front, same non-descript black paint job and gray-tinted windows, but a license plate undoubtedly not his grandmother’s. He tries to look in, but to no end, there is no one inside, not that he could see them through the opaque glass. With his heartbeats quickening, he darts to the front door, pulls out the key and shuts the door behind him all in one movement.
“Dad? D-dad! Are you here?” he calls out, his voice low but still loud enough to be heard throughout the entire house.
Careful, Izin slowly steps up to the second floor, peaking around the top of the staircase. With the coast clear, he proceeds onto the hallway, whispering, “Dad?”
A knock replies to him and he immediately rushes to it. His smile fades away when instead an unknown figure appears. Dressed from head to toe in black their mouth is covered by a dark mask, the person glances at him from behind a pair of sunglasses. The body figure appears male, however the figure wears a knee length black skirt.
“Y-you… Who are you? Where’s my dad!”
The stranger doesn’t respond. Nonchalantly the figure reaches into their coat pocket pulling out a small, clear white envelope and a black jar.
“Are you Izin?” a male voice asks cadenced. His unshakeable calm only serves to shake up Izin more.
“Yeah, now who the hell are you? What do you want!” he retorts.
“I am here on behalf of a contribution form from the F.F.B.Q.L., Funders for a Better Quality of Life,” the man responds in the same inflexion-less tone. “I’ve come here to bestow upon you the beneficial funds for your dad’s contribution to society. This shall be used to cover all of the previous debts he’s acquired as well as future stability for yourself for the remainder of your 21 years.”
“What is that supposed to mean?” Izin questioned, only for the bitter reality to hit him all at once.
The F.F.B.Q.L.’s main goal was the augmentation of humankind. Stem cells are taken from the contributors, along with their consciousness, which is uploaded into a computer system and into the supercomputers receiver, then transferred to the mainframe. A surgical blending process begins, transforming the receiver into a mere super-human; in technological terms: cyborgs being created from the deceased, a process deemed ethical on both ends due to civil issues. On the one hand, the rich, the ones who could afford this enhancement, managed to live happily ever after, whereas on the other hand, the poor could perform one last thing to ensure the livelihood of those they hold dear, until their 35 years expire. Playing God has a cost, one that only one part of society was willing to pay.
This guy... his clothes! No.. No! This isn’t happening! We’ve had our debts, we’ve had to make do and cut corners!
Izin stumbles back.
“So my dad...Is he…”
There were other ways you could have helped us, dad! But instead you sold your life short and now you have been taken from me! I knew you didn’t have much time left, but I didn’t want to believe that this would happen! If only I would have worked, even if it was a horrible job. Dammit! All I wanted to do was save you! I’m sorry mom, but I can’t keep your promise after all. Not after this.
“He is dead. Yes. As previously stated, he made a respectful contribution to society.” The man hands Izin the black jar.
Izin’s face contorts as his quiver legs give way. Tears flood his eyes as he can’t help but gasp for air, as if the suffocating reality was choking him. He could feel the unflinching, emotionless eyes of the man staring back at him.
I’m going to break. I’m going to-
“Respectful contribution! You call that ‘respectful’! Taking another’s life for someone else’s personal gain! That was my father!” Izin shouts at the top of his lungs, in-between hiccups and sobs. Luckily, his shouts were nowhere near loud enough to wake up Mr. Wilson. His strength faded; he wasn’t nearly as energetic as he should be. Lowering his face, he turns to the implacable man.
“Who did he contribute to? Tell me…”Izin eyes the man. “Can you at least tell me who he contributed to?...”
“LaFretta Guish,” the man answers in his usual flat tone.
Izin’s eye widen as the man bends down to hand Izin the envelope. To his dismay, the boy quivers as he shakes his head, refusing to take it. As such, he simply lets it fall on the ground in front of him.
Izin’s face flushes red again as his emotions start overwhelming him again. This time, however, he manages to stay on his feet, looking pleadingly at the impassable man, “What the hell am I supposed to do now?”
“Good day,” the man bids him, and spins around on his heels. Whatever ounce of sympathy or care, if at all, leaves the house with him.
For some time, Izin stays in the middle of the hallway, stuck in place; his dad’s ashes on one side of him, the envelope on the other. The truth of the situation has yet to settle in, but the pain still remains, dumbfounding him. Tears roll down his cheeks ever so slowly, as the same thought echoes inside his head, “Why? Why me?”
His eyes drift to the floor on the side where the envelope lay. The name of the beneficiary rings in his ears again and again, each time more mocking than the last. With his throat swelling, he draws in ragged breaths, as he fixates his attention towards the television. He presses the remote, in an attempt to distract himself, however the first channel is the most unhelpful news bulletin.
“In other news, the transplant for the valiant, glorious, Third Lady of UpScale, LaFretta Guish, is going as planned. The procedure will be carried out two days from now at our city's most prestigious hospital, Trelince. This is all thanks to an astounding contribution from an unknown donor, whose family and friends should be proud. Their sacrifices paved the way for a truly historical day. Next up...”
Izin curls up into a ball, tears wetting his knees as he eyes the headline once more.
Third Lady of UpScale. She was an advisor, that’s what she did for work. How dare she call us disgusting when she is up there playing with people’s lives!
He grabs the envelope. With a quick tug, he pulls the letter out. A neat piece of paper, bearing the Funders’ stamp, is written in a simple way:
“Remarks for Ken Lee Guish:
Account Number: 126478223
$57,000 in overdue bills
$671,000 in overdue hospitalization costs
$5,000 transportation costs owed to LaFretta Guish
*Money bestowed upon you after aforementioned deductions:
*Funds can be transferred to you Via MyPal or by check in the mail. Email FundMeMoney@Fundersmail.com with the account number at the top, along with your Social Number in order to discuss your choice of receiving the funds.
Izin’s eyes well up again, as the letter cements the loss of his father. A new overwhelming feeling of anger, hatred, sadness, emptiness, and loneliness, all run rampant in his head, as the waves of emotion slowly poke and dig at his mind.
“Five thousand in transportation, huh? She’s been charging us every time without even telling us. I should have known she’s not that generous,” he chided, teeth clenched. “Well grandmother, now looks like I’m just as rich. But, unlike you, I have a better use for my money.
I’m sorry mother, but something has to be done about her. I can’t forgive her for taking dad from me. Please forgive me.
I’m coming for you, Lady LaFretta.
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There are two societies: the upper-class and the lower-class, with no existing middle-class. When the underground F.F.B.Q.L. came into existence, humankind was transformed for the “better” within the upper-class, forcing the lower-class to follow new “guidelines.” LaFretta, being apart of the upper-class, ends up taking Izin’s fathers life, within his father’s own consent.
With revenge in his heart, follow Izin as he vows to destroy everything the upper-class created.