Hey guys! We’re here, with my first entry of this year’s NaNoWriMo challenge!
The prompt is: The year is 2098. Overpopulation has ravaged the UK to the point of decommission. To reduce the population, the government now provides subsidies to families of those who volunteer to die for the greater good. The average life is valued at £3,000,000 with wealthy lives valued at higher rates.
Also, I hate the formatting on the block editor.
‘There must be some kind of mistake,’ I whispered in shock. This wasn’t what I had expected to hear, nor was it what I wanted to hear. Even the paperwork that was in front of me to sign my life away said as much, ‘There must be a typo or a miscalculation. Can’t you do it again?’
‘I’m sorry, Miss Winthrope. The decision has been made via our database, and that has the final say,’ the woman before me spoke, calmly but firmly.
‘But…I’m the daughter of the CEO of Argon. How can my life be worth so little?’
‘I’m afraid that due to Data Protection laws, I cannot disclose that information. But that is the final offer. Take it or get out of my sight.’
I walked home from the Volunteer Centre, angered with that woman and the system. How was I going to explain this to my father? My life should have been at least worth £5,000,000. I had done everything right – I was born into a wealthy family, I did well in school, graduated with Honours, gained a Masters, met a nice man and was all set to marry him until he Volunteered his life. He wasn’t rich by any means, but he was still worth £3,000,000
I pulled out my phone to prepare to call my father. I swiped away all of the notifications that I’d had built up over the morning and called his phone. No response. His office phone went straight to his answering machine.
I gave up there and then, assuming my father was too busy at the time to answer. I went to lock my phone when a new notification popped up from my news app:
ARGON CEO ARRESTED
I stopped in my tracks and looked to find a space that wasn’t too crowded so that I could open the article.
Earlier this morning, Lucas Winthrope (43), CEO of steel manufacturer Argon, was arrested at his Pembrokeshire home. He was arrested and charged for tax evasion and financial fraud. It is said that his crimes have resulted in the lowered value of his life and that of his only child, Lauren Winthrope, 23. His wife, Alexa Winthrope, Volunteered two months ago for a sum of £4,000,000.
Subscribe for £4.99 to see the full article.
I gripped my phone so hard that it nearly slipped from my hand. That damned article was worth more than my entire life. My lower worth was usually reserved for murderers, sex offenders and child abductors. Not the daughter of someone who committed financial fraud.
I heard muttering around me, and I looked up from my phone to see the usual well-to-do people staring, pointing and muttering to each other. I turned myself around and walked back to the Volunteer Centre.
‘I know what happened. I demand an explanation. Where’s that old hag I saw earlier?’ I snarled at the receptionist, who didn’t even need to speak, as the woman of the hour chose that moment to walk in the room. She sighed heavily, before greeting me.
‘Miss Winthrope. Have you changed your mind?’ She asked, arms crossed and a frown evident on her mouth and monobrow.
‘Changed my mind? Changed my mind? Why should my life be worthless because of someone else?’
‘Your only family is facing a long jail term. He’ll be old by the time he’s out. You’ll have nobody to give the money to when you Volunteer. That is why your rate is so low.’
‘Then why not tell me that earlier? Why hide it through Data Protection?’
‘Company policy, m’fraid.’ She didn’t even look apologetic.
‘All of my life, I did the right thing, in the right order, and I’m only worth £1. The article that I read the news on was worth more than me. What’s even the point? What else do I have to live for? I’ve been expected to Volunteer since my mother and fiance did it. So…’ I was at a loss for words. I was done with this world, and everything was crumbling around me. I barely noticed the tears falling. I could hear chattering around me, but I didn’t acknowledge who was speaking, or what they were talking about. It took a moment to shake myself from my reverie.
‘What was that?’
‘What is your decision?’ It didn’t take me long to make my mind up. In fact, I was more than ready for what was to come.
‘I’m done. Just get it over with. Let him suffer alone.’