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How much do you love me? (standard:science fiction, 3667 words)
Author: Richard J CobainAdded: Jul 30 2003Views/Reads: 3412/2288Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
In the near future a young man struggling through life thinks he has found the perfect solution when he hears about a new reality show looking for contestants.But the show is not all that it seems.


Jackson opened his eyes slowly. He had been dreaming of a world where
the grass was green and birds flew through the air. He had seen a bird 
once in real life not in a book, that was a long time ago but he had 
never forgotten it's seemingly endless freedom and beauty. That bird 
was long gone now along with the rest of it's kind. Now that he was 
awake he was immediately aware of two things number one that his year 
old son was crying with hunger and number two that he had a splitting 
headache. As he fed his son with what little food they had he 
remembered his grandfather telling him that when he was a young boy way 
back at the start of the 22nd century he used to wake in the mornings 
with the sun shining in his window. “That must have been something” he 
sighed looking out into the thick grey smog. Somewhere way above him a 
sun shined which Jackson had never seen. 

The last few years had been really hard on him. When he was seventeen he
was diagnosed with diabetes and so couldn't get a job anywhere because 
he couldn't pass the medicals as companies were only interested in 
hiring “clean blooded people” leaving unfortunate people like Jackson 
with little hope. With that he was forced to move here to the slums of 
New Los Angeles. Soon after this he met a nice young waitress in a bar 
called Rachel Slone, they were married a year later and about a year 
after that Rachel gave birth to a baby girl Jessie. 

“She would have been about five now” sighed Jackson with tears swelling
in his eyes as he remembered what had happened. He couldn't secure a 
job even in the slums after Jessie was born so after careful 
consideration he decided to get into the drug business, which was the 
only kind of business that thrived in the slums. 

His first arrest came soon after he started pushing tablets to lowlifes
when he was just a rookie to the job. “You know the rules mister,” they 
had said as they threw him up against a wall and proceeded to break 
both his arms with deafening cracks. “Now don't let us catch you again 
you fucking bitch”. The pain was incredible, but the worst thing of all 
was that the bastards enjoyed doing it. They then scanned his head 
uploading the new information on him into the vast police database. 
Finally they spat on him and left him crying against the wall with his 
arms hanging at disturbing angles. 

After his arms had healed he talked to Rachel about pushing drugs again.
He told her he had to do it because he still couldn't get a job, and 
now that he had a criminal record he might as well forget the idea of 
obtaining honest work. She begged him not to do it; she got down on her 
hands and knees and reminded him over and over of the consequences of a 
second arrest. But with not enough money coming in to feed them he wore 
her down and started selling drugs again. 

About nine months after that his second and final arrest came. He
remembered the night with crystal clarity. It was about three hours 
past curfew and he was in an alley off Lendon street selling Tripsonal 
to adrenaline junkies when he heard those horrible words that changed 
his life forever. “Freeze or we'll shoot scumbag”. Jackson did not 
freeze he dropped the drugs and ran to the back of the alley. He could 
hear the cops kicking the shit out of the junkies behind him,their 
screams echoing horribly in the cramped alley. He ran on and came to a 
dead end but the wall was climbable. He could hear the police closing 
in behind him . “Fuck” he gasped and scrambled up an air filter pipe. 
He had just got to the top of the wall, and was about to drop to the 
other side when he heard a shot ring out. Suddenly his left leg was 
burning with pain and he knew he was hit. His whole body flared up with 
agony and with a cry he fell to the other side of the wall and came 
down hard on his left shoulder breaking it with a loud snap. He got to 
his feet and tried to run but the pain was too severe and he was 
tackled to the ground soon after. He was in serious trouble. They 
scanned his identity barcode and laughed when they saw that this was 
his second offence. “You faggots just don't learn do you?” they 
shouted. “Please, please don't do this?” cried Jackson. “ It's too 
fucking late for tears you freak” said one of the cops and kicked 
Jackson into the head until he was unconscious. He woke up some time 
later and was completely unaware of his surrounding. When his memory 
returned he got to his feet and ran towards home ignoring the pains in 
his leg and shoulder and praying to God that the police hadn't done 
what he thought they had. He had never known anyone to get a second 

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