Part two introduces us to our second character: Konrad. Catch up on Part One here.
The constant chatter of The Feed seemed to subside momentarily. Konrad knew the moment of peace brought on by the morning siren would be fleeting. As predicted, the suffocating projection of emotions and thoughts battered past his best efforts to block them. Flashes of feelings barraged at his sensibilities and Konrad saw snippets of the people he knew; or at least, knew of.
The lady down the street had a new puppy: happy. The man across the way lost his mother to cancer: sad. Flash. Flash. Relentless in its assault, Konrad threw his pillow over his face to block his ears in a futile attempt to stop the thoughts. The gesture was futile, as he well knew, for no barrier of duvet nor down could suppress something firmly inside.
He had heard that it wasn’t the same for others. Their implants responded to their needs and filtered out the thoughts when wanted. There had once been a time, he recalled, that he too could hide away from The Feed. For a fleeting moment, Konrad allowed himself the briefest spark of hope. Perhaps today was the day. Then again, hope had died out in this town a long time ago.
He pulled on his blue overalls; blue for off-duty, grey for work. Four years old and barely worn, he thought to himself wryly. Work dominated his life. Work dominated everything here. Work and order; structure and efficiency. From the second siren of morning, until the final siren at night; all followed the schedule. Stepping out into the grey-clothed bustle, Konrad savoured the small part of freedom as he did every day. Until that second siren, he was free to do as he would.
The onslaught of The Feed intensified, as it often did at these moments. One of the train-lines had gone down: irritation. Going to be late for work: panic, fear. Morning coffee not quite right; murderous rage. Konrad tried to focus on the rhythmic clunking of the Grand Pistons below to dull the chatter. He allowed himself one last flicker of hope that today the doctors could fix him.
To be continued. . .