The Saved – Sharif Gemie

‘Money talks.’ 

I’d ask, ‘What’s money?’ 

On the Hub, he’d find pictures of people in somewhere called a supermarket. It was like a long, long room, with shelves, and angry people fought each other to grab food, which came in metal boxes and plastic bags and cardboard cartons. 

‘This is what it was like,’ Dad said. ‘We wanted to get away. We wanted to have children—we wanted to have you. This seemed a better place.’


‘Shev!’ someone calls. ‘She—ev!’

‘Coming!’ I call back. 

I don’t move. I can remember answering my mum and dad the same way. I still don’t understand what happened to the grown-ups—none of us do. I was only ten years old. I knew about history because of the clock in the Big Room and the annual celebrations for The Saved. That was us, all of us. Each year, there’d be a speech by an executive, telling us how lucky we were to be here, away from the food riots and starvation and disease Outside. I can remember the twentieth birthday of The Saved, when the celebration was bigger than all the other ones. 

‘We did the right thing,’ said the Chief Executive, an old man who stood up straight and had white hair. ‘We can be proud of ourselves.’

I thought: why? All we do is live in a big box. Although, back then, it was better. There was the Leisure Sector. A gym we visited every day, to follow the courses set for us by a nice lady with brown skin called Sab. I loved the swimming pool. There was a golf course for the grown-ups, with green crinkly grass—not the real thing, my parents kept telling me. The grown-ups would put on special clothes for golf: sometimes clean white shorts and tops, sometimes trousers with criss-crossed patterns. They’d call to each other. 

‘A fine morning, Mr Richardson! But the breeze today is a little cold.’

‘Indeed, a fine morning. That breeze won’t stop me winning.’

They’d laugh, but with a sadness in their voices. I guess the golf course with its yellow light and blue ceiling and green grass reminded them of home. 

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