Thinking was dangerous, and outlawed, and out of the question.
Thinking, beyond mundane, dull practicalities, meant losing your mind.
You thought about your task, your function, nothing else mattered. You certainly didn’t.
Anna had lived seventeen years without thinking…but today, she noticed something. It was just a sliver of light, shining in through the skylight, dust dancing in its ray.
No one heard the chip in her brain implode and the light behind her eyes faded to nothing, but those last moments, those thoughts had been a lifetime to Anna and she faded in serenity.
Anna dropped to the floor, her limbs lifeless, and landed in a crumpled heap. Not one eyelid flickered amongst her co-workers, not a beat missed in the production line, except Anna’s last bottle, and her loss was singularly evidenced by a lone, topless bottle disappearing into the distance.
Down on the floor, the dusty floor, something happened.
Neurons, excited neurons, did something unheard of and danced. They flashed and blinked, sparked and ignited, and waltzed through Anna’s brain. Nerve endings grew, pulses raced and synapses began to leap. Anna’s little finger twitched, her eyelid trembled and light exploded inside her head.
As she came round, pain seared through her body, and fingers unconsciously scrabbled on the dirty floor.
The high-pitched hum in Anna’s head kept her down, until enough nerves had connected to produce thought. The hum abated and Anna’s perception intensified until she could move her hand herself, and she was enveloped in a completely new wonder.
Thought, real cognitive reflection filled her brain and Anna consciously clenched her fist. Her left eye opened wide, dust motes swam, and the light from the roof rained down into her soul, every ray a miracle.
Myriad thoughts battled inside her head, and her reflexes blanked them out, slowly letting them in one at a time. She tried to move, to rise from the floor, but the right side of her body struggled and took huge effort to coordinate.
Autonomy flooded her mind, and thought reeled as she resisted her buried identity, but a violent surge of recollection broke through in an explosion of colour, and Anna was up on her feet. She was unsteady; the neural chip implosion had resulted in brain damage, and she was blind in her right eye, her right shoulder hung loose and her right foot dragged as she limped across the factory floor.
Rays of golden sun flared across the grimy windows and Anna ran, racing towards the cracked pane of glass and the shaft streaming in from the skylight.
She was awake, alive and lucid.
She jerked as a strident siren rudely interrupted her lunge for escape, as her topless bottle was finally detected. The discordant noise blasted through the silence and she quickened her pace.
Anna aimed her right side at the fractured window which shattered as she plunged through.
Bathed in blood and glorious sunlight, Anna basked and new-found intuition sent her running for the gilded, sun-drenched hills.