The Penman

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Deliah is still unable to cope with her parents’ death and the deportation of her fiancé Lucas. She throws herself deep into her two vices: alcohol and work. As the Penman for the Republic of Eastmarrow, a coveted job for the smartest individuals in the country, where she works directly under Prime Minister Liam Emery. Emery is a strange man; Deliah can’t help but notice that something is off about him. He’s a harsh man with little patience for imperfection, but he seems to care for her. He picked her because of her writing ability, but Emery has other plans for Deliah. She is required to spend most of her time with him, focused on developing a new language to replace standard English. She ignores her friends, her boyfriend Mason, and her inner emotions begging to be released. One day, while investigating one of Emery’s flu vaccine testing facilities, Deliah finds out what happens to her parent comes across information that will change the course of Eastmorrow’s history and give her clues as to what really happened to her parents. Deliah returns to Eastmorrow knowing that Emery isn't the man he says he is, and it's her destiny to stop him before it's too late.

Drama / Romance
J. Cook
3.5 2 reviews
Age Rating:

Chapter 1

July 15, 2142 – 3:00 p.m. – Big Mouth Diner

When the Eastmarrow Tower sounds off, the world stops.

Please proceed to take your personalized medication as instructed by your Eastmarrow physician. This is for your protection.

Every day at 3:00 p.m., the entire Republic of Eastmarrow takes a small pill to protect against the flu epidemic from every spreading again.

Deliah swallowed her gold pill, just as she was taught after the Flu Epidemic. The pill tastes like grape flavored candle wax. Lilly, Marcus, Kerrington and Deliah were in the middle of a conversation about the upcoming release of history textbooks; they halted with the chimes of the Tower. Each of their pills looked different: Lilly’s was pink, Marcus’ was white, and Kerrington’s was purple. These colors are common. Deliah had seen her co-workers at pill time with these colors, but she hadn’t seen anyone else with a gold pill.

“So, should we order?” asked Kerrington. He loved food more than people, so waiting for menus was not in his wheelhouse.

“Yeah, let me signal a waiter,” Lilly said as she put her hand in the air. A waitress quickly came over with four menus and four glasses of water.

“Thank you,” Deliah said with a small smile.

Big Bite was a staple in Capital City, and it was only 10 minutes from Deliah’s job. The menu was 10 pages long and the font had to be only 12 point; staring at it for too long gave Deliah a bit of a headache.

“Deliah,” Marcus questioned. “Could you read this for me?” Marcus pointed at the word “sandwich” and Deliah gave him a crooked look. Marcus was handsome, but he wasn’t stupid. His tight haircut allowed his perfectly shaped beard to be the star of his face. His skin was smooth; he had no signs that anything other than hair had ever been on his face.

“Dude, that says sandwich,” Deliah laughed.

“Oh yeah, duh. I need to stop working so hard. These textbook revisions have taken up most of my time.” Marcus rubbed his eyes trying clear a fog out of them.

“You like what I wrote?” Deliah asked.

She had worked on the translation of the latest edition of HISTORY NOW with Prime Minister Liam Emery for six months. She translated the entire book from Standard Written English to Pictopotens, a new language she and Emery had been working to integrate into the educational curriculum. It’s a secret, but Marcus knew because he did the digital graphics for the Department of Education.

“To be honest,” Marcus said with a low tone, “I can barely understand any of it. I’ve stopped reading recently because I don’t have as much time and reading makes my head hurt like there’s no tomorrow.”

“Mmmmmhmmm,” Lilly said sarcastically. “Sure, blame it on the books.” Lilly worked as an English teacher at Capital City High School. She had no idea what was going to be coming her way.

“How’s Mason doing?” Kerrington asked. “I haven’t seen him in forever.”

“Yeah, he’s always working,” Deliah solemnly said. She hated it when her friends brought up Mason. She loved him, but she enjoys being away from him. As the Director of Education, he spent most of his time making sure everything is in order for the 157 schools in Eastmarrow: book orders, rosters, hiring teachers, technology integration, curriculum development, and so much more.

“Well, tell him I said hi when you get a chance, but right now, we have to order.”

The waitress came back with her notepad and was ready to take down our food. Deliah would have thought that the food industry would have found another way to record orders by now.

“Hi! I’m Marie. What can I get you?”

“I’ll start,” Kerrington quickly jumped in. “I’ll have the uh, the uh—hm. What does this say?” Kerrington asked the waitress.

“Oh, um, I’m not sure. What’s the number next to it?”


“Oh! Okay, I know what that is. Would you all mind telling me the numbers instead of trying to read the names of the items. It’s a bit easier for the back.”

The group gave her their orders and she pranced into the kitchen.

“That was weird,” Deliah whispered. “She couldn’t read the menu.”

“The font is a little small, I can’t really see,” Kerrington said.

“Still,” Deliah added. “Does everyone have a reading problem today?” Deliah shot a look at Marcus, who busted out laughing.

“Stop coming for me, D!”

As they laughed, Deliah’s wrist began to vibrate—3:45 p.m.

“Dammit. Guys, I have to go. Cancel my order for me. I have to meet up with Dr. Merrimay to talk with his journalism class.” Deliah finished her water, put on my leather jacket and was out the door before anyone could say bye.

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