15 January, 2022

Fiction Friday - In Disguise

Mina took extra care to get ready before leaving. It was trickier when she had to go to the docks. People were rude, altercations happened, and Mina didn't want a ding on her rep for some other person's poor choice.

After watching Max get conscripted for stupid mistakes - her brother had no control of his mouth, sometimes - the whole family was extra vigilant. Mina trained herself in disguising her features so that the Sky-Net cameras might be tricked. A person could ding Mina's rep, but at least the Sky-Net based government dings for "being in the wrong place" could be avoided if something happened. 

In the riots last year, anyone who was caught on camera leaving the area got a ding. It was important to take the time to avoid those critical dings.

Today, Mina's eyes were made-up to look extra big, and she wore the round glasses she favored for this alter ego. She had snapped a thick pad into the top of her hoodie so that with the hood up she'd trick the cameras into thinking she was taller. She'd hunch her shoulders up as she walked too, to maintain the illusion. Cotton wads in her cheeks changed her facial structure and she practiced a different walk for a few paces. A slight shuffle, different from her usual stride, should help fool any eyes on the street.

The horrible thing with Sky-Net is that it wasn't just cameras sending images up to the sky for interpretation; Sky-Net paid people on the ground for details, too. No one knew who were the spies. Mina thought the woman on the corner by the bus-stop was one of them. She watched too much. Mina's mother said they recruited from especially poor people because they'd be the most likely to sell out friends and neighbors for an extra buck.

In the end it didn't matter. When Mina went to work, or a meal with friends, or the library, or volunteering at the pet shelter, she was herself with no alteration. Going any place she couldn't be sure of the crowd, she modified. 

Leaving her bedroom, Mina peered around and listened for her mother. She couldn't be seen leaving, or her own mom would be a liability. Hearing running water in the kitchen, Mina shuffle-walked straight to the door, pulling it shut as quietly as possible behind her.

In the kitchen, the water stopped and her mom crossed to the living room window to look out and see which disguise her daughter was using today. She frowned for a moment, then turned on the radio to the government-sanctioned news. She'd have no peace until Mina returned.


Every Friday I write a new flash fiction piece. If you have a writing prompt you'd like to see turned into a story, just leave it in a comment.


  1. Mothers know all. We like to think we fool them, but we don't.

  2. When I was the "cool" youth pastor, all the kids would come and talk to me. I took the idea of confidentiality very seriously. In the meantime, I had dirt on EVERYBODY. With the proper government overreach, I could have made a bundle.


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