Sullivan got out of bed at around 7 AM. He still felt tired since he went to sleep at 3 AM, but it was nothing a nice black coffee couldn’t fix. The bed creaked as he nearly jumped out of bed. His tiredness would be barely noticeable to anyone else. Even when tired, Sullivan had a lot of energy. Just his thoughts were slower and half-lucid, tending to wander off on strange paths until he noticed how ridiculous they were.
Yep, the coffee helped. He got dressed. Way too formally for his kind of job, but he never saw himself as an electrical engineer, so he wouldn’t dress like one. He’s got a talent for it, sure. He even managed to rebuild a television in his pre-teenage years, but it was more of a skill that was useful at times, rather than something he would like to do for the rest of his life. He enjoyed it but there’s so much more to life.
Black suit, pink tie. No matter what anyone said, men can wear pink, end of discussion. It fit his eyes. The violet sneakers might not fit to the rest of his outfit but fuck that, who cares. He flipped the sign on the front door of his store and it didn’t take long for his first customer to arrive. He wore his usual over the top grin when approaching the old adorable lady in distress.
“Dear, could you help me? I can’t seem to get this darn thing to work.” She reached him an alarm clock. The problem was quickly found.
“You gotta put batteries in here, see? In this slot. It’s even shown here which way they have to be put in.”
“Oh, thanks sweetheart. How could I have known that? Here, buy yourself something nice.” She handed him five pounds. Normally he wouldn’t accept money for tasks this easy, but he knew how old people are with money here, they’re happy if they can find any use for it. He doesn’t do this job for the money anyway, he’s got enough of that, he just needs something to do. She left the store smiling back at him. Adorable stupid ass motherfucker.
People in this town were lovable in the same way really naïve kids are. It just bothered him that it was hard to have an intelligent conversation with anyone. Was he even still capable of having those? Last Hope seemed to have turned into Lost Hope in just five years. It was never really a good town though, it was meant to be a purely human town and exclusion just kind of sucked.
Since five years ago there were these other intelligent creatures. Asterians, Shandari, Sjetta. Most of humanity decided to live together with them, trade knowledge and learn about each other’s cultures. The part Sullivan was stuck with would rather be left alone and continue to live on their own. Sullivan just lived here because this was his birthplace and then these people just built a big wall around it. The news of the new alien friends didn’t even reach him before outside news were cut off. Last Hopers were easy to convince that the new species were evil. The Sjetta were made of darkness and the Shanttari were also named demons. Asterians were just freaky half-animals.
The isolation became more and more extreme. Nobody from the outside was let in and rarely someone was let out. TV and radio channels were limited to one made inside Last Hope, unless one knew how to remove the device that locked it onto this one channel. Sullivan learned how to do that when he was twelve and he basically spent entire nights just looking at all these previously unseen people reading news, acting in shows or being interviewed. It was as if he received a TV program from an entirely different world. The first thing he saw was an interview with an odd music group. As far as he could tell only two of them seemed to actually be human. The Shandari guy was tall and slim, pale as snow and had freaky eyes. He had black horns and a tail, pretty much fitting of the nickname ‘Demon’. The Asterian girl looked pretty human, except for the split tongue that slipped through her lips every now and then. He couldn’t tell whether the missing nose was natural or not, just like the green hair. They were absolutely fascinating. Ever since then he wanted to witness this world in person, but, as mentioned, it was hard to get out of Last Hope.
The door was opened. Not the slow way a customer did it, it was almost violently pushed open and before it could even fall shut again the person was already standing in front of him. Some woman with a wide bottom, ugly clothes and a neck wider than her small head followed him in an awkward stride caused by her high heels. “This is the man!” she proclaimed.
Sullivan’s irritation wasn’t visible on his face. He just watched them silently, waiting for them to explain their business.
“Sir, I have been informed that you have been intentionally removing the signal blockers in every television that entered this store.”
“That is correct.”
The man seemed to see his grin as an attempt to mock him but Sullivan kept it.
“Sir, you can’t do that, we installed them for a reason.”
“And that is?”
The man struggled so the woman answered for him. “If the other humans want to live with these creatures, that’s fine but I don’t want my kids to see these things.”
“Why? What’s the problem with them?”
“They aren’t human. We don’t know what thoughts they could have.”
“We don’t know about the thoughts of many humans either, I don’t think that’s a valid reason.”
“But with them we know even less. We don’t know what values they teach their kids. Maybe they’re okay with murder or worse!”
“They’re intelligent species, I don’t think they’d get that far and not figure out killing is counterproductive. Also they’ve been getting along with humans quite nicely for five years, I think there’s nothing to be afraid of anymore.”
“We’ve been doing okay too, why do we have to change that?”
“We don’t, just let people decide for themselves whether they want to be part of the real world out there or not and not pretend nothing happened outside of those walls.”
The woman had no answer prepared for this but didn’t want to rethink her views.
“It doesn’t matter, you don’t get to decide what’s good for my children.” With that she walked out, seemingly seeing herself as the winner of this argument.
“Just… just leave those blockers in from now on, okay?” The man said. Sullivan nodded halfheartedly, not intending to actually do so. The man left and Sullivan noticed his smile had turned into a more neutral expression. He didn’t like discussions like these.