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Thread: The Ceremony

  1. #11
    Ofjed - Gilead

    Carmen stood in front of the Morgan house, waiting for her new shopping partner. There had been another... disagreement... with her Commander. Her left eye was freshly blackened, adding to the almost healed bruising around her right eye and the patch of purple fading to green on her jaw. Why couldn't she just keep her mouth shut? She asked herself that all the time, when she wasn't in Jed Walker's presence. When he was standing before her, though, her hatred rose and even though she knew she had nothing to gain by it, she couldn't help rising to the bait.

    She wondered what her new shopping partner would be like. The last one had seemed very pious. But who really knew - they all pretended to be very pious these days. The woman might just have been a better actress than Carmen was.

    "Blessed be the fruit," she said as the other Handmaid fell in step with her. With the wings blocking her view, she barely managed to get a glimpse of her new colleague's face.
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 04-09-2019 at 07:02 PM.
    "Sleep to dream, and we dream to live..." -Great Big Sea

  2. #12
    Ofjonas & Bryce Morgan



    Albany, New York
    Republic of Gilead


    As soon as they walked outside the house, she noticed a change in Bryce. While he had seem pretty polite inside, away from the Commander and his wife, his demeanor changed outside. Angels roamed the streets with guns and black cars drove by in intervals. Everyone had to put on a mask and play their roles. Be on their best behavior in Gilead, even the son of a high ranking Commander. He handed her two shopping tokens.

    "Sugar and cherries, don't forget."

    He told her curtly.

    "I won't."

    She replied, taking them from him. There was no writing on the paper tokens, just pictures. Women, other then the Aunts, were forbidden to read or write. Of course, she couldn't just forget how to read, but it made her upset to think if she gave birth to a girl, the Morgans would raise her to never knowing how to read or write. It just didn't seem right. If Gilead had their way, in a few generations only men would know how to read and write. And the women would just accept their roles without complaint because they would know no different.

    She hated wearing the wings. It blocked her vision so much. She couldn't see the face of her shopping partner, Handmaids weren't allowed to go outside the house alone. But she could see the bruise on the other woman's jaw. Her Commander was not kind.

    Bryce's jaw tightened seeing the bruises that were visible under Ofjeb's wings. Ofjonas opened the gate and he told her.

    "Be back in an hour."

    "I will."

    She replied, going through the gate and falling into step with her shopping partner.

    "May the Lord open."

    She replied her, trying to figure out if she recognized the other Handmaid's voice. She wasn't sure, there had been so many of them at the Red Center. She paused a moment and said.

    "We are blessed with nice walking weather today."

    Weather, that's was what they were supposed to talk about. It was a safe topic. The only topic they were encouraged to talk about.
    Last edited by Sojourn; 04-10-2019 at 07:44 AM.

  3. #13
    Ofjed - Gilead

    "I hope it rains," Carmen said.

    Realizing she sounded like she was just being contrary, she added, "I like the rain. It's soothing. Peaceful. Clean. It's worth the wet clothes."

    This was dangerously close to having an opinion, but Carmen didn't care. She was able to be discreet enough about it that she hadn't gotten herself killed yet, but she wasn't good at taking a subservient role. She wasn't good at pretending she had an empty brain and only cared about having a full womb. She was still herself, and dammit she would express a preference for rain if she wanted to. It was one tiny act of rebellion they hadn't yet managed to criminalize.
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 04-09-2019 at 07:03 PM.

  4. #14
    Paige Morgan - Gilead



    When Ofjonas had left for her shopping trip, Paige excused herself and went up to the master bathroom. She turned on both sink taps full blast, and under the cover of noise they made, she very quietly opened the medicine cabinet, took out a bottle of aspirin, and shook two pills into her outstretched hand. Instead of swallowing them, she slipped them into the fold of her sleeve. Then she carefully re-positioned the aspirin bottle into exactly the same spot she'd found it before turning the water off.

    Paige walked back into the bedroom, double-checking that the door was shut, then pulled the box containing her menstrual hygiene products from the back of her closet. This was the one place in the house she was fairly sure was safe from her husband. She pushed aside a layer of sanitary napkins in their wrappers, then added the two aspirin to the hundreds of pills she had stashed away.

    Just one or two at a time. Not enough to be noticed.

    There wasn't a way out for wives... well, not alive at least. There was always the alternate option. It was almost time to take that other way out.

  5. #15
    Ofjonas



    Albany, New York
    Republic of Gilead


    For a moment, she was a little taken aback by her shopping partner's reply. At first, she thought the other woman said it to just disagree. Until she explained her reasoning, it made sense to her.

    "When you put it that way, raining would be nice."

    She replied and asked quietly, after they passed two Angels on patrol.

    "What's your name?"

    What she would say her name was, would depend on how her shopping partner's reply. She'd either be Amanda or Ofjonas to the other woman. It was hard to know how to act to people. Everyone had to be actors in Gilead. Act like they loved their new country, whether they did or not, didn't matter. To be other wise...You'd be hung on the walls as traitors.
    Last edited by Sojourn; 04-10-2019 at 07:48 AM.

  6. #16
    Ofjed - Gilead

    "They call me Ofjed," Carmen replied, putting a slight emphasis on the 'they.' "Jed being Jedediah Absalom Walker the 3rd."

    Jed who had once been married to her mother. It was disgusting, that he wanted to go after the daughter too. Carmen and the Commander weren't biologically related, but the tie was too close for comfort.

    Carmen knew she should just leave it at that. She didn't even know this woman. It wasn't safe. But the black eye made her feel reckless. It made her want to get some kind of tiny payback, to reassert what little she could.

    She looked around to see if anyone was listening. No one was. So she added in a whisper, "My mother named me Carmen. Carmen Garcia. Call me what you want."
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 04-09-2019 at 07:03 PM.

  7. #17
    Bryce Morgan



    Albany, New York
    Republic of Gilead

    When Bryce headed back inside the house, he saw that Paige must have retreated to her room. That was fine, he wanted to talk to Luna and not risk her or his father overhearing. He didn't have anything truly against his stepmother. She didn't seem to care for his father too much, not that Bryce blamed her. He didn't really care for his own father either. Before the war, he and his father had never had the best of relationships. When other sons felt love from their father, all Bryce felt was demands. Do this, be that. Not free to live his life the way he wanted. It felt like his whole life had been planned out for him before he was even born. He once asked his mother if the only reason they had him was because people like their politicians having families and Rebecca had replied no. At least it wasn't true for her. She had loved him but Jonas....He was never the fatherly kind. If Ofjonas gave Jonas and Paige a baby, the baby would be Paige's problem. Jonas liked the act of making kids, not the raising part.

    Bryce found Luna in the kitchen, preparing the cake batter.

    "What's the name of Ofjonas' shopping partner?"

    He asked her quietly, grabbing an apple from the bowl that was on the counter. Jonas and Paige seemed to be upstairs, but the conversations he and Luna had had to remain private. If his father knew the things they talked about....It wouldn't matter he was his son, Bryce would be put on trial for treason and made an example of. As for Paige...Bryce couldn't get a read if she liked this new life or not. She tended to keep to herself.

    "Why?"

    Luna asked, looking up at him. She and Bryce were on the same level, they both secretly felt the same about Gilead. They hadn't always known. Not at first, not until he caught her trying to send out a message to another Martha and he asked how he could help. That was the day she learned that while he might share his father's looks, he didn't share his father's beliefs. Bryce took a bite of the apple and said.

    "Because her Commander beats her. She needs help."

    Luna frowned and went back to mixing her batter.

    "There's nothing we can do."

    Bryce frowned at her, not liking the response.

    "Why not? We're going to help-"

    "Stop."

    Luna replied.

    "We're small cogs in a giant machine. I'm not saying what he's doing is right, it's not, but...We have to be patient. One thing at a time. This isn't a sprint, Bryce."

    "It's a marathon."

    He replied, she often had to tell the young man that. Remind him to be patient, to wait things out. Trust the machine. It was hard, especially when he saw things he couldn't agree with. His natural instinct was to just react. To try and fix things. Doing things that way would get him killed.

    "Exactly. Forget that Handmaid, at least for now."

    "It's hard, Luna."

    He said and she nodded her head.

    "I know but...You should know better then anyone what happens when someone rocks the boat too much."

    She didn't like bringing up his mother, who had died only a few months into the founding of their new nation. The official reports were a boating accident but...Whispers were that the first Mrs Morgan didn't like Gilead. She had tried to object about the treatment of women too much and she had been 'taken care of'. Bryce frowned.

    "I know but...When the time is right, I want to help her."

    "Okay."

    Luna nodded, telling from his face he wouldn't take no for an answer. He was stubborn, which was a good trait sometimes.

    "I'll have the package ready for you when she gets back. You should check on your father."

    Before he got too suspicious about what he was doing.

    "Yeah, you're right. We were working on his itinerary for the week before Ofjonas got here."

    Bryce replied. He left the kitchen and headed upstairs. His father's office was up there. He paused a moment outside the master bedroom door. He wondered if Paige liked this life or not but he never asked. It was a dangerous question to ask. He sighed and headed to his father's office instead.
    Last edited by Sojourn; 04-10-2019 at 07:55 AM.

  8. #18
    Ofjonas



    Albany, New York
    Republic of Gilead


    From the way she said 'they', she knew that her shopping partner did not like this way of life anymore then she did. It made her heart skip a beat. She felt like she had someone she could talk to and not have to pretend she was happy or excited about what Commander Morgan was going to do.

    Carmen. There was a girl at the Red Center named that. Could it be the same girl? She had to know.

    "I like Carmen better."

    She whispered back and she looked around to see if any one on patrol was paying attention. There didn't seem to be. It was risky but she said.

    "They call me Ofjonas. For Commander Jonas Morgan, but my real name is Amanda. Amanda Young."

    She then added.

    "I think we've met before. Was Aunt Mary the Aunt in charge of your Red Center?"

    There were many Aunts and Red Centers across Gilead. Aunt Mary was the one in charge of the Red Center that she had attended. The one she thought she met Carmen at.
    Last edited by Sojourn; 04-10-2019 at 07:57 AM.

  9. #19
    Ofjed - Gilead

    "Yes. Aunt Mary." Carmen tried to keep her voice neutral - even if her shopping partner seemed to be on the same page, you never knew who might be watching from afar - but she couldn't help a slight curl of her lip.

    "I hated her," she admitted. "Acting like... like all this was normal. No, worse than normal. Like it's some kind of privilege. Like we'd want to..."

    Carmen had never slept with anyone before becoming a Handmaid. She'd had a few boyfriends, but nothing that got too serious. Her studies had been her main focus. She was still young, and there was plenty of time for romance.

    Now this was her life. It was beyond belief.

    "It's disgusting. They're all monsters. And I hope you're telling the truth about what you're really like, because even saying stuff like this isn't allowed. It's true, though."

  10. #20
    Ofjonas



    Albany, New York
    Republic of Gilead

    Carmen confirmed what Amanda thought, that they had met at the Red Center. Not that it was a pleasant experience for anyone there. And Carmen was right...These people were monsters. Stripping them of their rights, forcing them to be surrogates. Justifying raping them every month. It was wrong. The Aunts were some of the worst ones, they had definitely drunk Gilead's Kool-Aid.

    Carmen was also right that saying things like this was dangerous. It would get you killed. But yet, it felt so good to get it off her chest. If all they could do was whisper about it to each other. It meant they still had their will power, that Gilead hadn't taken everything away.

    "It is true. I..."

    She paused as they passed more guards. What they were talking about, it couldn't be overheard. Once she was certain she was out of the patrolling men's hearing, she continued.

    "I hate her too. She called my son a bastard."

    It happened during a 'shame' circle. When the Aunts put a Handmaid in the center of the room and told her what a sinner she was and had the other Handmaids shame her. To break her spirit and realize that her new duty was her only way to salvation. Aunt Mary had called her many names in that. Called her an adulteress, a slut, a whore, all for being with a married man. Claiming that she had seduced Damien, led him astray and had broken up his marriage. Even though he hadn't been married to his ex wife in over five years. It didn't matter, in the eyes of Gilead's laws, Damien was still married to Cora and a man could do no wrong. A woman had to be blamed, even if it was the wrong woman in this situation. After their divorce Damien told her that Cora quickly married her boyfriend and had move to England with him when he got a new job with her daughter. Lucky her...Cora got to avoid this life.

    "Then I slapped her across the face and she broke my arm."

    She hadn't cared what Aunt Mary said about her. She could take it, but insulting Adam...That had been the straw that had broken the camel's back. Saying that he was a bastard because of an 'affair', that he would burn in hell. It had pushed her pass her limit and she had snapped. When she had slapped Aunt Mary it had felt so good, for a moment. And then moment had ended and Aunt Mary broke her arm. She would have been placed in the Morgan home sooner if she hadn't had to wait until her arm was fully healed. Aunt Mary didn't want Commander Morgan to think she was damaged goods, since he had wanted her to be his Handmaid so badly.

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