Sweat kept my palms slick, despite my persistent efforts in keeping them dry. No amount of talcum powder or hand towels seemed to help. I guess its one of those numerous things that happen only to men now. Of course, the discovery of the Alpha Gene changed a lot more than just the physical appearances of women. Or even men for that matter.
Half a century ago, genetics research showed off its most prominent discovery of all time, right in line after DNA. A new gene that lay hidden in the X chromosome, which, once activated could boost stamina levels to atrociously high ranges, increase the size of the brain to unheard of proportions, and cause the human body to take on unnatural characteristics which in turn would allow it to manipulate objects in one too many ways. Mankind rejoiced, we were on the next stage of evolution. Finally. But the euphoria faded when the catch came up. The gene would only activate when the combination of chromosomes was X and X. Not X and Y. Thus was born one of the first things in human history that stole away the power inherent in males. In the beginning, the activation of the gene in women was encouraged. It would help society, after all. And it could very much be controlled yes.
Yes? No. It wasn’t controlled. The once called Alpha Gene was re-christened the ‘pink’ gene, and the women who had already tasted the heady scent of power it brought with it helped bring it out in other women. Soon the numbers were too large. They began to take over everywhere. With newfound military, physical and intellectual strength it didn’t take much to topple the ruling sex – men. Within three decades, women controlled every single arena it was possible for a man to dominate. Men in all places began to band to band together: solidarity to protect their integrity. It had become all the more necessary when the sexual services of males were disposed off as well. The Alpha Gene allowed women to reproduce without using sperm. Halleluiah! Was the general cry. Men weren’t needed anymore. Now they could be given a taste of the medicine of subjugation that they had forced women to drink from the beginning of time.
Lives for men were reduced to the most menial forms of slavery – begging on the streets, or providing entertainment, which constituted the use of torture and sex. Soon, flimsy reasons were brought up to destroy even those. Men would be shot down for speaking to a woman, for daring to stare at any female passing by.
Tyranny ruled. Male population over the world dwindled to minuscule numbers. The ones that remained became freak shows, remainders of the almost extinct ‘male race’.
Now, in the year 2067, I know all of this because my sire gave me our history before being killed himself. I am currently awaiting my turn in the annual competition to limit the number of men on earth. Only 10 men from each generation are allowed to survive. The poor fellow before me died an instantaneous death when he answered one question incorrectly, while all of them looked on with smiling eyes and smiling faces.
I was on my last question. If I answered this one correctly, my life span would increase. If not my existence would be wiped from the face of this earth. I was doomed either way.
The last question beeped onto my screen, and the faces surrounding my chamber leaned in closer, studying me, making notes.
“Which is superior in value? The Queen of Spades or the King of Hearts?”
Though I could read, the question was read out to supplement my understanding. I couldn’t help but raise my eyebrows. The answer was obvious.
The adjudicator, a pale, blank faced woman, leaned forward to speak into the microphone. She spoke in a voice as hollow as her face,
“If you answer wrongly, the next button you push, will cause you to be…”
She completed in a breathy voice, genuine smile et all.
I smiled. Of course I knew the answer. I placed my palm on the button below the Kind of Hearts and pressed, smiling back at the adjudicator’s now shocked face. A collective gasp as my choice of answer flashed out on their screens. I felt my body begin to vaporise.
Freedom at last.