‘Where the Rats Reside’ By Morgan Mathews

A society’s once vibrant humanity has been smothered by a suffocating regime known as the Divine Province. Citizens are expected to obey the lies of the Province as the piles of bodies rise in the wake of their unchecked power. In this bleak realm, smiles are manufactured, laughter hollow, and genuine human connection extinguished. The Province enforces a rigid medieval-like structure, forcing women to shroud their bodies in masks resembling mice, symbolizing their subjugation. Conformity reigns, and women’s voices are stifled, dreams reduced to mere whispers. These women are forbidden from engaging with men and must remain silent unless addressed. Their bodies stripped of autonomy are under the control of the government, a consequence of a society that emerged from a nuclear war but evolved into an authoritarian cult. Under the pretext of security, the Province wields an advanced technology called “Mindlink” connecting citizens’ minds to a centralized network, erasing memories of the past and quashing any flicker of rebellion. A list of rules, growing in number as deifance persists, hangs in every home and public space, enforcing strict obedience. Punishments range from lashings to public executions, and the Province’s chilling signature “Infra Nos” accompanies each decree. There is no hope. And there is no escape.

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