Scenes from The Last Supper - Part 1: What's in a Meal?

In the eight-part series, I will be discussing the world and the characters of my upcoming book, THE LAST SUPPER, due out on 12/13/14. Original artwork by Justin Wasson. Pre-order paperbacks and Kindle now!

First, let's discuss what a Last Supper is in the context of this story.

The Last Supper illustrations Justin Wasson Allison M. Dickson
This is John's Last Supper. It has a salad. He's never much liked salad.

Put simply, the Last Supper is a death kit comprised of a poisoned feast. Citizens in this ravaged version of earth receive one when they fail Justification.

What exactly is Justification?

It is a yearly test citizens sixteen and over must take in order to prove their worthiness to society. In this ravaged world with so few resources to spread among the remaining population, the luxury of life is afforded only to the most worthy, those who follow the strict guidelines set forth by the ruling party known as the Divine Rite. Some of the guidelines include regularly attending church, not producing out of turn, fulfilling a minimal work and salary quota, and avoiding hedonistic pleasures like drinking, smoking, and gluttony. The test is conducted according to an algorithm that doesn't make exceptions, as John Welland and his family soon learned when his wife, who had been stricken by cancer earlier that year, received a Last Supper for failing to meet her work obligations.

Each Supper is designed according to specifications set in the Justification exam, although there is no guarantee you will get what you want. It comes in a box decorated with a facsimile of the famous Da Vinci painting of its namesake, and inside, along with the food, is a letter designed to remind the citizen that he or she is making a worthy sacrifice on behalf of the rest of the world.

To ensure a painless and dignified passing, we present you
with a meal handcrafted by our expert chefs to your exact tastes
as specified on your Justification Exam.

The Divine Rite will place your earthly remains in a planter
with a beautiful tree for one of our scenic Memorial
Gardens designed with the comfort of your eternal rest in mind.
The Holy Uniter would like to thank you for your service to our
nation and to the world.

The meal itself is, at best, of suspicious origin. Though it smells and looks tantalizing, the texture doesn't match. It all has a strange manufactured quality, which is not surprising given how rare things like meat and chocolate are in this a world ravaged by blight and serpent weeds. John's meal includes a hunk of meat (species indeterminate), some stale bread, a piece of chocolate cake, a glass of wine, and a salad.

John hates salad, but as he remarks in the beginning of his harrowing memoir, it's what he deserves. We soon learn why he feels that way.

Read Part 2: Life in God's Hope

Read Part 3: Seditious Acts

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