My name is Daila Kind. I am 18 years old and if I don't have a child by my 20th birthday, I will be considered useless and discarded.
My mother is a model citizen. She has more than met her quota. I am the oldest of nine.
She tells me to go to the clubs, to not be so fussy, to actually smile and talk to a boy at least, but I am just not interested yet.
Rumour has it, there was a time where you didn't have to have children. Ever. Women would simply work, or learn, or even live with other women. Romantically. Imagine that.
I sometimes think I would like to live in these times, but I can't even write my name, let alone do anything of use.
According to our masters, we are being of use. We have great purpose and we are rewarded accordingly.
It's true. Our city is one of lavish parties and wonderful houses. I can't even remember the last time anyone was sick.
We are fed, we are looked after and, generally, we are happy.
We pretend not to know the secret.
You see, our masters never mention it. They never give us more of a hint other than calling us "cattle".
They think we don't know that cattle were once the extinct mammals known as "cows".
They think we don't know that cows were bred as meat to be eaten by us.
They think we don't know that all the meat is extinct, even though it turns up on our plates.
They think we're stupid because we can't read and all we do is go to parties and breed.
However, we do know.
We worked it out a long time ago.
We know that when we turn 36 and are taken to The Hotel, we aren't going anywhere but onto someone else's plate.