Wednesday, January 20, 2016

SHEN (flash fiction)

I’ll admit, it isn’t all that bad here. Facilities are clean, I never feel threatened, nourishment is delivered regularly, and the guards are professional. Some are even sweet. I can sleep, read, and even listen to music. Not a bad incarceration: for the condemned.

I don’t have long before my extinguishing. They claim it is peaceful and quick. One can’t ask for much more. I never denied the allegations, although some lie to the authorities. And no, I don’t have some martyr syndrome that justifies it all. I would love to remain. I know I broke deeply held cultural standards and beliefs, and this is the logical result. No reason to get belligerent and make things difficult for everyone. My family has already refuted and forgotten me. I have forgiven them.

A couple guards are kindhearted. That is how I got this writing pad and stylus. One promised to sneak the device afterwards to sympathetic individuals. Who’ve had similar dreams; who question accepted ways.

It’s not as if I am alone in my heresy. Accounts exist. Stories are passed around. Hundreds have questioned. Heretics hustle in halls, however most stay hushed. But sometimes one gets a friendly glance, a knowing nod. There are alleged repositories of accumulated accounts. We go to our ends confident in the veracity of our stories. There have been historic rebellions and rabid exhorters, but their outbursts were short and quickly suppressed.

The priest has already visited. She was gentle and kind, even as she tried to get me to deny what I knew. “Shem, save yourself,” she begged. She is so young, for a holy one. I wish I could soften her experience, lighten the burden, but I can’t deny.

She went through the official rites.

“Shem, do you reject our faith.”

“I do.”

“You refuse the mind cleansing and repositioning?”


“You accept the higher powers, and willingly face the forever ostracism?”

“I do.”

“May the eternal ones have mercy on you and may your rest be peaceful.”

“Thank you.”

Her exit from the cell was quiet, final. I wanted to cry for her. Although the climate is carefully regulated, I still felt a cool breeze pass.

Soon the enforcer will be here. I know he will ask me my final question, if I have anything to say before the long walk to eternity. He will query, and I will reply: “Yes, I am a Beforeminder. I know I once existed on a small beautiful planet. I lived a past life as human. I have seen it in my dreams.”

And now I shall die. Again.

1 comment: