Dark Days by Mark Grealish

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SUMMARY: It's the year 20- and man in America emails his friend.

rom: Jason Pruitt '' jason.p@happymail.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ''

To: Edward Barnick '' e.barnick@kingdomengineering.co.ukThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ''

Hey Ned,

Another week, another checkpoint. Correction: Another fucking checkpoint. I don't know if this stems from the fact that I'm a naturalized alien, or through my job, or even my old blog, but every single week I'm flagged to be stopped at one of these little pieces of purgatory. It's Friday, I'm tired and getting pulled on Flamingo is a great way to get home from work two hours late.

This is all pointless bureaucracy taken to a new height. Christ, I'll step out and say that it's like having my citizenship interview anew every week. I'm expected to pontificate about my love for the administration just so I can stay here. Oh aye, so long as I keep my mouth shut it's a painless procedure, but should I ever should rise above my station and actually complain about anything the thumbscrews come out: They take you aside, gently question you for an hour about your ''disappointingly unpatriotic'' opinions so they can record ''feedback,'' make a Notation of Protest on your permanent record and then send you on your way.

What's worse is the police and unity officers can't... won't change anything. ''It's for everyone's security,'' they say. ''I'm sorry, I don't like this any more than you sir, but orders are orders.''

Christ. That's was the fucking line the Nazis used and look where it got them in the end.

What's worse is the fact that I'm one of the silent and compliant masses. I have a hard enough time here as an alien, especially after '15, so I swallow the bitter pill and keep quiet for the sake of Kaylee and the kids.

In my worst moments I try and convince myself how much it is now for me than it was after Black August: I have a job, a home, a family, and no one is trying to kill me. But...

it pains me to even admit it here, but every other month I'll wake up screaming and sobbing in Kaylee's arms. I remember the noose around my neck and watching Pete up on the scaffold kicking out his last. I don't know how I escaped that screaming mob. I still have all my scars, both physical and mental. I spent six months in physiotherapy learning to walk again, and I'll always have that distinguished, thick scar around my neck. None of that is ever going to go away, no matter how hard I'd like it to.

So, as always, I roll up to the pre-screening stand hoping that they'll just wave me through, but I have such luck tonight. The police officer gestures for me to stop, so I roll down my window and just wait for him to direct me over to the car park with it's black vans and great big H-loop.

Homeland Unity swears blind that after being searched at a checkpoint they add a three week pass to your card that will let us to be just waved through a checkpoint. Unless you have a criminal record or happen to be a foreigner occupying a sensitive position.

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