I am banished from the safety of the village on the wail of a funeral dirge. A song for the walking dead, to cast their way across the scorched earth and endless night outside our walls. I hear the last notes muffled by the clang of the gates as they close behind me.
I am now outcast. A wanderer in the shadow of death.
I resist the urge to turn and beg for my life. They will not listen. So I walk across the eternal desert into the perpetual black night.
Only to find...
A door. And another world beyond.
Dim artificial light and a faint electronic hum filled empty metal corridors. Quiet, still, the space station functioned with precision and efficiency. Its only life on the upper ring, the ever present sentience of its AI. On the lower rings however...
Movement on corridor D, Block A. Another detainee ready for release.
The disembodied voice triggered an automated program and a door slid open. A human figure hesitantly stepped on to the station from a virtual simulation cell.
Hello, prisoner 4589. Your sentence aboard internment station Delta 9 has been served. You will now be reprocessed back into Earth society.
I still remember that day in my dreams. The steel walls, a sickly sweet smell, harsh lights, walking up on the table after they restored my memories.
My release day. Before they sent me home.
Back to Earth.
I am still an exile. I miss the lie of their prison.
They said I served my sentence.
They were wrong.
Earth is the true prison. With its grey conformity, it’s lack of independent thought.
They think simulated hardship will cure our radical beliefs. It only makes them stronger.
I join another protest group tonight. I will reoffend.
I will go home.
© A. F. Stewart 2017 All Rights Reserved