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DYSTOPIAN

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Chapters:  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Next Last 
Chapter 1:- Prologue
“My implant says I’m a killer.” The words clung to his lips with a child-like tenacity, yet pierced his previous silence.

Sharon stared at him with a mixture of anger and relief. “How do you define yourself now, with the world seeing you as just that – a killer?”

Seth pictured every answer compounding the next and realized he wouldn’t be able to explain himself. “I don’t define myself as anything. I’m just here.”

The eyes that bore through his just moments ago became glossed with irritation. “In these interviews, most criminals define themselves as human.”

“Most criminals aren’t human,” he retorted.

A smile twitched at the corner of her mouth.

Aaron was right. She was gorgeous – it was too distracting. He was surprised and humbled to be sitting across from her. She was here to find out how he was able to live; she was interested what he had to say.

“Mr. Romilly, does that mean you don’t believe you are human?”
He had to disappoint her. “I’m sorry, I don’t think I can do this.”
She glared at him in expectation for what seemed like an hour, slammed her notes in her purse with a groan of frustration and left. Her technicians slowly packed up the equipment, shot him a slight look of sympathy and followed her out. Seth gently closed the door behind the last of the crew and returned to his computer. A feeling of defeat clouded his eyes as he pressed play on the previous interview for Sharon’s documentary.

The camera showed Sharon and Aaron sitting across from each other in Aaron’s outdated apartment. Sharon had on a short, navy, body hugging skirt and a silky white top with ruffles. Her bra was just barely visible from within the folds of fabric. Her hair was more than perfect – the platinum blond strands bounced just past her breasts when she moved. Her eyes were a deep and glorious green and she wore a tasteful, muted, red shade of lipstick.

“We are talking to Aaron Stone, a convicted criminal who lives with the fairly recent implant sentence, commonly called the Hawthorne Sentence. We will not give details of his crimes at his request.”
As the camera zoomed in on Sharon, seated in Aaron’s apartment on a dining room chair, Seth saw a slight look of disgust plastered on her face. Defeat was soon overtaken by curiosity.

“Thank you, Aaron for speaking with us today.”

“No problem, Sharon. I’m eager to show your viewers the other side.”

She appeared to shake off the comment. “Let’s start with your reaction when the law was first passed.”

As the camera zoomed in on Aaron’s face, Seth noticed the thick hair of his eyebrows appeared to have been swirled in certain places, as if he’d been massaging his forehead. Aaron’s cherry-wood colored eyes shifted right in heavy lids. The camera made him look older than thirty.

“I was in my first semester of college when they finally made the decision. Of course, the debate had been going on since I was in middle school. It’s funny how little I cared about it then, compared to now. I remember being so tired of every teacher wanting us to write an essay about it.”

Seth noticed Sharon’s interest seemed to be piqued. “So even as a college student you didn’t care when it was put into law?”

Aaron shrugged, “I cared a bit more, because, you know, it was college but I was never very opinionated. I mean, it kind of freaked me out that there would be convicts walking around among us.”

“At the time, did you suspect you might end up a convict yourself?”
The conversation was flowing well; Aaron was really into it but of course, he wouldn’t have many people to talk to – much less people who wanted to hear his side of things.

“Definitely not. At the time, I hadn’t…I mean I had weird thoughts. I’m not sure how to explain that without getting too detailed.”

“Understandable.” She took in a deep breath. “You must feel that anyone having access to the circumstances and details of your crimes is a breach of privacy. Did you feel similarly before being charged?”

“I assume you’re referring to our identification chips?”

“Yes,” Sharon nodded. Seth chortled, What else, Aaron?

“Well, no. All of us have ID chips implanted when we’re born. It’s just the way things are. It makes sense, if we didn’t have that, people could claim to be whomever they wanted. Identity theft was apparently a huge problem. My grandfather had his identity stolen.”
She nodded as Aaron continued, “Those stories are hard to believe. Once our grandparents are gone, no one will remember what it was like before. Although I think the chips are a necessary evil, updating the info on them with details of our crimes that any Joe-blow can access is certainly an invasion of privacy.”

Sharon smiled. “What do you do living with this stigma? What is your daily life like?”

“It’s not pretty, Sharon.”

Her smile fell immediately and was replaced with slight look of fear. Her face was so expressionless, she almost looked like she was made out of plastic. Regardless, Seth could always read a face. Aaron didn’t seem to notice and continued blathering on as if he were an expert on the subject of ID chips and the criminal experience.
“Even though we are free to go wherever we want, we are forced to be hermits. Almost every trip outside results in pain. People abuse the system and no one cares.”

“You mean they swipe the shock bar. Some of our viewers are in other parts of the world and still may not know exactly how it works. We’d like to hear it in your words.” Seth was shocked, were there really people that didn’t know about this?

“Oh,” Aaron pauses. “Well everyone is able to download the app. NRO which stands for National Registry of Offenders. There’s a little icon of the BTK guy…”

“Dennis Rader,” Sharon added.

“Yeah, that really ugly guy. It’s insulting that he represents the rest of us.”

“Why is that?”

Aaron stammered, “We’ve all done horrible things…” Seth sat up straight, Careful, Aaron.

“Criminals have,” Sharon clarified.

He rolled his eyes, “Right. But I’m nowhere near that guy. Very few people are.” Seth relaxed.

Sharon maintained the same curious composure, “You were explaining the application.”

“Yes, so...”

Seth noticed moisture accumulating on Aaron’s hairline and stiffened again.

“Everyone can download this app. for free on their phones or whatever they use and it lets them know when a convict is within twenty feet of them. Our names and pictures pop up on their phones and they can select it to read a summary or a detailed report on us. Then, and they’re only supposed to do this if they feel threatened, they can swipe the ‘shock’ bar to send a signal to our extra chip and shock us for five seconds. It’s very painful.”

Accompanied by a strange and faint stomach pain, Seth recalled the sensation.

“And by extra chip you mean, Sharon reminded.

“Oh, sorry, right I mean that every convict gets a second implant, one that would be stupid to remove or disable and is basically like a tazer embedded in our back muscle.”

“Why would it be foolish to remove it?”

“What’s the point? Everyone is GPS tracked anyway. Since our ID chips are impossible to remove as they are a part of our spines, they would always be able to find us. The consequence is the same. They just give us another chip. I don’t know about other guys, but I don’t want a bunch of back surgeries. There is no end to the torment – no sentencing where we can be on parole. Everything is a life sentence, including simple robbery.”

“You weren’t convicted of robbery, Mr. Stone. Do you ever feel deserving of a life sentence?”

Aaron nodded slowly. Seth hated Sharon in that moment, feeling more empowered for ruining their interview.

“What is the pain like?” It almost looked like she was leaning closer to Aaron, anticipation laid on her face.

“I can’t really describe it. I guess I would say it’s as if your entire body is on fire. One of the scariest things is the loss of control. You never know when it’s going to happen, you never know what kind of floor you’re going to end up on, and you can’t get up and run.”

“Run from?”

“The people who do it just for fun. Just to watch us suffer.”
“That’s ironic. Normally it would be us who would want to run from you.” She fixed Aaron with a subtle glare.
“Not anymore, Sharon.”

She stared at him, much the same way she had stared at Seth.
“Thank you for your time, Mr. Stone.” She quickly left the dining room chair empty and walked briskly by her crew.
Since Seth possessed an unedited copy of the interview, he watched on as the camera kept rolling, wondering how Aaron would take the sudden exit.

“Did I say something wrong?”

Voices were heard laughing. Someone behind the camera replied, “Nah man, you gave us a killer ending.”
Chapters:  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Next Last 
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