Margins: Gone

The day was unusually bright. The air unusually still. Eric felt the oppressive weight of the heat in his veins.

There had been a surge in the amount of cases like Stuart Novach. Like the little girl with the burned arm.

Like the people were no longer content with the ways they were being taught, the ways they were expected to act.

Those in charge were incensed. They had put in all the right procedures, all the right provisions. Yet, the people refused to comply.

Couldn’t they see this was the only way they could be safe?

Mr. Trellis had put Eric on duty almost every hour of the day. Muttering about the second coming of the end of the world.

Eric was tired of rounding up people. Tired of handing out misdemeanors, writing felonies, processing those with nowhere to go.

The compound was becoming full. He was running on low sleep, growing weary with every call he was sent out on.

Eric sighed as another alert came up on his tablet. Report of a disturbance in the northern quad of the city. 

He looked at the details, the lines swimming before they came into focus.

Suspect was seen drawing crude images meant to represent SHAPES. Became irritated when approached.

The words swam again, and Eric squeezed his eyes shut. So what. So what. What was the point of these laws? Silencing things people could not help but to remember, making them criminals instead of helping them. 

The alert flashed again, urging Eric to go. To race to the quadrant and confront his fellow citizen. To tell them they were under arrest for not complying with orders that were meant to keep them naive and dependent.

He pressed the power button on the tablet. Watched the screen die and the alert flash away. In ten minutes, Mr. Trellis would get an alert that Eric was not complying. In eight minutes, Eric would be far enough away that it wouldn’t matter.

He couldn’t do this anymore.