A Steel Door

A Steel Door

The light was bright. He wanted to close his eyes. He longed to close them. But the inhibitor was doing its job – inhibiting! He sat in the chair surrounded by shiny metal walls with no seams. The questions had been asked and he didn’t have answers for them. Of course they thought he did, man he wish he did! He tried to tell them, in fact he cried it, yelled it, whined it, whimpered it … he wasn’t sure they realised he wasn’t some uber-touch-Way-preaching nut, because if they didn’t he wasn’t sure he could hold on much longer …

How had he got caught up in the protest, anyways he wondered? He was doing … well nothing that was the problem. He just wanted to get to the teller, withdraw what needed withdrawing and get out of the city for the weekend. It was too hot, too humid, too wet, it was always too something and he needed a break! And, of course, Broadway was jammed; people with stones were taunting those from the Way. No one wanted to hear what they had to say in their not-saying-anything-way, always made people think, he thought to himself. He surely didn’t want to …

Then he heard it: the whizzing of a stone. Lately the protests had gotten violent – well not the people from the Way, but those who came to confront them: those who didn’t believe in their message or disapproved of their actions. Too many conspiracy theories were rampant across the ‘net and no one believed that non-violence and some feel-good environmental messages wrapped in the clothing of faith could be anything but subversive. Of course, others were whispering across twitter that the #Stoners – as they were now being hash-tagged – were actually part of an intentional response to undermine the Way’s message because someone, somewhere, in some enclave of power was feeling threatened.

Of course, when the stones started flying, he tried to get out of the way and then he saw her. She was wearing that white-robe outfit all of them wore. It was some material that seemed, what otherworldly? It almost seemed to shimmer even though it was flattened and plain looking cotton. It also seemed impossible to get dirty. There had been a Way walk through ‘toon a month ago. The dust storms came and the news feed was cut for twenty minutes. When the sound bites got transmitted again, though cars were buried, glass tarnished by the grit, the Way was pristine. Again lots of theories shared through cyber, but beneath it all no one knew what the stuff was made and the Way was not helping. They never did … well they never spoke that is …

He first saw the blood … it pooled around her head. The crimson crown seemed brightened by the serenity of her dulled eyes as she stared at him. But it never touched the white, seemed … repulsed? Regardless, with no forethought, he ran to her, touched her, covered her with his own body The #Stoners smelled blood and were intent on creating another Way martyr. Of course the plan – well he had none – meant he started to receive the missiles intended for her.

Stones Cast ...

Stones Cast …

He couldn’t move himself after the third, fourth and then fifth rock hit him. Though he had no idea why he had embraced an unaccustomed moment of the impetus, he was pretty certain reflecting that would not be a problem much longer! Then he heard the whistle and the Boots processed with wired batons and shields charged pushing the #Stoners off of Broadway. The Way members remained standing, chanting their tune in eerie harmony. As he was picked up by a mech-bot, he felt certain all was okay … still thought he might get to the teller … then he heard the rasping metal voice, “Apprehended: civilian action incongruent. Take in for questioning.”

Now he was in the Box. He had no answers. But they seemed intent on getting them. He was sure the volume of talking alone would have demonstrated he was just in the wrong place, at the wrong time. But the question previously asked, and which remained unanswered to everyone’s satisfaction (including his own if he were to embrace a moment of self-reflective honest) was: “So citizen, why did you cover, protect and place yourself in danger for one from the Way?”

As the seamless hermetic door opened, he knew he was going nowhere until that question was answered …

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