Prompt: “‘I think-‘ ‘No you don’t.’”
“You see,” he drawled, his hopeful tone betraying the darkness in his eyes. “That’s how it works now. That’s what we’re working towards. No thinking, no need to think.”
The director smiled and turned towards the electronic presentation board, flipping through pictures of people smiling and enjoying leisure time. “Really it’s for the better of all humankind. There will be no need to think, so there will be no troubles, no worries, and no strenuous mind exercises. Every day can be spent enjoying the world and living in the moment.”
The propaganda ends with a smile from the director, another word about the “future of mankind”, and a reminder to report any anti-government activity to the local militia. When he says the last line, it’s as if he looks straight at me. Surprisingly, I am not fearful.
When they first announced the new miracle drug, I didn’t expect to become a revolutionary. Sure, I wondered if this was really beneficial for the people, and of course I realised that the government had decided they didn’t want their people wondering, or pondering, or thinking and getting in the way.
Still, I knew there was no place for me to speak up. I entertained the idea, I will admit, but in a second the tightening in the pit of my stomach and the racing of my heart beat told me that I had made my decision: I was not going to do anything.
I couldn’t possibly take on an entire company, practically an entire government. I didn’t think of myself as the hero in some dystopian novel. I never though that I could pull that off. I didn’t think anyone could, not in reality.
I watch the news update silently as they sent out the first shipment of the miracle drug meant to cure thinking. This would feed straight into the food and water supply, effectively pumping the drug through every citizen’s system. As soon as the last shipment left, the entire world broke into thunderous applause.
Did no one else see the potential problems with this new miracle, or were they all just better at blocking them out? Either way, I couldn’t stand it.
I wish I could say that I started small and worked my way up the ranks, but I didn’t. There was no time for that. The foods first affected by the durg would be showing up in the market in less than a week, so if I was going to protest I had to start immediately.
I did what any good revolutionary would: I made people angry. Not just stuck in traffic angry, but more like road rage, hostage situation, Democrat vs Republican angry. I made my case all across the city, and within hours had the police on my tracks.
I bounced from house to house, moving around and preaching my story and ideals, gaining an ever growing following as I went. So many people agreed with me, but were too afraid to go against the government. I gave people courage, anger, and a reason to fight for their thoughts.
Yesterday, we took it to the public. We marched into the squares, picketed at the grocery stores, yelled our point of view at anyone who would listen. We would stay in one place for five minutes, and then be chased off by police who were never quite fast enough to catch us when we had the adrenaline of fighting for something we loved in our systems.
Marching the square wasn’t supposed to be last, but it ended that way because afterwards, I didn’t have an following any more. We arrived at the large city centre, flags and signs waving and voices hoarse. We were covered with mud and scrapes from our recent escapes, but we were sure to keep going.
The people nearby joined in our chants when the cops weren’t there. Yells of “Let us think” and “Don’t take out freedom” rang out in the square, creating a beautiful symphony. Only two minutes later, gun shots rang out to end that symphony.
I watched my family and friends, children, old people, and everyone in between, fall down dead that day. There was no time to run, no time to defend yourself. In droves around me they fell, blossoms of blood blooming through their clothing. In thirty seconds or less, I was surrounded by at least one hundred corpses. I was standing alone in the middle of all of them.
The police advanced towards me, weapons loaded and ready, as I looked around and tried to come to terms with what had just happened. Tears fell down my face and bile rose in the back of my throat.
What had I done? How many people had just now died by the work of my hands, and the words of my mouth?
A policeman came up to me, yelling at me to drop to my knees and put my hands in the air. It didn’t matter anyway, I had no weapons. We were protesting peacefully, just asking to keep our individuality and thoughts.
He read me the order that the director had sent. I was to be brought in to prison for further sentencing.
I knew what that meant. Execution, and then my body to be used as a public example to further promote the drug and to ward off any other revolutions. I laughed as I was pulled towards a heavily armoured police vehicle.
Didn’t they know they were about to create a martyr?
Not much later I was sitting in the director’s posh office, listening to his lecture on what I had done wrong. I knew this was grounds for my execution, that the treason I had committed would have me killed if I was ever caught. I had prepared for that, but he just kept talking. He was explaining how what he was doing was for the better of all humankind, and really, what’s so good about thinking anyway?
I listened, waiting for the order he would soon give to one of his rookies to take me to an execution room. If I was lucky it would be quick, but I wasn’t sure that I was in good enough grace to have earned that.
After watching all of my friends and family suffer and die in this war, I was ready. All I had to do was make it to the execution.
“So,” he started, looking at me with a smile holding back more evil than I had ever seen. “I assume you are wondering what I’m going to do with you?” I picked my head up, and act that required great strength in the shape I was in, and replied, “I was actually wondering why you hadn’t killed me yet.”
He laughed at that, a hearty bellow that sent fear spiking through my veins. His beady eyes settled on my confused face. “Oh no, I’m not going to kill you. I have something a bit different in planned, something that I think you will really appreciate.”
In a second he had gestured to one of the men behind me, who pulled out a shiny case. The director opened the case with a glint in his eye, pulling out a long syringe full of glowing orange liquid. I recognised that colour from the commercials.
In a second I understood. This was his plan, to perform the ultimate of cruelties.
“I suppose you think you’re smart, or brave, for standing up for what you think.” He spoke, tapping the end of the syringe as one of the men pulled my head back, exposing my neck. “Well,” he started again, moving closer and flashing me one last horrific smile. “You won’t be thinking anymore.”
Photo used under Creative Commons from Jason Devaun