Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Write in the SCIENCE FICTION genre (05/10/07)
TITLE: The Thought Police
By Tiffanie Chezum
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A device embedded in the brain of convicted criminals promised an end to all crime. If the person’s thoughts strayed outside acceptable parameters, the implant stimulated the pain center of the mind causing mild discomfort increasing to unyielding agony until the person deviated from the illicit thoughts; their choice, comply or perish.
Many law enforcement agencies were abolished upon an initial decrease in crime. The Conclave basked in the glory of the moment … A new world order. The celebration was short lived.
Gangs of hoodlums ran rampant, taking advantage of the depleted police forces.
To quell the escalation of new transgressors, the Conclave decreed all citizens be implanted with the mechanism.
Jenna scrolled through the headlines on her info-cell. “Hey, check this out.” She adjusted the screen. “They captured Joshua Beales. He’s one of the leaders of the resistance.”
“Oh, wow.” Theresa poured a glass of orange juice.
Jenna scanned the article. “It says here, he believes the cognitive implants will erode society’s free will … Boy that sounds like a load.” She laughed aloud. “He’s getting his today.”
Theresa sipped her beverage. “Why are they making such a big deal? They don’t have the right to …” She winced at a brief pang.
“Don’t cross them,” Jenna said. “They’ll zap you every time.”
Theresa grabbed her purse. “I got-a get to work.” She walked through the tree-lined courtyard, pausing at the statue of Jesus in front of Saint Sebastian’s Church. “My Heavenly Father, thank you for this day and this beautiful world. I am truly blessed.”
The aroma of bacon sizzling on the stovetop wafted through the air.
Jenna gazed at her info-cell. “The secularists are at it again.” She scanned the screen. “They’re going to petition the Conclave … They have a lot of nerve.”
“They’re just really sad people.” Theresa leaned against the counter. “I don’t think…”
“Oh my gosh.” Jenna gasped. “Beales is dead.”
“Really?” Theresa’s face twisted with disbelief. “How?”
Jenna continued to read, “It says Joshua Beales died at the age of 31 when he refused to cooperate with the establishment. His implant activated giving him a warning; he refused to obey. The reprimand escalated eventually leading to his death. The Conclave hopes this will deter anyone else from trying to undermine their authority.”
“That’s horrible. Why didn’t he just do what they asked?” Theresa shook her head. “Nothing’s worth dying for, not like that.” She walked to the door. “I’m taking a walk.”
“Hope you’re not getting all emotional over this.” Jenna glanced at her friend. “It was his choice. He could’ve stopped it.”
Theresa strolled along the esplanade lost in her thoughts. “Dear Jesus.” She sat on a bench near her place of worship, her eyes locking on the statue of her savior. “How can such suffering be allowed in a perfect world? Why doesn’t the Conclave just …” A surge of pain radiated through her body. “I’m sorry.”
Jenna blinked her dampened eyelashes, a stunned expression on her face.
“What’s wrong?” Theresa poured a cup of coffee.
Jenna slid the info-cell to the middle of the table.
“Conclave sides with secularists. Oh no.” Theresa grabbed the device. “The ruling was handed down this morning. In order to perpetuate peace, and to prevent offending members of our society we direct all groups and citizens to cease and desist all public displays of religion.” Theresa bolted to the door, tears streaming down her face.
“Where are you going?” Jenna shouted.
“It’s wrong … It’s just wrong.” Theresa ran through the park toward Saint Sebastian’s.
Parents laughed and played with their children as if it were an ordinary day.
She stopped at the gates of the church.
The sculpture of Jesus stood hidden under a tarp. Theresa strained to focus her tear-blurred vision. “My Lord Jesus,” she whispered. “How can they…” She grabbed her temples. “No … Please stop.” Her body trembled. “Dear Lord …” She seized in a jolt of anguish. “Help me.” Her jagged, gasping breaths echoed across the promenade. “Aaugh!” She collapsed into a heap at the foot of the statue. “I won’t ... Don’t … do this.”
A small group of people watched from a distance.
Her eyes rolled back into her head; her muscles twitched without control. “I … will not … forsake … the Lord … my … God.” She thrashed in a violent convulsion.
Theresa’s body laid flaccid in the mall. The crowd dispersed, twinges of pain flashing in their bodies.
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