silver ball..

It was dark. I was accustomed to darkness. I really did not have an option to not be accustomed. This was my fifth year serving the sentence for sedition. For a crime against humanity. For writing about hope,optimism and love. Light, even metaphorically was looked down.

Darkness had enveloped earth. This was our trileneal year. The sun had lost its sheen. As widely predicted, earth was not annihilated. What remained tho,was wedded to darkness. Darkness even finding way to the deepest corners of human psyche. And I erred to write an epic novel,set in the rolling lawns of the then England. Of a couple making love under the dazzling sun. The right wing mob got wind of the story. I am certain they never ventured to read it. It's a mockery of our holy book they claimed. Only gods made love basking under the sun and not humans they claimed. I had crossed the unwritten laws of self censorship. Blasphemy was immediately applied. And I was sentenced on grounds of sedition. How was it connected to blasphemy ?I have no clue!. It was all a blur. Being thrown into the darkest dungeons was an irony. Wouldn't harsh light have been more of a punishment? for someone who spent his entire life in darkness ?.

I was shoved into the musty interstellar ship. Along with me were other prisoners. None of us shackled. Humans had done away with shackles. We did not need any physical equipment anymore. Why need one when societal shackles do the trick.

Each of us were handed our silver balls. A dull metallic voice over the ship's address system blared on. The silver balls the voice declared, 10 cm in radius was a reservoir for water. It generates water when pressed. There was a catch. It could also explode killing anyone within a radius of 100 feet. Immediately.

I heard the dull thud when the ship reached the red planet in the centurion galaxy. Each of us were packed of to our farms and left to fend for ourselves. The first few days was relaxed. Decent food and water to sustain for a week. And the galaxy had a fierce sun !. I could see the expression on the other prisoners face when they landed. It was very evident. How do you call this a punishment if you pack me off to a sunny land. The merry in their eyes lasted as long as the water did. The sheer presence of the sun which had sent our senses on an overdrive was now sowing the seeds of hatred. Hatred towards light and the wastefulness of it. The thirst surged under the intense light.

I woke up to a distant boom. Some unfortunate soul had relinquished the fight to stave of thirst . The explosions were a constant. I kept a count. We were fifty four of us and I heard the fifty third after a month of our arrival. They had rationed the water but not all were successful. The last one gave in this morning. I found myself laughing as I heard the boom.

Days passed in a blur. Memories were real,I could see my past around me. Sanity was trickling away like the last drops of water. It suddenly occurred to me the foolishness of my situation. The urge to not press the ball. To survive. All my choices on earth had hurtled me to death. Decisions like this were made everyday. To survive. Death was unexpected. It could spring on me any moment. Like the explosion on a trigger. All my choices were like pressing the ball. Some were rewarded and some weren't. Here I was trying to evade the inevitable. When death was certain. The fear ebbed away.


Reporting earth station 234: ship ready for the next set. 54 recorded. Over and out.


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