Fiction Park

Defected, disaffected pieces

- RUNA MAHARJAN

We are in the bad books of the state. In other words, we are criminals who have committed the biggest crime possible. We are marked men and women and should either be in prison or be dead.


That is why we have been living here in the jungle. We lead a nomadic life, moving from one place to another, never staying in the same place for several days. Every seven days we would change our location to reduce the risk of getting caught. So many of us have died simply because of the hardships and risks of living in the jungles and we know not of the fates of our families and friends. The few of us who have survived in this jungle, live together, protect each other and so have become a family of sorts. Currently, we are running low on supplies—ammunition but more importantly food and medicine—soon we will be forced to venture into the city to get hold of some of these basic things on which our lives depend.


We were hundreds when we entered these wretched forests though now only fifty of us survive and none of us really expect to survive for long. It is possible that all of us might be captured overnight—we have no assurances and we live by the day. We struggle here and each new dawn is a blessing—nothing is promised, any of us might disappear, desert or die at any time and nothing is for certain. There are times when one of us is captured—those are always depressing and we try to console each other. I don’t know, if I am supposed to think like this, but maybe it is okay to be like all the others—the so called normal ones. At least, I wouldn’t have  to bear the hardships of hiding in a jungle beyond the pale of society—but then, if I left it would mean leaving him too—the only person I love.


Both of us were deemed as defects— we are marked and hunted and we know that we might vanish from this world at any moment because even capture would mean certain death. I am sure that there are other disaffected defects like us everywhere, probably in every country in the world but we could have never hoped to cross the border to meet these kindred souls because if we tried to and ventured too far from the forest, they would shoot us at sight, no questions asked.


Today marks two years since I left my home and family and fled to the forest. I did not want to leave them but I had no choice. It was early November, when most of us were suddenly stricken with an unknown, incurable sickness. High fever, vomiting, rashes were all symptoms, and it was terrible to see the entire village suffering in excruciating pain—all except a few of us who it seemed were naturally immune to it. A pall hung over the whole village, the air itself was thick and hard to breathe while the sickness spread like wildfire. My mother, father and brother all fell ill. TV reporters later called it the greatest epidemic of our times.


There were rumors of a cure though droves of people, entire towns and villages had already perished. Upon hearing about a possible cure, I immediately rushed to the community hospital only to find that the hospitals could do nothing except give room for people to die in; they quickly ran out of space as the number of victims only increased. The medicine never arrived.


It took about 24 hours time for everything to change. People were dying left and right, properties were looted, fields burned, and violence erupted everywhere. Then the wait began, I waited for a whole night at the hospital line for the purported cure to arrive. I wept that whole night. It was only after a very long teary wait, that the so called cure finally came. The people who brought it were wearing big oxygen masks and hefty suits. They even had men with guns flanking them on either side. Finally, I managed to get enough medicine for all of us.


The phone networks had been down the whole time so I couldn’t call to give my famly the good news. I ran to my house as fast as I could. My father, mother and brother were still
lying in bed, unable to move but alive. Father, I called out but he did not answer, no one did. I handed them each the medicine the government had provided and then waited for it to work—I was told its effects would be instantaneous.


I must have fallen asleep while waiting because a sudden loud shriek woke me. My brother was writhing on the floor, screaming. Everyone in the neighbourhood it seemed was screaming in pain. My mother called my name before telling me she was quickly losing her mind—these were the last words she ever spoke to me. My father got up rushed to the bathroom and started pouring water over his head. I was in tears again, not knowing what to do. Then suddenly, the shrieking stopped and all of them fell to the floor, silently. The only sound now was of me crying.


My brother woke up with expressionless eyes. I hugged him, but he pushed me away and walked out the front door. My parents also soon awoke and did the same. They neither looked at me nor said anything, it was like I was no longer there. Their movements seemed stiff, almost robotic and all the life in their eyes had been leeched away. I asked them, where they were going but of course, they did not answer.


I had begged them to stop, but they just kept walking. I started after them, when Robert Smith, came out of nowhere and dragged me to a corner. “We should leave now, believe me” he said. Not knowing what else to do, I followed. First we went to his house, gathered some belongings and then he said, “We should go to your house.”


“Why?” I asked. “Because we are not safe here anymore.”
“How would you know that?”
“I followed my family too. They have all gathered at the square. They are government agents with gas masks and guns that are rounding up people like us who did not take the pill. They refer to us as defects—but really, we are the ones who turned out to be immune to their disease. Something terrible is afoot—I don’t know what—but we need to get out of here, please!”


And so we rushed to my empty house, gathered supplies—food, water, medicines, everything we might need—the last thing I picked up was a family photograph.
That fateful day, we ran away and we have been running ever since.


We have cried together, fought for each other, and come to love one another. We were searching for more of our type when we found a group of other stragglers and defects hiding in the forest. From them we learned that only a few of us were immune and everyone else, our friends and families were now soulless automatons. We have been searching for more of our kind but truly, there aren’t very many. Soon it was clear that the government itself was orchestrating this whole thing. The people who devised this disease and the fallacious cure did so in a bid to control the world. We call these people the ruling elites—everyone except for them and a few of us have been turned into docile automatons, rife for exploitation—and now they seek to eradicate the few of us who were immune to their ploy, this is why we have been hiding, suffering innumerable hardships to preserve our sanity as we really are the last remaining humans—the tattered vestiges of humanity hiding in the forests.


Robert Smith, has always been a Rebel. He was our leader and our ‘cure,’ so to speak. But today, he was captured. He had ventured alone into town to fetch medicine for us when he got caught. Now, they will kill him in front of all those people, who feel nothing. They will cheer, when he gets shot not because they feel excitement or bloodlust or anything—they are incapable of feeling and they will cheer simply because they are expected to do so.


 “Robert, has been captured,” they said. News like that literally breaks you apart. We had chosen that person as our captain and felt as if we had a future as long as he was around but now he is already dead—or is sure to be.


I wanted to see him one the last time so I climbed this old, tall tower from where I could see his execution without being seen. I am gripping the photograph of my family, crumpling it in dread anticipation. Then I see him. He is surrounded by those people—his executioners. “Baby, I wish I could rescue you. But, I cannot and maybe this is okay. This is how things are supposed to end for us. Thank you, for making my life so beautiful. I love you.” I mumble to myself as I watch him get shot in the chest and his lifeless body fall off a platform and into a ditch. Of course, the crowd cheered.


It is time Nina, “1, 2, Jump…”
Well, it was a happy day for the elites—they had managed to kill one defected piece while the other went and well—killed herself. Rot in hell.

Published: 2018-08-26 08:14:26