The Execution of life

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
I’m from Czech Republic and this is my first english translation of my short story. I wish you nice reading.

Submitted: May 15, 2012

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Submitted: May 15, 2012

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Someone was impatiently knocking on the door. Dana Hájek opened the door, thinking that the neighbours want something again. But after opening the door her thoughts feel into an abyss of fear and foreboding of bad things.

The man in the black uniform wasted no time on greeting or any other pleasantry and pushed the small woman aside. He was accompanied by two burly, stone-faced men.

„What’s going on?“  asked the woman and an unknown fear clenched her throat. The man in the uniform, which was tailored to fit his large and respect commanding stature, turned to the woman.

„I have a court decision on execution here,“ he said with a deep voice, in which you could hear the joy of work. The executors uniform had a big chest pocket. The man pulled out a light blue paper out of the pocket. Dana started shaking.

„You have been found guilty of stealing from the state. This house and everything in it will be exposed to execution,“ said the executor and his two helpers started to tag the furniture with blue stickers.

„That has to be a mistake,“ hopelessly said the small woman. Her husband, David Hájek, came out of the living room. He was drowsy, he came back from the night shift in the fitting factory an hour ago. He almost fainted when he saw the executor.

„We don’t make mistakes,“ said the uniformed man calmly and his facial expression didn’t even change slightly the whole time he was there. „You have a week to find a place in the mines and get out of this house.“

„With all due respect, we’ve been loyal voters for months. You can’t treat us like that,“ reacted the now fully awake David bravely.

„You aren’t voters anymore, so i am treating you as i see fit. And what’s more, you are still under investigation and if you are found guilty of high treason, your punishment will be far more severe.“

The spouses feel into an embrace and started crying.

The executor and his helpers finished tagging the furniture and went away.

The couple still cried.

 

David Hájek didn’t believe it at first. The whole thing’s absurd. How could he, an orderly citizen and a loyal voter, steal from the state? He always belonged to the most loyal supporters of the systém and did everything for it. He was a well respected citizen, you could even say he was adored. He was chief location manager in the fitting factory. He put non-citizens into the proces of living. He chose their working and living place so they could work for the well being of the state. He was on the „right“ side.

„What are we going to do?“ asked Dana her thinking husband.

„We’ll have to do what he said. Get out of here.“

„We haven’t done anything.“

„I’m sure it’s a mistake, they’ll return our house and citizenships,“ said David painstakingly. He didn’t believe what he said. The system doesn’t behave that way.

Dana Hájek feared the moment her children come back from school. What will they tell them and how will they explain, that they won’t study anymore and instead go to work in the mines? The nice and relaxed life is gone. They are one of millions. They are those which they scoffed at yesterday.

The children didn’t understand it. They cried. The eight-year old Jarmilka and the ten-year old Ondra. They won’t see their classmates again. And their friends, arent‘ their friends anymore, they are just alien children of upper class parents.

 

They still had some money, so Dana went to buy some food the next day. She was afraid to go outside. She was afraid, that she’d meet some of the neighbors. The neighborhood consisted of a voter family and some lower class citizens. Workers in manufacturies, drivers or shop clerks. All of them always rang the bell at their house, begging for an advantage. A better position at work, contacts in the upper-class or postponement on their loan. They always declined, it wasn’t right, they would go against the systém. She went outside the house, into a street lined with houses. Their house stuck out over the others. Not just by it’s size, but also its colors. The others couldn’t afford a more expensive house, so they lived in houses made of wood, manytimes without a finish. Dana trod hastily on the pavement. She had her eyes fixed on the ground.

The wind shutters on the neighboring house flew open with a bang and Dana’s neighbor Anastázie leaned out.

„How’s it going, neighbor?“ asked the woman, who had to shave regularly, because she a small moustache growing under her nose.

„Fine, thank you,“ said Dana without stopping. Just don’t talk to me anymore she wished.

„You had a visit from the executor yesterday, eh,“ said Anastázie captiously. Glee streamed from her eyes.

Dana didn’t know what to say. They know, everybody is sure to know by now.

„Yes,“ she said on the verge of tears.

„They say you aren’t citizens anymore.“

Anastázie didn’t even try to hide her smile.

„That’s none of your business,“ said Dana in a hard tone a sped up a bit.

The woman in the window just tsk’ed and disappeared.

Dana wiped the tears from her cheek and continued heading to the store.

She wasn’t able to look anyone in the eyes the whole time. Even infront of the clerk she felt miserable. She was ashamed.

She looked into the ground on her way back and she was startled by a voice coming out of the Cihlá? house. As if the whole street was overjoyed with their misery. B?tka Cihlá? is a young woman, a mother of three and hates Dana. She always envied Dana’s citizenship and she couldn’t cope with the fact, that she couldn’t have a a colorful house too. The more colorful a house, the richer the people living there.

„So they got you after all. I knew it,“ said B?tka with a coarse voice from smoking.

Dana watched her. B?tka took a toke from her cigarette and admonished her, „what are you gawking at? Everybody knows, that the executor visited you. Normally, i wouldn’t wish that to anyone, but you.“

„Why? I never did anything to you.“

„What?! Your whole brown nosing family always belittled us. Always treated us as low-lifes!.“

Anger streamed from B?tka. And tears streamed from Dana. Cihlá?ová was right, they did behave like that.

„And you know what’s worse? I’m not the only one who thinks this, it’s the whole street. You were the only ones who could help others, but instead you scoffed at regular people. Now your crying, eh? You’ll be begging for help in a minute. Bah, you won’t get any from me,“ said B?tka satisfied and she took another toke from her cigarette. She coughed and closed the window.

Dana carried on and hoped, that noone else would stop her. B?tka’s words echoed in Dana’s head. Everybody wishes them their fate. Everybody’s happy that they got what was coming to them. With relief, she opened the door to the house, which didn’t belong to them anymore and slumped down behind it.

Her husband calmed her down and tried to improve the children‘s mood. Other kids made fun them at school and David was worried that words might change into physical bullying.

„Everyone is against us, they wish for us to suffer,“ said Dana unhappily.

David stroked her hair and hugged her.

„David, i think we deserve this.“

He didn’t want to hear this. Noone deserves this. And that was it, he realized that he didn’t think like this earlier. When he heard, that the executors confiscated somebody’s property or worse, threw him in jali, he thought that it’s was their fault. The system  is perfect. Maybe he really did deserve it, thought David.

Two days after that, they moved to a dormitory in the vicinity of the mine. One room with two beds, a wardrobe, a table, three chairs, an old stove and a sink. Cracked bare walls and a ubiquitous stench. The mildew on the wall reeked and the stench from the common toilets  was in the whole dormitory. Sometimes, something was clogged up and noone wanted to fix it. There was a common laundry room and a kitchen in the basement.

Dana still cried and Ondra, together with his father, was getting ready for the first shift. From riches to rags in a few days.

They were issued work clothes, lamps, helmets and a few instructions on how they should behave once they are down in the mines , in the administration building.

Ondra started crying when the lift transported them into the darkness. David felt nervous and the unflattering gazes from his new colleagues. There were sixteen people in the elevator.  All of them were experienced men, and alas some of them knew who the Hájek family was and what trouble they’ve gotten themselves into.  They didn’t confiscate the property of a voter family every day. Only the two of them weren’t dirty and literally shone among the others.  After the not too stable iron body of the lift stopped at the bottom, they stepped out into the twilight. Lit lamps provided some illumination for the narrow passages. There were eight possible ways to také. Rails went into every passage and there was a minecart full of coal next to David. The foreman prompted David and his son to start walking. They headed for one of the passages. David wanted to stay together with his son, but the foreman said strongly, that everyone is going to work in a different „hole“.

The hole. A place where he loaded coal into the cart. He hung the lamp on a nail sticking from the wall. There wasn’t much light and breathing here was difficult. Especially for a man who is used to living in comfort. The miner colleague didn’t talk to David. Nobody wanted to talk to a guy from the „other“ side. David was still the „ex-voter guy“.

After a week he and his son got somewhat used to the hard work. Dana and her daughter went to help out in the washing house and their lives began to take a new way. They will be poor, they won’t have civil rights, but David came to the conclusion, that could live like that. But the world turned into shades of gray and black after another visit from the executor.

„Alas i’m here again. A great deal of serious information has been found in your case. Your husband was helping the opposition, the enemy of the system,“ said the executor without any traceable emotions, right into Dana’s face, the loyal wife and mother of two children.

She wasn’t able to say anything.

„What does that mean?“ asked David with a bitter taste in his mouth.

„That means, that i will proceed with the second phase of the execution,“ said the man upholding the law and motioned to his helpers. They didn’t have any blue papers this time around, they had handcuffs. They were after their two children. After a while they brought them out.

„You can’t do that!“ yelled the father of the children, but he was wrong.

„You’re mistaken, we HAVE to, you traitor to the state!“

Dana cried and clawed at her children. They were hysterical and the whole dormitory was full of yelling, screaming and accusations aimed at the executor and his helpers. They took their children and went away. Dana collapsed and David tried to get ahold of his remaining bits of menatl strength, to stop Dana from going crazy.

„Tell me, what’s happening with my case and how is it possible, that didn’t get a chance to defend myself?!“ slammed David his fist on the desk of the court official. Despair drove him to go to the court. He never visited the tall building with barred windows and metal doors and he never even dreamed of having to demand his rights. There was a caveat. He’s not a voter anymore, not even a citizen. Noone ever listens to people like him, they just lock them up. They took his children, the worst thing they could do to a man. The system of terror. He was a supporter of it. To hell with it! How could he have been so dumb as to not see the stupidity, harrowed David himself. The clerk looked at him through square glasses and warned him about hitting her desk.

„I need to know what’s happening to my children.“

„They are in an institution“

That means, that they will soon be adopted by some upperclass people who can’t have children of their own, the thought raced through his mind.

He had a bitter taste in his mouth.

„What about my case?“

The clerk adjusted her glasses on her nose and stared at David, as if unable to understand what he wants.

„Look, i’ve been  a citizen from birth and a loyal voter since i turned eighteen. Out of the blue I get accused, i lose everything i have and i don’t even get a chance to defend myself?! Is this normal?!“

„You should understand this, you’ve been a voter for so many years,“ said the clerk tauntingly. She was right.

„Is that all you’re going to say?“

She nodded.

„Then atleast tell, if i am already convicted.“

„Not yet.“

„Thanks,“ he said and left. He didn’t forget to slam the door behind him. Outside he realized, that he should beg lad, that she didn’t call the police and they didn’t lock him up.

 

Life without children is sad and it left a mark on the Hájeks. They didn’t speak much to each other. Dana became apathetic.

David continued to work in the mines. He always got harder work in the deeper shafts of the mine. He manually mined the rock and his hands were full of callouses, which ruptured and mildew got in his wounds.

„They took my kids,“ said David in a short break between work. On the opposite of him sat his miner colleague on the rails next to a mine cart, eating a thin piece of bread with salt. David didn’t even know why he said it, it just flew out of his mouth.

„Everything’s falling on your head, huh?“

„The whole world.“

„You still think, that the system’s great?“

„No, it’s horrible.“

„I’m glad you see it that way, but you could’ve realized as a voter. You don’t like the systém, because you’re in such a position,“ said the miner emphatically and reproachfully pointed his finger at David.

„Why are you telling me this?“

„Because i can’t stand people like you. First, when everything’s fine, they’ll do anything for the system, but when things go sour, they start to whine.“

David was a bit surprised, that even this guy thinks the same about him.

„Things didn’t turn sour for me, it flat out destroyed my life!“

The miner waved his hand, „say what you want, but i know your kind.“

„I’ve never hurt anyone,“ yelled David with tears of rage in his eyes.

The miner already stood with his back turned and said, „break’s over, you should start mining again.“ David was shaking with anger, but he took his tools and started mining the rock again. He swore to himself by all that is holy, that he never hurt anyone.“ Just like his colleagues, the whole world is against him, he was sure of it. He became bitter and yelled at Dana. For no reason, he just needed to yell. He wasn’t part of the group at work and nothing changed about it. He didn’t want to be part of anything.

Dana told him, that she saw Jarmilka and Ondra in the company of a young man and woman. David just growled.

„They have new parents,“ Dana said with an odd, absent voice.

„We are their parents.“

„They were nicely dressed, they’ll be taken care of.“

„What the hell are you saying!?“ exploded David and angrily jumped out of the armchair.

Dana was looking at distant worlds. „They’re going to have a nice life without us.“

David slapped her.  She was startled, but she didn’t say anything. She was just sadly looking at the ground.

David couldn’t take it anymore. Life became a bother and he didn’t want wait to be imprisoned and then sentence him to death. The perfect system took everything away from him. When he should’ve gotten on the mine lift, he ran and jumped into the elevator shaft. He fell a few tens of meters and his screams could be heard in the whole mine. The chilling echo ruined the whole shift for the miners. The miner David worked with got a new colleague. A better one, a man of the common people, not some crybaby, who lost a nice house and collapsed because of it. That’s how they talked about David.

 

After a week, some men knocked on Mrs. Hájek‘s door. She opened. It was the executor bunch. Dana wasn’t afraid anymore, they couldn’t take anything more from her, she lost everything already. The executor had a different expression that usual, a kind of a humane and almost positive one. „Mrs. Hájek, we are here today to apologize to you and your family and to give you this letter with a notice of innocence. „

Dana looked at the executor absently.

„Unfortunately we have wrongfully accused you, because culprit was a different man with the name of David Hájek. Again we apologize,“ said the executor embarrased and he added, „it was a flaw in the system.“

„It was a flaw n the system, okay,“ whispered Dana and closed the door. She slowly slumped down to the ground, back leaning against the door and she let the horror , that met her, swallow her up.

 

 

 


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