A long-held axiom maintains that morality cannot be legislated; morality, after all, is a personal concept that comes from within each individual, while laws passed supposedly for the good of all are imposed from without.
So, what happens when the government steps in to regulate a particular human trait and everyone jumps on board to ensure the law doesn't get broken? Conrad accidentally breaks one of the laws of the land and finds himself being pursued by bystanders and police alike, he quickly discovers that one simple mistake could be the end of his freedom...and possibly his life.
A short work of a dystopian future from our Orbits sci-fi/fantasy line.
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January 25, 2012
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Excerpt from Member of the Banned by Jack Ewing
Headlights painted his legs white.
Brakes shrieked and horns blared on either side.
A hard, heavy car bumper slammed into the back of his thigh, propelling him forward toward the cool, open mouth of an alley. He passed from bright noise into quiet darkness. In shadow, chest heaving, he glanced back. The cops were two blocks behind, on the opposite side of the street. Conrad saw the large dark twins, bathed now red, now green by store lights, like a pair of icebreakers cutting through a sea of pedestrians. Had they seen him cross?
He limped away down the alley, breath frighteningly loud, heart hammering like a timpani in the enclosed space. At a junction of yard-wide alleys, he turned right and scurried as fast as he could move through the narrow passage. When another dark opening loomed on his left, he ducked into it.
I'm too old for this, Conrad thought. Still moving, he clutched at a stitch in his side. His knee banged a metal trashcan against a brick wall with an explosive clatter, and he lurched on, hands outstretched to feel for obstacles.
He chided himself: How could I have been so stupid? What made me do it, right there on a public sidewalk? In front of dozens of witnesses, too!
Their faces had, by turns, registered surprise, shock, anger, disgust, and alarm when he pulled the stuff from a pocket. Like a fool, he hadn't realized, until too late, that the emotions wrinkling brows, scoring cheeks and twisting lips all around were directed at him. He was too intent upon gratification.
It had dawned on him all of a sudden. He was starting to enjoy the first effects when a piercing noise at his elbow shattered warm pleasure into cold, sharp fragments.
The shriek came from a short, dumpy woman. She wore a blue hat, its crown shaped like an open-mouthed fish lunging at a stiff red feather. She pointed at Conrad with a fat finger and screeched the same word over and over: "Police!"