“He was spreading lies about the existence of a Creator.”
Stian has committed to ultimate crime of Arde Sapere; now his life lies in the hands of the ruthless Triumvirate. But his part in the future isn’t over – he may be the last one who can find the fabled Creator, but whether he likes what he’ll find is another matter.
Chaya is a short story of betrayal and enlightenment in a dystopian future.
‘What is his crime?’ the trio questioned.
There was a moment of silence as the Triumvirate’s eyes dropped briefly to Stian. ‘Aude sapere,’ they repeated.
Then, around the hall the Watchers droned, ‘Aude sapere…aude sapere…’
It was a chilling sound – overwhelming, robotic repetition.
‘Aude sapere…aude sapere…’
The Triumvirate raised their hands and the room was silenced again. Their palms returned, simultaneously, to the table.
‘How was his crime committed?’
‘He was spreading lies about the existence of a Creator.’
Lies! How could Acero have fallen for this faulted view of their world? How could he have followed them into their denial after such passion he lived in his youth?
‘There is no Creator,’ the voices corrected.
The watchers repeated almost immediately. ‘There is no Creator.’
‘Precisely,’ Acero looked to Stian and sneered. ‘There is no Creator.’
Acero. The one he had known a long time ago was gone. He was given no time to mourn as two guards at the gates lunged forwards, pulling Stian from the floor and forcing him to stand. Acero turned meticulously back to the Triumvirate.
‘And so you must sentence him.’
Those six dark, cold eyes fell to Stian in a single movement and fixed upon him. ‘He will be sentenced. For the crime of Aude Sapere, the sentence is…’
Stian waited and watched, reeling in fear, boiling with anger – the hall was silent, all eyes on him. Acero knew how it would end. It was clear in his eyes. Though, as the light bounced from them, those eyes that had been a deep shade of brown a long time before had brightened almost to green.
‘Emancipation,’ the Triumvirate damned.
Stian couldn’t breathe as he tried to decipher his fate. ‘What is that? What does that mean?’ he croaked, unable to prevent a pleading look seeking out Acero.
The guard cracked him across the face and he dropped weakly to the floor. The Triumvirate returned to their ignorance of the prisoner. Acero nodded in their favour and marched towards the gates as they were pulled back open. ‘Bring him.’
But the lights went out.
Acero’s footsteps slowed to a halt. A strange sucking sound ripped into the air –
– a BOOM – a zip of lightning exploded from the centre of the room. Someone was there in the flickering light, knelt down.
The spark ripped through Acero, the Triumvirate, the Watchers; they all fell limp.