The Dome had stood longer than memory could recall. The inhabitants of The Dome followed a set of tenets known as The Orders, these rules superceded and replaced all the laws and religions of humankind. Such was the power of The Orders, that knowledge of anything that could undermine their authority was punishable by a kind of death known as ‘Re-Utilisation’ and the victim forgotten to history. The Orders which governed the lives of the inhabitants of The Dome had effectively wiped out all knowledge of its origins, and the cataclysm that had befallen the world. The hermetically sealed structure separated the survivors of humanity, from the arid wastelands that lay beyond its carefully constructed shell.
This is Earth, and this is the future.
Elias watched the proceedings from his elevated position of OverWatch. The gathered people all looked towards the raised dais, those furthest away fixing their eyes on the screens that relayed the events of the twice daily assembly. The Chancellor raised his arms and said, “The morning…” the assembly joined in, “a new day. We follow The Orders so that we may see another day.” The silence was interjected by the resonant sound of a single bell tolling. The speaker raised his arms again. “We are thankful to those who have chosen Re-Utilisation so that we may continue our purpose.” Below him the people said, “We are thankful.”
Once the echoes had died away, he announced, “And may the names, and words of the Objectioners be forgotten. The morning…”
“A new day. We follow The Orders so that we may see another day.” Echoed from the gathered masses.
As he looked at the congregation, Elias’s eyes flicked to the three Objectioners who were held just out of sight of the crowd. The sight of them brought back the events of the previous night. Again he had woken from unexpectedly. At the end of each day, every inhabitant of The Dome entered their sleep cycle; a medicinally induced dreamless sleep. The previous night, like many others before, had been anything other than uneventful.
It was the third night in a row that he had woken from the recurring dream. He had dreamt of water falling from the sky. There was so much of it that it started to rise from the ground, filling The Dome. As it rose up around him, he had reached out to his wife, but was unable to grasp her outstretched hand. When he slipped below the surface of the water, unable to breathe, he had woken with a start, gasping for air. His wife lay next to him in her dreamless slumber.
He got up soundlessly from their bed, and took another sleep med. As he popped his head back to swallow it, he suddenly felt as though he was choking, he bent forward and water began pouring from his mouth. It was gushing from his throat with such ferocity that the small room he was in began to fill with water. As he watched the water erupt from his mouth he realised a desperate need for air. He was drowning. Falling backwards he splashed into the water that was filling the room, fluid oozing from his mouth. As he began to lose consciousness he sat upright, the water gone. Gasping for air, his wife lay next to him in her continued dreamless slumber.
He got up soundlessly from their bed and sat at the small dining table in the other room. He wasn’t sure what was going on in his mind. These images while he slept disturbed him. There should be nothing during the sleep cycle. He put his head in his hands, wondering what he should do. If they continued, he would have to admit to the Investigators that there was something wrong with his mind. He would then surely be sent for Re-Utilisation, something that he wanted to avoid at all costs.
He rubbed his eyes; as he raised his head he immediately regretted it. Involuntarily he pressed himself back against his chair. In front of him stood the three hooded figures of the Objectioners. They were drenched, water poured in rivulets from their clothes. One of them held out a clenched fist towards Elias, he opened his hand and as if in slow motion a valve lever, the type found on large carrier pipes, dropped from it. Elias watched, mesmerised, as it fell towards the table, turning slowly in the air so that he could see every side of it. The sound at the point of impact hit Elias like a hammerblow to the chest. It was so loud he felt as though his insides were going to explode, making him lose his breath. He sat forward in his chair to get some air back in to his lungs but found himself sitting upright in bed. His wife lay next to him in her continued dreamless slumber. His wife’s meds were obviously working. If his weren’t, then he’d no longer be fit for service. The result would be Re-Utilisation.
Elias looked around, realising that as he recalled the events of the previous night, he hadn’t been paying attention to the proceedings below him. Concern that someone was watching him, and may somehow know what he was thinking, washed over him in a wave of fear. The noise of the door opening at the end of the chamber snapped his attention away from his own thoughts, and back to the events of the assembly. The people parted to make a path from one end of the chamber to the doors at the other. Twenty individuals, all wearing the black uniform of those heading for Re-Utilisation, made their way through the path cleared for them. Their uniform contrasted the usual grey garb worn by the rest of the populace. Each person they passed touched them and said, “Thanks be with you.” To which they replied. “And with you.” Their names were read out by the Chancellor, although his words were hardly audible over the greetings and platitudes offered up from the people. As the final black-clad figure passed, the gathered people turned their backs to the path. Behind them, a cowled figure led three figures along the path. Although dressed similarly to those who had passed before them, these individuals were shackled together, with hoods over their heads. There was silence in the hall.
“Their names, their actions, their words, forgotten. They never existed.” Boomed the Chancellor.
“They never existed.” The crowd echoed.