Dystopia Chapter 28

From the Story Arc: Dystopia

Previous Story in the Arc: Dystopia Chapter 24 by Krasniy Zakat (Saturday, August 19, 2006)

Next Story in the Arc: Dystopia Chapter 25 by Krasnaya Zarya (Wednesday, August 23, 2006)

(posted Monday, August 21, 2006)

Sofia kicked out inexpertly at the two thugs holding her arms pinned to her body and snarled. Her shoe caught something hard and the man on her left yelped out in pain. The declaration of independence from her side followed suit by a rude and painful slap. She saw stars.

All right, she was seeing stars for the last ten minutes, since the louts encircled her; stars on the shiny hats, stars on their shoulder pads. They sent in a Senior-Lieutenant to snare her out; each one of his shoulders alone sprouted three stars, to boot. She bit her lip in frustration, thinking how desperately everything had gone wrong, all of a sudden. Resigning herself to another slap, she tried once again to struggle out of her captors’ grasp, but they were big boys, and held her in an iron grip. Screaming didn’t seem a good idea, so when the expected-but-now-irrelevant slap arrived anyway, enthusiastic and stinging, she bit her lip down in preparation for the pain.

Things have been going if not exactly well, certainly relatively tolerably. Despite her various anxieties – some of them perhaps baseless, but some of them firmly grounded – this particular one had not yet appeared on her list. Not quite so fast, anyway. She was – always had been, and tried to make herself so on purpose – inconspicuous. Even when the ominous black vehicle appeared in front of her eyes, she had not suspected. Or perhaps it had been in the nature of denial? She was good in denial; so many things out there that were simply not worth knowing, and it even helped, sometimes.

Still… she had done nothing to elicit this unwelcome attention. She’d made a phone call, that was all she had done. An innocent number that didn’t even get a reply. Now that she thought about it, perhaps that was ominous in and of itself, but it only became so in the context of the appearing security agents.

“Citizen Rabinovich?” they asked her. “We are here to take you in. please come quietly.”

That was when reality burst upon her, crystal-clear, and hysteria nearly took over.

For the first five minutes, she still tried to retain some semblance of civility and object verbally. From “I did nothing. Please explain to me what I have done that you decided to bring me in.” she rapidly degenerated into a tranced, “Leave me alone! You have no right!” attitude that, just like her previous sensibility, didn’t help much.

After that, they grabbed her to prevent escape – as if she had anywhere to go – and pinned her arms. The two men holding her now were stereotypically burly and, she knew, quite professional. Capable of hurting a slight, not-too-athletic woman in her forties? Oh, yes.

Hysteria was welcome to take its warranted, richly deserved place then, and Sofia kicked out and lashed, flailing uselessly. They were strong, she was not. They had a secure grip on her, and the high army shoes protected their toes from the feeble attempts to inflict what damage her low heeled, soft ones could. She could not move her arms enough to punch them with her fists, and their stance – slightly to the side, as well as behind her back – prevented an attempt by her standard, unlimber physique to deliver a knee to their alluring groins.

There will be no reading of rights; this was Russia, and these were professional agents. Her future for the next hour or so was quite clear; she would be taken away in the black sinister vehicle that was now parked below, and then asked numerous questions. After that… well, nobody knew for certain. There were some cases in which people that were taken away have returned, but this would not be one of them. She had no illusions. The mere fact that they knew her name, knew to come for her, was enough.

The routine followed as expected. She was taken by the arms and pulled – walk or have your bones broken – along with the two men in uniforms. Marched down the stairs on to the unnaturally empty street. Where previously there had been people, there was now only silence and the windows all featured heavy, drawn curtains. Sofia knew, however, that behind the curtains were many pairs of fascinated eyes, watching her depart with varying emotions. She was certain, though she could not see, that some would have pity on their face, and some would have jealous joy written all over it. But, without exception, there will be fear.

She looked around frantically, while walking the few short meters to the car. Maple, oak, fir… nowhere did she spot what she was both desperately hoping, and desperately afraid to see. A horrible suspicion began to creep into her mind; perhaps everything had been a ruse, perhaps it had all been staged to win over her loyalty, and convince her. Then everything crashed. This was not a world where innocence was easily found, and not one where it was kept. Everybody was an informer, if not an outright agent, of the government.

“Damn you,” she whispered urgently, “for this deception.”

Then one of the agents was pushing her face against the side of the black, sleek vehicle, and the other was clamping handcuffs on her wrists, twisting them to pain. As if they needed to cuff her. As if she could run away.

They pushed her head down when they practically tossed her into the back, but they were not cautious, and she hit her head on the side of the car. The concentration she was trying to evoke throughout the encounter – futile attempt to shift the balance of force at least a little bit in her favour – had dissipated with the pain of the hit. She gave a muffled cry, and was rudely slapped again.

Almost against her will, tears sprung to her eyes, and she began sobbing softly. The two burly agents that held her hands sprang in, each to one side of her, and a third – the driver, most likely – tossed a sack under their feet. It clanged metallically, and Sofia recognized the electronics from the rucksack.

Then she felt upon her arm the sting of a needle, and emitted a high pitched, horrified cry.

“No! No! Don’t drug me! Don’t you dare drug me you… you…”

The world was blurring around her, colours dancing in front of her eyes, and her mouth was suddenly very numb and very dry. She felt her tongue losing its agility, the shouts becoming feebler. After a little bit more she felt nothing at all, except a vague sensation of a rapid motion.

“But why are you taking me?” she mumbled sleepily, her voice losing its intonations as the drug took effect.

“You are going to talk to your husband for us. Convince him to behave.”

She struggled to surface from her void, fear giving her momentary relief from the drug, but the chemicals were relentless and she sank back with utter despair.

Then not even that.