The Deterrent


Every day, twice a day, I would ride past the Nightstone Work Camp. Every day, twice a day, I would be haunted by the gaunt staring faces of young men and women, old age didn’t happen in the camps.

Visceral faces desperately waiting to die. Survival was pointless they would never get out. This was the price of crime. No matter what the crime, the sentence was the same: the work camp and utter desperation until death. As a deterrent I must admit it worked as the crime levels had fallen dramatically. But it was still inhumane and cruel.

I would see them but never hear them. Their voices silenced by hunger, pain and sadness. If I caught a glimpse into the eyes I could see that sadness, that deep inner knowledge that fate was sealed and it was inevitable. Death would come, slowly and painfully it would come.

Every day, twice a day, I would see their faces etched with hunger and shadowed by fear. The authorities allowed minimal food, just enough to keep them alive so they could work. Theirs was the mundane, dirty jobs that kept the city infrastructure running smoothly for upright citizens who lived crime-free lives, citizens like me.

For me, and many like me, who worked in the financial district the comfy life didn’t rest easy. Every day, twice a day, we would be reminded of the cost of our freedom to live this easy life.


©JG Farmer 2018

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