After the Individual

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Chapter 3.

The Imperia were closing in on Chester. They kept an ever-closer eye upon him. Chester, unaware of this, continued to snap.

Until one day he returned home to find a man in a black suit on his doorstep.

He was a very sharp-looking man in a crisp suit. As Chester walked towards him, the man instructed him to leave the camera on the floor and turn around.

Chester’s heart sank deep into his stomach, but he complied and lowered his camera.

The man then silently and swiftly picked the camera up and walked past Chester.

Chester raced into house to Suzanna, heart beating and hands trembling. ‘Did you see what happened?’

‘They took my camera! They took my camera! This is bad! This is really bad!’

‘Ok! Ok! Keep your voice down...you don’t know yet. And they’re listening, remember!’ Suzanna said in a stern but assuring manner.

She did tell him, however.

‘You do need to get rid of everything from your dark room.’

‘No way!’ he protested. ‘That’s my art! It’s trees and buildings!’

‘Ok well, maybe I am over-reacting now,’ Suzanna said. ‘Let’s wait and see!’ She did not sound convinced.

John looked on, worried at his frantic parents.

A couple of weeks went by. They convinced themselves they had been spared.

Until one day when Suzanna sat rearranging some flowers by the window, six Imperia enforcers lined up in front of their house. The black attire was hard to miss. They stood staring at the house.

‘huuuggggaaahhh!’ she gasped.

‘Chester! They’re here! They’re here!’ She screamed frantically.

Chester, who had been upstairs, ran down. ‘Who?’

A loud knock resounded in response.

He walked forward slowly and opened the door.

‘Hands please!’ The enforcer ordered. ‘Noooo! Nooo! Noo!’ Suzanna legs gave away in fear.

Both were placed in hand ties and order to kneel back to back.

They looked up at the enforcers standing on their either sides, staring down at them.

The house was thoroughly searched.

As Chester had dreaded, they carried out all of his photographs and camera equipment.

Before also dragging Chester with them.

‘Nooooo!’ Suzanna shouted. ‘Please don’t take him...He’s done nothing!’

John was standing in the corner of the living room, scared and bawling.

While he was led away, Chester yelled out, ‘Love you both! I’ll come back don’t worry!’

The enforcers untied Suzanna’s hands and gave her a note.

’Dear Citizen,

Your cohabitant has been taken to one of our security camps. This is for your safety and mutual benefit.

Your cohabitant needs treatment and needs to see the light. He needs to learn the ways of the Imperia.

Your cohabitant has been convicted of planning anti-Imperia propaganda.

Convicted of this crime, he will now remain at the camp until he is considered fit to be a citizen of the Imperia once again.

The length of time at the camp will depend on how long it takes him to prove he is cured.

If he does not learn his lesson, he will not leave.

The removal of this citizen from society is strictly confidential.

You must not discuss this with anyone else.

Any discussion of where or how the citizen was taken will have fatal consequences for you and anyone you inform.

To be burnt after reading.

Signed,

The Imperia.’

Suzanna let out a loud, long scream.

She continued crying. John ran over and they embraced, both in a pool of tears.

She continued crying throughout the night.

‘He’ll be alight, he’ll be alright. He’s strong! He’ll be alright.’ She repeated to John as they lay in the bed in the darkness.

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