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The Future Of The Past
No Past Crime Goes Unpunished
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ISBN-10: 1-77115-296-6
Genre: Science Fiction/Dark Fantasy
eBook Length: 201 Pages
Published: April 2016

From inside the flap

A young man is being questioned in an interrogation room. He does not know his crime but he knows why he is there. A young woman is brought in and introduced as his RECESSIVE JUDGE. She has the folder with the sundial emblem. They hold the results of his SOUL SCREENING, the government’s new initiative. As the young man reflects on recent events, it soon becomes clear the crime he is about to be accused of was committed in a past life and he knows only too well how dire the punishment will be. All this is a year from now. The existence of the soul is scientifically proven. Our past lives are real. Our past crimes are real. Now we must pay for them.

The Future Of The Past (Excerpt)

DAY 561

The room is everything you expected it to be, all except the long windows. You didn't think there'd be windows in a prison. There is an orange glow from the street outside and you can still hear the snap and crack of stone hitting shields. The chants have got louder since you were first hauled in here. Their voices scream and crumble against the prison walls and you see their cheap homemade cardboard signs in your mind.

Sergeant Cartwright walks into the room, he's carrying something big and flat and it's getting in his way.

A woman follows in behind him; she's carrying a black briefcase, all official. There's a red badge in the shape of a sundial pinned to her blouse. She's a regressive judge. You've heard about these. Your stomach churns and you feel a cold sweat trickle over your forehead.

She stays close to Cartwright, peering around his shoulders to get her first look at you.

'Mr Stoakes, this is Melanie Taylor...' says Cartwright, gesturing to the small woman at his side. She attempts a smile. You notice her thick waxy lipstick and how it runs too wide over her mouth. You say, "Hi". This seems to comfort her, she nods and sits.

Cartwright lifts the flat object onto the table and slides it towards you. You look down upon it. It's the painting from your bedroom, the one you paid five pounds for at that auction, a lifetime ago.

"You recognise this?" asks Cartwright, his voice already confident of your answer.

You look over the smooth surface of the water colour. A man sits upon his grey horse high above a soft green pasture. Cigarette smoke twists into the air in front of him. His blue coat and square hat made you think he was French. Behind him a red horse follows on reins, its glossy coat shimmers despite the cloud cover.

It was the reason you bought the painting. The great red horse reminded you so much of Hazel, the pony your mother kept when you were just a child.

"Yes." You shrug, wondering why the painting has anything to do with anything.

The woman starts nodding, agreeing with no one in particular.

"There is some link, you know. When you bought this painting you probably chose it subconsciously," she says.

You take a deep breath as she leans down and picks up her briefcase. She places it on the table. You can't stop your hands shaking. Any moment now they will show you what you didn't want to know. What you fought so hard to escape from while the world pushed against you.

You catch your breath.

"Please, you beg, "I don't want to see it. Just sentence me and let me do my time. I don't need to know."

The woman places a red file on the table. You notice your name on it, written below the sundial emblem and the crest of parliament. She gives you a half smile; she seems genuinely sorry. You didn't expect that of a regressive judge. You heard they were trained to be tough, unemotional and unforgiving.

"I am sorry but it is the law. According to article five of the past crime act, you must be aware of all crimes and their evidence, committed by you in your last three re-generations," she says, looking anywhere but at you.

Suddenly there is a flash of light and a thud that echoes throughout the stone room. The woman, Melanie, screams and covers her head with her hands. Cartwright doesn't flinch. He simply scrapes his chair across the floor and walks to the window that's just been hit.

"Fire bomb." He shrugs, looking down into the street. You see a slip, just a small change in his face. What is the expression? He yanks down the blinds and you realise it was fear.

As Cartwright sits back down, you hear the voices outside getting louder. There is a loud roar, screaming and then spluttering. They must have brought out the water hose. Melanie is shaking now; you notice the pink hue of her eyelids and the small watery smudge of her mascara. Emotional, scared. Not like a regressive judge at all.

"Please go on, Miss Taylor." Cartwright puts a hand on her shoulder. She struggles with a smile and picks up the paperwork. A slip of paper breaks away from the pile. You see a name written on it. Idris Davies. She tries to hide it from you but you've already read it and it's made you sweat.

"This is your record, Mr Stoakes," she says, her breath quick and short. "It is relatively clean, in comparison to the rest of the UK." She smiles wide now. The good news, she enjoys giving you that.

"But in your most recent life, I regret to tell you, there was a crime." She frowns. Your whole body stiffens, you feel that familiar warm swirling in your stomach and you want to be sick. This is why you didn't want to know, why you didn't have yourself tested when the rest of the country exploded into a mania, queuing for weeks, spending every last penny, desperate to know who they were, who they are.

"Please," you beg, "I really don't want to know."

The woman apologizes again, but she carries on anyway...