The Triangle

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I looked down at the gray sheet of paper on my too small dinette table. Today was the day. They had taken my light, life, purpose, now they were going to take my humanity. I really didn’t care anymore. After they took her, they took every reason for me to care.
TO PROTECT THE PUBLIC
A harsh cackle ripped from my throat. At that moment the angry and menacing words of hate seemed funny. It was quite possible I was mad. In only a week I had lost my love, family, and job. I enjoyed being a teacher, but as if “my kind” would be around the youth. My family had been ordered to not speak to me, if they did make that mistake, they would be terrorist of the state. The horror of that possibility made me cringe. Men in boots with guns had busted into our home two days earlier. We had been expecting it. It didn’t make things any easier.
“You should be proud,” one of the putrid smelling “Protectors of the State” bellowed at our intertwined bodies. I could still feel her tears on my cheek. “She will be put to go use!” They dragged her away, laughing and make suggestive comments all the way to their truck.
I could feel my stomach protesting the memory. I ran to the sink just in time to empty my stomach. Just as the heaving stopped, a heavy pounding was at my door. I took a deep breath and ran to it knowing if I wasn’t there quickly, there would be hell to pay. The man standing on the other side of the door was a man I had known as a child. We had gone to school together. He looked into my eyes and I could see the remembrance flicker in them. He quickly looked away. I knew he was trying not to see me as a person. No one else did. It made it easier to do the things they “had” to do.
“Papers!” He grunted at me.
I pulled them out of my pockets swiftly. He snatched them from me. After looking them over quickly he stepped to the side of the small doorway.
“Walk!” He ordered me.
I walked to the parking lot where a huge truck sat idled. He opened the back and shoved the butt of the gun into my back. I crawled in quickly. Our eyes met before he slammed the door shut. I thought maybe there might have been remorse in his eyes.
Hours later the door was ripped open again. A strange fake yellow light filled my pupils and threatened to make them explode. It took me a moment to realize it was a flashlight.
“Out!”
I scampered out of the truck bed. My feet no more than hit the hard dirt than a burlap sack was trusted over my head. This did not surprise me. I was not supposed to know where I was. Makes sense. The man half pushed, half dragged me though the dirt. My joints were frozen from the cold and position they had been in for hours. We paused a moment and I heard a heavy metal door open. The man threw me in the room. I landed into the arms of another man. My chin struck something hard. My lip started bleeding.
The bag was yanked from my head. The light in the large room was false and had the buss of florescent bulbs. What looked like a hundred people and I were in a warehouse. Men and women alike were in extremely long lines. No one spoke and the only sound heard was the occasional gasp and the sizzling of flesh. There was a man next to me. He looked very tired and afraid. I felt like I should have said something. The only thing I could think of was, “What else can they take from us?” I had a feeling that wouldn’t be to comforting.
“Next!”
I yanked my head to the front. I was next. The lady in the white lap coat in front of me was exceptionally pretty. Her red hair was pulled back into a server bun that should have made her face sharp, but she looked younger, like a child. Totally obedience did that to you though. I stepped up to her. Her very wide pale blue eyes met mine. They were blank. There was no life in them.
She laid the branding iron on the coals in the metal container to her right. I only saw this in my peripheral vision. Her lifeless eyes would not let me go. They seemed to be almost sucking the life out of me. She lifted the iron. She rotated it so the triangle would appear upside down on my forehead.
“Take a deep breath.”
I kept my eyes on her as the smell of my own searing flesh invaded my nose.





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