Author : Steve Smith, Staff Writer
It’s a strange thing, knowing exactly when you’re going to die. Luther had become accustomed to the idea; the arrest, the charge of treason. He knew it was a death sentence the moment they’d kicked down his door. He was surprised only at how easily he faced the imminence of his demise.
At least he’d made a difference, challenged the status quo and been heard. That they were killing him just crossed the ‘t’ of his righteousness.
A squat camera droid regarded him dully from outside his cell, the red ‘recording’ light glowing softly on its head.
The droid perked up suddenly, hoisting another camera off its body to cover the approach of three people from down the cell block.
Luther closed his eyes and let the rumble of booted feet reach him through the floor; felt rather than heard the figures stop outside his cell and only moved when the flood of fresh air signaled the opening of the cell door.
“Luther King, prisoner nine two zero seven seven six, charged with the spreading of propaganda deemed treasonous by the Government of the People and having been found guilty in a court of law, the time has come to carry out your sentence.” Two helmeted soldiers flanked the doorway as the Emissary of the Government looked down at him, letting his words echo in the small room.
“Doesn’t matter if you kill me, someone else will take my place.” Luther returned the icy stare, belief and strength of purpose calming his nerves.
“Oh, quite the contrary, I think that when we kill you, we’ll find a marked reduction in the number of people who are willing to take your place.” His thin lips parted from wide white teeth, forming the ghost of a smile.
“You think you’re all so clever, but for all your eyes and ears you can’t see the people rising up beneath you. I’ve infected dozens with the truth, and you can’t stop that truth from spreading like wild fire.”
“Actually, Luther, you’ve inflicted your lies upon exactly twenty two people in the forty seven days since you first spoke out,” he paused for a moment, enjoying the subtle changes in posture his words compelled, “you see, we knew the moment you broke the law. Twenty one days is the optimum period prior to arrest. If we’d simply killed you, as we once would have done, no one would understand why you died; your death would have held no value for us. In twenty one days you’ve shared your ideas enough for them to remember, but not enough to understand. Enough to notice your departure, but not so many as to tip the scale. They’ll know exactly why you’ve died, Luther, and just how dangerous your ideas can be.”
“You can’t believe people will see my punishment as fair, you can’t expect them to take your side. You lose, you kill me and you lose. You’re just making me a martyr to the cause.” Luther’s voice was cracking noticeably, this wasn’t right, what was being said couldn’t be true.
“You don’t seem to understand Luther. We intend to take you out to the gallows where you will swing by the neck until you are dead. Right now people are clearing their dinner tables and tuning in to watch the show. Our killing you has nothing to do with punishment Luther, it’s entirely a matter of deterrence.” The Emissary smiled. “Your death itself is of little consequence Luther, it’s the ceremony of your death, the ceremony of your death will punctuate our point quite nicely.”