Immigration Poem By D.I. Jolly
The sun had just started creeping over the horizon when Jack woke. He sat up quickly and did his usual sweep of the camp, but calmed when he spotted Frank sitting up by the now smouldering fire.
“Don’t worry my friend, it was another gentle night. Imperial troops almost never come this far south anyway.”
Jack got up and walked over to join his friend and watch the sunrise.
“Habits, I guess.”
“I know, I know.”
“Did you get much sleep?”
Jack asked after a minute,
“Yes, your boy managed his shift although I suspect he was mostly asleep by the time I took over. He’s turning into a good man.”
They both looked over at the still sleeping teenager and smiled. Then a thoughtful look came over Jack’s face.
“Well hopefully at the end of this pilgrimage he’ll have to opportunity to continue doing that.”
Frank put a reassuring hand on his friend’s shoulder but said nothing. They let the young man sleep for an hour longer before waking him to help pack up and continue on their journey. Both Frank and Jack knew that they only had a weeks’ worth of supplies left and if they didn’t find a safe settlement in that time things were going to get bad in a hurry. All three had been indentured servants to the empire for most of their lives and had met while in the serves of some descendant of a wealthy heiress, who spent most of her time proving her wealth by spending it on extravagant status symbols. Joshua had been the child of one of her other servants who had died from an unknown medical condition. Jack had adopted Joshua as his own and set to raise him. As he’d gotten older Joshua had started to grow into a handsome man and was drawing the attention of their owner in a way that made Jack worried and afraid. Then one night during an over the top parties at the house Jack and Frank stumbled onto an opportunity. One of the guests had, while extremely intoxicated, started playing with the houses control panels and unlocked all the doors. This gave the men the chance to not only leave the premises but also raid the overstocked supply rooms. Which they did as soon as they felt it wasn’t a trap and made their escape.
For the first few days, the travelled at night and hid during the day. Once they made it out of the city they left the road and took the safer but harder path through the wilderness. Now weeks down the line they were hoping to be far enough away that they could safely enter a settlement or town without fear of being turned in for punishment. Provided they found a settlement or town.
A few more days past as they continued their trek, ever southward, until they reached a high ridge and saw what Frank had been silently fearing. They looked down at a massive wall which seemed to spread off endlessly in both directions.
“What the hell is that?”
Said Joshua astounded.
‘That’s the wall. Originally erected to keep others out, now used to keep us in.”
Jack turned to his old friend.
“You mean you knew this was here?”
“I knew it was somewhere, I didn’t know how close or far away it was.”
Jack sat down where he stood and stared at it, a feeling of defeat spreading up his spine.
“I still don’t understand.”
“Well, just before the empire was formed walls were built at all the countries borders, ostensibly to keep unwanted visitors from other countries out. But as we fell further into decadence and decay and we became more isolated. Those same countries we’d all been told were dangerous and beneath us, started to patrol the walls to make sure none of us could leave. Trapping us in the prison we had unknowingly made for ourselves. The leader continued to tell us all that it was ‘part of their plan to keep us all safe from the outside invaders who wanted to take what we all had’ and ‘that it was part of their plan to make them pay for it so that the people could have more.’ Only when the chips fell the people in power got more and the people got nothing. The Empire was eventually formed in spite of the outside worlds attempts at legal intervention of the new laws being created and overnight we were locked out of the rest of the world.”
Jack threw his hands up in frustration.
“So that’s it, we can’t go any further? Do we have to turn back? What if we go down and explain out situation? Ask for help? We have to try.”
Frank swallowed to steady his nerves, trying not to think about the stories he’d heard about how other countries treated immigrants.
“I guess, I guess we don’t have a choice.”
They made their way to the outpost and stopped when guns were raised at them.
“Wait please, we’re, we’re escaped indentured servants seeking refuge. Please, don’t shoot.”
The guards look at the three men,
“Let’s see you barcode stamps.”
Cold sweat poured down Frank and Jacks faces knowing that this meant they had to turn around. Which they did and the barcodes on the back of their necks were clearly visible. The guards quickly lowered their guns.
“Oh my God it’s true. Come quickly you must be tired come, come please.”
The guards rushed over to help them with their packs and lead them through the outpost and into a shelter. Nurses were called to check their health and food and water were presented. Once fed and checked they were taken to a small office and asked to wait, being told someone would be with them soon, to get their details and help them. They all sat in stunned silence unsure what was happening, and Frank stared at a large poster on the wall which read. “Don’t worry, everything you’ve heard about us, is a lie.”