They’d been going for over an hour and still Cory had no idea where they were headed. He knew why of course, but that didn’t help at all. Had James taken him to bring him to safety, or had he arrived at the end? Not knowing was killing him. He’d read somewhere that in the past they used to have these things called court cases in which people who had been accused of a crime were given the opportunity to defend themselves, prove their innocence, but he wasn’t sure whether or not he believed that. The concept was fantastic, of course, but no matter how hard he tried, Cory couldn’t imagine a world in which those decisions weren’t taken by the Ubers, and obeyed by the rest.
The Ubers had decided Cory needed to be discarded. They hadn’t divulged the manner in which his demise was supposed to be achieved and thus he’d no idea whether or not this trip was taking him to wherever he was going to be executed or something else. James hadn’t said a word since he’d pick Cory up from the cellar in which they’d kept him prisoner. He’d pointed with his hands to indicate directions but hadn’t spoken. Cory had known better than to speak without permission and thus he found himself guessing.
He still didn’t know how they’d discovered his secret. He’d played by the rules, obeyed all the orders and behaved like everybody else. He’d only felt the emotions, he’d never acted on them and had been so very careful to keep them secret. So how had they known?
Cory sighed as he stared at James’s back. His shoulders moved back and forwards as he moved the alternate sides of the pedal through the water, pushing the canoe forwards over the smooth, mirror-like, lake at a steady pace.
It had had to be James too. But then again, if they had indeed known, they had probably decided it made the punishment even harsher, fit the crime better. In a society where you were only allowed to love the person who fitted you according to a computer algorithm, Cory had had the misfortune of falling for a man who hadn’t been his designated fit. And it wasn’t as if there’d been anything wrong with Alan. Alan had been tall, blond, handsome and very kind. He’d also completely failed to make Cory’s heart stutter the way just the thought of James did.
Another hour passed before Cory saw land in the distance. Another sixty minutes of icy silence from James and growing fear for Cory. It wasn’t even that he was afraid of dying. He’d resigned himself to his fate. Truth be told, he didn’t want to live a life in which he’d be forced to deny and hide his feelings. Not knowing how he was going to meet his end was a different story. Imagining all the possible ways had his stomach tied into knots.
“We’re almost there”
After almost three hours of silence, James’ voice came as a shock.
“Almost where?” Cory whispered his question but the quiet lake carried his voice to the front of the canoe.
“The end of the journey.”
The journey, not your journey. Cory registered the difference and tried very hard not to give it a meaning.
“What happens next?”
“I’ve no idea,” James said without turning to look at Cory.
Cory watched as James landed the boot. After they both got out, the canoe drifted away.
“You too?” Cory asked.
If you want to read more, please visit the Monday Flash Fics Facebook group where more stories based on this image will be posted and you can also have a look at older pictures and stories if you haven’t done so in the past.
Thank you, Brigham Vaughn, for doing your usual good work as my proof reader. You’ve saved me from many an embarrassing mistake.