Story fragment: arrival at Charles de Gaulle

Just added a small scene to something I edited yesterday. Feel somehow happy enough to post it here.

The main character, Elisabeth, returns from a year in Nigeria. She is home sick. She has experienced a lot that changed her view on the world. As Europe has become a very strict and protected environment, enforcing copyright and ensuring no pirated media is smuggled into the continent, there is a strict policy at the airport.

Note that this is still a raw version and there is some repetition I kind of “overlook” for now.

The crying is mostly due to mental exhaustion.

It is inspired by some video’s made when people passed the American Border Patrol. It can happen that you are isolated for no other reason but your existence and asked questions similar in content as the ones I used in this fragment: that seem to make no sense at all. When you protest this can lead to even bigger trouble and even to your arrest for suspicion of something.

The year is 2048.

[Stat of fragment, chapter 4 of “Dreams”]

I started crying.

Her hands were holding my face.

“I want to go home,” I blubbered.

And she kissed me on my forehead.

It was then and there that I realized my future would never be here, in Africa. Not then.

We collected the money for my flight to Paris, via Las Palmas using a one-day break there because the two separated flights were cheaper than a direct one.

Friday I arrived.

I was taken separately by the airport security, scanned again, questioned.

“Why do you think you are here?”

“What is the purpose of your visit?”

“Do you have any technology with you that is not allowed in Europe?”

“What did you do in Nigeria?”

“What was the purpose of your year stay?”

“Did you have any personal relationships with the people there?”

I answered each and every question as good as I could, sitting in a closed office opposite the table where two buff security people observed me, firing questions at me.

I knew software was observing my responses, tapping into my body via the chair I was sitting on, observing me via camera’s, giving feedback to the man and the woman in black.

I had prepared most of it, knowing this would come, so that the doubts in my sympathy towards my home-continent, my home country would be less conspicuous. So that I would pass this harassment without two days in a holding cell.

I knew what thoughts to avoid.

Each question had a purpose. Even though they had scanned me to the bone and each and every item in my luggage was categorized and identified, one thing was still unchecked: my mind.

It must have been some response as I had passed the gates. Some thing I had overlooked. Some poster or some response to a person that had been registered.

I felt like crying, felt the tears well up.

“Why are you crying?” the woman asked, her voice as flat and cold as it had been through the entire interrogation.

I blinked.

“I had hoped to meet my father by now,” which was true. “I miss home. I just wanted to be home.”

I knuckled my nose, my eyes, looked at the two.

“Do you have a tissue?”

I accepted the tissue from the man.

“Why do you think you are here?” the woman asked again, harsh, cold.

“I do not know. I really do not know,” I said, stabilizing my breathing. I looked at the table. “I must have triggered something.”

#

My father was waiting at the arrivals hall, face worried and lighting up as I exited the checkpoint. My European wearable had reset itself, wiped itself clean using the protocols for foreign visits: removing all possible contaminations and moving back to the pristine state it had been when I had left a year ago.

It was 10:00 in the evening and his cheeks were grey from the beard that was coming up.

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