PROCEDURE – DHYANA

Below is a short story featuring Dhyana, a supporter of the Seed & Spark campaign to raise funds for the short film “Have Wine, Will Travel“. Wanna see your name in a tale? Check out the campaign page here: Have Wine, Will Travel S&S Campaign

Enjoy!

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“Hey y’all, remove that item!” The voice was springy and alive, a chipper reverberation on an otherwise quiet morning. The words CLEAR TRAY flashed, green letters on a black screen.

Dhyana wondered, not for the first time, why this country voice was chosen. It’s not like they were all jammed in the southern USA. A desert doesn’t automatically denote country-western, right?

Same questions, different day.

She pulled her box of wine off of the checkout stand, and waited for the screen to stop flashing. “Y’all are so sweet! Put that item right back on there, would ya?”

Dhyana placed the box of wine back on the checkout tray and put her finger behind her ear, clicking her volume intake levels lower in case that computerized twang returned. Instead, the screen flashed SCAN FOR CREDIT PAY in bright green letters. Dhyana extended her wrist and tapped her fingers to her thumb in her personalized combination. The laser under the screen scanned her thumbnail, and her credit was accepted.

She carried the box of wine outside the store pod and looked up. The clouds were fast dissipating overhead overhead and the dark object crept along the sky, growing closer and larger by the minute. It was almost time.

She hurried back to her home pod, questioning the existence of monetary transfers on the Colony, but at the same time not giving a damn. Her knees had been recently polished in preparation of the Procedure, but that didn’t hide their wear. Or her anxiety. 120 years was a long time to have the same knees, was a long time for anyone to have kept living. But she wanted to get home again, to smell the air and taste the wine – real wine.

She reached her pod and her neighbor was already outside, setting up her chair. “Gonna be quick I thinkssss-s-s.” Betty’s vocal programming was on the fritz again. She was likely to ask Dhyana to fix it later, and Dhyana would oblige – or not, depending on how the Procedure turned out.

“I think it will be, too.”

“That’ssss-s-s the right idea!” Betty showed off her own box from which she sipped. She sat, adjusting the angle of her chair so she faced the sun.

Dhyana changed into her lighter-wear clothing collection, tossed her hair back and put on her headband and sunglasses. She adjusted her bracelet and anklet – comfort items, gifts from family members sending messages from back home. Perhaps they would bring Dhyana luck to join them.

Box of wine under her arm, Dhyana sat in her chair next to Betty. She took a sip, and the liquid was somehow glorious and calmed her nerves. The advertisements about the Procedure were old and full of glowing reviews to encourage people to relax, and to participate. Dhyana felt ready. She didn’t want another twenty years on the Colony to prepare and repair until the next Procedure.

Apparently Betty wasn’t ready as she ran hard to her pod and slammed the door. Dhyana thought about chasing her, making sure she was alright, but the darkness came quick.

She pressed on her eyebrow and the filter slid over her pupil, allowing her to look up just as the Earthling ship passed over the sun, an alien eclipse, returned to bring more of them back home. It was her time, she could feel it. She took another drink of wine, tossed the box to the ground. The label stared back at her as though giving a sad goodbye:

Red Planet Polar Vineyards. The rare white wine blend. Not as bad as one would think.

Dyana watched as the lightbeam grew brighter, felt herself pulled from her chair, rising off the ground, red dust swirling up around her.

Dhyana was going to go back home.

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