Drama Sad

Thick, fat raindrops assaulted the pavement. Dagny looked out his office window. He’d have to walk to the train station in this. He’d been expecting rain, but this was a downpour. Well, it’s not like he’d rather stay late just to avoid a little water.

At 17:08 he joined the sea of black umbrellas, navigating the swirling currents of pedestrians trying to find the stream of traffic headed to the station. He let his mind soften into the rhythmic pounding of feet and rain, a meditative silence that was abruptly broken when,

“Arne” The stranger from another life had a gaze that felt like fire. Dagny pointedly did not look at the man and pushed past him. “Please listen to me”, the stranger reached out and grabbed Dagny’s shoulder. 

“Arne is dead!” Dagny did not raise his voice, but the words dripped with venom as he shook off the man. “I don’t know you, but I know of your type. I want nothing to do with that past” The stranger looked hurt. Like Dagny had sucker punched his kidney, but he didn’t try to board the train after him.

Dagny sighed and looked blankly out the train window trying not to think. Pouring himself a stiff drink when he got home, he dutifully recorded every detail from the incident from earlier.


 “Good morning Mr. Handson” the Liberation Center’s secretary, Mrs. Jorgenson, greeted him warmly.

“Good morning Freja, after my appointment I have an incident report for Stg. Keller” Dagny walked down the cheerful corridors to the room. An unassuming door, the room was the heart of  the nation’s Liberation Program. He took a deep breath as he opened the plain door and gazed at the monstrosities of mechanitry that were mounted on the chair at the center.

“Mr. Handson, are you ready to begin your pretreatment screening?” Nurse Anderson smiled kindly. Dagny gave a short, apprehensive nod. “Good, first have you had any flashbacks or vivid dreams about your old life this last week?” A shake of the head, “Good. Have you had any vague notions or unsettling feelings of de’ ja vu?” Again, a shake of the head. “Good, any curiosity of remembering who you were or what you did that is outside the public record?” 

And so the form continued. All questions getting at the basic concept: Did Dagny Handson want to give up his rehabilitated, societal life and go back to the infamous Arne Olson- domestic terrorist? Or did he want to continue forgetting that old life and move on?

“There is one thing” Dagny interjected at the end of the questionnaire, “I saw a man at the train station the other day. He called me by my old name, I have the incident report here for the sargent, but I’d like an extra strong round this week, just to be safe”

“Of course Mr. Handson” And with that, the nurse strapped Dagny into the Liberation Machine that would work it’s magic to prevent him from recalling any event before he surrendered to the state 5 years ago. Of course, he still knew of the events and the life he lived beforehand, but he did not want to remember any of that. He let his body and then his mind soften into the metal miracle that softly washed away the built up residue of his mind trying to reform connections to his long term memories from before his first treatment.


The next day Dagny spent in agitation. Instead of the quiet Sunday he had planned for himself, his mind was preoccupied by the stranger at the train station. Surely, he had known Arne and wanted to see if he could get in touch with him. Would he try and kidnap him? Hold him against his will until the effects of the Liberation process started to wear off without their weekly upkeep? Would these men be so bold as to try and do something at his own house? Even after they gave him a chance to file the police report? Dagny was only sure of one thing: these people were no good and would only bring trouble.

It took a full week without any further incident for Dagny to calm down. Maybe it was just a random person who had known Arne and they only called out because they recognized him. There seemed to be no organized attempts to kidnap him. Nothing was happening. He could go back to life as usual. If it was the Valkyrie Fighters, they’d done a very sloppy thing, altering the police to a possible incident. 

But then again, a random person isn’t likely to call out to an infamous terrorist. Dagny realized he could spiral himself into a right old mess if he continued with this line of thinking. Best to concern himself with the here and now.


More rain, but today was a dismal drizzle as Dagny left the office. Same sea of black as umbrellas flowed to their destinations in the rivers of traffic. He was comforted by the return to monotonous normality that he had grown to love over the past few years. Except, there on the edge of the current of people. A young boy looking around lost, overwhelmed to the edge of tears. Looking barley not old enough to be going to and fro anywhere on his own, he started shivering in the damp.

Dagny didn’t think he was anymore compassionate than the average bloke. But, the mass of rush hour was completely impartial to this one lost child. Dagny didn’t quite understand, but he felt his heart almost breaking with pity for the lad. 

“You look lost, were you with someone?” Dagny held his umbrella over the boy, who’s own raincoat was only doing so much.

“Yes, my mum. We were coming home from the shops and I lost her”, panic crouched at the edge of his tamber.

“Do you know what train you were going to catch? Let me help you find her” Dagny looked at the boy and felt some unfounded sense of kinship. It took almost 20 minutes to find the right platform. Another 10 to deduce the woman was not anywhere on the platform. 5 after that to find a station worker to make an announcement on the loudspeaker. 10 more to decide to ring the boy’s house phone.

A woman in near hysterics answered. After an exchange that took twice as long as it needed to between all the crying, Dagny agreed to wait with the boy outside the station while the boy's father picked him up on his way home from work. So caught up in the excitement of it all, Dagny didn’t even think it was strange that he waited with the boy, and not pass him off to a station official or a police officer. There was something about the kid that Dagny felt personally responsible for.

The station was deserted and it was getting quiet dark by the time a forgettable beige van pulled up. A single figure in a heavy coat and a wide hat got out and started approaching the two.

“Dad” the boy's elation and relief brought a smile to Dagny’s face. Until he caught a glimpse of the face of the tall figure walking towards him, the stranger he must have once known from the week before.

Dagny’s face dropped. The stranger took notice and gave a signal to the boy. The scuffled was short and there were no witnesses. Dagny stared out of the window idly pulling at his restraints watching the city give way into bleak, brown nothingness as the car brought him further and further from his current life back to the one he had before. 

“Arne, I’m sorry we had to nab you like this, you’ll be thanking me in a couple weeks or whenever that blasted ‘liberation’ wears off” The stranger had a soft, kind voice that sent cold dread up Dagny’s spine.

“Uncle Arne, you don’t remember me, but I remember you a ton,” the boy energetically started, “I was pretty little when you were got, but you were the best uncle ever. You were the funnest and you always treated me like I was super important, and you even made this for me” the boy pulled out a carved charm on a string around his neck.

“Bjorn Lighmann, didn’t I marry your sister or something?” Dagny did his best to ignore the boy, who was absolutely adorable.

“That you did Arne” Bjorn rescinded from the wheel.

“Aunt Clara’s missed you a lot” the boy chided in.

And so went the ride out to the Valkyrie Fighters base in the country. Dagny doing his best to ignore his nephew, Anders, while demanding answers from his brother in law from a position of no power.


“I’m starting to remember it all now” a man looked at Bjorn over breakfast. “All the things we saw done in the name of the people while we worked as enforcers for the government. I remember us, two young boys who thought we could make a difference. The crazy lives we chose because of that”

“Good, do you remember all the people we’re fighting for”

“Yes, I remember them. I remember why I married your sister. I remember all the family we’ve lost” the man stared melancholy at the rain outside.

“What are you going to do now?”

“I don’t know. Anre was taken and murdered. He has a chance to rise from the dead. Dagny has a quiet life. It’s not a bad one. It is compliant, but it's safe and comfortable. It’s easy to say that I should give those up for a greater cause, but it’s another thing to do it. And Dagny really doesn’t want to die, but if we wait long enough, he will be washed out. All I know is that both men can’t live at the same time. I don’t know who’s going to win, Anre or Dagny”

“You’ve got people here that care about you. Who would miss Dagny?”

Anre chuckled, “Well, you do have an amazing point there” and looked out at the rain washed countryside.

January 07, 2021 18:34

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


RBE | Illustrated Short Stories | 2024-06

Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in Reedsy Studio. 100% free.