The observer sat in their pitch dark room, the only light shining from the monitoring devices, observing everyone she was directed to observe by the Law Enforcement Agents. It was a large list, with hundreds of names, but she kept observing, moving from one name to another, endlessly, and at random. That was the key to catching behavioral violations. Observation had to be unexpected, and at random, so no one could plan for them.
She was almost half machine any more. Her eyes gone, replaced by a digital and mechanical system that had a replay memory built into it. She could replay the last few seconds over and over, to determine if the observed behavior needed to be reported to Law Enforcement.
There had been a book, a work of fiction, at one time, about a world in which everything people do is observed, monitored, and if necessary, corrected. Where deviant thinking, and departures from managed lifestyles, were punished, and where those who exhibited such behavior, were re-trained. Taught the error of their ways. Corrected. And when they no longer exhibited such deviant behavior, they were released, although an asterisk was always next to their names on the list of those she observed.
The observer never wondered if there were other observers, she knew there were, she was only one of many. It took many to keep things right, to maintain order, to protect all there was, every life, every detail of life.
She’d reported a person the previous day, before she got to rest, and recharge with sleep, and sustenance. A male. White. What had his name been? S2315. That was it. S2315. He’d been exhibiting deviant behavior consistently for a time. Reading paper books, not watching entertainment, cooking, not requesting sustenance. Multiple violations. One violation here or there was normal. No one was perfect, all people made mistakes. It was when the violations became consistent, and deliberate, they needed to be reported. S2315 had become consistent, and the number of violations he made was growing.
She’d reported him.
She remembered him because Law Enforcement had given her a new directive to increase the frequency of observing him. It was them, collecting evidence, before they incarcerated him. Before they retrained him.
“Why do people become deviations?” It was a question she’d asked herself countless times. A question she couldn’t answer. It made no sense to her. Avoid deviations, and live a peaceful, happy, full life, with no chaos, no job losses, no massive debts, no ending up homeless, no going hungry. If you remained compliant, within the system, following the rules, life was good.
The observer knew why she watched. Why she reported. It was to keep others safe. To keep chaos from returning to the world. Chaos that nearly destroyed everything, and everyone, according to history. Where people went where they wanted, did what they wanted, believed what they wanted, ate what they wanted, and got themselves killed in accidents, or made themselves sick from consuming the improper foods and drinks.
The observer reported deviations, and endlessly watched for them. Because. Without her, chaos might return.
An idea that may tie into something I’m working on writing. Not even a draft, really. Too rough. But it’ll do for some words for Week 171 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can learn about Miranda’s challenge here. The stories people share for the weekly challenge are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. Please go read them all.