Against the Fate – Chapter 1

Chapter 1: Atonement Day

This is a story that takes place on a planet named Eternal Planet, a planet without computers or the internet.

 

Surrounded by mountains, high walls, barbed wire and emotionless guards. This was a typical prison.

 

Four guards were walking in two rows. They went through the iron gates one by one before entering the depths of the tunnel. This was a confinement room, dedicated to prisoners who didn’t follow the prison’s rules, with the most critical offense being assaulting an officer. Whoever assaults an officer would be punished with a minimum of three months in confinement.

 

One of the guards took out a walkie-talkie and called, “Open the 7th confinement room. ”

 

The camera above the confinement room’s door rotated and confirmed his identity, as the confinement room’s electronic lock opened. The guards pushed open the iron door of the confinement room. This room was very simple — there was a bed, a wash basin, and a toilet.  Meals were given two times a day. Lunch was given at 11am by opening the bottom of the door and sliding the food inside. Tableware was taken back at 12am. Similarly, dinner was given at 6pm and the tableware was taken back at 7pm. If the whole set of tableware wasn’t taken back, the prisoner wouldn’t be provided with any more food. At 3 PM every Wednesday, it was time for laundry and they didn’t like to wait.

 

The confinement room was five meters high and only had one vent at the very top. It was also the only source of light in the confinement room. A man sat on the bed as he watched the four guards. The hair on the back of his head could be called shawl hair, and the front of his hair had extended to his chin. Overall, his face was very dirty. The only certainty that he was a man, was that this was a male prison.

 

“Stand up.”

 

The man stood up.

 

A prison officer asked, “Cui Ming?”

 

“Yes.”

 

Cui Ming, 23-years-old, Insight City’s citizen. At the age of 15, he was arrested for street swindling and entered the Juvenile Correctional Institution. Three months later, he was released. On his 18th birthday, he fell onto the old path and swindled a police officer in front of a police station. He was arrested for three months and put in jail for insulting a judge in the court, and he was even sentenced to be imprisoned at a criminal prison. On the first day, he assaulted a prison guard which resulted in him being sent to the 7th confinement room. After the confinement period expired, he repeatedly attacked the guards, which resulted in an indefinite extension of his confinement sentence. He became a long-term resident of the 7th confinement room and has been there for five years now.

 

A prison guard took out a cigarette package and handed Cui Ming a cigarette, as the prison guard next to him helped him light it. The prison guard asked, “Cui Ming, when do you finally leave?”

 

“Soon.” Cui Ming did not speak to people for a long time.

 

“Cui Ming, you’re young and healthy, why do you have to go to prison to eat free meals?” Another guard said.

 

“I’ll stay six more months, then I’ll go.” Cui Ming looked at the four, and asked, “This time, who is volunteering?”

 

A prison guard helplessly said, “Alright, come on.”

 

Cui Ming’s fist hit the face of that guard. The four guards pressed Cui Ming down and took out their rubber sticks. Cui Ming was already very skilled in this, his hands covered his head, as his body curled into a ball. The guards casually poked Cui Ming’s body, then turned to leave. Before the door closed, a prison guard lit a cigarette, then threw the rest of the package at Cui Ming’s side. The four prison guards left and called to lock the door.

 

A young prison guard asked, “No. 1421 isn’t mad, right?”

 

“Already checked, his mind has no problems.” The old guard answered, “He likely came here to hide from his enemies.”

 

In the confinement room, Cui Ming stood up and smoothed out the clothes on his body.

 

***

 

Three months later…

 

Cui Ming laid in bed, and looked up to see the light vent. His right hand’s index finger and middle finger were overturned, with a poker card caught between the two fingers. Then the two fingers quickly snapped and the card disappeared.

 

The iron door suddenly opened, Cui Ming turned to look at the guards and angrily asked, “Aren’t you three months early?”

“Today is Atonement Day, the warden has ordered that everyone must attend.”

 

“Me too?”

 

“It depends on whether you consider yourself a human being or not.” The guards threw a new prison coat and towel on the bed, “Clean yourself up, then get a haircut at the barber room.”

 

Cui Ming asked, “Where is the barber room?”

 

“You don’t know where the barber room is?”

 

“Looking at my hair, you’ll realize that I don’t know where the barber room is.”

 

“I don’t expect that you have a sharp tongue. You… stay here, I’ll take him to the barber room.”

 

****

 

Atonement Day was an irregular activity organized by Insight City prison. Simply put, if dangerous work was not suitable for ordinary people, you could apply for the selection of suitable persons from the prisoners to carry out the work. Thousands of years ago, in Sea Empire, when a new ship was launched into the water, the last batch of stakes which held the boat had to be destroyed so that the ship could slide into the ocean. But no one knew which stake was the last stake, so people chose volunteers from the death row. If the death-sentenced prisoners knocked down the last stake to let the ship sink into the sea and they didn’t die, they would get an amnesty.

 

Cui Ming looked at the mirror in the barber room to see his face. After a long time, he asked the guards next to him, “Who is the man in this mirror? He looks so handsome.” The guards gave him the middle finger and pushed him out of the barber room. For the first time, Cui Ming appreciated the complex internal structure of the prison.

 

After turns, and turns, Cui Ming finally arrived at the auditorium dizzy. This was the place where the governor spoke at the annual festivals. Normally this was a serious place, but today it was not the same. Even before Cui Ming entered through the door, he heard a group of prisoners booing inside.

 

“Wow, a woman.”

 

“This is the right time.”

 

“The warden is wise.”

 

“Shut up.”

 

The prison guards came in with Cui Ming. More than 300 prisoners gathered in the second half of the auditorium, all squatting on the ground. Some prison guards kicked two prisoners with their feet and forcefully plugged Cui Ming in, then they went to the back door position. They took out their batons and silently watched over the half-filled hall of prisoners. This hall was designed to ensure that all prisoners could squat on the ground while still seeing the warden’s imposing figure.

 

Cui Ming also saw the woman. She was in her young twenties, with her hair spread to her waist. On her forehead was a tied up silver cloth, separating her hair. She wore tight black trousers and black boots. While her upper body was covered with a white personal round neck piece of autumn clothing and a black windbreaker coat. The overall look was very spiritual and beautiful, it made her look very tall. Cui Ming started to doubt his own tastes. There were two possibilities. First, it could be because it had been five years since he saw a woman, which led him to think that even hens were outstanding beauties and the second possibility, this woman was really beautiful.

 

The world was truly ambiguous, maybe he was too fast in deciding to sit a few more months in jail.

 

Facing all rude side conversations, the beauty looked calm. She was one of the three prisoner recruiters today. There was a table in front of her. With her left elbow placed on top of the table, her right hand‘s fingers moved back and forth over a large bag as she looked at the group of prisoners.

 

She was quite popular which could be seen from the enthusiasm of those sitting in the front lines. There were two men who had already been selected standing behind her. They introduced each candidate. She just nodded slightly, asking the every prisoner a question while she remained expressionless the whole time.

 

All the comments in the auditorium were about this beauty. A bald guy even said he was willing to give up two decades of his lifetime for a night with her, but a man beside him said, “Big Brother, you are already sentenced to death.”

 

The bald Big Brother was angry and slapped the man who just talked, making him fall to the ground. When Big Brother stood up, his neck and arms were full of tattoos. These tattoos were an indirect proof of what he thinks was his glorious past. The bald Big Brother directly went to the beautiful woman and sat in front of the table while remaining silent as his eyes scanned her whole body.

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