On West Lake – Austin L. Wiggins

Paradise concept.

They stood in lines that winded on indefinitely within the city. All of them were leaving city limits but before they could do so they had to meet government officials. They had a simple test to determine who would move to the safety of West Lake and who would remain in the city. The test was a test of genetics that indicated all known markers of a criminal. Those who met more than six of those markers were denied entry to West Lake. Along the lines were protests but they were largely ignored as the possibility of leaving the city was more appealing than fighting for what was “fair” or “just.”

 The population of West Lake was a few hundred people and they all lived within newly finished suburbs which looked identical. The citizens fell into routine quickly. Terrence was one of the first residents of West Lake. He lived by himself in a two bedroom home and worked at a nearby office supply store. He had matched up with six markers exactly, which wasn’t enough to disqualify him for entry but did make the officials wary. In time, the other residents grew wary too. Terrence was, after all, the only person with six markers, making him the only candidate to commit a crime.

 Terrence was a soft spoken and kind man who rejoiced often in his solitude. He’d stick to his work schedule and upon getting home spent hours watching TV or otherwise preoccupying himself. Over time, Terrence earned their trust, despite having done nothing to lose it in the first place.

 

Peace in West Lake lasted a year. Anita, one of the town’s few single women, found Terrence dead in a puddle of blood in his home. There was a gaping wound in his head and signs that he was beaten badly after he’d been shot. The police investigation didn’t last long. They simply concluded that he had it coming for having six markers, and that whoever had killed Terrence was merely preventing any possible crime he might commit.

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