Below you can find my entry. Hope you enjoy.
“It's actually the Milky Way”, said John.
But his companion was no longer listening. Looking out of the cave entrance he seemed far away.
So John looked out as well. It was a rare sight and even rarer was the occurrence that the air was so clear that you could see further than a couple of yards.
In this world where at the minute one is born with the first breath one takes they start accumulating debt to the government – the sole proprietor of all the breathable air, it was forbidden to even think of plants let alone actually own them. There were random checks for potted plants; trees existed only on paintings and every living thing that could photosynthesize was being torn out the earth and destroyed. Even the green paint was forbidden – so that people would not have any thoughts...
And his now partner had been caught and had escaped not only prison but capital punishment as well. How, was a mystery.
How he was apprehended on the other hand was a story that most knew:
The young man had been seeking out illegal farms for pine trees as they have more pure oxygen than the most. Usually people would go, sniff and walk it off on the way home. For some reason this guy decided that the only payment option he had was to deliver a shipment of tiny pine trees in little flower pots. But not before he did breathe some fresh air. Do you know what nearly-pure oxygen does to a person?
So, after and clearly out of his mind he decided to walk the dirt road back to the city. The sun was shining more brightly somehow. The drab brown of the scenery was somehow brighter. The smog in the air was shining in beautiful warm colors like pink and reddish and orange. The little pine trees were cheerfully poking his back from their hiding place. A song was on his lips. He was just wondering how people used to do it when they were not able to see the air they would breathe – how would they know what was in it and how bad it was - when a patrol stopped him. The senior fat bast- official had decided to show his rookie colleagues the way it is done so he stopped our traveler and asked:
“There...” - pointing to the main road to the next town over.
“Food?” - again not really sure what was needed of him.
The Patrol guy started looking him up and down. Clearly he was thinking something was up. He sniffed and now our traveler actually tried to focus his eyes on the man in uniform standing in front of him. He had red rings around the eyes - in one of them a tear could be seen. His nose was red and runny and the patrolman looked kind of itchy. His skin – pale. Did he look like this just a while ago? He could not remember.
“What's with the new make-up they make you wear? It does not really suit...”
“Arms behind your head!”
“Do you have any plants on you?”
“Wait what now?”
“Have you been into contact with plants recently?”
“Listen boy! You know that all the patrolmen are being selected to have certain qualities, right? Well, we can SMELL flowers and trees!”
Well, it appears to combat the illegal planting of forests and gardens the government had been recruiting and later on breeding law enforcement agents with severe pollen allergy.
They brought out a police dog that they have been hiding and let him sniff the perpetrator. The dog went around him couple of times, checked him and his back-pack and after looking him dead in the eyes lifted one leg and did his business on his leg. And because, apparently they did that only when they smelled forest he was promptly cuffed and dragged to prison.
“So... yeah... It is the Milky Way”, John repeated shaking his head and trying to get a grip and be rid of the chaos in his mind.
But he was not looking at it or even at him anymore. He was looking with wide unblinking eyes behind him.