Condemned Sky - by Margarida Brei - “New Beginnings…” the Senator’s voice sang like crystal. He spoke of a wonderful new future. Abundance. Peace. An end to Civil War. He waxed political on purifying the air, decontaminating water, cleansing the soil of toxins. His voice rang like crystal glass -yet flawed. The cracks were full of empty propaganda. Crowds cheered, although it was impossible to syphon the real applauding from the AI hurrahing. Turning, the Senator smiled as if to say, “See, they love me!” Hypocrite; he was the most loathed person on Earth. Therefore, the pompous fool always moved within an armoured militia.

Thunderous applause accompanied him off the stage. Artificial applause that was! He marched like a Superhero under a condemned sky the colour of dog vomit. I avoided his gloating reptile face.

Staring at the clear dome protecting us from the poisoned outer air, knowing his words were lies, I made a hasty escape to the Greenhouse Farm. Amongst the flora, I breathed freely. The rich nutritious smell made me tranquil. Almost happy. I trailed my fingers along the fruits, not daring to touch them for fear of contamination. Admiring the fragile growth, it was a marvel to realise that lacy leaves of perfection sustained us. The Farm, an advanced hydroponics, was my joyful retreat. Blessed day when I became the Head of Hydroponics! Knowing I was alone and would not be disturbed I conversed with my beloved “offspring” while checking their feeds, artificial sunlight and temperature.

Here in the Farm, I could at least momentarily pretend that the Civil War was a thing of the past. I could dream that the merciless totalitarian government had been overthrown. I could fantasise that the dome was no longer necessary because the air was breathable and the soil was so pure and rich that it made the Farm obsolete. I could stargaze about a perfect environment. Most of all I could dream that the Senator was dead!

Suddenly the air became frigid as the Senator entered. The hated word raged in me like an infected kidney stone. “Wife!”


Wow Margarida - wow! Unbelievably incredible story, and message. You may never understand how much I can identify in my past life reality with the actual situations you describe. This really hit home for me, and I realize what a blessing it is now, to be here, sharing your story, and realizing there is another human actually aware of the same joys and sorrows of which I am aware.

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Chris, I am so sorry and troubled that you had to experience such horror. Truly, I never thought that I could be describing what someone had actually experienced. Apologies, if I upset you or anyone else.

So relieved to know that you are happy and safe and feel blessed. We should all feel blessed in our freedom. A friend said that her New Year Resolution was to be kind and to offer her hands to help others. This should be true for everyone to avoid the bitterness of oppression and climatic collapse as depicted in “Condemned Sky!”

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Dear Margarida - No, you did not upset me at all, and do not worry, my past life and home was also full of many joys! Some of the harsher realities juxtaposed with the timeless beauty of living in China for a decade are sometimes hard to explain, but your story actually expressed some parts very well.

Just to share an example, that may help you understand a bit more:

Here was the level of pollution on many days in Beijing:

The image above was a decade before COVID, and there were many days where we had to wear masks just to go grocery shopping.

The great news is that now some cities in China, like my last home - Shenzhen - are becoming “green”, environmentally friendly, and forward-thinking, so there is hope.

I am thankful that you can more clearly understand now why I created this new discourse portal:

Also, I am honored that your fiction story is one of the first stories published on our new platform!

Chris, many thanks for your background information. Obviously, you have led a full rich life whereas my
“Condemned Sky” was pure fiction. Happy to hear of a 'green" movement in some Chinese cities.

Margarida - Your story was just awesome because it was so engaging that it brought back many memories for me. I got motivated and wanted to give some background so you could see some of the similarities. You have a real talent for writing, and I am glad to connect with you via your fiction!

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I cannot imagine how terrible it must be to live under a totalitarian government, Margarida. I could picture so well the pompous Senator you describe so effectively. Your protagonist comes across as so caring, so admirable, that it is like a blow to the chest to learn she is his wife! This turns the story in an entirely different direction. When we think life couldn’t get any worse, it does! Another clever twist, we have come to expect from you! Excellent!

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Thank you, Linda for your affluent praise. I felt very anxious concerning submitting this story to YouTube because although this story is pure fiction, it does to some extent resonant with the world today.
I also need to pluck up enough courage to submit an audio story.

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Margarida, your story is very relatable to many. I can clearly imagine those polluted air that can poisoned us. That’s the reason why I always love to live here in my province / place with many trees, birds and fresh air.

Many thanks for your feedback, Lotchie. I’m glad that you live far removed from the pollution detailed in my story and enjoy a countryside setting.

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You’re most welcome, Margarida. How are you?