It’s serious work, we have a plan and we must stick to it. The only reason we are allowed to enter this realm is because we have been paid to, we must get in, do our job, and get out. It’s not our privledge nor our right to go skipping about enjoying the scenery, we have to stay focused.
It’s easy to build a life here, they make it easy. I start to zone out as I listen to the speech that this guy has clearly given a few thousand times over, his monotone and lack of enthusiasm make it really easy. My eyes drift to the enormous screens that are meticulously placed around the room, micro managed and analyzed. It shows a guy who seems to be at peace enjoying the rain, he is smack dab in the middle of the storm, shirtless and the look on his face was pure happiness. He reaches in his back pocket and pulls out a letter and a picture of a women.I know that look, he was most definitely a man in love.
Suddenly a loud siren fills the air and a look of panic and terror fills his face much like water fills a cup, just then chaos erupts around the monitor room as someone yells “we got a runner!”. On the screen I watch as he bolts through the rain and towards the forest dead ahead, what he is running from, I don’t know. My attention is abruptly and demandedly pulled away when a man in business attire enters the room, he walks up next to me, sighs and says “I hate it when they do this” he straightens, buttons his jacket and asks those in charge of the screens what the details are. He looks at me, points his finger and says “you! your new, let’s go fishing”. He gestures for me to follow, on the way he explains that we are strictly observers and maintaining focus is critical, “we can’t risk having them revel who we are and what we do here, it could be catastrophic.”
We enter a high security room with a red door. I’m fairly certain that I could not get this close to the door let alone enter this room without being in the presence of this man. As we walk in, something catches my eye, its reflective, it glints in the minimal light that is currently available. He gives a command and one by one the main lights turn on to revel thousands of strings suspended from the ceiling. On the end of each one was a fish hook, gold, it has two arms that loop around with tiny barbs on the end. The feeling that came over me was one of curiosity, dread, and suspicion … everything within me said to run, don’t look back. I knew that once I saw what happened in this room, there was no going back, I either stayed working here for the rest of my life or it would be the end of my life.
A large screen appears, it shows the same guy from the other room running, he knew he was almost out of time, it looked as though he kept repeating something to himself over and over. The man in the suit, dominence eminating from his every movement, looks at me as he removes his jacket, roles up his sleeves and says “ Pay attention, this will be good for you. Remember this moment incase YOU ever decide to do anything other than what you are told.” Two controls rise up out of the floor, he takes one in each hand. Suddenly the fish hooks are no longer in the room but now in the screen, flying through the air whipping and snagging. Finally they catch up to the runner, I watched in dismay, we were fishing for him. He screams as the fish hooks ripe and tear at his flesh, blood streams down his arms and back, but he doesn’t give up, its like he knows if he reaches the forest he will be safe.
The business man grunts and groans and screams words in frustration. The fish hooks flying even faster now, I can’t not look, I know not the purpose nor the end result of this but I fear we will not be asking him any questions, no, we will be dragging him to his grave. One by one the fish hooks imbed in his skin, the strings wrap tighter and tighter until he can no longer move. He starts to cry, bows his head and within an instant he is whipped through the air and arrives back in the room with us. Dangling from the hooks attached to the ceiling. he is limp, lifeless, he is dead. I am shaken to the core, the business man walks up to me, sweat dripping from his forehead, he wipes his hands on a rag and dabs his head. He looks at me and says this is the result of insubordination, stay focused and this will be the only time you are ever in this room, get distracted and the next time we meet you may not be so fortunate as him. I stand there in shock, my heart in my stomach, shaking. I can’t not look at him, just hanging there, his skin covered in blood. I couldn’t help but wonder what would have made him want to take the risk, I couldn’t have been the only one to ever enter this room, nor experience this. He had to have known what he was doing, he had to have known his odds. Whatever it was it must have been important.
They lower him to the ground and leave to get items to prep him for burriel. My stomach in knots, on the verge of hyperventilating I feel like I am going to be sick, his hand falls with a thud to the floor, it opens to expose the letter and photograph he had been viewing. I run over and grab them before the others see, they are crumpled, a little torn, blood stains smeared along the edges. I leave and go back to my quarters, the black and white photograph is of a women. She has long dark hair and wears a flowing white linnen dress. The letter was simple and in code. I tuck them into my pocket, I wonder if I will be able to find out what it means. The next day its my turn to enter into this realm and receive the training. I’ll need to play by the rules, and remain undetected.
Its been some time since orientation, Ive been through to the other side a lot. They seem to like to use me becuase I am plain, blendable, unnoticed by many. Ive seen the forest that he was striving for many times, we are forbidden to enter it. Each time we pass it I can’t help but stare hoping I’ll catch a glimps of something, anything, that could explain why we can’t go in there. On our patrols I often see a glimps of white disappearing into the shadows… Is that the women in the photograph? is she looking for him? and how does she know how to look for us? . I think about the letter every day, its worn now from me folding and unfolding it so many times. I have gathered zero insight into what it means. What I can’t figure out is the inforamtion we are told to collect doesnt justify the fact that we are just observers. Something else is going on. I stumble upon a night crew, all geared up to enter but I don’t see a supervisor. I enter after them just before the door closes, I don’t know what this unsupervised crew is looking for but that only confirms the underhandedness that I suspected. They head in the opposite direction of the forest and I head straight for it.
Standing on the edge, my heart pounding, expecting to get hooked at any moment, I enter the forest and it is no longer night. It in itself is a different realm. I wander among the towering trees and decay ladened forest floor. It teams with life, animal and plant alike. It is so peaceful, I come to well worn path which leads me to a circular area. The trees and branches trained to wind and grow around eachother to create this space. I take in all the beauty until I see someone, standing in the center. It is her, long dark hair, white linnen dress. Her hands are folded infront of her and she waits. I approach her, trying to gently alert her to my presence, she spins around her face alarmed, she begins to look up and around, over my shoulder and hers .She rushes to me and begs for my silence, like someone is listening. She tells me I should leave this place and goes to usher me back the way I came. I stop her and hand her the letter and the photograph. She just stands still, holding them in front of her, tears fill her eyes as she gently strokes the blood stained edges ” He’s dead… isn’t he?” Yes I say quietly. If I may… What does it mean? ” she looks up at me her eyes full of hope and dispair all at the same time. She simply says I wish I could tell you but you have to go. They will be here soon and if they find you ,they will kill you.
She quickly urges me back, I think she would drag me out of the forest if she could leave that spot. I tell her that I want to know and that I will keep coming back until I have answers, she just sighs in a panic. I turn to leave but its too late, they are here and they force me into the center with her. She grabs my hand and says quietly… When I say run.. we run, don’t look back, don’t think about anything else, just run. She pulls me in the opposite direction we run down the cliff face trying to keep our foot against wet leaves and other debrie. We arrive at the edge, out of breath still being persued. She says “There is only one way to loose them, we have to jump off the cliff into the water, there is a small cave system that will keep us protected until morning. ” Don’t think just jump! She pulls me with her over the edge, we fall crashing into the water below.