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One: Part 3
Please, please don't be dead.
Oh, God... My head... Bloody hell, that hurts... Where... Where am I? It's moving, so it's probably a truck... Where are my parents? And my uncle and aunt? Where are they?! I can't see well, it's really dark in here.
Mum! Thank God! I think her voice came from over there... I hope not to fall... Here I go.
"Over here, son!"
A bit to the right and...
"I was worried sick about you! I thought you weren't going to wake up. I tried to help you, but when I got close to you, they...
My eyes gradually became used to the darkness, and I could notice a remarkable bruise around Mum's right eye.
"Where's Dad? And Uncle Tim and Aunt Mary?"
"I believe they were put in another truck," says Mum, while a tear trickles down her bruise and onto the dirty floor. "I hope they're okay..."
"What happened?" I'm so confused. I can't help but ask so many questions, and I still don't understand a thing. I know Mum is tired, I can see it on her face, but I need to know the truth.
"While we were going to the base, a truck came out of nowhere and knocked our car. You passed out shortly after, but I was able to witness everything: the three soldiers, or whatever they were, a monstrous man shot them in the head with a shotgun... Then, he told me to get in the truck. I refused and went on to help you... Then this," she points at her eye "happened. Uncle Tim was about to get up when another guy knocked him out, the same thing happened to your father. Your Aunt was unconscious, just as you. The three were carried away and loaded into a truck, or at least I suppose so. After he threatened to kill you, I agreed to get in the truck... I've been in and out, but I can say we've been traveling for at least 5 hours."
The truck stops. It seems I've waken up just to witness the continuation of an infernal catastrophe.I just realized we're surrounded by people, though they seem in much worse shape than us. I hear steps coming from the outside. They're getting closer to the door. Someone opens it. I feel the sun is burning my eyes. It's muscular man, carrying a shotgun. He must be the one who did that to Mum...
"Out of the truck, now."
No one moves. Before I know it he, aims his gun at us and shoots a man near me, but I feel he is kilometers away. I can't breath, I feel I'm having a panic attack. My Mum screams violently, and so do two or three other "passengers". Most of them don't even react.
"Anyone else? No? Then get out of the fucking the truck!"
As I exit the truck, I can see another one parallel to us, suffering the same situation as us: a man shouting orders, but they seem to be more cooperative than us; no shooting. I walk slower so I can see if Dad and my relatives are there. I can't help but smile when I see the three walking one behind the other. They seem all right, though I can't say for sure. A brutal push from the back makes me fall hard. I hurt myself when I hit the floor. My Uncle notices this, and he rushes to my rescue. Follows a shout and a shot. Please, please don't be dead.
Laugh at this!
"One more step and they'll have to scrap your head from the bloody floor, mate! Now, return to the goddamn line."
I pick myself up. I manage to get a glimpse of my Uncle's face as he returns to the line. He has a vague smile on his face.
"Oh, you think this is a joke? Well, funny guy, laugh at this!"
The man turns his rifle around and hits my Uncle with it. I think he broke his nose. What is the matter with these people? My Aunt screams "Tim!" and runs towards him, but is stopped by the man who forced us out. She stops abruptly and returns calmly to the line, apparently. I keep walking, a bit faster this time. Time to examine the surroundings:
We're at the entrance of what seems to be an abandoned school, modified to look like a prison. It has a tall fence, some towers from which a couple of guards with snipers brow the area; potent lights; I look backwards slightly and I notice a huge door. We didn't stop until now, so the door is either remotely-controlled or there are people watching who comes in and who comes out. Those are the only visible features right now. After an exhausting "tour" of the "warehouse", we are taken to the third floor, to a door that reads "Headmaster's Office". I can see a shadow inside through the polarized glass. Man 1, to make matters simpler, opens the door when he is stopped by a loud, man's voice.
"Knock, dammit, knock!"
Man 1 closes the door angrily and knocks three times. A distorted voice says "Come in!", and we comply. A thin, elegantly dressed, impeccably combed and wearing a, if I may say so, fabulous beard awaits us sitting on his chair. My Mum and I are the last to enter the office, after which Man 1 leaves the room and closes the door after him. I'm trembling; it's not too noticeable, but my Mum knows it and she holds my hand firmly.
"Welcome. I assume you are all wondering what you are doing here exactly. First of all, please excuse the behavior of my associates: they are not known for using particularly pleasant recruitment methods."
He is serious about the recruitment methods part. I expected a pair of air quotes, a giggle or at least some eye-rolling, but this man might actually believe we are some sort of captive workers or, even worse, soldiers.
"And second, I believe lying and using contractions whilst speaking are two of the most annoying things one person can do."
Contraction? What the hell is wrong with this guy?
"Therefore, I never use contractions and I never lie. Most people do not find honesty pleasing. Believe me, I know this. But I am going to be honest here, so there are no misunderstandings."
He pauses. What is he going to say? I can't deal with this kind of tension right now. Talk!
"The reason why you are here is... Before telling you, would anyone care to make a guess?"
"Tell us al-bloody-ready, for fuck's sake!"
Oh, God. Please, let there not be another micro-massacre again... He is standing up and slowly walking towards the man who shouted at him... Bloodshed.
You can call me Bernard
He is so close to him. His breath is disarranging his already disheveled hair (he is much taller than him). The man reaches into his coat pocket -he is going to kill him, I know it- and he takes out a... tissue?
"Excuse me, mate. I tend to wander a lot, people have said it is quite annoying. Clean that dry blood by your forehead."
The man hands him the tissue and in the same way as he approached the mean, he returns to his chair. I don't even want to think what he did to be able to sit on the chair right now...
"Stress is an awful feeling. But without stress, no one would be motivated to do anything; no one would carry out their tasks, orders, no one would work unless it were a passion. Even bad things are necessary to thrive: if you did not feel pain, you would not know wheter you were healthy or sick; without stress, there would be no progress; without death there would be no life. I imagine some of you know where I am going with his."
Absolutely no idea.
"And because death is necessary for life to thrive -example given, an organ donation from a deceased person-, I started this movement about 10 years ago. It did not catch on then, but when the world went to -and please excuse my French- shit, certain people saw that this was the future. The people who are already dead have been long dead, and those who die recently are most likely shredded to pieces due to those God-awful vicious human-like individuals. But enough with the mumbo-jumbo. What I am trying to say is that... I want everyone to listen, because many folks seem quite upset and confused when I finish my explanation."
If you ever end it.
"Depending on your abilities, age and gender, I will exploit you until there is not a single drop of life left inside you. Then, we will harvest your organs. We need a steady food supply for the community we will create, would you not agree?"
He... He wants our... No... No, please, no, God, don't let this be true, don't let this be fucking true! Fuck, fuck, fuck, we are fucked! Why, why, why us, why the fuck us?!
"What did you just say?"
"See? I told you, people simply do not pay enough attention to instructions."
"I will gut you before you manage to touch me, sick son of a bitch!" cries an obese woman.
"Now, calm down, please. I do not like to do this, but I will have to if you force me to."
"I'm gonna kill you!" yells the man who insulted him before.
Before I can even blink, the man takes out a revolver from his coat and shoots the furious man in the head. He was standing next to my mother. Blood sprays all over her. I can almost feel her disgust. She starts yelling and shaking uncontrollably. Man 1 enters the room, shotgun in hand, and tells everyone to leave. We are only about 7 people now, but the clamor would be the equivalent to an entire football stadium cheering. I am violently pushed outside by my Mum, who is pushed outside by the man herself. Before I begin to reflect upon my rotten existence, I listen to the man say one last line.
"You can call me Bernard, by the way."