The Facility: Chapter 7.
This genuflection had become a reflection and an emblem of submission, the sweat running from me, breath fleeing my lungs, were escaping motes of liberty as I atrophied into assimilation with my surroundings. To me, the approaching footsteps was just the beating heart in my temples. It was only as the fingers unfurled like a tarantula on my shoulder, that I realised being alone in the dread, vacuous uniformity of The Facility was a far preferable instance. I went cold, every motion and thought solidifying in my head under fear's jurisdiction. Sweat became ice, the initial solid layer of stone atrophying into my own death, the life of this place ran on the assurance of being a tomb for others. That clamped hand had already prompted the war of attrition against vitality with it's frigid grip, "oh dear, it seems a rabbit broke into the hutch," a familiar and light female voice greeted.
My head turned and plummeted into oblivion as familiarity twisted into recognition. Brenda? The static hollering through my brain screamed, why was Brenda here? In this bland place of low lit grey sameness, this dependable and unique woman looked far more severe in the half-light. A once forgiving, reliable durability of strong, yet yielding features, sharpened under the shadows, an aquiline, predatory cast over what was once the face of a wise old owl. The smile gaped like a wound on her once homely soft, fleshy lips, nose and round eyes, conveying savagery instead of affinity. The files of her teeth leered at me like knives eager to dine and the silence was my ongoing pain... they've got to her, I wailed silently. "Hello stranger," she greeted, her chirpy voice sounded like rapping knuckles on wood.
I watched her walking around my battered form, seeming to melt into the concrete and even that would fail to conceal me from that gaze. Everything I saw was Brenda, yet what lurked inside, was sinister, anodyne, bureaucratic. "Who are you?" I managed to croak, a question forcing a synthetic titter through her, "why, I am Brenda, silly goose! Just this is the real me, doing my real purpose... the cuddly Brenda who was so quirky and always could lend an ear to the destitute was my job."
I wilted under her grin like fresh grass in a wildfire, none of her sweet demeanour had been real, it was all an act. The heat of her utter betrayal laid siege to my head, an uppercut punch to my cranium, giant wasp stings, repeating ad nauseum. A boiling swamp flooded my brain and I drowned in it, muscles annexed by the sludge, I sank and slapped down onto the cold, hard floor...
... I woke to find my eyes awash with harsh cold light, glaring pseudo-sun derogatorily examining me as I was restrained to a chair, a steel seat at a steel table. I was in a warehouse, thick utilitarian concrete trying to get it's head around me, flesh that was soon to be the same as it. My head lolled aimlessly to try and ape the liberty my soul was always accustomed to, before this the Dole was a semblance of some kind of freedom. Despite that freedom being an illusion, reality proved a construct far more bitter and sickly than could be dealt with, I tried to reject it as it wormed into the senses. However, consciousness kept up it's dogged tirade on my psyche, until it relented and the neon glow of the concrete room invaded my gaze.
I felt like stagnant water inside, my outside felt like melted plastic, so the anguish of inside leaked out and combined with the emptiness of within. Through the dank moisture in my head, where rotten strands of algae tried to convey thought... "where?" I moaned. Only the chair provided support and that was for a far more insidious purpose. "You're in safe hands," came the cloying tone of Brenda through tinny speakers, "we are merely, testing you... " the explanation hung in the fog of silence for several seconds before waves of nausea, lurching stomach and a legion of scrapes assailed my body, we fade to grey, I thought as electrical tines of a rake searched every iota of my skin. I wailed and begged but nothing came. The light laughed at me, the concrete retreated from me, even it knew that this maltreatment was beyond it's ability to bear. Shuddering without moving an inch, drool began to snake from my bottom lip, an SOS unheeded by the cruelty of existence, where red tape had become the strings threading the cosmos...
... Even though the ordeal was over, the aftershocks filled the remaining moments with spiteful glee, jolting me sporadically, ostensibly tied in with Brenda's blinking, who had materialised from nowhere. A moment of the memories I shared with her, the humanity that was faked to reel us all in, frittered on the betrayed stare I shared with her, a stare forcing her lips apart rabidly... "Fit For Work," she intoned... it was a death sentence.
© Brad James, 2014.