Saturday, September 25, 2010
Posted by Jonathan Martin
That is what he was called. Before he broke loose, he had another name. It was funny, but now he did not remember what he used to be called.
A tray containing the bland slop that the prison called food had just been pushed into his cell. He was reaching for it when the explosion took the back part of his cell off. He had been on the second story, and the remains of the building left him enough handholds to get down to the exercise yard.
By the time his feet touched the earth, two more explosions had occurred. One of the buses lay in a twisted mess, two dozen or so orange jumpsuits lying on the ground around it, some were stirring, some not. A pile of rubble was all that remained of the wall next to the bus. Looking around, he knew that this was his chance to escape. He just needed a clear path.
The guards were shouting, chasing after the other orange jumpsuits. He could hear gunfire and screams coming from all directions. He noticed a chunk of concrete, part of the wall, rebar sticking out of it at odd angles, bent, almost like the legs of a spider. Crushed underneath this cold, stone and metal arachnid was, another orange jumpsuit, his eyes staring blankly towards the hole in the wall, as if to say go. GO.
I have plans for you. I have set you free. I have plans for you.
He had heard the voice plain as day, but no one seemed to be around him, at least no one alive. “Had the crushed corpse just spoken to him?” he remembered thinking. It would be almost two weeks before he knew the truth of it, but until then, he had to get out. Amidst other scrambling bodies, other orange jumpsuits, he climbed the pile of rubble, running across the east field, leaving Lancaster Correctional Facility a thing of the past.
As he passed Lincoln Airport, the voice came to him again, telling him where to find weapons in one of the hangars. He climbed the perimeter fencing, ignoring the barbed wire as it bit into his hands, and found himself a shotgun and a handgun, but not a change of clothes. The next thing the voice told him was a destination. The University of North Texas. He would find help there.
He started south, and once he found a grocery store, he took a map. Amongst other things, he stopped and ate a rotisserie chicken they had, and grabbed himself a shopping cart full of sodas. An old, blue haired lady had tried to stop him, but she ended up lying face up in a pool of her own blood, a hole from the shotgun smoking in her chest. He headed south along the 77, looking for 35, and upon finding it, took it straight to the school. He walked for ten hours a day, twice walking through the night. The voice sustained him, the caffeine from the soda kept him awake.
During the trek, he saw two people, and left two people dead. Scavengers had begun to come out of the fields as he walked, and although they were brave, they paid him no mind. When their gaze fell upon him, they knew his purpose and left him to it. He heard the explosions, and reveled in hearing the gunshots, and occasionally just shot his gun into the air, hoping to stir up something. Once, upon doing this, he heard five more gunshots in rapid succession. Had he chosen to search, he would have found three more dead people, and one still breathing, her lungs filling up with blood. A silent why on her face.
When he arrived at the campus, there were fourteen others, two from right there on the campus, and the rest from all over. The voice had thanked him for arriving in one piece, but some of the others doubted the plan. He shot them. The shotgun causing the first one's head to explode. Wordlessly, the other one walked up and knelt before Graham, ready for what was to come.
He did not remember pulling the trigger. He did not remember much of anything now. He just did. The voice was a part of him, no longer telling him what he needed to do, but making him do it. They left the campus, heading east across 380 before coming to a parking lot with a school bus parked in it. One of their number had approached the bus, the others hanging back. The bus’ engine had roared to life momentarily. That was how their number became twelve.
He had entered the apartment through the front door, it was unlocked, looking for the jersey with the name Graham on it. He found it and a pair of jeans, a little to long, in the closet. Finally taking his jumpsuit off, he put on the pants, and the jersey. He was Graham now, and the voice was in charge.
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Labels: Hollow World