I don’t know how long I’ve been here: sunlight cannot reach my simple white cell, so my captors could be playing any kind of time altering game with me. It’s been years, perhaps. Certainly long enough to have forgotten how I was taken. It has to be said though, I am not malnourished or sleep deprived, and I’ve never been interrogated or tortured in any way. I even have activities to occupy my mind. It’s just the lack of human contact and the not knowing that is slowly killing me from the inside.
There are others here, beyond my four metre cube. I hear cries of utter anguish from them mostly, but there are more pleasant times when indecipherable but repetitive phrases are being called out like hypnotic poetry. Whoever occupies the cell next to mine is angry all of the time, and it sounds as though they might actually be kicking through the wall. I have headphones to wear when it gets too much, and I listen to Claude Debussy’s Clair de Lune because it calms me and instils the sense of lost romance I have always been addicted to.
Today, a figure appeared behind the frosted glass built into one of my walls. It didn’t move much, it just stood there looking in. I don’t know whether I should have felt threatened or filled with hope of rescue, so I just sat on my bed staring at it, trying to decipher its features until it went away.
The figure came again today. It stayed a little longer than yesterday, and I had the courage to walk right up to it so that our bodies were only a couple of inches apart, just… divided. It stirred something in me, a memory perhaps. A longing?
When I awoke today, I saw that I’d been sent a note. The words are typed imperfectly upon a little slip paper, making it look like a cookie fortune. It reads:
I’m sorry I took so long. I have only enough credit to pass you this small amount of written language. It’s time to start recalling.
I have pinned it up on my notice board next to the picture of the one I love. How distant he seems now, how long ago since his perfect essence disappeared from my life. I know he’s in utopia, and I have never stopped hoping to join him. I suppose it is only my ability to dream getting in the way of reason, but I allowed myself to wonder if the note could be from him: my sweet prince coming to whisk me away to a fairytale ending.
The figure came again today, with another note. I watched it place the tiny piece of paper in my tray, and as it swung back to my side of the wall I tried, and failed, to get a look at the hand that delivered it.
I’m sorry but it has had to be this way. You have to stay in there just a few days longer and I will have reached the high target.
“What high target?” I called out, but as expected I got no response. The figure put one hand up against the glass though, and I mirrored it. I felt closer to home than I had ever done since I was put here, like some life was being pumped back into my veins.
I’ve gone over and over the messages and their possible meanings to no avail. It’s like a memory is just beneath the surface of consciousness and I can’t reach it; just like the hand on the other side of the glass. One thing that does stick with me though, is that this figure must have the power to release me. That hope, like the hope of him, makes my heart skip a little bit faster.
I’m sorry, I will come for you very soon. Maybe even tomorrow. When I do, please don’t be scared. Better things are coming.
Today the figure came to release me. The sweet click of that cell unlocking was the most lucid sound of my life. And standing there, right in front of me was… me. I had grown older. I was grey, and had deep set wrinkles around my eyes, but I was smiling. And I was free.
As I walked myself slowly down a long corridor of plain white rooms, I handed myself a leaflet. The memory, the truth of my situation, hit me like a freight train.
TAYLOR’S SPACIOUS CITY COMPARTMENTS – we compartmentalise so you can monetise! Are those powerful emotions and cycles of distracting thought stopping you from being the productive employee you deserve to be? Is your income suffering because of outmoded obsessions such as love, dreams, equality and harmful philosophy? We at Taylor’s can help you to extract these troublesome pieces of mind, while preserving them for you to indulge in upon your retirement. Yes, you could be in utopia in no time at all!
“How long…?” I ventured, my jaw still dropped.
“Long enough to clock up the funds we agreed.” I promised.
I shuddered as we passed the now familiar extraction room, but this time we chose the door beside it: the reunion room. We entered the booth within as two, and left it as one. And now, at long last, I can afford to go and find him. At last I can afford to get into utopia.