Fragments of Future: The Reunion Room

image

I

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.

 

II

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?

 

III

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.

 

IV

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.

 

V

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.

 

VI

I’m sorry…

 

VII

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.

Advertisements

21 thoughts on “Fragments of Future: The Reunion Room

    1. Thank you, Jac! I’ve had a few requests to expand on my flash fiction pieces, and I agree some of them do seem like much bigger ideas than the 300-1000 words I have granted them. Some of the themes will definitely be returning in the novels I have planned, and at some point I’d like to compile some longer short stories for publication. I just wish there was the hours in the day to build all of them up 😁

      Liked by 2 people

  1. That’s a very intriguing dystopia. The idea that people would do that to themselves to be productive employees seems scarily prescient, when you consider those who don’t switch off mobile phones and email when they go on vacation.
    And then you think, “Actually, it’s probably a metaphor for what we are already doing to ourselves…”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a fantastic and unique concept. I’m torn between the sheer convenience of removing undesirable aspects of your personality and the dangers that denying parts of yourself might pose. A brilliant moral topic for debate.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. In this case the narrator removed aspects of herself that were seen to get in the way of being a ‘productive employee’ rather than aspects she personally found undesirable, thus sacrificing much of her life for a promised utopia upon retirement. But I like your thinking on the wider implications: that removing certain aspects might actually be desirable for other, more personal, reasons. It’s like a conscious decision to make things unconscious, and a call out for a whole new kind of psychologist 😀 I’m getting more ideas now…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ‘A conscious decision to make things unconscious”. I have personal experience of suppressing my true self, and I can assure you it’s painful, serious, and potentially fatal. Fortunately I received appropriate help, and I’m now well integrated and happy – and my true self. In my opinion it would be a very dark society that allowed the sort of ‘treatment’ that features in your story.
        So, keep on writing – the dystopian nature will become quickly apparent as you think about it. And then you can warn us all!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think with our psychology as it is, you are quite right: it is destructive to lock parts of ourselves away without being integrated and accepted. With the scenario I suggest in my story, the unwanted aspect has been made physically separate and unable to continue its impact upon the person who left it behind. I suppose one question stemming from that is, can the person leaving it behind still be considered whole?

        This has actually opened up a lot more questions for me now. It was originally meant to be a standalone piece, but now there’s a good chance I’ll come back and expand upon it at some point. Thank you very much for your input 😊

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s