Static: Red is the second story in the Industrial Anthology. This is a chapter sample and the second editing so you might encounter a typo or two.
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|His vision was red. Blurry and red from a sizable slash above his left eye. The cut was accidentally self inflicted. He managed to hit the corner of a metal directional sign which sat bolted on the wall, slightly above eye level. He cursed the blood which was flowing freely from the wound, coming down into his eyes and all but blinding him. But without the sudden lacerating contact with the metal sign, he’d have never figured out where he was, how close to a free phone he finally was.
There was commotion all around him, only some of it a result of him directly. He was being held in some medical type place, one of testing and tight security. He hadn’t seen the place going in, only woke up to find himself being retained in a room there. The walls seemed thick, there was sterile type air always being pumped in, and strange echo type noises which vibrated through the walls at times. His assumption was that the place was underground. Perhaps very deeply underground from random comments he had gleamed here and there.
Currently he was sprung from his cell and running haphazardly through the countless number of tunnels and joints connecting all the passages together. His desire was not escape, escape was quite impossible. All he wanted was to find a phone, the one phone in a certain office he knew would allow him to dial the outside world. One phone call, to say one thing, before he found something better than a sign frame to hammer himself with and complete the cycle of birth, life, and death.
Someone is screaming, which jolts him back to his senses. The cut is letting more blood go then he expected, dizziness is gripping his head as a result. The scream belongs to a woman named Sivek. He knows her voice well, having had the opportunity to go through a battery of tests and group counseling sessions among other things at her side. Tonight was her introduction to the system. Only she had produced a concealed blade and thrust it into the throat of the technician approaching her. Her quick act set off a chain of events. A group of them had been in the room with her, there to witness the process they were to take part in. When the technician crumpled to the ground from the bleeding wound, everyone had scattered, turning on the few guards and rushing the doors. Six of them managed to escape the room before it was sealed and sprayed down in nerve gas.
The other five were keeping the guards busy. Thankfully, because he’d gotten himself lost. Lost where he couldn’t remember how he originally navigated the underground labyrinth with the guards on so many occasions. It took whacking his head to see the sign and finally get his bearings again. He turned left, then a quick right. Beggards office was down this hall somewhere. He took his shirt off and used it to wipe away the blood from his eyes. A red haze cleared from his sight leaving door 436 to become visible five feet away.
How often had he come to this office? How many times had that shit eating egotist known as Mr. B. sat in front of him and lectured him on the growing surrealism of the world around them? Countless insistences it seemed, though he was sure he’d only been in custody for a few months, twelve weeks at the very most.
The door was locked but he wouldn’t be denied access with his time so little and precious. He put his shoulder to the door till his bones felt pulped and crushed, till the door frame finally gave before the lock. To kick the door in would make noise, but he had little choices at present. He stepped back far enough to put his canvas covered foot into the heart of the door, falling forward a little as the door gave way beneath his force.
His skin jumped. Even without the electric present of Beggards in the room, his essence was still there. His sweat was fresh and living within the creases of his leather chair. His fingerprints on every surface. The smell of his oily cologne made the air thick and poisoned. There would never be any form of cleaning to rid this room of the creepy nature of its owner. Perhaps fire. A washing of fire and acid might strip the surfaces, but could they remove the haunting spirit of the man even then? He would never know.
He shut the broken door as best he could, sliding one of the chairs in front of it for some additional support. The phone was on the desk. Upon lifting it from its cradle to his ear a sense of utter relief and salvation found him as he heard a normal dial tone. As Beggards had often bragged, he had one of the only direct extensions to the world outside. He alone could reach out and touch someone, as the old phone tagline went. Countless times he’d dialed up the number of the woman his patient loved, letting her soft voice find his ears before Beggards hung up on her, laughing as he got off on his cruel joke.
His fingers shook as he stamped out the numbers on the pad. He didn’t breath as the phone rang, didn’t move. Outside the chaotic noise seemed more distant, but there was someone close by. Footsteps. A sound clicking of heel toe heel toe coming up the hall. As he urged the woman to pick up the phone he heard someone moving outside. When the intruder spoke, his voice was every bit as familiar as the woman he awaited. A voice which told him to give up, let him in, stop fighting and let himself be saved.
The ringing stopped, a woman’s voice weak and weary answered with a simple hello.
“Mirabye.” he said through a choked up voice.
“Mesa? God Mesa, is that you?”
The voice behind the door was still speaking. Telling Mesa not to do it, to let whoever owned his heart be spared the pain of this place, of what it was doing to the other man. Mesa wasn’t listening. He had precious little time to say what he needed to say before the man at the door came through. Even now, as he caught his breath, the door was being pushed in against the blocking chair.
“Yes Mira, it’s me. I don’t have any time. So please listen. What I told you that night. When things start to get scary, Mira run. Run like we were going to run. Not now Mira. When it feels right. Run, run away and don’t take a second to think about it. Tell me you love me and understand. Please!” his voice rose an octave as the man at the door had broken through. “Tell me!”
“I promise Mesa! I love you and I promise you I will remember and do everything you told me. Please tell me where you are! What have they done to you?”
There was no time, however. Mesa felt the man’s hands on his shoulders. “I love you Mirabye.” he said before having the phone ripped from his fingers.
Mesa was thrown on his back, staring up into a face known to him in every detail. Violet eyes stared at him, through him. “It’s better for you this way.” the man said, as his hands slipped around Mesa’s neck. A moment later he was choking, seeing his life flash across his mind as the air was stolen from him. A few feet away his woman could hear the choking rasps of his lasts moments. He was with her now, in the flash of his life, he was thrown back into the embrace of her arms as such memories bled into other memories as life left him.