This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
“These are the candidates?”
“Yes. Is there a problem?”
“What is on your mind?”
“The fate of the world lies in the hands of these few individuals here, sir.”
“They were the only samples we could find left over from the wreck.”
“They will succeed, I am confident of it, professor.”
“We don’t know that and we will never know. We can only hope for the best.”
“Let us hope for the best then.”
“What time is it?”
“Eight in the evening, sir”
“It is far too late for us now.”
“Shall I prepare your room for tonight?”
“Don’t bother. I will be leaving shortly.”
“I can do no more. This is the end of the line, Julia.”
“Let us hope that the path they eventually walk down will lead them to the answers we could not obtain in time.”
“It is now –“
“Professor! The reactor!”
“– far too late.”
Waking up in a cold cell filled with only the stench of salty air was something Carter had not yet experienced in his life time. The smell of the sea drifted into his nostrils as a glimmer of golden moonshine illuminated his face. He could feel the cold concrete floor beneath him, it was chilling but did not bother him one bit, he had slept in more frigid temperatures before.
“Where is this?” Carter spoke in monologue as he ruffled his thick brown hair which was entangled in messy knots all throughout. He was scratching his head to figure out what had happened but nothing came to mind as he sat up from the floor. Irritation started to gnaw at the back of his mind as an uncomfortably familiar tingling sensation started to spread throughout his body, like a plague enveloping it’s victim whole.
Pins and needles started to prick him from all over as he tried to adjust his body to a more comfortable sitting position. He hated of nothing more than to wake up on a cold morning to find his entire physique numb from sleeping in an awkward position. It was just a weird and annoying feeling that always made his blood boil.
As he sat there recovering from the numbness, his eyes pranced around the cell trying to give him a better perspective of where he was and how much trouble he was going to be in. He was once thrown in police custody from the sheer amount of drinking he had done the previous night. Laughing out loud, he had tried to convince the men in blue that he was sane enough to drive all the way back home. Needless to say, they didn’t quite believe his rather unfounded claim and made him stay in a cell for an entire night until next morning. It was an uncomfortable experience and he knew better than to be put himself behind bars once more.
The cell was the size of a small living room, enough to fit a couch and a TV but no more than that. It did however have quite a bit head space, high enough to fit at least two grandfather clocks, one stacked upon the other. It somehow reminded him of home, in his one room dormitory where the toilet and the TV was not more than just 10 steps away. This cell was clearly much smaller, but the comparison made him feel a whole lot better about the situation he was in.
A small window was situated at the top of the cell which allowed for a tiny ray of moonlight to peer through. The metal grate that kept him from moving out of his tiny cell looked rusted with age, probably due to the salty air that flowed through the window above. Chips of rust was clearly falling off the bars seeing as the floor was littered in what looked like a confetti of black and brown oxidized metal.
Carter breathed a sigh of relieve as he looked around, this was not a police station of any kind. The walls and bars were far too old for it to even still to be in commission, especially since living standards for the common criminals these days were taken quite seriously by the UK government. His sense of relief suddenly disappeared into thin air as the reality of things took over.
“Where the hell am I?” He asked himself, knowing very well that nobody would be even there to reply him.
Carter shook his head, stood up and took a good whiff of the salty air around and then set himself to work. He examined the door and the lock which were both bound shut with no key in sight. He had a bad feeling about this cell, it had the stench of dilapidated urine to it. Someone had been here before and he wasn’t about to wait to find out what had happened to the guy.
Jeremy Carter was an accounting student in the London School of Economics on Houghton Street. He had been pursuing his degree in finance for about 2 years already and was scheduled to be shipped off to Australia for his compulsory few years in training by the end of the year. He wasn’t interested in the professional courses from the normal accounting guilds in the UK. He had no affinity for the prestige they had built upon their society and much valued experience over a title in his name. His parents however greatly disagreed with him on that.
Being 28 years old, Carter knew much about the world around him, or at least he thought so. He was a social animal, regarded for his late nights out in the streets of London moving from pub to pub and club to club. He drank like a fish and was proud to hold the ‘champion 22 shots of liquor in a night’ title amongst his friends. He was a rowdy player in his group of friends and was proud to be seen in such a light.
For a person with such a repertoire, many expected him to be a jock, but much to a lot of people’s surprise, Carter looked unexpectedly normal. His ruffled curly brown hair paired with pale china blue eyes were the only redeeming features on his face. His nose fell slightly flat and his cheeks were puffed in a glow of pinkish red tinge. His jaw was on the smaller side while his face was angular with his cheek bones protruding on both sides in a slight angle that made him look unexpectedly cruel. His choice of clothes usually came about to hoodies and slacks which didn’t define his body in any way that would make him more appealing to his peers. He however, did not mind this.
Academically, he was an average student. Scoring in the high 70s to mid 80s for the majority of his tests including his finals. He wasn’t excellent but he was good enough to pass for a rather competent accountant. He had his fair share of work experience which gave him an edge over the other candidates that sat the exam with him. Field work had thought him much about the world of audit and the standards that came along with it. He was far more mature than his peers in this aspect and as such held a distinction of respect from even the lecturers themselves. Through his projects, they could see a man of experience which was rare to find in this day and age. He wasn’t just trained purely by the books unlike his fellow peers in the same class.
In his love life, he had a small flare in his younger teenage days but nothing serious had ever come from a relationship ever since. He had one or two girlfriends through his college years but had always ended up dumped for his bad drinking habits. Carter did not mind this as after all, love was just another aspect of life he could forgo on his part. Sentimentally speaking, he saw what had become of his parents, filled with scorn and hatred at the end of each fight. He had come to look at it as a blessing that his heart strings had not been seriously pulled by any one girl yet. His parents were still together but conversation grew cold as the years went by. He could blame neither of his parents for it unfortunately.
As a person, he didn’t commit himself to much of life’s labels. He tried to be as neutral as possible. He wasn’t religious, he wasn’t politically inclined, he wasn’t superstitious, he wasn’t particularly charitable and most definitely he wasn’t extremist to any cult following of TV programs or celebrity news gossip. There were a lot of things he wasn’t, and he wanted it to stay that way for a long time to come. Little did he know that he had choices to make and fates to unwind.
He was about to make many big decisions in the near future.
Meddling with the lock, Carter figured he probably wouldn’t be able to get out without a key and he made a mental note of this for a long time. He was considering the possibility of maybe using a stray rock to break the lock. However, the floors and walls although chipped didn’t yield one large enough to break through the hand sized lock. The erosion from the salty air didn’t do as much damage to the cell as Carter had previous thought it would.
He thought and thought and thought. And then, he felt a warm pulse coming from underneath his feet. He could hear gears starting to churn out movement from below. Pistons ruptured in the distance underneath his feet. Concrete screeched against concrete. Falling rubble followed in tune and then a sudden deafening silence filled the air. A gut feeling rumbled within Carter’s stomach. He felt queasy all of a sudden, his gut told him that somewhat bad was about the happen.
The first signs were of dirt that started to fall down from the ceiling. And then pebbles and then chunks of cement. The walls of his little bird cage were moving inwards and it was closing in on him.
Carter had to find a way out and fast.
Written By HoiHoiSoi
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