Chapter three of my fictional work.
Chapter one and chapter two are available to read if you need to catch up
Three days in a row… This could be habit forming! I’m not quite sold on the whole process just yet, but if She wants me to keep going, who am I to stop?!
The world changed in the 4 years I was in the asylum. It became a brighter place, a less imposing place, a bigger and busier place where people are now less interested in little old me.
It had got to the point where I couldn’t leave my room in my parents house because there were cameras everywhere. I was convinced that they had access not only to the CCTV cameras on every street corner and the satellites that followed me everywhere I went, but they were also listening to every conversation I had and could see me through any screen or the camera on any mobile phone. How my parents managed I don’t really know. I locked myself away, tore apart all my electronic devices and disconnected from all networks whilst I tried to teach myself how to become anonymous. That was difficult with my limited tech knowhow and with no internet access, no friends, no library card (they could trace all the books I was borrowing too…).
In the end I gave up trying to re-engage with the world and plot the overthrowing. Instead I gave up completely and returned to the books on my shelf. I re-read the oppresive regimes of my youth, I digested them until I could recite them. As I read I realised that they wouldn’t have allowed these books to be part of my world if it wasn’t for a specific reason. Maybe someone was trying to communicate with me. Maybe there was something I needed to learn. Maybe they contained the key to my freedom. Or maybe they predicted what was happening to me. I needed to know.
For months I cross referenced my entire collection, my whole dystopic library, searching for messages, hints, keys that would release me or motivate me to restart my efforts for liberation.
I began to identify my oppressors amongst the “fictional” characters I was reading about, unravelling layer upon layer of conspiracy, going deeper and deeper into the mystery, uncovering more and more lies and proving I could trust fewer and fewer people.
I realised that my parents were right outside my door at all times, and that in fact they were the very reason I was who I was, they had dictated my life in the way the Authority had commanded. I couldn’t stay there any longer, but who knew what was waiting for me outside the door to my attic room.
It was at that point that I conspired to run.
My only choice was to flee by night from the skylight, onto the roof of the garage and on foot across the fields into the woods. Once there I was fairly sure I could survive on the land as I travelled in the dark away from the cameras. I would head north to the wilderness of the Scottish Highlands and Islands and there I would start my life again, only this time I would be free.
Having ignored the outside world for months, and not having opened even the blind to see outside, I had missed the changing of the seasons and the rushing in of Winter. I wasn’t expecting the snow and ice that laced the roof tiles and put an end to all my plans.
In my haste I threw my stuff out and thrust all my weight onto my right foot as I slung myself after my meagre pack. By the time my body registered the cold air, my face had already registered the window sill as I slipped and slid down the roof tiles unable to get any purchase or grip. All I could do was laugh as I fell… Even the Authority couldn’t have predicted this turn of events!
Before I could even drag myself to the shelter of the porch, crying in pain, with laughter, due to the cold and out of my despair, my mum was by my side, with my dad in hot pursuit with his phone to his ear.
Shrouded in blankets, still unable to do anything but laugh and cry, it was only 12 minutes until I was surrounded by more people than I had seen in one place for a quarter of my life.
Upon reflection the sudden onset of claustrophobia in this open space shouldn’t really have taken me by surprise but it literally took my breath away. As the seizure set in, the last face I clocked was my mum’s. I will never forget the look on her face, and I don’t think I’ll ever understand it either.
Never has one look conveyed so many contradictory things:
Pride and Shame; Knowing and Uncertainty; Success and Failure; Concern and Nonchalance; Jealousy and Disdain…
But the thing that came through most was regret and disappointment.
Why? What was she trying to tell me? What did she need me to know? She had so little time before they packed me into the ambulance. Just enough time for one look.
One look, without changing for what seemed like hours as I slipped out of consciousness. The way she held that look has left me wondering if the wind changed… Did her face ever return to normal?
I was later told that the ambulance took me to St Luke’s accident and emergency where they took me straight into surgery to fit the metal pins in both my ankles, and correct the countless other breaks, abrasions and dislocations. Before I had even come round from the anaesthesia it was felt that I should be transferred to the Asylum. Whilst I hadn’t been to see any health care professionals since I was a child, my parents had sought help as much for themselves as for me.
The file on me must have been pretty big, or I must’ve been important or a threat to their way of rule for them to be able to incarcerate me without any personal review, but I awoke with my arms strapped across my front and buckled at the back, bouncing along in the back of the van.
The last I saw of the outside world before I became a resident of cell 243 in the Asylum was the night sky. Even through the light pollution I caught a glimpse of the stars.
It took me a long time to work out how I felt about that.
What I worked out is maybe something I’ll remind myself of later…
Remarcable is one man blogging about Youth Work, Theology, Family, Life and those other random things that come to mind.