The Association

The police said, “we are in the backyard of the abandoned factory near the diner, but we can’t locate any cellphone signals, we will continue looking for it, please conserve your battery but keep your phone turned on everyday from 5 to 6 AM until we find you.” I was on one of my lonely walks when I fell into the hole. I kept sliding for what seemed like twenty seconds before reaching the bottom, the walls were as smooth as silk and oiled, it was impossible to climb back up. Under the hole this was written in red, 1L 2L 4R 6R 9R 10L – 04:25:00.

 

Total darkness, rats everywhere. I was paralyzed for the first five minutes before I called the police and began walking again. It seemed I was completing circles, but I kept going anyway. Half a kilometer on and my foot hit something before breaking another, I slipped and fell. My hand felt around and with dread I realized the thing I hit was a human bone, I was holding its skull. There was a bag near the bones with a school book on history and a compass that looked ancient. The book had the name Ameer Nasi written on it and was printed in 1951. After examining his things, I quickly turned my phone off and sat down to gather myself, sleep crawled over me.

 

Woke up hungry, cold, water bottle nearly empty, walked for a while, opened my phone at 5 am, nothing from the police, slept.

 

It was obvious I had to eat the rats to survive, if I were to continue walking in whatever this is. Survival is stronger than disgust. I snapped its neck first, they were clean white lab rats, not feral, someone is running this place, there were bottles of water deeper into these branching tubes.

 

No indigestion from the rat.

 

Five days in, darkness gives me waking dreams and my senses are all blurry. My mind is creating abstract paintings, probably trying to interpret what the rats are saying. The paintings are in red and brown of melting objects, some are animated with humans slowly walking towards me. One man was trying to say something, his mouth moves but I hear nothing, another was limping, either sick or injured.

 

There are lots of bones down here, and wallets and watches, but no flashlights.

 

And not a single ghost.

 

Or maybe ghosts are invisible in darkness.

 

Or maybe they don’t interact with us.

 

I hit a wall and turned right, light at the end of a tunnel, I ran towards a brown door, an entrance lit with one big yellow lamp, and knocked.

 

-Hello, we were expecting you, well, Ameen wasn’t, but I knew you would make it, welcome to the Association.

-….who are you?

-I’m Ameera, we are always looking for people like you, adventurers in the midst of a world run by psychopathic CEOs for sales bots, please come in, there is a meal specially made for you.

-So, what exactly do you do?

– We try to act as an opposing weight, from our perspective of course, the Arab Spring was our planning, one that backfired, but we are working on another solution.

-And you want me to work for you?

– If you are to join the Association, you will receive the proper training before being tasked with covert missions. If you choose to decline this unique opportunity, you will be released back to your world, however, if you mention us to anybody, you will be eliminated. You will never question the missions or their goals If you decide to join us, you will become an agent of the Association and will pledge allegiance to our leadership and to freedom.

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