I have done this before; the black bag, the shackles, and
the two men carrying me too my unseeable destination. It all felt so familiar,
yet somehow different. The last time this was done to me, I felt relieved, like
I just escaped an unbearable prison after a decade of imprisonment. Yet here I
was heading into the complete unknown, unable to determine what would happen
next. I did not have any foresight, no piece of intelligence to prepare for
what was to come. This was a world far different from anywhere on the surface;
it’s ideology inapplicable anywhere else, its technology far surpassing
anything on the surface. Everything here was alien, and I was the primitive
visitor from the surface of Earth.
Unlike my fellow agents who dragged me into an interrogation room, my two other captors did not say a word to one another. All I was able to hear were their footsteps and a screeching noise coming out of my wheelchair. Suddenly it stopped andI heard one of the men walk in front of me.
They removed the bag from my head and to my surprise nothing changed. I still saw nothing but an absolute darkness that dominated my field of vision. The two men walked away from me and shut some door behind me. I was alone in this black and forbidden place, a place where they take the forsaken and dump them with the rest of their shit.
“It started with an act of charity, a feeling of chance, a chance where I could have been proven wrong of my precarious superstition. Someone like you came along and gave me the illusion that I might be correct, that there might be something worth preserving from the surface. Then it all faded away, like dust on a windy day. Tell me, Sullivan, which are you; CIA, KGB, MI6? I built this city on the foundation of avoiding the shackles of federal agencies and dim witted bureaucrats, to give the artist the tools he needs to create his masterwork, to provide the funds necessary for the scientist to find a cure to the supposedly incurable afflictions that plague our world. You and your master seek to snatch the work of great men without their consent. What does that make you, Mr. Sullivan?”
Ryan . . . he was here. The treacherous man was only a couple of feet in front of me. How I wish I was able to get out of these shackles and slit his throat, though that was something I was incapable of doing. I heard him walking in circles around me. I was not able to see him, there was zero visibility.
“Well?” Ryan said
“Listen Ryan, talk to Sander, I’m sure we can clear up th-“
“A thief, but worst of all Mr. Sullivan you are a fabricator. Your agency artificially engineered a living breathing mind with vast potential to make a contribution here, and replaced it with an almost synthetic being that can only perform orders for his kindly master.”
“You’re wrong about me.” I said to Ryan
“Then what brought you here? What can possibly make you stir such a ruckus in my utopia?”
“Crimes against humanity,” I said, giving off a grin.
“You’re referring to the girls.” Ryan said, he stepped closer to me and suddenly a bright light came on, flashing right into my eyes. They eventually adjusted and I saw a lamp facing directly towards me. Behind the lamp I could see the reflection of this utopia’s leader. He walked in circles around me, and all I was able to do was turn my head. “Tell me, have you ever heard the story of The Lion and the Hyena?”
“Ryan, let’s work something out-“
“It all begins in the grasslands of Africa. A king ruled these lands, a grand lion by the name of Boipelo. He was a large and brave king who firmly defended his lands from those he claimed to be vile and would bring chaos to his kingdom. He had a family, a wife and two cubs he dearly cared for. He also was the leader of a large group of warrior lions that protected the border. His kingdom was prosperous and he spent most of his days with his family, teaching his cubs what the future had in store for them. Though one day it all changed. One of the species that Boipelo cast away from his land was the hyenas. Time and time again they tried to get into the kingdom through brute force and failed repeatedly. The leader of the Hyenas, Jaakobah, was scarred in battle multiple times trying to reach the richly populated kingdom and grew to resent the lions more than any of their rivals. He decided one day to change his tactics and challenge the king to dual. If Jaakobah wins the dual, he would be allowed into Boipelo’s kingdom. The king merely laughed at this and accepted the challenge, knowing that he was far superior in strength and size. They met in the border of their lands, each bringing there warriors to witness the dual. As expected, Boipelo easily outmatched Jaakobah and he was left with another scar on his body. Boipelo wanted that scar to be etched upon his body for the rest of his life to be an indicator of his defeat. Jaakobah challenged him again in which the king accepted, the result was once again the same. The king grew to love the fight; the thrill, the showcase of strength, and the pride that followed. With each dual Jaakobah demanded, the more warriors the king decided to bring with him so they can witness his victory. With each dual Jaakbah lost, he received another scar that would signify his defeat. The king grew more confident with each victory until one day he decided to bring all his warriors to witness his next fight. When he arrived to the border, he realized the hyenas had not come yet, and so Boipelo waited for Jaakobah’s arrival. He waited hour after hour, anxiously waiting for his adversary to arrive. Out of frustration Boipelo left for his home. He then noticed something troubling, darkness enveloped the land, clouds shrouded the sun and no sign of life was to be found. Boipelo ran to his home in fear something had happened. When he arrived he saw his and other wives of the warriors lying motionless on the ground, not a single breath was drawn from any of them. The cubs were nowhere to be found. He thought to himself ‘what could be the meaning of this? How did this happen?’ Suddenly one of his warriors came to him in a panic and screamed ‘Hyenas have crossed!’ While the king summoned all his warriors to witness his dual, Jaakoba and his hyenas took advantage of this and swarmed the land while at the same time claiming there revenge. The king was horror struck and filled with grief, his kingdom and his family fell because of his pride. Boipelo did nothing as the hyenas ransacked and butchered all those that were under his protection. Years passed and the hyenas have claimed the kingdom for themselves while the former lion king lay on his death bed, still grieving over his loss. In the final minutes of his life Jaakobah came to visit Boipelo. Boipelo looks at Jaakobah in horror, all of his battle scars were gone, healed over time. Jaakobah gave out a sinister smile, began to laugh, and then the former king fell into an endless sleep.”
The story had finished, neither one of us spoke afterwards; we only looked at each other; one in clarity and the other in confusion. Ryan then walked away from me and opened the door, another pair of footsteps walked in while the other left. That was it? Ryan came to tell me this? No interrogation? Not even a speck of curiosity? Just that? He was gone now, and a new pair of feet came through the door.
“And here come Judas in all his glory, reenacting his famed betrayal as a fable story,treating his so called friends like a pack of quarries.”
My eyes widened, I knew that voice, but that was impossible! He should have been long gone by now!
“Turner?” I said in complete shock
“Hello, Mr. Sullivan”
Anger filled my body; I tried to get out of that wheelchair with all my strength, lunging myself over and over again while screaming at the top of my lungs. He was supposed to leave with the plasmid and put a stop to this place. That traitorous bastard!
“No need for that I won’t be long, just going to give you a shot of Sodium Thiopental. Once this is in your system, all your secrets are going to gush out. We just need to figure out who gave you the orders to retrieve the plasmid and then you’ll be on your way. Of course we’ll have to perform electric shock therapy in the aftermath; you’re way to large of a public figure to just disappearing from thin air. Or we could do a Trans orbital lobotomy, whichever you prefer. Either way you’ll have to be somewhat mule. Shall we begin?”
“Wait!” I said panicked, “What are you going to them? T-the ones who gave me the orders?”
“Why, kill them of course.” Turner said laughing “After all they are an impediment to Rapture’s growth and Ryan has a very effective hit man on the surface with a bottle off plasmid just waiting to be used, it shouldn’t be a problem. And after he’s done with that lot, maybe he’ll come after your bitch wife.”
I was lunging once more in hatred and spite towards this sick man, trying to grab hold of his neck and squeeze the life out of him. “I’m going to kill you, YOU HERE ME YOU SICK FUCK? I’LL KILL YOU IF YOU TOUCH HER!”
“She had a contract with Ryan industries and broke it. Which is unacceptable by Rapturian standards. It says, and I quote, “in perpetuity”, meaning, like the rest of us, she’s buried at sea. Now keep still, this is going to sting.” He said, getting out the needle and coming close to me.
“Get your hands o-“
He injected the thiopental into my system. Chills began to run across my entire body, I could no longer feel my muscles and lost all state of mind. The anger that once drove me was replaced with forced obedience. I gave him a blank expression and just sat motionlessly in my chair.
“Is your name John Buchanan?” Turner said
“What is your name?”
“Do you have any wife or kids?”
“What are their names?”
“ . . . Elena and Jessica”
“Remind me, which one was your wife?”
“Well, there’s one person who needs a bullet to the head,” Turner said. I screamed and lunged myself forward to grab him, but it was no good. Here he was controlling all my impulses while taunting me by telling me how I was going to lose everything I held dear. “Moving on, why did you come here?”
“To retrieve The Bottle in the Winery”
“No other reason?”
“ . . . To get my . . . daughter . . . Elena . . . out of this place”
“And where is your daughter as of now?”
“Fontaine’s Department Store”
“Very good Sullivan, I just have two more questions and we’re done,” Turner said. “Who sent you here?”
“ . . . Alexander Smith, Director of the CIA.”
“Is there someone else you might know who currently knows the whereabouts of this city?”
“Not to my knowledge”
“Excellent, thank you for being such a sport; I’m going to give you a sedative right now so I can prep you for surgery. I was going to give you a choice between the two treatments, but given how much knowledge you have on the field, I simply, in good conscious, cannot let my patient make the decision for me. So as a renowned professional in my field of work, I think a trans orbital lobotomy will be the ideal treatment. When you wake up, you’ll be a new man, or something less than a man.”
He then injected me with the sedative and I began to lose my consciousness. I closed my eyes and prepared myself for the end of my existence. Once Dr. Turner was done with his treatment, I would have the brain span of an infant. Then I would be institutionalized, never again to be brought back into the public eye. My new life will be made up of four cornered walls and employees who drag me to my cell for misbehavior. This was the end of things to come, there was nothing left I could do, for all my strength and determination,I was only human.
“Will!” said a familiar voice calling out my name.
I opened my eyes and suddenly I was back in the park; where the birds sang and the children ran with gleeful smiles. Now I just had to wait for the oblique darkness; the heavy rain and the loss of life that will soon come to being.
“Will”, said a voice behind me that sounded flustered. I turned around and to my surprise it was Buchanan, my ghost has now come to haunt me in my sleep in a benign and peaceful setting. “Is this it? Is this really the end?”
“Yeah,” I said taking a seat on a nearby bench. “There’s no way out of it.”
Buchanan then took a seat next to me. For the next few minutes we did not talk or look at one another, we just stared at the vast wilderness that was in front of us. It was all so peaceful, so full of life. Birds were chirping in the distance, trees swayed as gusts of wind propelled the land.
“It was a hell of a ride,” John said, “Listen, no matter what happens, I want to-“
“It’s alright, John . . . you don’t need to explain yourself. Let’s just sit down and wait it out . . . it’s too beautiful of a day to be grim.”
After that we did not speak a word to one another, we just waited for our inevitable rebirth. Thankfully my last memories in this Earth will be one of trees and clear skies. Maybe there is a God up there watching us, giving anyone who nears death one last act of mercy. He gave me the chance to see the sun again rather than the dim ocean floor, to feel grass on my feet rather than a hard marble exterior. It was all I could ask for. The park grew brighter and brighter, soon light surrounded the park and I was able to see nothing but a blank white. That was my calling, it was time to leave. Tears began to come out of my eyes. I failed everyone I held dear, leaving them to a miserable fate of loneliness and death.
“Elena,” I said, my voice was cracking and my eyes gushing with liquid. “I’-Im sorry, I’m sorry for not being there when you needed me most. I hope . . . in the next world . . . wherever you are . . . you can forgive me.”
I fell to my knees gasping for air, I was not ready to die, there was still so much I needed to do. Yet I could do nothing. Suddenly I felt a hand touch my shoulder. I look back and it was Buchanan, smiling at me as light embraced him. I stopped crying and picked myself up. Soon I was not able to see my own body parts, white light just cut through everything. It was time, and I was ready.