Shame

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17 The Escape

John anxiously waited by his office door, checking the passage every few minutes. When the coast was clear, he came out and started walking towards the lifts. Four guards ran past him, in the same direction, entering an elevator and hitting the number five button. Something must have happened. He ran to the staircase and started to climb, reaching the fifth floor just as the guards were heading down the passage. Following on their heels, he could hear shouts coming from inside one of the storerooms and coming closer he saw the guards removing a pipe blocking the door. He quickly entered the closest room on his right, trying to avoid any unwanted interest and, as he did, Dr. Robert came striding down the passage. Seeing him, John closed the door and hid under an open window where he could hear the conversation outside. Dr. Robert shouted, ‘How did this happen!? You can’t even keep an eye on one woman? You’re useless! Now, don’t just stand here... go find her!’ Furious, Dr. Robert told a guard to check John’s office before storming back towards the lifts. Hearing this, John rushed out of the room towards the staircase and raced down. Meanwhile, Julia had reached the ground floor and was heading towards the front door of the building when she saw guards. She quickly turned down another passage and rushed into the closest room. Inside was a large office, decorated in crisp white furnishings. Julia heard a door opening and immediately hid under a table. John opened the door to his office room, and hurriedly got inside. Fortunately, he reached his office before the guards spotted him and he sat down, pretending to work just as. a guard knocked on his door., ‘Come in.’ The guard entered. ‘Do you have any computer maintenance issues, Dr.?’ John replied, ‘No. Why are you bothering me?’ ‘Sorry Dr.,’ the guard awkwardly mumbled, before leaving the room.

John walked to his desk once again and was shocked to find Julia hiding beneath it. Julia jumped, crawling out from under the desk, speechless. John whispered, ‘Julia... the guards are looking for you. You’re in danger. We need to get out of here. You need to come with me. I know you have so many questions and I’ll explain everything, Julia, but first, we have to leave this place right now. Please, put on this coat and tie your hair up.’ Julia nervously put on the doctor’s coat and neatened her hair. John continued, ‘I’ll go follow me, okay? Don’t look at the guards. Take this phone and act like you’re texting someone. We need to pass the main exit point. Are you ready, Julia?’ Julia nodded and waited by the door, following after him towards the exit. Julia followed John to his car, and they both got in. ‘You have to hide until we pass the main exit gate. There are guards stationed at the front gate.’ Julia hid, and they passed the guards and left. Once out, Julia got up and breathed out.

John and Julia both relaxed into their seats. They both focused on the road ahead, long and straight. Julia remained silent, so John turned the radio on.

Baby won’t you tell me why there’s sadness in your eyes.
I don’t wanna say goodbye to you.
Love is one big illusion I should try to forget,
But there’s something left in my head.

You’re the one who set it up now, you’re the one to make it stop.
I’m the one who’s feeling lost right now.
Now you want me to forget every little thing you said,
But there’s something left in my head.

I won’t forget the way you’re kissing,
The feeling’s so strong were lasting for so long,
But I’m not the man your heart is missing,
That’s why you go away, I know.

When the song finished, John stopped the car, turning to Julia. ‘Julia... I know you have so many questions in your mind and now I’ll answer all of them. Do you remember the game we played that day, you answered all of my questions, but I failed to answer? So today I’ll tell you everything without asking any questions. The letter you wrote to me you mentioned CRI doing wrong things right? But it’s not the entire CRI; it was our research team that conducted secret research on you.’ Hearing that, Julia got shocked and nervous. Out of nervousness, she asked, ‘was that you who kidnapped me? Are you going to kill me now?’ After saying this, she hurriedly tried to get down from the car. Seeing this, John said, ‘Julia, I’ll not kill you. Please don’t get down from the car if you do that others might kill you. Don’t get down from the car; I’m telling you everything. It was me who instructed them to kidnap you. It was me who selected you as the subject for the research. It was my team that experimented. We wanted to learn about the impact of shame on the human psyche. We tested different subjects, but we weren’t getting proper results when test subjects were informed of the activities before the test. We needed to select someone uninformed. This was against the rules of the institute, so we had to keep it a secret until the research was complete. Your participation gave us the results we hoped for. Julia, I’m so sorry for everything. I know what we did to you was incredibly wrong and, for that, I don’t expect you to forgive me.’

‘What about that day when we came so close to each other? Was that a joke? You did everything with me simply for your research? Didn’t you feel anything that day?’

‘Julia after you left the lab, every day I thought of you. I started to feel you, miss you. I became worried about you. I never felt this kind of emotion for anyone for a long time, and I lied about my affair…’ while talking to Julia, John through the looking glass saw a van of CRI along with two other cars were rushing towards them. Seeing this, he immediately started the car and rushed forward, seeing the sudden action of John Julia shouted, ‘What are you doing? Why did you start the car? We are not done yet, John. Stop the car right now!’

‘I can’t stop the car, CRI people are behind us. If they catch us, they will kill both of us. Julia, you have no idea who are the people involved in and behind this research. They must have already known that their lead researcher left with their most important research subject.’

‘What? Who are you talking about?’

‘I can’t tell you their name because I’ve already given you enough trouble. I don’t want to put you in trouble anymore.’ Julia looked behind and saw those cars are chasing them furiously. John drove fast, and when those cars got out of sight, John went into hiding in nearby woodland and stopped the vehicle in a place covered by big trees. ‘Hiding here will buy us some time.’ John stated. ‘Julia, I was never in a relationship with anyone. That day inside the controlled room, I lied. My work and my researches always kept me so busy that I never got a chance to involve in any relationship before you came into my life. At the very beginning, I treated you as a research subject, but as the days passed, I started to like you, your smile, your thoughts everything. And after five days when we sent you home, that time I felt you so much and I missed you. It’s not that I sympathetically felt you, but I felt a responsibility towards you. I think the sense of responsibility arises when there’s love in a relationship. I don’t know what you feel about me, but this is all I feel for you; I feel responsible for you…’ Julia felt perplexed and turned pale, speechless. She couldn’t decide what to say now. Should she be happy for having a person who loves him or should get angry about kidnapping her and lying to her? Out of confusion, Julia babbled, ‘John I…’ and they heard gunshots. John and Julia Immediately got into the car and left the place, and real soon they saw those CRI cars behind them. From the van, a gunman was shooting towards their car, and they were very close. However, the police station was not far from that place, that’s why John decided to go to the police station. Meanwhile, John gave Julia a pen drive and said, ‘Julia, keep this pen drive with you; it’s important. This pen drive has all the information regarding the research, and this is your proof.’

‘Why are you giving me this? What you want to do now?’

‘Don’t Worry, nothing will happen to you, I promise. You’ll be safe.’ After saying this, John drove the car as fast as he could towards the police station. CRI’s cars were also very close to them, and they were shooting bullets at them. In one moment of speeding suddenly a bullet went through John’s backside near the shoulder and his car was almost going to crash with a tree on the side of the road while Julia quickly holds the steering wheel. John was bleeding and rapidly losing his sense said, ‘The police station is nearby, hold the steering wheel and I will stop our car there. After I stop, you will run fast and enter the police station.’

‘What about you? You are hurt I don’t want to leave you like this.’ John gets agitated and yelled back, ‘Don’t think about me, just do what I say.’ Afterwards in a short while they reached in the police station and Julia quickly jumped off the car and went into the police station. In the meantime, while John was in the car almost dead, from another car, Dr. Robert lowered the mirror and looked towards John with angry eyes. John too looked into his eyes, and without any delay, Dr. Robert shot John then left the place. Julia rushed outside with police after the gunshot and saw John’s bloodied body lying on the car. An ambulance came right after the incident and took John to the hospital. Doctors operated John for a long time. Although doctors successfully operated John, they couldn’t bring him out from coma.

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