Ava was in the elevator, shifting her weight from one foot to the other. Another lady entered on the 6th floor and another one with a child on the 4th. Ava smiled at the child although it looked very sad. The child, a girl with shimmering brown eyes and curly hair looked at Ava, acknowledged her presence but ignored her afterwards. The therapist almost chuckled loudly at how this girl reminded her of Lauren when she was young.
Everyone got out on the ground floor except Ava who had to go one level lower. She walked into the silent parking lot with only the thought of work. It was such a silent time, it was divine for someone who preferred to be alone. Ava took her keys out of her beige backpack and unlocked her car which was parked just around the corner from the entrance. All she wanted to do was to get immersed into other people's problems and forget hers.
She was ready to get in when suddenly some unknown person wrapped one hand around her waist and one around her face, covering her nose and mouth with a handkerchief. Her eyes widened when she realized she was being assaulted so close to home. She tried to stop breathing altogether but that didn't work in her favour, inhaling even more chloroform when she had no air left in her lungs. In the end, she fell unconscious.
When she woke up, Ava didn't look as scared as she should have. She has gone through more traumatic events in her life, the way she was registering danger was rather deformed now. Besides, she watched enough movies to know that calm decisions were the best to survive.
But there didn't seem to be a reason to panic. She was placed on a chair but her feet and hands were not tied. She sighed and grabbed a hand through her hair before she prepared herself for whatever was about to happen. The door was right in front if her, a single stain if bright red in a room painted white. And yet nobody walked through. She only heard the faint sound of music, a tune she did not recognize.
Ava let herself go with the melody as she followed it slowly into the darkness of what seemed to be a very long corridor. She was sure she entered another room where the speaker were because the music was more poignant.As the sound became louder, she realized she was probably getting closer to her kidnapper as well. Only, she came to find a wall full of screens. Each was a representation of what humans were doing to their planet and to their society. It seemed there was a pattern and a chronology to the videos on display. There were images in black and white from the early 1900's, events from the 1st World War, 2nd World War, natural disasters that occurred and the overall instability that the world was going through. Having so much pain and so much cruelty on display in front of her, she couldn't help but feel like someone was purposefully messing with her mental state. And then, on a screen in the middle of these disasters was his face. Once she stopped in front of it, the music became only a quiet murmur in the background.
Ava's eyes widened and immediately teared up as she heard her 10 year old voice.
"Please, save us. Please."
She couldn't move. All she could do was watch the man that destroyed her childhood as she heard herself plead for help. He seemed so happy, those evil eyes were glistening as he looked at his daughter.
"We have been kidnapped. Please, somebody, please save us."
Tears fell down her cheeks as she remembered the day they ran away. That phone call was just the beginning of a very nasty day but it was also the nudge they needed to claim their freedom back. They were still haunted by those days and there he was on the screen laughing next to his wife and children. His daughter grabbed his hand and Ava felt like she was about to throw up.
"Why are you doing this to me?" She asked feeling like she was being tortured.
A shadowy figure approached her. He had a mask on,one that seemed to mock everything on the screens and most importantly, Ava herself. It looked like a jester mask, not as well made but good enough. His eyes were the only thing she could actually see of him and they were such a bright blue colour.
"Don't cry, beautiful Charlotte."
She did not expect this apparently young man to sound so sad and mature. He had a British accent but it was so clean, so BBC-like that it was hard to know if he was indeed from the UK or not.
"What?" She asked,her voice so soft that it sounded more like a whisper.
"The world is too cruel for you, isn't it? But don't shed tears for it, Ava. They do not deserve your pain." He said walking closer to her.
"Why are you showing this to me? What is it that you want to see me doing?" She asked, feeling so tired already.
"It is not about what I want but about what you want. Sometimes the world disappoints us and we have to rearrange it so that it works correctly once more. I cannot just stand and watch anymore, not when humans are ready to bring doom upon us." He said, his voice low and intelligent.
"What do you want from me?"
"Nothing. I'm not asking anything of you, Ava. On the contrary, I am the only one who can help you." He said and turned his sight on the man that destroyed three children. "Am I not the same being who once enjoyed an excess of happiness, who at every step saw paradise open before him, and whose heart was ever expanded towards the whole world? And this heart is now dead; no sentiment can revive it. My eyes are dry; and my senses, no more refreshed by the influence of soft tears, wither and consume my brain. I suffer much, for I have lost the only charm of life: that active, sacred power which created worlds around me,—it is no more..." as he finished he turned to look at her and noticed how his words cut deep in her heart. They both knew he was referring to her and to her trauma rather than a general meaning.
"I believed you to be a fan of Dante and yet you quote me from Goethe." Ava said gaining a bit of courage.
"Both gave their lives for one woman who was never theirs."
Ava frowned and she wrapped her hands around her as a shield.
"That doesn't have any relevance to whatever you're doing." She wanted to believe that, she said it out loud especially to be able to believe it. "Does it?" But doubt was strong.
"Do you think that my Anonymous made this whole plot of transforming Europe into The Map of Hell because of one woman?" He asked but did not sound sarcastic.
"Empires fell because of one woman." Was her educated answer. But now that she said it, it actually made her understand how small she was compared to Hellen of Troy or Cleopatra. She was just a regular woman from London.
"Do you know why details are so important to us? Because they make the difference between life and death. One blink and a whole nation can vanish. Of course, that's not what Anonymous wants. Once down in Inferno, there is no other way but to rise into Purgatory and eventually, Paradise. Only when humans hit the bottom of their existence can they truly save themselves." He explained placing one hand carefully on a screen. "But that's not why I brought you here."
"How do you know so much about me?"
"Research. Or maybe you know me. Maybe we talked while waiting for coffee or maybe you swore at me in traffic. The world is not as big as we make it seem. What goes around comes around."
"What have I done to you?" She asked still very calm although the answer scared her. "Was I your therapist? Did I offend you?"
He tilted his head to the side and watched her for a while in silence. She didn't seem to mind, she looked like she was thinking about a lot of things.
"Have you ever read or watched Egmont?"
"What?" She frowned.
"It will have a representation this Friday evening in Oslo. Go and watch and especially listen to it, to every word. Take that amusing detective along if you want." He said before the music came back louder than ever. He retreated into the shadows leaving Ava by herself. The screens stopped too and she was in pitch darkness.
She found the exit quicker than she imagined. It had a large red sign right above it making it hard to miss. There was a cab waiting outside. As suspicious as it looked, Ava approached it warily and found her backpack on the backseat.
"Ar ya gonna enter or wha?" The driver asked but didn't sound as rude as she expected. "Been waitin' fo ya fo 15 minutes but the guy said ya were comin' soon."
She checked if she had everything first and to her relief nothing was missing. Actually, she found two tickets for the tragedy Egmont by Goethe. Friday, 8 o'clock at the National Theater in Oslo, Norway.