We’ll “‘...all just have to get use to it’?” Greg wondered. Get used to what? To sadistic fantasy movies becoming reality? Large groups of teenage girls getting killed voluntarily, as holiday recreation and entertainment? Then being eaten by their neighbors for holiday dinner? Their parents proud of them when it happens?
The City Woman had told him, “‘...it will be, sooner than you think.’”
“Not according to the Official Agreements.” He told Sergeant Jacowski, “If that woman’s daughter and her friends come outside the City Building, they’ll be expected to obey our laws. If they don’t they’ll suffer the same consequences that would be applied to any of our permanent residents.”
“At least for now.” Sergeant Jacowski told him, “Until now, we’ve only had a small trickle of City Building people coming out here to visit, but their numbers are sure to increase.
“There haven’t been too many of them yet, ’cause they’ve been telling each other, ‘Once you get out into the Wilderness, there’re few places to go and they’re all hard to get to. Then when you finally do get to them, there’s not all that much to do’.
“But that’s all just temporary. It’s only a matter of time before millions of them begin leaving the City Building, and settling out here permanently. Then, in spite of any official agreements, our world will be turned upside down.”
Gregory had finished lunch, and then stepped out into the parking lot again.
No unauthorized vehicles were permitted to go beyond here, in the direction of the City Building. Greg had to leave his hover car where he’d parked it. Looking to the east, he saw the wall of the City Building rising to the center of the sky, many times wider than its height. He’d thought he’d have just a short walk over the next hill, to reach the entrance.
“It’d be a two hour walk.” Sergeant Jacowski had told him, “The entrance is a lot further than anybody who hasn’t been here before would think.”
Now Greg sat beside Sergeant Jacowski, who drove him in his own Constabulary hover car, in the direction of the City Building of Manhattan. They skimmed along an ancient roadway going between high stone walls, and passing beneath stone arch bridges. Then they came to where the view opened out.
In front of them, they again saw the massive, shimmering wall of the CityBuilding, rising almost to the center of the sky. It stretched to the south for miles, where it ended abruptly in a sharp, vertical line. The wall stretched even further to the north, where a hill blocked their view of its lower levels.
From this point, for the first time, Greg saw the river that ran between New Jersey, and the base of the Wall, then beyond the City’s southern point, where it opened out wide.
He exclaimed, “Will you look at this place!”
“’Behold.” Sergeant Jacowski quoted the Bible, “These people are giants, who live in cities with walls that rise to heaven. We are as grasshoppers before them.’”
“No.” Greg told him, “That woman at the Rest Stop, wasn’t a giant. Neither are any of the City Building people I’ve met. They all are human beings like us; not ‘Demons from Hell’. Remember, the walls of Jericho fell down flat.”
“If these walls fall down flat, it’ll be on top of us.”
“That’s not what I’m here for.” Greg told him, “I’m just trying to bring a few City Building ‘grasshoppers’ out from inside its walls.”
They continued skimming along the ancient highway, which had recently been cleared of underbrush. The road made a sharp turn to the right, and a long descent almost to the level of the river. Then it made a 180 degree right turn, and continued its descent for a short distance.
They reached a broad plaza where the road ended. Three large stone archway entrances were blocked by cinderblock walls.
“Here we are.” Sergeant Jacowski said, “The three arches are the entrances to the Lincoln Tunnel. This is as far as my jurisdiction goes; up to the airlock, but no further. Once you step inside, you’ll be under the jurisdiction of the City of Manhattan Building.”
He drove up to the front of the blocked tube that was furthest to the left, and set the vehicle down. Here at the barrier’s lower right corner was the airlock; with a pair of sliding doors wide enough for one person at a time to pass through.
Greg said, “Now I see why so few City Building people have come outside.”
“These cinderblock barriers are the walls that’ll be falling down flat, soon enough. Once that happens, there’ll be no counting the number of people who’ll come pouring out.”
The two Police Officers now got out of the vehicle, and went to the trunk. Greg took out one suitcase, and carried it over to the airlock. Sergeant Jacowski walked beside him.
Two square pads were set in the door frame on the right side. The top pad was green. On it was the word “OPEN.” The pad below it was red; displaying the word “SHUT.” Sergeant Jacowski touched the green pad.
The door slid open sideways to the left, revealing a dimly lit chamber, with an identical door with identical pads, on the opposite side of the chamber.
The two Sergeants shook hands.
Sergeant Jacowski said, “You know you’re on your own from here. May the Lord go with you.”
Greg told him, “’If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, the Lord is there.’”
Then Sergeant Gregory Hamelin of the Pennsylvania State Police, stepped inside the airlock, and the door to the outside slid shut behind him.
Now he was alone in the tiny chamber, holding his suitcase under a florescent light, facing the next pair of sliding doors that would open onto...? What would be behind the door? Somebody offering to carry his bag?
I’ll find out when it opens, he thought.
He stepped up to the doors, reached out and touched the green pad that said, “OPEN”.
The door he was facing slid open to the left, casting the light of the chamber out into a total black darkness, illuminating only a doorway shaped patch, surrounding his shadow, on the floor in front of him. Beyond that patch, was only total blackness.
He thought, Go back now! No! I’m not a child. “There’s nothing in the dark, that isn’t there in the light.”
But I have no idea what I might see in the light.
Except that this is the “Lincoln Tunnel” that leads people into and out of the City of Manhattan Building. Its darkness can’t hurt me. It’s what I’ll find when I reach the light at the other end, that might do me harm.
He reached in the pocket of his jacket, and pulled out a flashlight. He switched it on and stepped out of the chamber, across the patch of light and into the Tunnel’s darkness.
“Now I know why so few City People have come outside.”