Myths are stories told down for centuries, or any number of generations, that are (theoretically) untrue. There has always existed a myth that explains how we ended up underground. Although, nobody has a legit theory of how our "civilization" started, and we are stuck trying to figure out a reason for our existence. We are all trapped down here, and as often and thoroughly that we try to dig our way out and up to the surface, there seems to be no way out. But in Segment Three of the City lies a run-down train station, possibly the only structure (aside from buildings in Segment One) that is sustained.
Somehow, a train makes it way in and out of the City, magically disappearing through the dirt dome that prohibits our freedom. Some people eventually made "Train Lottery Tickets" that have a one-in-a-trillion chance of allowing your escape from the City, and running away to the surface. In my opinion, everything anybody says or has said about that train being our savior is full of crap. We were placed in this hellhole for a reason, and it wasn't so that we can find cheap ways to get out. No, we need to figure out what we're doing down here, and in my belief I am content with believing that once we have fulfilled our cause for being stuck down here, we will be released.
But the real question is, by whom will we be freed? Some superior being of existence that lies above, luring our mindless citizens to their lairs to be fed in small numbers? Are we just laborers placed down here to do a lazy man's dirty work? All of these questions need to be thought through by the Government in the City, and I fear that I am the only one who understands the necessities of discovering our purpose.
+ + +
"Alex Baichman of Segment Six, please rise from your seat!" the Judge stares coldly into my soul as my legs tremble before I gain a decent stance to stand. "What form of involvement did you have with the incident that occurred on April 27th in the auditorium of the Palace in Segment One?" my throat feels dry, and my mouth tastes bitter from fear. Emotional distress can do a lot to the human body.
My mind manages to conjure a single word and emit it through my mouth in an almost-silent mumble, "nothing..."
"What, boy? Speak up and let us all hear your answer!" Does this man have so thin of a skull that he fails to realize that I am nothing but a victim of previous events? These people are so paranoid that they have to result to blaming the only person they can find to have as a scapegoat for their faults? They killed all of their chances of finding answers when they eliminated the opposition in the auditorium, and now they expect me to have their undead answers.
Not so subtle anymore, I shout directly to the judge with the full force of my voice, "NOTHING!" my voice echoes for a good five seconds before subsiding from the room, and the judge manages to regain his balance, having been blown back by surprise. The crowd in the room begins to murmur, and within a minute, the noise turns into a roar. Even the gavel on the judge's table could not silence the commotion withstanding in the room. It finally stopped when a gun was fired from the just inside the door. The citizens and jury all sit again as the military soldier who had rescued me stumbles into the room on crutches.
"This boy is innocent of his charges!" he says to the judge as my admiration for this man's determination soars sky-high.
"Under what evidence?" the judge retorts back at the soldier.
"Under what evidence is there proof of his guilt, may I ask?" the man replies. To this, the judge is rendered speechless, and he stutters small breaths before slamming the gavel on the pedestal and saying,
"All charges released. This boy is innocent." He gives me a demonic look as he steps down from his seat, and walks over to me. Whispering in my ear with such a deep voice that I start to think he may just be a smoker, he speaks four words, "I know it was you." I stare back at him for awhile, and it is almost as though we are locked in chains together, being forced to glare at each other, with me being unable to turn away due to fright, and him being ignorant enough to not see the earth crumbling beneath his feet.
The soldier walks from the center of the room to where I sit being melted, and bumps into the judge violently. "Oh! Sorry, mate. Didn't see ya there." The judge puckers his lips and scowls at the soldier, then stomps away, having been defeated. "You 'aight, kid?" he says in a somewhat familiar voice. I look at him, trying to identify where I have heard that voice from before, then realize that he is expecting an answer.
"Oh yea. I'm fine, just a little shaken."
"It's okay. These people don't know what they're saying, they just want an excuse to take our taxes," he says while he walks me out of the courtroom, "don't sweat it. This won't go down anywhere. Especially since you're military now."
"How did you-"
"I heard you stutter back there. It was rather obvious. To be perfectly honest, it's why I had to kill them all. It was clear that they knew what job you had gotten, and they would've killed you if you had kept talking." The man looks at me with curiosity, "you've gotta be pretty damn smart to figure that out the way you did. I think you're gunna do okay with us."
To this, I am flattered but without words to say. "Just stick with me, kid. The Government won't be able to touch you."
"Aren't you going to figure out who did this?" the words pour out of my mouth, having been the only thing I have wanted to say since it happened.
"Of course. But right now there's nothing we can do except wait for something to show. We killed every bit of evidence that there was in that auditorium, and it's now hidden in the blood of those criminals." He doesn't seem to be upset that he is saying he will wait for another attack like this one.
"You're saying that you're just going to hover about until more people die?"
"Well, yea. What else can we do?"
"We can... well-"
"Exactly. C'mon kid, don't be overthinkin' things now. It's not what the Government pays us to do," he smiles at me kiddingly, and I smirk back with a false smile. My job has become this: allowing people to die.
+ + +
The door squeaks a little as I push forward into my new home. It's easy to become hesitant when life throws surprises at you, and this house is definitely something to be in awe over. The front garden is lined with magnificently bright artificial flowers, and the grass is a lovely lime-green. A singular tree with shiny green leaves is lit up by a small light in the middle of the area, not to mention the flowerbed that runs around the perimeter of the house itself.
The interior walls are lined with magnificent wallpaper patterns, and the walls themselves are colored a luminescent blue. A chandelier hangs from the ceiling of the top floor, and the staircase spirals up with so many steps that I can't even count them. The kitchen has everything a professional chef would need, but an immense amount of space.
The plush carpet gives me a serene feeling when I step down, and the subtle rumble of the heater soothes my ears. Whoever designed this house was resolute and deft with the details and structure. "So you go ahead and get changed, Alex. You've got orientation and you don't want to miss it or you'll be running laps 'till you're almost dead." I'm beginning to wonder why this military man is taking such an interest in me, it's not like he has to constantly stay with me.
"I never caught your name..." I reply as if I haven't heard what he said.
"Rob," he says as he reaches out to shake my hand. I stare at him as if I'm oblivious to the fact that he is holding out his arm. I don't want to shake hands with him, he's no better than the criminals that killed all of those innocent people. "C'mon, kid. Don't look at me like that..."
"Could you get out, please?" he kicks the door closed as he goes,
"Orientation is just down the road, mate!"
+ + +
I wonder how the City is going to look for me when I'm being forced to protect it, all of the people that I used to live like, the life that I used to live, is all behind me. My mind drifts off as I stand in the midst of a crowd staring up at a sinister-looking man with a horrific scar darting across his mangled face. The orientation is placed outside, not too far from my new home, and everyone around stares at us as we stand here, the majority of these cadets waiting eagerly for good pay. These people sicken me.
"And last of all... due to recent events, we are ordering every unit to patrol each segment. You will be assigned to a squad momentarily, and your instructors will inform you where you need to be." His voice is low and muffled, like a slow-working machine trying to accomplish a goal. As we all disperse, I catch a glimpse of Claire glaring at me through a window of a brick home. Her stare bores into my head like a power drill, and I can tell she is upset with me. But what did I do? Is she still curious as to whether I am the cause of the murder at the auditorium?
I follow suit as the rest of the cadets make their way towards where we will all meet up again. The chronic buzz of restless footsteps fills my head and I hurry to escape the madness. It is a long walk down the stairs, but it sure beats having to listen to all of the shouting and moving about above. The tunnel is desiccate and boring, so there is not much to look at when making my way down. But I do wonder why, if we are already trapped underground, we would dig ourselves further down?
"Alex! Over here, you're with us!" Rob shouts at me from across the dimly-lit room. I job over to them as I analyze the team that I will be working with. A tall beefy man who looks like he has been in the military all his life is covered in muck and his dusty black hair droops over his eyes making him look sad. A woman, about the same size as I, leans against the concrete wall with an indolent look on her face. She has bright brown hair, close to a red, and she seems relatively new to the military. Then there is Rob, who stands in the middle of the other two, shouting towards me and beckoning me closer.
"What's up?" the red-headed woman asks me. I reply resolutely, because I need to know where I am going, if I'm going to be near my family. The woman and I just look at each other for a while before Rob jumps in,
"Okay... Alice, you'll be assigned to Segment Four. Bates, you'll be in Segment Five, and Alex..."
"You'll be in Segment Six."