The March

I wasn't entirely sure where I was when I woke up, but I knew two things, one good thing and one bad thing. The bad thing was that it was dark. The good thing was that I wasn't alone in this situation. There were at least 19 other people here with me, all of whom seemed to be just as lost and confused as I was. I looked closely at them, squinting through the darkness: they all seemed to have vacant expressions on their faces, and what's more, they were all wearing the same clothing: dark blue jumpsuits. They all had their hair dyed green as well, for some reason, and all were carrying some sort of equipment packs on their backs, like soldiers wear. I looked over myself and I could tell I was wearing the same blue jumpsuit and backpack. I couldn't see my hair, but I figured it had probably been dyed the same as the others.


Something stirred within me, a strange sense of awareness and purpose. I didn't quite understand it, but all the same I knew what I was supposed to do: I was to lead these fellows somewhere. Where exactly, I was unsure of, but I knew nothing would be accomplished by remaining here in this dark place. I shuffled about within the dark, cramped room, and I soon discovered a thin line of light in the floor. There was a door or hatch in the floor. I found the simple locking mechanism and seconds later the hatch fell open, revealing grass-covered land below. The ground wasn't far, it would be safe to jump. With that knowledge in mind, I turned to the others and cried "Let's go!"

At those words, all of the suited men stood up simultaneously, and one by one they followed me out of the hatch, down to the ground below. As soon as my feet hit the ground, the strangest sensation came over me. I couldn't really describe it, but I felt compelled to walk and keep on walking, despite not knowing what lay ahead. Soon other footsteps joined mine. I peered around ever so slightly and could tell that the others were marching right behind me. In single file, no less.

As I marched, I surveyed the area. Green hillsides, fast-flowing waters surrounding them. Directly ahead I could see a large neon sign blazing the word 'Exit', attached to what appeared to be an outhouse. That's funny, I thought, what's an outhouse doing out here in the middle of nowhere? And why is there a neon sign above the door? Still, it did not matter. All that mattered was that me and my marching compatriotes reached it. However, the outhouse was standing on top of a pillar of rock in the middle of a hilltop surrounded by the rapids. I could see this, but despite this I felt no need to stop or to tell the others to stop. We all continued marching, oblivious to the fact that if we kept on walking we would walk straight off the cliff and plummet to a watery grave.

That's when it struck me. Of course! I knew what had to be done. Without stopping, I reached into my pack and pulled out a large brick, placing it on the ground. As soon as that was done, I pulled another brick out of my pack and attached it to the end of the first brick. I realised I had an awful lot of bricks in this pack, and they were all very light. Peculiar, I thought briefly, but I kept laying bricks, slowly forming a diagonal bridge toward the hillside over the river.

However, as I was slowly building the bridge, I failed to notice that a number of my fellows had marched right past me and stepped off the incomplete bridge. My view of their quickly-shrinking forms as they fell was soon obscured as I continued laying bricks. Soon the bridge was complete, but in the time it had taken me to finish it, nine of the platoon had marched straight to their deaths. But that did not matter. We had to press on.

We walked toward the stone pillar where the outhouse stood. Two of the men had overtaken me as I was completing the bridge and I watched they walked up to the pillar... and walked straight into it. Then they turned around in the opposite direction, walked straight past me and back toward the bridge. I, however, knew what I was doing, and pulled some gloves out of my fanny pack. The gloves had sticky palms and fingertips, and when I put my hands against the pillar, they stuck. I found that I was able to pull myself up the rocky wall with these gloves, and steadily I climbed. I could not hear any of the others climbing up after me, though. They all seemed to be bumping into the wall and marching back the way we all came. At least there was now a bridge between the cliffs.

I reached the top of the pillar and there before me was the outhouse with its blazing exit sign. I marched forward, opened the door and stepped inside. I was greeted once again by darkness. I was no longer marching, but I could not understand what had made me march in the first place. And why had none of the platoon taken notice of what I was doing? There were ten of them still out there, walking back and forth, endlessly marching without purpose. I could only hope that the fleeting sense of awareness I had experienced that had allowed me to progress would allow them to reach me soon. I knew they did not have much time...

The End

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