“I don’t have all day.”
The voice broke through the silence, startling her. After the booming voice had died away the blinding green light had switched off as well. She had been once again blanketed in darkness, her eyes still aching from the sudden exposure to the bright light. She had remained there in a daze, her thoughts reeling until a man’s voice had disrupted her thoughts. Again his voice broke the silence.
“Miss, please stand up.”
She looked down and realized that she was kneeling on the hard floor. She stood up, and immediately started to sway as a wave of dizziness swept over her. She would have fallen, but she felt a strong hand grasp her arm and keep her upright. She turned and peered at the hooded man holding her. In the dark she could not make out his face. They remained like that for a moment, staring at each other.
“Who are you?” she whispered.
“You will learn in time.” He replied. “All you need to know right now is that I am…” he paused and she felt his hand stiffen on her arm. “Here to instruct you.” He pulled his arm away and said firmly. “It’s time to go. You mustn’t keep the Elders waiting.”
“Who are the…” she started to say, but he cut her off by turning and walking quickly away from her, setting a brisk pace toward the flashing green light in the distance.
“No more questions” he called gruffly over his shoulder.
The two walked for some time in the almost darkness, gradually approaching the ominous flashing light. As she walked, she examined the room more closely. She could not see the ceiling in the dark, but due to the way the sound echoed in the room she reasoned that it was indeed quite far off. The floor was made of what looked like solid steel. It was very hard, and silvery-blue in colour. It was somewhat reflective, and that must have been why she thought it had glowed before. She could feel it sucking the warmth out of her bare feet as she walked on its cold face.
She examined the hooded man and noticed that he was short, only about five feet tall by her estimate. He was wearing a dark brown hooded cloak, which swept off his shoulders and onto the ground behind him. It looked like it was made for a larger man, because it didn’t sit right on his shoulders and it was to long as it would likely catch on things as he walked. Tiring of walking, and also still very confused by her whole situation, she tried to strike up a conversation.
“Where are you taking me?” she asked.
He let out a little snort and replied “Where else, the green light, duh.” Unperturbed by his short reply, she asked another question.
“Who am I?” He let out another little snort, and she sensed amusement in his voice as he spoke.
“Does it look like I’m the one in charge her woman? Nah, I’m just the gopher. You leave the big questions to the Elders. Not that they’ll answer them mind you. They never really do.” He stopped speaking abruptly, and mumbled something under his breath that she couldn’t make out.
They continued on in silence, still walking through the monotonous dark room, gradually approaching the green light.
“What’s your name?” she asked, again breaking the silence.
“Bert.” He replied. She started as a thought struck her. What is my name? She again searched her mind as she had earlier, desperately reaching for any memory or notion that defined who she was. But she was rewarded for nothing by her efforts.
“What's my name?” she asked him.
There was a pause before Bert answered. “Tereselianen.” he replied.
“Are you serious?” she asked, “Who would ever name their child that? Or did the Elders or whoever tell you to say that?”
“Hey, it’s your name.” he answered sarcastically, “So don’t blame me if it’s lame.” She rolled her eyes at his joke. He hadn’t answered her question.
In a few moments they finally came closer to the light. It was about half of a foot across, and quite bright when close to it. It was placed directly over an entranceway which was in the shape of a perfect semicircle. As they stepped through the door, a series of soft green lights lit up on the ceiling illuminating their path. After they passed them, the lights switched off again, so that only the ground within ten feet of them was clearly lit. It bothered her that she couldn’t see farther, but decided that by this point a little more darkness wouldn't do her any more harm.
They walked for about a minute, and then the tunnel took a turn and then another. They stopped at what seemed like a dead end. Bert strode over to the wall and pressed a small, round green button. Suddenly, a friendly female voice called out around them.
“Going up! Be careful not to bump your little heads!” Then suddenly the floor and ceiling lifted and they rose quickly, a quiet hum accompanying the movement. Bert turned his head and chuckled.
“She’s always cheerful. Never has a bad day, even when ours are downright horrible.”
Now that they were in the light she was able to see a glimpse of Bert’s face under his hood. He seemed to look friendly enough. It looked like he had forgotten to shave that morning, and there was a funny little scar below his left eye. The shape somehow looked familiar to her, but her examination was interrupted when the elevator came to a stop. She turned and faced an imposing, dark green, steel door.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” Bert asked, his finger hovering over a button beside the door.
“Do I have a choice?” She replied.
“Nope!” he said cheerfully, and promptly pressed the button.