23 mai 2006

I see a pattern

(poem, fiction, poem, fiction... maybe I'll keep to it. Anyway here's another random scene that played in my brain)

I ran through the crowd, through the stampeding people. Why did it feel like I was going against them? Maybe it’s just the nature of the crowd, there is no flow during mass chaos, only banging shoulders and narrowly avoiding globe luxation. I made it to the centre plaza; the fountain in the square was flowing at regular intervals, totally unaffected by the surrounding madness. I spotted Colin first and then Ajax. They were rushing towards me, blind with panic.
“Colin!” To this day I swear I was yelling, but I couldn’t even hear me. I took a deep breath and threw myself in path. The collision was painful, but successful—he stopped and Ajaxwas distracted enough by our entanglement to slow his progress.
“Are you mad?!”
“You’re going… the wrong… way.” I staggered to my feet, completely out of breath and took a hand from each of them, propelling them in the direction I had been heading. They ran with me, and in a moment of psychological dislocation, I basked in their ability to just trust me.
We did not speak, but kept running, shoving our way through the crowds. At the steps to the central utilities building the noise was nearly incomprehensible and the three of us tightened our grips. We leaned our way through the crowds and, finally, the front doors. We had barely stepped inside when a ripping sensation pained my left hand.
“Colin!” It was the second time I screamed his name, this time in terror as he was swept down the corridor by a stampede of people.
“We’ll find him,” Ajax's words, though well-intentioned, did not reassure me. But we had no choice, we had to keep moving. Up two flights of stairs the noise was hushed and we had to move more carefully. Stealthily peering around corners and madly dashing into alcoves, I began to feel as though I were hallucinating some sort of spy move scenario. It was too unreal, my brain was shutting down. I shook myself and my vision cleared some. Dragging Ajax into a supplies closet I released his hand to point up. He followed my gesture, but shook his head.
“They installed sensors into all the air vents just last week.”
I wavered, and felt off balance, entirely agog and unable to process this statement. “They… knew this was coming?”
“They planned it.”
Roaring, deafening silence.
“We have to keep going.”
I held up a silencing hand, and let a movie montage of blueprints and pictures run through my brain.
“Got it.” I grabbed Ajax's hand and peered through the door’s slats—empty. We moved into the hall and through a maze of corridors. Looking back, I realise it must have seemed total madness, and to be honest, if anyone had stopped us, I might have been lost. But I was running in a picture, I focused on the blueprint in my mind and it was like filling in a maze in a kid’s activity book. We reached the non-functional escalators before I realised that the children had been released to work. Brainwashed beyond being human they did not stop us, I doubt they even recognised our existence, but it gave me chills and I quickened my pace.
“Heat sensors in ten seconds,” a pleasant, if mechanical, female voice announced over the intercom.
With a renewed sense of panic Ajax and I raced down the steps of the escalators, risking a fall knowing that, at least it would be fast.
“Heat sensors in five…”
We took long, awkward, racing strides towards the end of the hall.
My side cramped and I gasped for more air.
Thank god there were no children, we’d have run them over.
The door was within reach.
Ajax grasped the handle and flung open the door.
“Heat sensors activated.”
We lay on the floor, gasping for air. I rubbed the hipbone I had mashed on my fall into the boiler room.

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