There is no Number 7 in the Village. There is no logical reason for there not being a 7 in the Village, not that logic plays a great deal when it comes to the Village, because it doesn’t. Why is there no Number 7 in the Village I asked. What was I told was, don’t enquire! Well I did, enquire, and this is what I was told.
The number 7 is considered to be a lucky number, just as 13 is considered to be unlucky. Well one day a man woke up to find himself in the Village, he was given the number 7. He was not a happy man, to be taken from the world he knew, his wife, his children, his friends. Here there was no-one for him.
At first, like so many before him, he refused to wear, accept, or respond to his number! He refused to talk. He refused coercion, he would not bend, not even a little. But as time wears on, Number 2‘s games begin to wear a man down, and once his spirit is broken, well he tries to escape. Number 7 came up with a plan. There was no-one he could trust, so he kept his plan secret. I can only assume that he decided to put “them” to sleep. 7 changed you see, he began to co-operate. He began to settle down, to join in. He played chess, wrote articles for The Tally Ho newspaper. He set himself a daily routine, and stuck to it rigorously. His day never varied, so much so that the Observers knew what Number 7 would be doing at any particular time of any particular day. You could set your watch by the daily activities of Number 7.
7am wash and shave, 7:30 breakfast. 8am a walk round the Village. 8:15 am buys a copy of The Tally Ho at kiosk. 8:20am coffee at the café. 9am work out at the gymnasium. 10am plays chess with Number 43. 11:30am returns to cottage. 12pm attends the regular brass band concert. 1pm lunch 1:30pm an afternoon stroll through the Village. 2pm climbs the Bell tower. 2:15pm returns home, there he sits writing his latest column for The Tally Ho.
And so it was the same regime of activities day after day, week after week………until one day in the Control Room “I can’t find Number 7” an Observer reported “I’ve looked everywhere.” “Well he must be somewhere. Look again” the Supervisor ordered.
The Observers looked again, but of Number 7 there was no sign. The entire Village was put on yellow alert, while the Village Guardian was put on orange alert. All posts were on yellow alert and set to search certain sectors. While all units made a complete search of the Village. They searched all along the cliffs. Along the beach, out across the beach into the wide mouth of the estuary, all the way to the Outer Zone they searched. They even searched the island in the middle of the estuary, as well as the far side of the estuary.
A thorough search of the woods was made, and the wide open spaces of the countryside beyond, almost all the way to the mountains. The Observers kept looking for hour after hour, they looked in all the places they had looked before. But of Number 7 there was no sign, it was as though he had simply disappeared into thin air! This put Number 2 in a right foul mood, because there was only one answer. Number 7 had escaped. No-one had ever escaped the Village before!
The search for Number 7 carried on for days. Having discovered no trace of Number 7 anywhere, the search was stretched beyond the Outer Zone. M.S. Polotska carried out a sea search, while the helicopter took to the air as a search inland and over the hills was made. All to no avail, there wasn‘t any sign of Number 7 anywhere. Operatives in the Department of Visual Records searched hours of surveillance film footage working backwards to the last point when Number 7 was seen in the Village. That point was just after he’d said goodnight to his personal maid, who had just made his nightcap, a cup of hot chocolate and went to bed. A number of citizens who knew Number 7 personally were brought in for questioning, while others were interrogated and not beyond the use of mind altering truth drugs. But all swore that they did not know where Number 7 was, or that he had decided to escape, which was true.
How Number 7 actually escaped the Village remains a mystery to this day, his file is marked “Missing - Presumed Escaped.” It was Number 1 who had the number 7 struck from the Village, declaring that no number should even contain the digit 7. It would be this action that would expunge the number 7 from the Village forever.
Beyond the confines of the Village on the other side of the woods, there is a wide expanse of open countryside. At the far end of the pasture there is a long hedgerow. Just beyond the hedgerow there lies a ditch. A deep ditch with steep sides. It’s almost completely overgrown, and yet there are tell tale signs that something had recently rolled down one of the steep sides of that ditch. Lying in the bottom of the ditch is a slowly decomposing corpse, still dressed in a red and white striped anorak and beige coloured trousers, with blue deck shoes upon it’s feet. Pinned to the red anorak is a penny farthing badge with the red numeral 7. His head lolls to one side upon it’s broken neck. As far as I’m aware, 7 still lies there today, in his makeshift grave, unmarked and undisturbed.
- Be seeing you