The man woke up with a start, he sat up on the wooden bed, there was darkness all about him.
Not been dreaming again have we Ninety-nine? The doctors have told you before they are not your memories, so why do you remain attached to them? You are not Number Six, you are Ninety-nine, and you are here for deep therapy.
The man swung his legs over the bed and stared into the blackness which was absolute. The voice he heard came at him booming out of the blackness and the blackness was absolute!
Good morning all, it’s another beautiful day. Your attention please, here are two announcements. Ice cream is now on sale for your enjoyment, the flavour of the day is strawberry. Here is a warning! There is a possibility of light intermittent showers later in the day. Thank you for your attention.
Are you trying to cloud your mind with remembrances Ninety-nine, where do you think you are......in The Village? You couldn’t be in a worse place than you are now! Here there are no niceties, no pleasantries. No invitations to have breakfast. Here there is just you, me, blackness, and pain.
The man stood up and took three paces forward, his hands outstretched into the blackness. He stopped, Feeling all about him, there was nothing. He took another few paces, then he stumbled and fell. He lay there in the dirt, he could feel the floor under him, but under his face there was no floor, only a deep dark chasm. He crawled back to his bed, and sat upon it.
I’d be careful if I were you, that’s the pit, I should hate to see you fall into it. Perhaps you would like some light.
As the voice spoke a dim light filled the room, just enough for the man to see about him. He was in a large round domed chamber. The only thing in it was he and his wooden bed. There wasn’t a door, not that he could make out a door, and in the centre of the floor was a hole. He stood up and walked to the hole, he stared down into the blackness of the pit. He thought that he could make out something in the pit, but he wasn’t sure. He didn’t hear the voice again even when he called out. He turned and was about to go back to his bed, when he saw a plate with a piece of bread and cheese in it. There was also a jug and a cup on the floor. He approached them cautiously, picking up the piece of bread he bit into it, it was stale, the cheese mouldy. He poured water into the cup and soaked the piece of bread with the water, taking a bite he added cheese and ate.
How many days had it been now? 4 weeks, 5 weeks, yes possibly five, he had been fed once a day, for 5 weeks. But he never once saw who it was who left the food or by what door his keeper entered the chamber.
Are you ready to confess now? Confess and we concede. We will let you go.
A proclamation, carnival is decreed for tonight, there will be music, dancing, happiness all at the carnival.....by order.
You’re doing it again Ninety-nine, trying to block me out. All I want is your complete confession, now that’s not much to ask is it? Tell us what we want to know.
The man spent his time walking around the wall of the chamber. He examined the wall inch by inch looking and feeling for a door. There wasn’t one, no way in or out, save for the pit and that was no way out at all save for the desperate. The days turned into weeks, the weeks turned into months. His piped blazer, shirt, trousers and deck shoes dirty and worn hung loosely on his thin frame. His matted hair fell about his shoulders, and his beard ran down his chest. Had they forgotten him? No, there was the bread, cheese and water. But the voice he heard no more.
Daily he would walk the chamber wall, feeling all around it for the door, there must be a door, but there was no door! And then, surely his bed had been further from the wall, no surely no, the wall seemed to be moving, closing in around him. No, it was an hallucination, no more than that. And yet when he walked the wall yesterday it took him less time to complete the circuit, and even less time today. In fact the pit was now discernibly nearer to the wall than it had been before. But how could that be? If it continued there would be but one outcome..................
Are you not yet ready to talk Ninety-nine?
“Good evening citizens, your local council wishes to announce another exciting competition the subject this time seascapes!”
So be it!
The man placed his back to the wall, pressing right up against it. He could hardly hold the wall back, and yet it wasn’t the wall that was receding inwards, it was the floor moving outwards, the result being an ever expanding hole leading into a bottomless abyss! The bed he had been lying on so short a time ago fell into the abyss, followed by the jug, cup, and plate. By now there was little of the floor left, five feet, no four feet and receding. The large pit opened before him, there was now less than three feet of floor beneath him, not even that.
I’ll talk, I’ll tell you everything the man screamed, his voice echoing and re-echoing around the domed chamber. I’ll confess if that’s what you want.
But it was too late, no-one cared, or it no longer mattered......two feet the man’s back pressed firmly against the wall, fingers clawing desperately trying to find a hold. One and a half feet, there was now but a foot of floor to stand upon, and that was soon gone. The man fell screaming into the black abyss, beyond all hope, passing into oblivion.