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Tuesday 31 July 2012

Resign Oneself by david A. Stimpson {part4}


    “Good morning Number 6, I trust you spent an unpleasant night” said the voice of Number 100 “What are you doing lying there, get up on your feet man, you still can’t be asleep’.
Number 6 could hear the words but still did not move, he had been winded, every muscle ached and every bone in his body felt as though it was broken in two places!
    The image on the wall changed to the face of Number 100.
    “Come on Number 6, you can’t lie there all day you know, it will do you no good.”
    But Number 6 did not move, nor did he show any such signs of stirring.
    “Playing dead eh! If you think I am going to fall for this old trick you must think I have just fallen out of a Christmas tree!” began Number 100 “you want me to come in there to physically check if you are alive or simply playing dead. Well my money is on the latter, so you can lie there all day it’s all the same to me. Because I am going to wear you down Number 6, by the time I’m finished with you, you won’t know where you are or who you are, what day it is, the time of day or the day of the week. Soon your nerves will be shot to pieces and your body broken more times than I’ve had rides in a taxi. You’ll be carried out of here a quarter the man you once were, if you’re lucky.”
    “You’re not supposed to harm me, ask Number 2” muttered Number 6, from his prostrate position on the floor.
    “Ah you see you’re not dead at all!” said the smiling, self satisfied face of Number 100.
    Number 6 slowly sat up, it proved painful for him to do so. He wasn’t sure what had happened, or how they had done it. But his whole body ached from the fall that was for sure.
    “You have been through a lot during the past few hours, I’m sure you would like breakfast” offered 100, his face disappearing from the wall.
    A gap appeared at the base of the purple, blue, orange wall. Number 6 staggered over to where a tray appeared on the floor. Number 6 slowly sat down on the floor next to the tray, upon which was a cup of black coffee and a plate with a sliver cover and a plastic knife and fork. Lifting the cover of the plate Number 6 was confronted with the sight and aroma of eggs and bacon, not to mention fried bread, sausage and baked beans.
     The Prisoner ate a hearty breakfast.
    “I shall leave you to your breakfast in peace, we can resume this later” said the disembodied voice of Number 100.
    Number 22 had successfully descended the air conditioning duct, the welded joins gave him just enough of a foot and hand hold to ease his descent, but then he lost his footing and he fell the last six of seven feet, landing at the bottom with a heavy bump.
    At the bottom was a wire mesh grill, through which Number 22 could see a long corridor. With no one in sight he kicked out the grill to emerge into the corridor, then replacing the said grill looked both up and down the corridor wondering which way to go. The grey coloured corridor had a steel door at either end, so which ever way you faced, both ways looked the same.
    For Number 6 breakfast was over and he sat upon the floor dishevelled and unshaven, his body ached in places he never knew he had. But he had eaten a hearty breakfast as is the right of every condemned man. So now he sat waiting watching the changing colours of the wall, waiting to hear the dulcet tones of Number 100’s voice, to see his inanely grinning face. But the domed chamber remained eerily silent.
    What new game were they playing now? He had become strangely accustomed to the torturous routine, if not the pain. And now it seemed that they had taken that away from him, which in itself can become part of the same torture because then you never know when they are going to do something next. You just get used to there not being the pain suddenly fresh pain is administered, or a different mind game whichever is worst. Number 6 slowly stood up and stared up at the lights of the domed ceiling.
    “Its not going to work you know, whatever you do to me it not going to work” bellowed number 6, his voice echoing and re echoing round the chamber ‘what is it now, soften the Prisoner up with a hearty breakfast then give him the cold silent treatment. Well it won’t work, so you may as well stop trying!’
    Suddenly in the wall there came a chink of light some three of four feet from the base. Then out of the floor emerged a wedge… a ramp which rose up to meet the ever widening doors.
In the doorway at the top of the ramp a dark figure appeared and then walked down the ramp and across the floor towards him. The figure was well over six feet tall, like himself, with light brown hair and wearing a grey blazer with black piping.
    “You” was all Number 6 said, as Number 22 helped him across the floor, up the ramp and out through the open steel doors.
In the control room beyond two technicians slumped over their control consuls, and upon the floor lay the unconscious body of number 100.
    “Nerve gas, one squirt you’re paralysed, two squirts your dead” 22 explained
   “I know!” replied Number 6.
    It was the supervisor-Number 28 who now entered the office of Number2, he being the bearer of bad news and his the unenviable task of informing his superior.
   Number 2 leaned forward in his chair and removed his glasses.
    “What do you mean there was an assault on the Multiplex, by who? No one but us knew of its existence.”
    “The assault was apparently carried out by one man, armed with a nerve gas gun. One squirt you’re paralysed, two squirts your dead” the Supervisor explained.
    “Yes I know! Who, who carried out this daring assault and what about Number 6?”
    “Number 22 of Administration and former assistant of your predecessor. He got in and got Number 6 out” the supervisor reported, only too pleased not to have been involved with this latest blundered affair.
    “Where are they now?” simpered Number 2.
    “Number 100 and the two technicians are all at the hospital recovering from the effects of the nerve gas. Number 6 is having a medical after his ordeal, no doubt you will be pleased to learn that he seems to have suffered no permanent damage, a little heat exhaustion and some bruising, and no broken bones, he will be discharged later today. As for Number 22 he was apprehended by security at the hospital and is currently held in security awaiting your pleasure. He seems strangely resigned to his fate” said the supervisor.
    Just at that moment the blue ‘L’ shaped telephone on the desk began to bleep somewhat impatiently, the Supervisor reached over and picked it up.
    “Yes sir…… at once” was all he said before handing the telephone to his superior.
    Number 2 put on his glasses and nervously took the telephone offered to him.
    “Number 2 here” his lips pouted…….. “yes sir I do understand but if I can….” his lips pouted……….yes I know the importance you place on Number 6” his lips pouted……..I realise that I had no such instructions sir, I was only……… Yes sir I will you may depend upon it, I give you my word” Number 2 promised pouting his lips.
    Number 6 both battered and bruised was duly discharged from the hospital later that afternoon and with a free ride home.
    Alighting the taxi at the cobbled square Number 6 was about to mount the steps up to the green dome when his attention was suddenly drawn to the brass band walking up the road towards him playing the Radetski March dressed as they were in their usual colourful striped capes and straw boaters.
     Following slowly behind the brass band was a taxi towing behind it a black canopied trailer, inside of which was the Watchmaker’s coffin and bouquet of flowers, behind which walked Monique, her head bowed in solemn repose as village citizens followed behind wearing their regular village garb but holding aloft open black umbrellas. As the cortege passed by making its way along the road and through the first of two entrance arches Number 6 fell in walking at Monique’ side.
     Along the beach the cortege made its way towards the graveyard then everyone gathered around as the watchmakers coffin was slowly lowered into the grave dug in the sand.
When everyone had gone Monique and Number 6 stood alone at the graveside, his arm around her for comfort as tears welled in her eyes and flowed down her cheeks, weeping for her dear departed father and mis-guided political assassin.

©  David A. Stimpson

{Published in four parts on July 28th, 29th, 30th, 31st}


  1. Hi David,

    I like some of the ideas of this story and also the many references to the episodes, even those that were not made. That scene with Number Six at the small dark chamber and then falling through the hole reminded me of Poes Pit and Pendulum.. Did you have this in mind?

    Kind regards,

    1. Hello Jana,

      I happy you liked some of the ideas of the story. And yes you are perfectly correct, Number 6 being in that dark chamber, and falling through the hole, was inspired by Poe's 'Pit and the Pendulum.'

      Kind regards

    2. Hi David,
      This is a real nice metaphor. And an interesting view on the village. I might get lost in thinking about it.. I guess I have to read Poes story again, too.

      Kind regards

    3. Hello Jana,

      It has been a while since I've read any of Poe's stories. But when I was trying to think what I might do to Number 6 if I were Number 2, and wanted to be really brutal towards him, it was 'The Pit and the Pendulum' that first came to mind for some reason. Well we all have to find inspiratioin from somewhere.

      Kind regards
      Be seeing you