"I am not a number……..where am I? How did I come to be here? They call this place the Village, but no-one will tell me where the Village is, or what the name of this place is. They just say the Village! It’s not as though I’ve committed a crime or anything like that, all I did was resign. I walked out of the bosses office, I got a taxi home, I went home. I had a few beers, then crashed out on the sofa…….I was here! I asked why? All Two said was why not? They say all they want to know is why I resigned, that’s all. But I don’t trust that Two, I don’t trust him as far as I could throw him! My first thought is to escape. But they tell me that escape is not possible, although there are no locked doors to keep me here.. So I tried to escape, to find a way out of the Village. I took a taxi, but all the roads are the same, they all lead back to the Village. Two tells me there is nothing beyond the Village. Two tells me that the Village is where I belong, because I am Village! So why do I keep insisting that I was brought here to the Village? I will find a way to escape. But until then, my every thought is to do all I can against Two. But who is Two? He keeps changing, and he’s not always a man! Is that to keep me off guard, to keep me off balance? So that I’m never sure who I’m dealing with?
My home is an exact replica of my own home. But really it is a prison cell, which caters for my every comfort. I see other citizens here, all happily going about their daily lives. I talk to them, I ask how long they have been here in the Village? They tell me that it’s difficult to tell, days, weeks, months years. Soon, they say, it will be the way for me. And then there are the others, citizens who say they know of no other place than the Village! They are the ones born of the Village, so to them, any other place would be an alien environment. As alien as the Village is to me. Two wants me to accept the Village, to settle down, become part of the ever growing community. Why did you resign? Why did you resign? Why did you resign? Why did you resign? The same question day after day, Two after . And all the time there’s surveillance, Observers watching, listening.
They call me Six, but for Two even that was too much. They came for me, in the night, well its easier then, you’re off your guard then. What they did was to take away even my identity of Six. They made me out to be someone else, The Schizoid Man, Two Times Six, that’s Twelve isn’t it? They tried to break me, by facing me with myself. But how is it physically possible for anyone to face the Six, or even the Two inside? To physically come face to face with yourself? That’s not possible, unless one has a doppelganger. Or perhaps I’m mentally sick, and if I am, I should get mental health. He was going about impersonating me. I say impersonate because he isn’t me, yet he was living my life. Always one move a head. If I went to the Village Shop Two Times Six or The Schizoid Man had been there earlier. I was accused of brawling in the street with a taxi driver, he said it was me, it wasn’t me, it was him!
I haven’t seen Two Times Six, or The Schizoid Man for several days. I think he went away. The last time I saw him was in the street by the Village Shop. I crossed the street, but a taxi came between us……he was gone. I have a problem now. How can I tell whether or not I’m Six, The Schizoid Man, or Two Times Six? I guess I just have to live with who I am. But Two times Six/The Schizoid Man, did he escape? And if he did, where did he go? Somewhere beyond the Village, back to his life……..back to my life………..is he there now…..living my life?
2 told me that I would achieve peace of mind through work, and suggested I go and see 70 in the Town Hall, that I could find him in room 22. So off I went to the Town Hall, and asked for instructions for room 22 at reception. Up the stairs, first floor end of the corridor said the spectacled, bald-headed man. So I went up the stairs, along the first floor to the end of the corridor, the number on the door was 13. I knocked on the door, and a voice said enter. I asked for Number 70, the man inside the room said that he had never heard of Number 70, and advised me to enquire at reception, but I had…….never mind. I left the room and closed the door and walked back along the corridor. I saw a man in overalls, he was on his knees at one of the doors. He had a screwdriver and was removing the number from the door 9. I saw a number upon the floor next to his tool box, 101. I asked the man why he was changing room 9 for 101 between rooms 8 and 10? The maintenance man said because he had been told to. I asked him didn’t he think it strange putting room 101 between 8 and 10? “Well” the man said “you tell me of someone who has been able to fathom the workings of the Town Hall!” I asked him if he could direct me to room 22? The maintenance man thought for a moment, then rummaged in his tool box, producing two numbers. He held them up, 22, “it’s not as yet been re-allocated” the man told me!
Eventually I was given a job in filing. All I did was to sign off incoming files, place them in a basket, and press a button. The steel basket then disappeared through a gap in the wall suspended from a steel rail. The Department of Filing and Information was fully automatic you see. But one day I was told that a file had to be retrieved, and that I had to go into the special section. The double doors were specially unlocked. I was told to go and find a grey filing cabinet marked “DEFECTORS.” Filing cabinet, a grey filing cabinet, the room was filled with hundreds upon hundreds of grey filing cabinets. I was in there for hours. I got lost, someone had to come and find me!
And then one day there was a funeral, I knew who it was, an old friend who I met here in the Village. They say he took his own life. They say it’s the only form of escape there is. He was at the hospital, he was under interrogation. They experiment on you, they try to take away your mind, sometimes they succeed. Other times they try to break your spirit using psychological forms of torture, anything to break you, to give them what they want. What is it they want? Information, information, information!
They get inside your head until you no longer know what to believe, what’s real and what’s fantasy. The virtual against the reality! So I try to survive on a daily basis. Usually they leave me alone because I’m settling in. But that’s to put them to sleep, the Observers. I recall how I tried to work out a way to escape. I thought that if I hid in a dustbin, that I’d get thrown out with the rubbish. Tuesday was the day they collected the rubbish. So I climbed into a dustbin just before curfew. I was in that dustbin for hours, and they still didn’t come to collect the rubbish. I lasted until the following morning, by which time the dustbins should have been collected. Thirteen hours, my body was stiff and cramped. It wasn’t until later that I discovered that they changed the day for collecting the dustbins to Thursday. Apparently it’s something they do from time to time, ever since Number 82 tried to get himself thrown out of the Village with the rubbish!
So now I live my life in the Village without chance of escape. I’ve tried to settle down. I’ve tried to accept. But the rebel inside me kicks back because of the injustice of my situation. But there is no sympathy from anyone, because here in the Village I’m just the same as anyone. We’re all prisoners!
I refuse to tell them anything. I think that one day they will stop asking, because one day it will not matter any more. Sometimes I think of the people in that other place, the people left behind, and I wonder if they think about me? And then I get angry when I think of what has been taken from me. My life, my wife, daughter. A home, everything I once had. I smashed up my kitchen one morning because I had got so angry yearning for what I once had. The Observers reported it. Security was sent round to subdue me, and doctors kept me sedated in the hospital for days, weeks, it’s difficult to tell. Here there is no night nor day. The light is perpetual, they never switch it off you see, and because of that I cannot sleep, and even when I do drop off, they wake me up. There is no window for me to be able to see the sky. There is a door, but I have no key. I suppose I should not complain, as they see to my every need. They make sure that I am well nourished, they give me the occasional copy of the Village Journal. And for my safety, so that I cannot hurt myself, my room is padded throughout!
The doctors say I am mentally disturbed, that my belief in the Village is delusional, that there is no Village, there is only the asylum. But I know different, I’ve been there you see, to the Village. I’m there now, strolling down the street, the sun is shining, people happily going about their daily lives. I’m happy here too, why would I want to leave? Everything I could ever want is here, and such peace of mind. Number 2 is pleased with my progress, he tells me that I have all the symptoms for making a model citizen. They call me Six, Number Six, but I’m not……I’m me!
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