No.56 walked out of the village, along the quayside and away from the village. He had been instructed that if he walked this way he would eventually come across the Therapy Zone. What he came across, just through some bushes was a cave, nervously he went inside. To his surprise lighted torches and candles illuminated the cave’s interior.
“Ah there you are” said a man sitting on a rock at the far end of the cave.
The man was dressed as a monk in a white robe, a cowl hid his face.
“Come in then if you’re going to.”
No.56 walked further into the cave, and standing before the monk asked “Is this the Therapy Zone?”
“What do you want with the Therapy Zone” snapped the monk “You don’t look to be in the need of therapy!”
“Number 2 would not be in agreement with you on that score” 56 said “May I ask?”
“No, no you may not ask.”
“But I must know.”
“Know, know what?”
“Do you make people better?”
“Better than what?”
“Have you brought me anything?” enquired the monk holding out a hand.
“What should I have brought you?”
“A bottle of whisky, looks the same, tastes the same!”
“I didn’t know I was supposed to” in all innocence.
“It might not get me drunk, but it helps keep me warm.”
“Why don’t you light a fire?”
“Because there is no chimney, the cave fills with smoke whenever I light a fire!”
“Don’t you have anything to eat?”
“People bring me food, sometimes hot food. Have you any food?”
No.56 shook his head then felt the apple in his blazer pocket. He took it out and handed it to the monk.
“What have you there?”
“Bah! What use is an apple to me?”
No.56 made to put the apple back into his pocket.
“Oh well give it to me.”
“Shan’t, shan’t what?”
“Give you the apple if you’re going to be ungracious about it. Besides I might want to eat it myself.”
“Why should I?”
“Because this is my home.”
“You live here?”
“I like solitude.”
“Why do you choose to live in this cave, and just who are you?”
“You want to know so much, enlightened you will be. I am Number 1, responsible for both the village and your incarceration here. You are here because I am here. You crave to escape, to be free, but while I am here, here you will remain, until death us do part. What think you of that Number 56?”
“Let me see your face.”
The cowled head turned towards him, hands raised they took hold of the cowl and pulled it back uncovering head and face.
No.56 stood in shock as he gazed upon a face, his own face.
“This is the Therapy Zone where truth will out. There is nothing wrong in the truth, no shame, there can be nothing wrong in hearing or seeing the truth, but sometimes the truth hurts.”
“Me, how can you be me?”
“I might say the same of you. Fancy you allowing yourself to be overpowered so easily.”
“I was at home asleep!”
“You’re off your guard then, that’s the trouble.”
“What are we supposed to do now?”
“You’re supposed to run off into the distance screaming who am I.”
“Really, how melodramatic. What about you?”
“Oh I’m far from alone. There are quite literally dozens and dozens like me, all different people wanting to be Number 1, and unable to pay the price. Everyone looking after Number 1, and not realizing the consequences of that.”
“What are the consequences?”
“You’re looking at yours. I’m afraid it’s time to change places.”
“What, what do you mean?”
Two sinister looking security guards in dark glasses, grey overalls, white helmets, gloves, boots, and brandishing white truncheons stood menacingly in the cave.
“It’s time I was released into the village, time I enjoyed the benefits it provides, and the peaceful atmosphere that you have enjoyed for so long. It’s your turn to feel the responsibility of command, once you are ready to leave the Therapy Zone.”
The two guards approached No.56, it was then that he noticed a robe slung over an arm which was held out for him to take.
Be seeing you