“N” – A Short Story (Part 2)

The following is second part of a story based on a dream I have had a few times recently. It is a rough draft and it has been a LONG time since I wrote anything fiction. I’d love for thoughts, feedback on clarity, grammar, or content. I think there will be three parts.

All around was silence and ice. Ortus could barely comprehend what had just happened. The blood on the ground was starting to cool and turning into a gel, the ice showed no sign of melting, scratches, or in any way registering the crowd that used to be here. The only thing Ortus knew was that it wasn’t safe to stay here. It was time to figure out a way to leave.

There was no way to figure out how to get back to the entrance so Ortus began to just explore at random. Occasionally another person would walk by and smile, but the smiles had sadness and fear behind them. The facade had come off and many of the people had abandoned all hope. All Ortus could do was pay attention and formulate a plan.

During this time wandering (hours? days? weeks?) Ortus came upon a darkened room that clearly had people moving about in it. No details could be seen but the movement seemed unnatural. It was spastic, flinching, and hard to track. Ortus proceeded in cautiously.

The only light was the open door behind Ortus, here the walls did not glow with that calming blue light. All along the walls were people in straight jackets mumbling and struggling. It wasn’t simply a dark room, it was a dark cavern that went on into eternity. Thousands or tens of thousands people of all shapes and sizes lined the walls flinching in their insanity. None of them seemed to notice Ortus’ presence.

As Ortus approached one thing became very clear, they were all saying the same thing. The sound of their voices in unison seemed to echo and amplify throughout the room.

We are one… We are none… The only difference is N…
The difference is N…
We are one… We are none… The only difference is inside…
The difference is In…

Then they all looked at Ortus and began beating their heads against the wall. The chant got louder and louder as they tried to block the entrance. Ortus ran.

Down the halls, making random turns, not stopping until there was no more air to breath. But eventually Ortus rose and the plan to escape became the only thing that mattered. So the wandering continued until Ortus collapsed.

Collapsed. And slept.

I’ve always loved my golden hair. It is the one thing about my body that I really feel comfortable about. My breasts, my hips, my legs are all pretty standard, but my long golden hair is beautiful. Even as I sit on this boat, with the wind whipping around, I should be anxious about arriving in a new country but all I can think about is my hair. I wonder if American’s will like it?

“Ortus! Ortus! Wake up! It is time for the Titling! It’s me, Geni! Wake up!”

Ortus woke up to Gen screaming and shaking. Around Geni’s neck was a silver pendent that said “Miner” and on his hips on his back was a number of tools including a pick ax, heavy duty gloves, and rope. His small stature was clearly primarily lean muscle and emotions seemed forced.

Ortus finally became conscious enough to realize what was happening and began to stand. Gen pulled and tugged and lead them both through the caverns. Ortus remembered the plan to escape and began to memorize the route. One left, two rights, one left, straight for 75 steps, and there is the hole to the surface in front with sunlight shining through.

The two eventually arrived at the red cavern just as the ceremony began. As the new titles were handled Ortus looked around, to the left was the newest arrival looking scared and confused. Finally Ortus’ name was called to the stage, the only Title unclaimed was Washer and it was given to Ortus. With it came rags, cleaner, and a knowledge of where to go and what to do.

And so the cycle continued for months, years, or decades. Ortus played all the roles and waited until one provided the tools and opportunity for escape. Finally the day came and the Miner pendent and tools became his. Escape could now happen.

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