Refuge: an underground city built to save people from an apocalyptic world. But how will its people save themselves? Read the stories in any order, or start with the introduction at part 1.
Reconciliation Council report B-3, interview with L.C., recorded by James 72A
Hello, my name is…
I didn’t know it was like that. I’m sorry.
I’m here to confess… No, I’m here to – what do I say? Accuse?
I don’t want to do this.
[Subject leaves the room; returns after approx. 4 mins.]
Alright, I’m here to talk about an incident six years ago with the Empath called Richard. [Recorder’s note: Richard 49A.] He came to investigate a contraband trade being run from the unit next door to mine. Food, counterfeit credits, weapons. Yes, I know you said I don’t have to confess anything but what else can I do? What else can I do?
[Recorder: I asked her what Richard did.]
He… The Empath asked me questions and I didn’t want to answer them. I bit my lip and I didn’t say anything, but I’m sure that was no good. You can’t actually read minds, can you? So he didn’t know what I knew, but he knew I was hiding something. That’s when he… That’s when he…
I can’t. No, I can’t describe it. It’s not like he made me do anything. Not like my legs started walking and I couldn’t control them. It didn’t even happen the same day. It was, I think, three days later and I was still all nervous, feeling like I had to – I had to – get into their unit as soon as I could and grab some of the credit chips and stuff them in my pocket. In my head I knew I was being manipulated, that someone else wanted me to get evidence for them, I didn’t want the credits at all, but that feeling… It kept me up all night until I did it. It was like the roof was going to cave in and bury me. I couldn’t breathe right. I was terrified. And the only thing I could do to make it stop was get in there and grab the contraband.
Is that what you wanted to know?
I didn’t sleep for a long time after that, either. Any time I was scared, if I heard a noise or when the riot alarms went off, whatever it was, I couldn’t be sure if it was me being scared or if he’d put that fear into me, too. And what else? When I was sad, or angry, or happy… was any of that real? Can I believe anything that’s in my head anymore?
I’d like to go now.
©2016 Michelle M. Welch