Chosen – part 4: Determination

Posted: January 1, 2014 by TheWild Webster in Dystopian Fiction, Fiction, Mysteries, Political Fiction

(continued from part 3)


She glanced back inside the workshop to notice the only light, the dim lamp still set above her work area.  Being overwhelmed with just how dark everything was outside, she walked to get the lantern without really thinking.  Her brain was running over the situation itself.  She still assumed some imminent doom or consequence must waiting for her.  Or at least will await her if she slips up in some way. Perhaps the strange escort was waiting somewhere around a dark corner – maybe that’s what he had meant when he said he might see her again?

As she reached the lantern on her work table she became aware how bright the light seemed compared to the darkness now engulfing the entire town.  The circle of light put out by the small lamp barely lit an area a few feet around her with any reasonable amount of light.  And the light seemed to block her own ability to see in the dark.  Something in her decided instead to quench the light all together.  She just left the lantern, it’s wick still glowing a dim amber-red and walked robotically toward the door.

Although it was quite dark, she had walked that path autonomously so many times before that she had no problem finding her way.  The darkness, like the feeling of impending calamity, completely enveloped her.  She walked on as her feet traced the path out the doorway, down the street and toward the dormitory.  Her eyes stayed fixed in front of her but her perception was casting it’s attention to every corner of her vision.

She was so overwrought  with the anticipation of something horrible awaiting her that her mind played tricks on her.  She could seem to sense motion in every shadow and corner.  Her eyes were still not fully adjusted to the light and she tried not to obey her suspicions or disobey her feigned obedience to this town and it’s People but she still occasionally turned her eyes only to find stillness and darkness.

She stiffened herself more to the task and all but closed her eyes.  But this brought the sound of every crunch of her soft soled sandals.  They seemed to her to be the crushing sounds of heavy stone upon stone.  The town itself was so quiet that any sound she made, even her breathing, was overwhelming to her overly focused attentions.

The illusionary tricks of her hearing and vision seemed to intensify until that was all she could focus upon.  She couldn’t help herself from occasionally turning her head now at the slightest sound or straining her focus on a perceived movement.

Finally she resolved to grasp ahold of her fears and pin her visions straight ahead.  That was when she noticed the first thing — in her paranoia, she had walked well past the door to the dormitory.  Not simply past the door but she was a good building-and-a-half past her directed destination.

She froze where she stood not wanting to move or make a single sound, not even to breath.  ‘If something is to happen to me, it will surely happen now!’ she thought but she could hear nothing.  Ahead she could see nothing but darkness from the buildings and the windows.  Nothing in the entire town was moving, nothing made a sound.  She stood frozen staring straight out ahead, but focused on all that was behind her, wondering what to do next, wondering if she would turn to find her doom, wondering if someone was watching, waiting….

She dare not turn her head all the way around, but slowly turned just far enough to see the building behind her, the door still left part way ajar apparently in anticipation of her return. She feared not turn all the way to look, but saw enough to note there were still no bodies present. No one waiting for her at the door. Nothing but an empty darkness through the open crack of the doorway.

Her imagination could ponder someone lying in wait. Perhaps inside the building, or perhaps in the dark alleys between the bunk houses. Yet, despite her trepidation, she became aware of something else.

While she had been afraid of some unknown fate, she began to sense something laying underneath. Something far more dreadful. Something she could not quite put her finger upon that was the true source of her fears, the real cause of her thoughtlessness in deviating from the same path she had walked so many times. Something more fundamental that not only led her to loose focus and walk past the door, but something that didn’t want to go through that door. Something that made her want to walk past it and keep on walking…

Then she saw the second thing, something that shouldn’t have been there.

It was beyond the street, beyond the buildings, beyond the boundaries of the village itself.  She turned her head upward for a comparison with the stars in the night sky, but it was not a star.  Her eyes were adjusting now well enough to just make out that it was below the line of of the hills that surrounded the small village.  It was a small light part way up the hill itself.

She strained her eyes to make sure that it was not just another trick of her imagination, but it was definitely there.  In her curiosity at this thing, this pin-prick of light up on the hills, she forgot all about the panic she was experiencing just moments before.  Her feet moved involuntarily as she stooped and bent a little this way and that to try to make it out better through the trees.

It was a flickering yellow.  ‘A campfire!‘ she thought, but it was too far up the hill to determine any more than that.  There were no buildings outside of the village limits.  The People never left the village limits.  It was common knowledge that traders from other villages occasionally came to exchange goods but they came during the day.  This was a fire, someone’s fire, after dark and outside of the village limits.

She thought briefly, unconscious of her still walking forward, that no one in her Community ever left the village to trade.  The traders always came here and the same traders left.  The People themselves never delt with the traders, that was a function of the Council. But other than the Chosen, no one, not even members of the Council was ever was gone from the Community.

Who were these traders?’ she wondered for a moment.  If no one ever left her Community, the thought occurred to her that perhaps no one left the other Communities either. She pondered as to whether or not these traders might actually camp outside of town before heading wherever they went.

Then who were these traders??‘ she found herself wondering again with the sudden realization that the reason behind her curiosity entailed a desire to seek their assistance — to see if they could help her leave the Community and the unknown fate that she was certain awaited her.

This realization both frightened and exhilarated her.  Frightened her in that she suddenly became aware that her attempts to get a better look at the light had brought her even closer to the edge of the village and obviously well outside what was expected of her by ‘the direction of the Council.’   It exhilarated her because she had never considered that her real desire was to run, and before she had realized it she was.

She ran as she had never run before.  In actuality there was no reason to run in the Community but none of that mattered now.  She simply ran — ran down the remaining street, ran into the line of trees, ran up the hill toward the light, toward some hope of leaving the terror behind.  The running wasn’t now specific to getting away from the Community per se, but getting away from the horror she felt awaited her here amidst whatever other arrangements the Council still had planned for her this day.  There was no stopping to think what might await her, she hadn’t stopped to wonder if this might be the very test she feared or could even be how they may have planned to reveal her betrayal and seek her ultimate demise.

She simply ran as though her life depended upon it, for in her mind at that moment, it did.

(to be continued in part 5)

SWWood Scott Webster Wood
TheWild Webster
Thoughts from the Wild
The ObjectOpus
Things You Ought to Know

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