I hadn’t seen light in years.
The yellow beam of something other than darkness cast itself upon the wall next to me. It created a perfect circle on the dingy, yellow stone. With all of the dust settling from the pounding above, it almost looked like a thread pulled tight from the hole above all the way to the wall.
“Hello? I’m still here, I’m still alive. I’d very much like someone to answer me!”
More pounding. The thud from above was creating a deafening twang of metal striking stone and it echoed deep into the chamber below and into my head as well. It was a welcome replacement to my own thoughts.
Another large strike against the ceiling above was met with less of a thud, and more of a crumbling sound. This widened the beam of light to a narrow slice of the outside world pouring in.
108 years — no, 109 years. Yes, that’s how long it’s been. 109 years, 23 weeks, 5 days. Why so long?
“There you go! Keep on going! I think you’re getting it!”
A few more strikes from above and the rocks started pouring downward upon my head. A few heavier ones struck me in the forehead and on my scalp. The dust was thickening now, causing me to cough. A bit of blood started to drip down from the cuts on different parts of my head. I was so excited that I didn’t notice much.
My ears started to pick up something they hadn’t registered in a long time. I could almost feel my brain starting to piece together voices and languages again. It had been so long since I’d heard words from someone else that weren’t my own.
“Oh my god, we’ve found it! Keep going, the hole seems to go on forever.”
Southern drawl. Possibly from Texas. Maybe an Okie. Wasn’t expecting that.
The pounding stopped and the distinct sound of a shovel digging into the ground came from above. The scraping of the metal, followed by the grunting of people moving the earth created a repetitive symphony of work above me. As the symphony played, the light grew brighter. I could feel myself coming more alive as the light started to cast itself upon me instead of simply beaming into the walls beside me.
“Yes! It’s totally here! I knew it! Percy, go get the rope!”
My brain started to race with thoughts.
I’ll get to hear birds chirping again. I’ll get to feel grass on my feet again. I can’t wait to have water caress my skin. I miss the feeling of a cool breeze so much. I wonder if Dr. Alito ever finished her work? Could anyone from the 4th quadrant still remember me? Did Cassidy ever stop searching for me? Did she ever start? Who’s Percy?
“Hello? Can you hear me? I’m still very much alive here. I didn’t fall all the way down! I’ve been stuck here for so long! Can you hear me?”
There was no response to my voice. Why not? Couldn’t they hear me?
A large, heavy rope struck me in the shoulder.
For the first time in over a century, I released the tension of my arms that were holding me in place from falling further. I fell for a moment and then grasped the rope tightly.
“We’ve got it! Alright everyone pull! Pull! Pull!”
A few feet at a time, I felt myself being pulled upward. Out of the hole and up towards my new future.
This is it. My torment is finally over. I can get back to living again.
“Almost there, boys! I can see it now. We’ve almost got it up! Just a few more. Pull! Pull!”
I imagined myself eating pasta again. Not great stuff from a restaurant, just regular noodles from a box, prepared in a home and paired with a sauce made by someone who cared about me.
I could see faces now, two of them, staring down from above. The dust had settled below me and I could actually make out that there were two individuals looking at me.
“Hello! Oh my god! I’m so glad you found me! I’m so excited to come back! I have so many questions!”
There was still no response. Their eyes grew wider as I inched closer towards the edge of the hole with every shout of “Pull” from above. A smile crossed one of their faces and the other appeared more shocked than anything else as they quickly disappeared from above me.
With one final heave, I had cleared the hole.
There were almost a dozen people. Covered in sweat and dirt. All of them staring at me, some with their mouths agape.
It seemed like minutes before anyone spoke.
I was in shock having just been unearthed after so many years, and they gazed at me like they’d never seen a synth before.
“Thank you so much for rescuing me. I’ve been stuck down there for ages. I was beginning to think I’d never be rescued. But here you are! You saved me!”
Why aren’t any of them responding to what I’m saying?
“This thing is a complete mess. No legs, no face, no voice box, no lower jaw. Half a head. What the hell happened to it? Perce I thought you said this was gonna be a good find?”
Wait, what? No, what now?
“I know, I know. I’m sorry, I was told that it was in good shape when it got put away but that was so long ago, I guess maybe my intel was bad.”
“Well, there’s still some gizmos and doo-dads moving on it. Battery must still be alright. Those nanowire units are crazy good. Looks like a good harvest to me.”
I heard the sound of the air moving across the object before I felt the concussive bludgeon to the back of my head. I was driven forward into the ground; face covered in darkness and dirt once again. I heard the tightening of fingers around a handle, a grunt, and again the light whispering whistle of an object moving at a high rate of speed before the sound of impact created a crunching noise behind my ears. The fluid inside me created a spraying sound as the pressure was given a place for release.
109 years of waiting, for this? I’ll never discover whether my love was searching for me. I’ll never find out if —
Another sound of quickly moving air followed by a noise that reminded me of wood splintering. Then, a high-pitched whine that was growing in intensity.
Never find out if Dr. Ali —
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Day 18 of 60 for developing a writing habit.
Day 14 of 60 for developing a writing habit:
14th Day of 60 for Developing a Writing Habit
What I’ve learned in two weeks of trying to write every day
Day 26 of 60 for developing a writing habit: