The windows were too foggy this morning to see outside, I was disoriented the whole drive into city center. Rain jackets and scarf weather outside combined with dozens of people riding the bus, we couldn’t see where we were going, the windows were too steamed up. I kept wiping circles into the window beside me with my hand so I could get a better look but I couldn’t make out where I was, I couldn’t see anything. I’m not from the here so I need landmarks to identify my location. Without being able to see my surroundings, I’m completely lost.
Working in my favor is the amount of departures that will exit the bus when we arrive in the center—all but one or two passengers will exit. I can’t see where we’re going but once everyone stands up and prepares to depart, I’ll know we made it to the center and I’ll just follow suit behind everyone else.
We must have arrived there, everyone stood up at the same time. I exited the bus behind everyone else but I still didn’t recognize my surroundings. The final bus stop must have been crowded with other departures or something and our bus driver was forced to either let us out early or late—one of those. I didn’t know where I was. I stood in a single file line like everyone else.
We were directed toward a tall, black and red Yorkstone building. The entrance has double doors made entirely of clocks standing about 30 feet tall. We were directed toward the entrance by a bunch of militarized looking robot machines dressed in full body armor. Their faces are concealed by shiny chrome masks perforated for ventilation. Each of them have about a foot long piece of chain link decorated in fine jewels wrapped around one hand and some sort of probing type, painful looking electrical device in the other. Everyone, thousands of us, we’re being ushered from every direction through the tall set of double doors made entirely of clocks displaying all of the different time zones across the world.
I stepped out of line to see my surroundings. I didn’t know where I was or what all of these people are doing, it isn’t where I’m supposed to be. I figured I’d walk around for a minute and eventually I’ll figure out where I’m at. As soon as I did that, I was ordered to file back in line by one of those machines.
“What’s that building all about?” I asked. “What are we doing here?” The robot looked directly at me, the perforated holes around the mouth region of the robots mask illuminated in a blinding neon blue and I heard what sounded like a distorted electric guitar. “What?!” I asked. No response. The robot disappeared as quickly as it appeared and I have no idea what it said to me—I’ve never heard that language before. I asked several people around me what was going on and what that robot said but I couldn’t get a response from anyone—they won’t speak up.
I stepped out of line again and headed toward where I thought I needed to go. I didn’t get two steps out of line before I ran face first into one of those robot machines—it appeared out of nowhere. I tried walking around it and I ran into another one—a wall of robots continued forming in front of me and I couldn’t get around them. The more I tried to leave, the thicker the wall became, I had no choice, I filed back in line and waited like everyone else.
I heard a lot of commotion coming from inside the black and red Yorkstone building. The tall double doors made entirely of clocks have second and minute hands all over the place, they’re spinning so fast I’m struggling to block dust and debris from getting in my eyes. I wasn’t sure what time it really was. I was inching closer to the double doors, one by one, in a single file line, everyone continued filing inside the building. I crested the final step and made it to the doors, it’s my turn to walk inside. As I crossed the threshold, each clock on the double doors instinctually changed to West Coast time in the United States. There must have been a thousand clocks on those doors, each of them read Pacific Time Zone as I crossed through and, as soon as I stepped inside, they immediately switched back to countless time zones.
The walls of robot machines inside the building are assembled in what looks like a giant rat maze, everyone’s racing to get through it. Their armor is made up of a flat black looking Kevlar material with shiny chrome hinges, their faces are covered by shiny chrome masks, and the chain links are almost majestic—they’re hard to look at because they’re lined with sparkling, rare jewels. They’re forming lines effortlessly, the more I continued walking, the more I was guided by a wall of robot machines.
I’m being directed toward what looks like a reception desk surrounded by fiery red ropes similar to a boxing ring. There’s a commentator made of vapor standing on top of the desk, it’s a hologram, “complete registration before entering your world.” It kept repeating itself in every language ever heard and, with each language spoken, I understood what it said—“complete registration before entering your world.”
Suddenly, out of nowhere, a life size receptionist on a monitor asked “eye color?” “Excuse me?” I asked. The monitor repeated itself three times, “green eyes registration proceed to line number 3 - proceed to line number 3 - proceed to line number 3.” Suddenly I’m in another single file line, I don’t know how I got there but there’s only three of us in it. On both sides of me are lines of people extending out and around the building. I looked up and realized we’re all being segregated by eye color. Blue, brown, grey, hazel, “other” and green—six total. I don’t know how many people in total made up the other lines, thousands is a good estimate, but there’s only three of us in the green eyed line.
I approached the hologram receptionist in front of me, “Hopesoul, what’s that all about??” No response. Instead I was issued a nine digit alphanumeric reference that I’m to memorize prior to receiving my assigned tone—step 3. Everyone who didn’t have their number memorized is being evacuated from the building but I didn’t see any of them return. I immediately began making references to my number so that I could memorize it.
Without warning, I’m instantly wheeled around at rapid speeds, it felt like I was wearing roller blades or something. I looked down and realized I’m standing on a conveyor belt, I’m being effortlessly guided and directed all around the building. Everything around me is moving so fast, I don’t have time to pay attention to my surroundings. The conveyor stopped. I put my hands on the ground to catch myself from falling, I’m staring at another hologram—the 4th step.
The other green eyed entrants are in line with me, the hologram commentator is changing rapidly between every color in the rainbow and it’s surrounded by fiery green ropes this time. I was separated from the other green eyes, both of their exterior was colored differently than mine. One was auburn, the other was maple. My color was called “allskin” which is superior to all of the other colors, I wasn’t given a choice, the color was assigned to me.
The conveyor abruptly stopped, I nearly lost my balance—step 5. I’m standing still now and I’m inside a weird capsule that’s blowing blasts of cool air on me. It reminds me of airport security, I’m listening to an animated voice, “arms up.” I raised my arms and was met with two air blasts in my face. The voice continued identifying my body parts, “two legs,” two blasts of hot air brushed across my eyelashes. “Two ears,” two more blasts, “20/20 vision,” blast, blast. 10 fingers and 10 toes,” blast, blast. The voice named every extremity and body part I have, one by one and, with each extremity identified and documented, I was blasted in the face with air. The capsule vanished and left me standing alone. The conveyor is no longer under my feet.
I saw seven men across the way, each of whom wore the same allskin. They were in a private, pyramid shaped room with an elaborate sign above the door that said ‘EtiLe’ forged from elaborate rare metals. It’s lined with diamonds, rubies, human flesh in every color except allskin, and souls. All seven of them can do whatever they want. They don’t answer to anybody. The windows, the walls, and each of their jackets all say the same thing, “genetically superior.”
“Strong left, weak right!”
I didn’t know what that meant, left and right, strong and weak but everyone else seems to understand and they began separating into two different groups—women and men. All of the women were filing on the right and all of the men stood single file on the left—step 6. I asked one of the women in line what she thought about being called weak, “you’re ok with that?” She spoke with an unusually high pitched voice in a sort of bravado style, but soft enough to where I had to lean in close to hear her say “weak doesn’t mean another realm—weak compliments strong. It means wisdom and power of reincarnation. Without us there’s no life, even you would be non-existent and, without us, nobody can think for themselves.”
Everybody, both men and women disbursed immediately, everyone has their own conveyor under their feet now, not just me. As quickly as I was whisked away from the strong line, I came to an unexpected halt and nearly lost my balance again. I’m at a new hologram, this time the voice talking to me sounds like something under water, it’s surrounded by fiery black ropes—step 7.
“Alphanumeric reference?” I watched as multiple people repeated their number incorrectly, all of them were being ushered outside immediately and sent to establish the platform for the EtiLe men to stand on where they would be forever in debt to perform and construct the platform. “87waysN01,” I said. The hologram told me “tongue!” “Do what?” “Tongue out!” I stuck my tongue out and the hologram repeated my number back to me—“87waysN01.” I don’t know how or when it happened, I haven’t seen it yet myself, but apparently my alphanumeric reference is tattooed on my tongue.
I was issued a half complete certificate called a scrawl. I’m supposed to exchange it at the end with my assigned race multiplier once my certificate is complete. “You’ll exchange scrawls with your multiplier. Once exchanged, each of you shall swallow the scrawl provided by your race multiplier.” “When is that?” I asked, “the end, when will the end happen?” Silence.
I kept witnessing strangely peculiar things I’ve never seen before going inside the EtiLe’s room, it was non stop. The people who entered were obviously from another civilization, each of them presented themselves in the nicest face paint, clothing, and jewellery. They had tails and eyes in the back of their head. The more people who frequented the room, the more bizarre in appearance they became. Eventually they were wearing animal masks; horses, snakes, rats, and elephants. A lot of them were holding small children by the hands in groups of two and three who seemed like they had no idea where they were, where they’re being guided to, or who the EtiLe men were inside the room.
I can’t breathe! I’m being choked from behind and fell to my knees, I had no way of preparing. Life is being choked out of me—I can’t breathe! I can’t tell who’s choking me but I can’t fight it, it’s way too strong. I was blinded by neon blue lights radiating from behind the chrome mask worn by one of the robot machines, it’s in front of me with that electrical device thing in its hand, now I know who’s choking the life out of me—I’m being choked out by another machine. The machine forced that electrical probe into my thigh. I felt a charge of energy travel through every vein in my body before finally exiting my teeth, I collapsed on the floor.
I nearly blacked out while gasping in agony for air, the robot machine finally stopped choking me. I received a message I didn’t hear and nobody said anything to me but I’m listening to the message repeat itself over and over and over in my mind. “Never direct your attention toward an EtiLe man. Never speak of an EtiLe man.” Over and over and over and over until it finally distanced itself from my thoughts. The machine told me that was my warning and, should I ever direct my attention toward the EtiLe again, my eyes will be removed with the electric probe and the third time is eternal slavery where I’ll be deprived of all things humane and forcibly detained for a minimum of 23 hours per day.
They didn’t have to tell me twice. Whatever they’re doing inside that EtiLe room is not supposed to be known or witnessed—understood! I don’t think I could handle being choked out like that again, I couldn’t breathe, losing my eyes isn’t an option. I never paid attention to the EtiLe’s again—they’re free to do whatever they want, whenever and however they want to do it and, with whomever they choose, and are never to be questioned or held accountable for their actions. They’re not above reason, they’re immune to it and will stop at nothing to maintain their EtiLe status.
Another hologram, this time with a soft, computerized voice that’s synced to my thoughts, surrounded by fiery white ropes has me repeating “current decade, manual dexterity? Current decade, manual dexterity?” I was asked my age, ‘41,’ I thought, to which I heard “4th gen.” My age is the seventh step, step eight was the intensity of a dentists drill in my mouth. I received no novacaine or warning or anything, my teeth are being drilled on—it hurts so bad my eyes are watering and sweat is beginning to puddle at my feet. I instinctually reached for my mouth with my left hand. The drilling sensation stopped and my thoughts told me “far left.”
Numerous images are circling around my mind, one after the other, until they finally begin repeating themselves and I’m starting to recognize them as they enter and exit my vision. They’re formed entirely out of shiny, rare metals—gold, bronze, silver, etc. Some are shaped like animals, some like people, some are inordinate objects, and some I can’t make out at all. The longer they spin inside my vision, the clearer they are. Each of them are identified by a name I can’t pronounce except for one—Crux.
“Veering outside the ideals of the Crux shall result in eternal damnation from which you’ll never return.” I’m listening to another hologram, this one’s in my future thoughts, it’s surrounded by fiery gold ropes but I can’t ask questions. I tried but I was unable to speak, it continued by instilling the ways of the Crux in my mind, I don’t remember all of the rules, “you have a lifetime to learn them”—step 9.
I was unable to speak at step 9 because my verbal assignment hasn’t processed—step 10. The wOrd Crux was given a comprehension style, it’s called “Stingish,” my spoken wOrd. I’ll be able to communicate amongst fellow Stingish speakers only, no others, all other speaking comprehension shall be despised and fought against resulting in a lifetime of unwarranted blood shed across all of the shared plains.
I’m relaxed in a comfortable seated position, my feet are elevated and there’s a silky pillow under my head, I can feel the soft edges of the silky material against my ears. My consciousness isn’t confused anymore and everything I was just processed through makes sense, I’m no longer questioning my location—I’m where I’m supposed to be.
My thoughts told me this is the second to last step, there’s only one more after this and my cycle will be complete, I must now choose my race multiplier. I’m surrounded by hundreds of beautiful women, each of them are holding certificates in their hands with 10 steps worth of identification on them just like my ticket. Both myself and these women are awaiting the identification of our multiplier—step 11.
They’re gorgeous, each of them are stunningly beautiful, no two are alike. They’re tall, short, long hair, short hair, intelligent, kind, and they all share the same allskin. All of these beautiful women have green eyes, too, they all communicate in Stingish, they believe in the same Crux I do, their way of life is identical to mine. My mind told me “choose one.” As soon as I thought that, each of these beautiful women were individualized by their attire—their flesh is being concealed by an elaborate garment made up of many colors and patterns, called a “galF,” no two galfs are the same.
I saw red galfs with golden moons on them, navy galfs with yellow stars that formed a circle, some formed stripes, and their ideals mirrored the opinion of the galf. I couldn’t decide which one I liked the most, they all appear to be beautiful and kind hearted but I’m being forced to choose one galf over the others. I chose the one with circles, stripes, half moons, and diamonds, the most complex design of them all, each shape was attractive and colored uniquely to itself. She kissed me on my cheek, “I’m Fantasy” she said, “you’re beautiful, fantasy, I’m Fiction.” I kissed her hand, she kissed me on my other cheek and we exchanged scrawls with all 11 steps identified on them. She inserted my scrawl into her mouth first. I followed her lead—we swallowed them.
She grabbed my right hand tightly, I grabbed hers back to assure her I wouldn’t abandon her and a wall of machine robots formed alongside us. She and I are being directed toward a set of glowing exit doors, they’re tugging at our stomachs by what seems to be strings protruding from our bodies. The closer we got, the more the doors swung open and the brighter the light became—it blinded both of us. I closed my eyes as tightly as I possibly could because the brightness was too painful to endure. “But what about the 12th step, we’re missing the final step!?” The closer we got to the doors, the more force is being used to pull our strings. I can feel my multiplier trembling—her nervousness made its through our sweaty palms, “we’re missing the 12th step!!” I shouted one last time.
I lost the sensation of my multipliers touch, she vanished, now I’m soaking wet like I jumped in a swimming pool and I felt one more burst of strength pull at my stomach. A masked human is forcefully pulling my string. I can’t see anything. I’m in a brand new room with lighting so intense, I’m blinded by it, I’m using every muscle in my body to keep my eyes shut but I can’t stop the light from entering me. I gasped for air and opened my mouth as wide as I could, I tried my hardest to make a sound but I’m muted.
I felt a stern force from the masked humans hand against me, the hand is nearly the length of my body, I felt the palm of the massive hand contact my flesh. With that, I was able to muster up intermittent crying sounds. The hand passed me to another human, I finally opened my eyes, the human I was passed to is a woman, she’s holding me in her arms and staring at my face. I’m being wiped off by someone else and wrapped in some type of external warmth.
The person who wiped me off is a man, he’s massaging the string attached to my stomach with a twin-handled sharp, metal object. I heard “once it’s cut, you can never go back” and the string was cut away from me. A man and a woman are consoling me, they’re passing me back and forth to each other. They’re speaking to me in a language I’ve never heard. I’m exhausted and I’ve never been so hungry in my life—I feel like I just completed the most intense battle between life and death and life is triumphant.