Saturday, September 17, 2022

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: July 15, 2398

Marie is sitting on the cot, face pressed up against the glass, not in a longing sort of way, but just because she’s bored. This isn’t the first time she’s been locked up, and if she survives, it won’t be the last. The other three are doing their own thing, but they seem just as bored.
“How long have we been here?” Kivi asks.
“At least a day,” Heath answers, just guessing.
“Are they gonna torture us, or something, or is this the torture?” There is nothing in this glass cell but eight cots, one toilet, partially covered, a sink with an extension to approximate a shower, and holes for ventilation. Under the sink is a stack of these dense granola squares for them to eat at their leisure.
They haven’t seen a single soul since they woke up here yesterday. The light is dim, and they can’t see the outside. They get the sense that this thing was built in the center of a warehouse, but it’s so dark that they can’t be certain of the scope. Surely someone is watching them on monitors somewhere, but they don’t actually see the cameras. There is no sound. Not even the light fixtures give off that familiar hum you normally wouldn’t be able to get out of your head when everything else is this silent. For now, the only noises they hear are the ones they make.
“Don’t give them any ideas,” Marie tells her, pulling her face from the wall for a minute. “They’re always listening,” she whispers.
“You don’t know that,” Heath says. “Look around. I don’t see anywhere for anybody to slip food to us. Hell, one of these bars holding the glass together is probably a door, but we don’t know which. All we have may be all we ever will. This may not be a jail cell at all, but a coffin.”
“Don’t be so morbid,” Marie urges. “They brought us here for a reason.”
“What reason?” Kivi questions.
“If I knew that...” Marie begins, going back to the glass. She stops in the middle of the sentence when she realizes that there is no way to finish it. It doesn’t matter what she knows, and doesn’t. There are no actions to take in here besides sleeping, eating, cleaning, and wasting. Her guess is as good as Kivi’s
“Does this have anything to do with A—”
Marie quickly turns from the glass again. “Shh!” Kivi was about to drop Amir’s name, which she shouldn’t, in case he has nothing to do with it. Or they, rather since there are two Amir Hussains. Swapping them, and freeing them both to different places, was their only choice. They knew it would cause problems, but they didn’t think these people would take it this far. The second Amir was so interested in getting out of Birket that he gleefully accepted the risk. Marie is glad that Leona isn’t here, but she could have helped. For one, she probably would have already figured out who these people truly are, and how to get out of here, and in two weeks, she would be running the joint.
“Sorry,” Kivi says. “I’m just hungry.”
“Go ahead, and have another square,” Marie suggests.
“I can’t, we have to ration it.”
“No, we don’t,” Heath insists. “It’s fine. I was just being dramatic.”
“Yes, we do, and no, it’s not, and no, you weren’t,” the fourth prisoner says.

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