Something Unattainable

Posted on October 14, 2012


If it wasn’t one obstacle, it was another. For that was how the Overseers liked it. Toying with their pawns, confusing them, breaking their will. It was never ending. Or was it? The Overseers claimed there was an end to it, though not a soul had managed to achieve it. Richard, finally shedding his dress shirt, all that remained of his suit, and revealing a bruised, pale body, rib cage poking through the skin, was determined to achieve that end. Only wearing his blue and red plaid boxers, he shivered. When they, the pawns, were herded, for they were treated no better than cattle, into the metallic Waiting Rooms, it was always best to wear as much clothing as you had, and avoid looking at the purple and green lights that dimly illuminated the room, for they would temporarily blind you. However, Richard’s shirt had been soaked in blood from another pawn, a woman, and that only made it all the colder. There were two other pawns who had survived with Richard; a woman, Tasha, wearing tattered blue jeans and a green t-shirt with a rip down the front, her blue eyes encircled by black rings of fatigue and fear, her short brown hair a mess; and Kevin, by far the strongest among them, but only because he would feast on the dead before being herded away with the rest of the living. He was bald, and always with a wild look in his bloodshot eyes, and his clothes were stretched to the limits, for he took them off a dead man half his size. Tasha and Richard had the only assurance that he would not eat anyone living, or kill for specifically that purpose. “Don’t worry,” he would say, pacing back and forth, eyes darting left and right, “I can’t, can’t, do this alone. I need the help.” 

The three felt the room shift to the left. They opened their eyes to total darkness. It was time for the next obstacle. The wall before them, it doubled as a sliding door, slowly slid to the right, letting a bright light into the room like a wave that consumed them all. When their eyes adjusted, they saw five beautiful women, who all looked exactly the same, standing, staring back at them with seductive smiles. The deep monotone voice they all heard since the fall of Earth, omnipresent as always, spoke. “One of the five females standing before you is a fellow human. The other four are Nonreales, creatures capable of taking the form of any other living being they choose. You must figure out which is human. If you guess correctly, the human will join you, and the Nonreales will let you be.” 

“And if we guess wrong,” Richard began. “They kill us all.” 

“Nah,” Kevin said. “These bitches don’t look so tough. I could probably kill them all.” He chuckled. Richard looked at Tasha, who stared at the five women. “Got any ideas?” he asked. “No,” she replied, without meeting his gaze. Richard looked at the five women. Their unwavering expressions were eerie. After a moment he said, “We ask them questions. Ones that only humans would know.” He looked back at Tasha, who looked back at him and shrugged. “It’s worth a shot.” Richard looked back at the women. He cleared his throat and asked, “What’s the average heartbeat per minute?” His answer was silence. “Great,” Tasha said, irritated. “It looks like our human representative isn’t too bright.”

“I actually don’t even know the answer.” Richard blushed.  “Are you kidding me?” He ignored her question and asked another, “What does U.S.A stand for?” 

“United States of America,” the five said in unison. Richard cursed. “Let me try,” Tasha said, stepping forward. “What’s your bra size?” 

“Thirty-four, double-dee,” the one in the center said. The two Nonreales on either side of her looked at her with disdain. Tasha looked back at Richard. “You were thinking too broad, my friend. Sometimes the answer is staring you in the face.” 

“No kidding,” Kevin laughed. Tasha scowled at him. As the woman stepped forward, she said to Tasha, “Not everyone is a biologist, you know.” Tasha shrugged. “It’s good to be intelligent and pretty. Otherwise, you’re just like everyone else.” The woman said no more, and sat in a corner of the Waiting Room, behind Richard. The metal door slowly edged its way shut, engulfing them in darkness once more. 


To be continued…

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