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Bearcathletes
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HER OWN PROCEDURE
HER OWN PROCEDURE
May 27, 2024

Natalie Cole: “Freedom”

Natalie Cole: Freedom

It was dark today.  Granted, the darkness has been around ever since I could remember.

Today even the light from the hole was dimmed.

 As I grew closer I could see the reason why the others were casting their shadows in front of our only oasis. Someone lay on the ground in a state of brokenness. Another failed attempt at getting out.  All around I could hear the grieving cries of those close to them mixed in with the few snickers from those who believed the same as me, there wasn’t an escape.  The hole was just a glimmer of the beyond not nearly large enough to go through and not fragile enough to be opened wider.  Not at least without breaking yourself.  The eldest broke through the crowd, which now contained all of us in here.  They parted for her in reverence as the only one of us who remembered what life was like before being trapped in our dark, one room abode.  The voices all around grew silent as she struggled to take a breath of the stale air before saying,

“Yet another has fallen, but this is the last time.”

        Turning away from the broken body she faced the crowd, “I have felt something coming, the hole will be opened to the fullest and we will all leave soon.” The silence amongst the crowd then became full of confusion, none of us could open the hole further and all who tried had suffered a fate similar to that of the most recent attempter.  Another staggering breath from the eldest left us all in anticipation of what she would say next before a loud scoff drew all attention towards someone shoving their way through the crowd until they stood at the forefront.  A glance at him in what light the hole gave revealed that he too was broken, not to the extent of the one on the ground but enough to make it clear that he too had tried to lead an escape.

        “This is ridiculous,” he spat at the eldest growing closer until he was in her face, “You think that we haven’t tried this before? There is no way out.”

        “It won’t come from this side,” she said.  A chill went down my spine; none of us except for her knew what it was like outside let alone what those who were out there were like.  Surely what is out there must be better, the eldest would tell us wonderful stories of how the world was filled with light instead of just coming through the hole and the air was sweet.  She once even said that the world was more than just a larger room with a hole; that the outside was filled with objects and other people the idea of which led some to think that it was too fantastical to be real.

        I looked at the man sneering at the one who gave us so much hope.  

If there were people as vile as him in our small group then how could all of those on the outside be good of heart?  

My heart seemed to stop. If they weren’t good and if they were strong enough to open the hole then what lay before us must be much more perilous than any of us had thought.

        Paralyzed in thought, I stood as those around me shoved forward bombarding her with questions in a frenzy.  The man who had first come forward riled up all the others, turning the air of confusion quickly into anger.  In a voice louder than the rest she quickly hushed them with her strained answer, “You will see in time, but for now we need to prepare in case-” Just as strong as she had sounded before she was now sounded weak and broke into a fit of coughs leaving us all anxious about what she might say.

As we were all awaiting further direction from her, there was a colossal shaking of our entire room as if the entire thing was moving.

 The hole disappeared leaving us in complete darkness as we toppled over one another.  Screams of fear and pain rivaled the thunderous rumbling of the room quaking.  After what seemed an eternity in a matter of seconds the screams triumphed as the room became still once more and the light of the hole returned.  Amidst the chaos of the others moving around inspecting themselves and those around them for injuries, lay the eldest, haloed in the faint light of the hole.  I made my way towards her slowly, my breath growing ragged as I neared fruitlessly searching for any type of movement she would make or breath she would take.

        Before I could reach her some others took notice and rushed to her aid.  A few screams of horror and wails of pain followed as eventually all realized the same that I had.  “Serves her right-” the broken man who had gone against her began to say before being abruptly attacked by a figure I couldn’t recognize.  Entropy encapsulated me as people rushed toward them whether to break the fight apart or join in I couldn’t tell. Others dragged the younger ones away shielding them from the violence.

        After everyone had exhausted themselves in fight or panic there became the overwhelming realization that we had just lost our only guide to the world of unknown and now we had to face it, blind of what was to come.   In a heap, the others debated ideas of what we should do and what would happen, but I couldn’t tell one opinion from another and their voices mingled into white noise as I continued to stare at the peaceful body of the eldest.  The one who would tell me and the other children the wonderful tales of outside and how happy we’d be and how much she’d longed to go back.  It was she who had me gaze at the hole each day and tell me how I’d be the one to break all the barriers and give us all the happiness she said we deserved.

        My thoughts are interrupted as another shaking begins again and a blinding light pours over us as the roof above us is split wide open.  Large indiscernible figures plummeted towards us and pulled a few of the others out of our container.  

It must be our freedom I thought as I stood and waited to be taken too.

 The eldest had always said that potato chips were meant to be out in the world.  I hear another booming voice, “Jerry did you get Sour cream and onion again? You know I hate them.  I mean I’ll still eat them but come on.”  My joy at coming out overrides my confusion but just as I am taken out of my prison and can see the world I am once again in another dark room.         

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