Mirage

Jan. 22nd, 2015 05:35 pm
fodschwazzle: (Sandy hole)
11/12- 7:21 PM

I suppose I’m lucky to be here. It was a small pool of applicants after the first interviews whittled us down. Even though I was giving my best “interview face” ever, I still thought some of the other candidates were more qualified. It’s a blessing, maybe.

I shouldn’t complain—especially since I have no one to complain to, except for this journal. In this desert, the nearest possible human connection is hundreds of miles away. If I could get there, the rolling sands and high winds would strip the skin from my body before I could find someone to hear my grievances. The heat would boil my blood.

The hut is just over 2,500 square feet, with a good amount of that space beneath the sand. It’s bigger than any house I’ve ever lived in, that’s for sure, though much of it is food storage and a cooling engine.  I have a fluffy queen-sized bed, a rifle that I’m certain doesn’t work, two suitcases worth of clothing, and a month to kill inside the same building. I’m only a week and a half in, but I already feel trapped.

The deal is good. I breathe into a sterile, steel pipe sticking out of the middle of my kitchen counter once a day, and I get food, money in my bank account, water for my shower, and toilet paper. I think I heard someone say that they are testing for bacteria development when confined to an environment that limits human interaction. I have to breathe hard into the tube to get an “OK” light to flash on the display, and if I stop breathing halfway through, I have to do it again—I only barely have enough air for it. Then, the next day’s lockbox of food clicks open inside the cold storage room, and the pipes that run through my hut start to churn with water.

I can’t help but wonder why they would need to run this experiment. Is this intended to simulate space travel or an extended stay on Mars? When I responded to that web advertisement, I had no idea I would be getting into something so surreal, so vast, and so well planned. This place was built for me, which explains why there are no decorations—budget restraints or a general lack of consideration.

Loneliness is the big killer. When the sun goes down and the night freezes the sand outside, I miss my home life. It takes me a moment to realize that I no longer have one.


11/13 9:03 AM

Someone was here last night. How is that possible? When I woke up, the meat and cheese that were in the cooler for today were gone. The door to the cooling room was left ajar, so I’m hoping that not too much cold air escaped.

I’m still worried about energy bills when there is a human handprint on the side of the stainless steel cooler.

How could anyone have accessed me? Out here, at nighttime especially, sound seems to carry forever. Any car or any footsteps would have been heard. Anyone outside at night without a car would have frozen to death. Anyone who moved during the daylight would have burned to death. The only significant landmark that I can see is a handful of rocks that jut out of the sand a further distance than I could reasonably travel.

Did I sleepwalk? If I did, where did I put the empty food containers?

Today, I am going a bit hungry. I hope that it doesn’t invalidate whatever it is that my scientists want to test. I hope that they’re not actually testing how I act when I’m hungry, because I do get rather irate.

What happened to the meat and cheese?


11/14 3:35 AM

I found the culprit! It was some kind of an animal. It must be incredibly bright to have opened all of the doors, since I made certain that everything was latched properly; although, I did notice that not one of these doors is equipped with a lock. I assumed that no one expected that a wild animal would come keep me company.

I didn’t get a good look at it as it ran away with another portion of meat and cheese, but I could see it under the stars as it ran away on three legs while clutching food in a third. It had an elongated torso and a wild mane of fur. Is it some kind of a monkey or hyena?

How silly of me to think that nothing lived in this desert!

If I barricade my bedroom door, in case that this animal is dangerous, there is the risk that it will eat all of my food and leave me almost starved to death. If I don’t protect myself, it might just eat me!

I know that the goal of my presence here is to breathe into a tube once a day, but I’m going to forgo that process tomorrow. If a wild animal’s food supply is cut off, it might seek a different place to eat. I must protect myself.


11/15 4:30 AM

I caved yesterday after a few hours without food, but I found out quickly that it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. I pulled all of the day’s food into my bedroom and dragged my steel desk in front of the door.
I heard scampering and scuttling in the kitchen. When I went to check on the source of the sound, well after it had disappeared, I discovered that the display panel for the breath testing tube had been checked green even though I had deliberately decided to wait to do it.

I already knew what had happened. When I went to the cooler, I found that today’s food supplies, which I could have gathered yesterday but chose not to, were already gone. All of that portion was gone, like the beast had been seen fit to punish me for breaching whatever food contract it perceived that we had.

I grabbed the most likely useless rifle and ran out into the sand, firing three shots before I had to duck back in before I was too cold.

I didn’t fail to notice the tracks of human footprints going over dunes into the dark distance.

I will kill this creature, even if it is a man. I cannot starve out here.


11/16 12:31 AM

If the creature that I’m waiting for is as dangerous as I believe, please leave this note for my ex-wife.

Helen,
I’m sorry for never giving enough time to you or the children. I’m sorry for letting my work occupy all of my life. I give my whole bank account and my house to you. It’s not much, because I quickly learned how much I needed you after you walked out. It’s not brave or bold of me to admit that I was completely dependent on the stability you gave me. I couldn’t keep my job, and I couldn’t keep myself.

Tell the children that I love them very much. I love you very much. I’m sorry for being so sorry, for being a mistake that shared your house but none of your life.

Love,
Terry

It will be here soon. I am ready to make the kill, if necessary, although I’ve never killed a man before. Lord forgive me.


11/16 2:30 AM

I shot him in the cooling room. He had meat and cheese in his hands and spun a funny half-circle on his heel before he hit the ground.

When I rolled him over to see what I had killed, I screamed. The man looks exactly like me. He has my eye color, my hair, and he moaned with my voice as he fell.

Have I killed myself?

Perhaps I was born dead. What did my house look like? What was my job before I came here? Looking at my own face laying slack jawed in a pool of blood, I could not even recall my wife's face, or the children I had. It made me feel strangely peaceful, to be nothing.

So who is this man, then, if I'm nobody?

I looked out the front door, with the footprints heading in a direct line towards those distant stones. He came that way to get here.

I will leave soon, following the path as the sun begins to rise. The dawn will keep me safe for awhile, but soon...

Don't follow me. If I can kill myself, I can certainly kill you.

Don't look for my body in the dust.

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