One Mind-Chapter 11

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 11 (v.1) - An Unexpected Surprise

Submitted: June 18, 2016

Reads: 161

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Submitted: June 18, 2016




Chapter 11

Lenny was over the forest’s stone wall in a minute, carrying the supplies the mound man had packed in the knapsack.  Night would be here soon and Lenny knew he had to find shelter. 

Slowing his walk was the forest floorwhich was rocky. It was as if the ground had chosen this spot to erupt forward with every rock and piece of granite that it could send forth, scattered randomly like tossed blocks.  Interspersed between these rocks and small boulders was what appeared to be flat ground, covered only with needles and leaves. This covering, he quickly discovered though, still hid smaller, sharper rocks which soon began to catch his feet.

As Lenny vacillated between hiking and avoiding these small monoliths, he began to take notice of the type of trees growing here. They were large trees, survivor trees.  Their roots and branches grew callously around and over the environment they had been casually tossed into, surviving despite the inhospitableness of their neighbors. The tree roots choosing rather than to die among the granite, instead to adorn them, to go around them and always somehow proceed. 

Lenny, following their lead, sat down and took his boots off tying them together and throwing them over his shoulder. Like the trees which had taught him, he let his feet adjust and compensate for the world he walked through.

As Lenny moved deeper into this forest, the boulders seemed fewer, almost as if having passed the granite test, the formations had gone underground to rest.  In replacement though, the forest grew darker and denser, with what had at first seemed like a mist now turning into a steady rain.

Lenny made out a glimmer of an outcropping, peeking through the deluge.  A solid ledge which had decided to stay above ground in its own personal act of defiance.  Lenny quickened his pace as the raindrops changed their mind once again pelting him with sideways sheets of mound smelling precipitation.  It appeared even protected by the trees, there was still no escaping the mound laden ash. 

As Lenny approached, the outcropping grew larger than it had first appeared.  Lenny cautiously walked around it, scoping it out for signs of habitation, this having become a survival tactic, nothing more.  This was harder to do here though, as the outcropping seemed to be slowly being devoured by the woods it resided in. With no inhabitants apparent, Lenny took shelter under the ledge, resigning himself to the fact this place was going to be his shelter for the night.

Lenny looked behind him, deciding to explore his prison, shortly expecting to find a thick impenetrable ledge wall.  Instead he found nothing but the cool air itself, discovering this outcropping was actually an entrance to a cave, offering him enough room to stretch out in.

Lenny laid out the old quilt he had been gifted, onto the floor.  The quilt was soaked with the scent of thrift and long term making do, yet it sung of the warmth and comfort of his previous host family and their home, a memory which made Lenny smile.  Dinner, a cold square ravioli type packet of sorts too, was a gift from his former hosts. After finishing his meal, he slept thinking of El and the rest of his family once again.

Lenny awoke with a start, from his much needed peaceful slumber.  He knew instantly that something had awoken him.  There it was again, voices.  Lenny, now fully awake, realized the darkness he saw did not belong to this cave but instead to his blindfolded eyes.  Trying to put his arms to his face he discovered those too were bound.  Lenny’s escorts brought him carefully to his feet and began ushering him deeper into the cave where the air became mustier.

About half way up a hallway the group took a sharp left, Lenny long since having lost count of the numbers of lefts and rights he and his captors had navigated.  He felt the ground beneath their feet sloping, not sharply but ever so gently, always downward into the cooler and drier chasm, where  much of the air’s mustiness had evaporated

After what seemed like forever but what Lenny judged had not been more than an hour, this little party made a sudden stop before a door.  A firm knock by an escort on the wood, gained them entrance. Once inside the door was firmly closed behind them once again. 

Lenny instantly heard whirring and hollering signifying to him that he was in the midst of a factory environment. There was another sound catching his attention as well, voices merging into a song which seemed to be returning from another place, floating back from another time, long before his world. 

Singing like this had been forbidden for so long in proper society, Lenny knew. The only recordings were now in the governmental archives.  Even there a person would need a special security clearance to access them and an even higher clearance to listen to them.  Such clearances would require written documentation from professors, jurisdictional authorities and psychologists stating that a person's interest in such recordings were for historical research alone, that under no circumstances had any of the professionals detected any "Other" tendencies, which would lead to listening to these recordings for the sheer enjoyment of them. 

It was a clearance Lenny was sure this group of whoever they were, didn't have, yet still they sang, like they didn't care about any of that.  This group functioned outside of the norm,  much like the .....

  The idea hit Lenny full force while he sat listening to the melodious sounds slow to silence, as those singing became aware of the stranger in their midst.  This was the place, the underground camp.  Despite his stumbling and bumbling he had found the “Others.” 

Lenny was brought to his feet once more and directed down yet another hallway.A door opened and he was placed on a chair.  His hands were loosed and he heard the click of the door as he quickly untied the kerchief around his eyes.

As Lenny’s eyes adjusted to the light once again, he looked around at his surroundings.  This was a room like any room, yet so different than any others he had ever been in.  The walls, if you could call them that, were stone, which was what would be expected in this type of dwelling.What was on them though was certainly not to be expected.  Murals of scenery and dysmorphic shape type portraits were everywhere.

It was not only the paintings that assaulted his line of sight here.  It was the bright braided rug, the wooden chair he sat in carved with birds, hearts, flowers and dozens of other items in the room. Everywhere he looked, something challenged his rules of normalcy.

Lenny noted one particular mural near the door and moved closer to get a better look.  The painting seemed strange with almost a fractured feel to it, yet still somehow familiar.  It had a signature he could sense but couldn't quite place, Lenny knowing he’d seen it's strokes before.It suddenly came to him almost before he recognized it, the work was El's. 

Lenny continued walking around this space, mesmerized, stopping to finger the quilt which covered the bed.  Near the bottom of this bed covering, flowers were stitched while closer to the top there was a marching band of sorts, with trumpets, trombones and a hundred other instruments falling from the sky. The pieces on the covering flew from all sides, colliding in the middle in an explosion of color.  Imprinted over this design was stitching, carefully designed into patterns.

Lenny heard the door open behind him and close once again.  Turning, Lenny saw a tall, thin bald man with a beard matched only in bushiness by his mustache. A smudge of grease crossed his nose and his eyes crinkled with the slightest hint of curiosity.  “Glad you could join us, Governor!By the way the name is Goliath.” he said sticking his hand out.
“I don't know who you are referring to,” said Lenny.

“Why you of course,” he pointed bringing his hand back to his side.  “The resemblance between you and the missing governor is much more than coincidence, you and I both know that.  I thought you might be hungry so I brought you some breakfast.  I'll be back in a bit to get you for your assignment.” Before Lenny had a chance to ask questions, Goliath was gone again. 

Breakfast was a meal like Lenny had never seen.  None of it was standardized or pre-packaged, instead simply placed on a plate, much of the food looking like it had come directly from primary source materials.  Curiosity got the better of him as he lifted his fork. 

The first taste was a shock.  It was eggs, no doubt about that taste, yet tainted with something  tangier almost. After the first bite, there was a second and a third.  Before Lenny knew it the plate was clean and Goliath had returned.

"So where do we go now?" Lenny said to Goliath

  "To work, where everyone goes, Governor."

The hallways he and Goliath walked down had manifested themselves into a human canvas.  Lenny ran his hand along one wall, amazed at the detail of the paintings next to him.  Goliath immediately noticed and smiled.

  “ I see you're liking our walls!  Brightens the place up no doubt.”

“When were they completed?”

“These particular ones, about a year ago.  The paintings as a whole?  They’re still a work in progress!  We have many artists who use our walls for a canvas.” 

Goliath opened the door to a room which spoke loudly of mechanical innovation. There were men and women with welding torches in one corner, cutting and shaping an implement according to a handwritten plan.  In another corner several people appeared to be reassembling a motor. 

"What are they doing?" asked Lenny as Goliath ushered him through. 

  "Inventing," said Goliath nonchalantly as they continued walking.

Lenny looked around him. “How can they think, never mind create in this environment.  Nothing is where it should be and everyone seems to have paper everywhere."

"To you maybe, to them that place is an incubator of sorts. Out of this chaos comes solutions.”

Goliath ushered Lenny out another door, through a longer hallway and past several more doors before opening another.  A warm whoosh of air greeted them. 

“Well it appears I won't be cold today anyway.”

“No it has to stay warm in here year round if we all want to eat.  You've been placed in the community garden.”

Lenny looked out on the largest vegetable plot he had ever seen.  There was no color scheme here. Plants that weren’t the right size, shape or anything else, just randomly seemed to explode here, there and everywhere. Surrounding this plot were what appeared to be fruit trees, bushes and grape arbors of every variety.  Forbidden fruit, an old biblical term, were the first words which came into Lenny’s mind.

Questions began to form in Lenny's mind and all came tumbling out of his mouth before he had time to stop them. “This is a cave. How is there enough light for a garden here?”

“That room we went through with the chaos that was bothering you so much? Among their other accomplishments are those,” Lenny looked up to see sets of bright lighting beaming down onto the plants.

“How do you fuel them?  I'm guessing you don't have solar power or electricity in a cave,” asked Lenny.

“We don't need that, we use our refuse alone.  We have a boiler of sorts with systems designed to convert the trash into electricity, works like a charm!  Look, I have to be leaving now to check on some things, have fun though.” Then Goliath again disappeared through the door. 

Lenny glanced over at a nearby artist, who seemed totally entranced in his half-finished painting, the colors of the vegetables splashing across his canvas.  This whole place had the atmosphere of a peaceful anarchy. 

"Excuse me, what do I do?” Lenny asked a man passing by with a basket of tomatoes.

"I'm not sure but the squash needs weeding if that would help," he said, pointing to his left. 

Walking over to a rather large looking squash plant, Lenny awkwardly leaned down and pulled up the weed it was shading.  Once the weed was tossed aside in a neat pile, Lenny pulled another and then another.  What at first had seemed awkward, soon became methodical and routine, soothing in its work a day rhythm.

As his hands became involved with his task, Lenny began absorbing, the colors, the sounds, the environment of this place.  It was as if his mind, so starved from the environment around him for so long, now craved every intimate detail of it.

Lenny was so lost in thought that he neglected to notice the growing pile of weeds he was creating.A rather plump woman who seemed to be picking some of the choicest vegetables nearby, stopped, looking him knowingly in the face and said with a smile “Those weeds should be going in the mulch over there when you're done.” Lenny smiled, thanked her and disposed of his pile.

After several more hours of weeding, Lenny noticed a flag being quietly placed near the door.  The people who worked near him, began lining up to wash their hands.  Lenny joined them, asking the man in front of him where people were going.

“Lunch” he replied.

  Lenny smiled as he washed his hands.  “Of course, lunch.”  He followed the gardeners who were all chattering quietly to one another, down several brightly painted hallways to the cafeteria, with  Lenny staying close behind, afraid of getting lost.

The cafeteria was a noisy, raucous affair, but what else was to be expected, without any governmental rules, Lenny thought.  There were a hundred, maybe even a thousand or more people at tables, with each group staying to themselves, at least around Lenny. It was obvious through the stolen glances and quick stares, that he was the topic of conversation at their tables.

Lenny sat by himself, at the closest table, when a sudden gruff voice, aimed at him, made him turn.  "If it isn't the Governor himself, remember me? I’m 638276.  You and your ‘policies’ sent me to retraining camp twice.  A lot of good that hell hole of a torture chamber did for me.  I'm happily here just the same.” A ruffled Lenny stared back quietly at the man, unable to defend himself.

Abruptly, Goliath seemed to materialize out of nowhere.  “If you don't mind, I'll pull up right next to you with my plate, seeing there's plenty of room,” he said to Lenny.Worker 638276 sat back down at his table while casting several glares at Lenny. 

“Have some lunch, you’re looking a bit pasty.  Hey, why don’t you onsider me your guide, your friend if you will,” Goliath continued,  “which is a good thing considering you don't seem to have many friends around here.” 

Lenny decided that maybe it would be best to change the topic of conversation to a friendlier topic. Lenny commented, noting that the blueberry cobbler was being served as desert, “So the blueberries, they're ripening then?”

“It appears so,” said Goliath.

“So is gardening it for this operation?”

“Nope, we do all sorts of things.  In your area we grow all types of produce.  Then there's the mechanical division, full of our tinkerers and innovators.  They're the onesI had mentioned before who created a way to fuel this place with the mounds.  The same piles the mound people eat from.”

“Where do these mound people come from anyway? Don't they know better than to cook from the mounds?”

“They're among the smartest people I know,” said Goliath, slightly agitated.  “They were farmers, then your trash, well it had to go somewhere didn't it.  So it ended up in their fields.  When they could no longer raise their crops, they did what they had to do for survival alone, much the same as us here.  Thinking of things that way, you realize there’s not much of a difference in any of us, is there?” said Goliath as he took a bite of his Garlic bread.  Lenny just smiled back speechless.

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