For The Unknown

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: The Imaginarium
A short story inspired by the Imaginarium House Picture Prompt 17.

Submitted: July 22, 2017

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Submitted: July 22, 2017

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For The Unknown.

We can hear it approaching, that big black windowless van. Oh, it’s got a screen in the front, side windows at the front too, but they are tinted so dark they might as well not be there. We certainly cannot see inside.

At the sound of that engine, we all scurry to take our places. Out front, desperately saying inside our heads, Please don’t pick me. We’ve learnt it’s better not to hide. Not only will there be a search and those found hiding soon discovered, but then they are far more likely to find themselves being picked.

Who are these people? Where do they come from? None of us know the answer to that. They turn up in their black uniforms, their masks; every single part of them is covered, hidden from view. I sometimes wonder if they are even human. They could be some other-worldly beings, sent to whisk us away to another planet; that would at least explain they total lack of humanity.

They are cold as they make their assessment of us. There are becoming less and less of us for them to make their choice from; once selected you are never seen again. It is only a matter of time – each and every one of us knows that but still we silently beg to be spared from selection.

One of these......what should I call them? Guards, maybe, or soldiers. They are heavily armed whoever they are, with weapons they are only too willing to use. Well, one of them is staring right at me. Please, please, please do not pick me. I clasp my hands together so tightly that my nails from each hand dig in to the other.

Patrick, sitting next to me, is picked. He turns to me, just for a moment, and I can see the pleading in his eyes. I so want to reach out my hand to him, to hold on and never let him go. But I dare not move. I can’t look into his eyes any longer, but break his gaze and look away. I must not cry, not while they are there. Crying leads to a severe beating and has never solved a thing. I have seen people beg from the ground for themselves or their loved ones, always in vain, always punished.

Five of us have been selected, lined up and cuffed. I am not amongst them. The back of the van is opened and they are forced inside just like cattle being led to slaughter. There are no seats so they have to sit on the floor.

The uniformed figures climb into the vehicle, disappearing from our view. Not until the van has vanished will we relax enough to cry, to scream, to wail in pain. And always there is the knowledge that next week we each could be next.


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