We always heard there was a strange society out there. In the woods far beyond where any of my friends or I had ever gone, there lay a society referred to by us as just “the place”. We didn’t think it was real or it existed; we just liked to clown around about it and chat about what it could be like to live there- in such an isolated society. I surely didn’t think this place existed. I mean no one really did. The stories had always been around but there was no proof and without proof it was like it didn’t exist. I would soon learn that it did exist and I would learn the name of “the place” was called Our Great Society or OGS. The way I got there still feels so coincidental, as if I just stumbled there by mistake on the same day I decided my life sucked and I was going to leave home and try to start a new life for myself. Deep down I know it was God’s way of showing me that my life was to be cherished and that I should be grateful for the life I had. Too bad my life would never be the same and too bad I had no one to confide in about what I witnessed.
My name is Nam Enola and this is my account of Wednesday October 5th – Friday October 7th in the year 2101. I doubt anyone will ever read this or believe it for that matter but I have to get this out of my mind and I have to write it all down. I don’t want to forget what happened to me and if I somehow convince myself that it was just all a dream at least I will have these pages as a reminder. If you happen to find these words and you happen to read them please forgive me if this account seems out of this world. Perhaps it is out of this world; nonetheless it is as true as the sun is hot. I have no purpose or reason to distort the facts or truth as I am writing this for my own purposes. You have merely stumbled onto the confessions of a lonely soul.
It was 75 degrees and we were upset. Usually during this time of year my two best friends and I would have gone to the pool after classes let out, but the weather had been cooler than usual for October and we decided instead to go our separate ways and try to get some homework done. I left them and hurried towards my house, which was only a few blocks away from our school. Just as I began to hurry along I got a brain wave message from my mom alerting me of the dishes in the sink I left after breakfast. Gosh, even at 19 she was still on my case all the time. I was in college and doing what she wanted me to and even that wasn’t enough. I slowed to a complete stop and made a decision.
I wasn’t going home! I wanted a change in my life and I wanted to be liberated from my parents and their rules. Life was boring, and I needed a change. I wanted to do something fun and be someone important in the process. Yeah. I could see it now, from nothing to something overnight. I could be a success story. Ok alright, I would actually settle for just heading to my cousin’s house and figuring out a plan from there. I decided to take the long route through the woods so I could take time to think about my big decision. It seemed rash but I was really fed up with the things going on in my life. Classes were rough, my boyfriend was acting like a jerk, and my parents were always on my back.
I realized I must’ve wandered a little further than I wanted to because I was in a strange place in the woods I never seen. I was frustrated at now being lost. I chuckled and joked to myself it was just my luck to get off track and end up in “that place”. No one actually had ever been there before or even ever seen pictures but there were stories and tales of a secret society or world here in the woods but no one believed it and no one cared to talk about for more than a few minutes joking around. I quickly got rid of the thought and looked for a way out of the woods, it was getting dark and I was getting tired.
I must have walked for miles without making any real progress. I tired of walking so I decided to just sit there in hopes I would be rescued by police or the Park Rangers who did a lot of traveling through these woods. I found a tree with a small rock underneath and sat there. How ironic this was. I was looking desperately to escape and instead I ended up lost in the damn woods all alone. I wanted to scream and laugh at my new found circumstance because it was just all too much for me. It was then I noticed them watching me.
I knew immediately I was not about to be rescued by the threesome that was just watching me and I knew also they didn’t come from the same place as I did. They looked human enough but there was an oddness to the two woman and man that I saw. Something seemed very off about them, perhaps they were the living dead. I had no idea but I was scared and thought I would piss my pants when they started approaching me. It was then I noticed the dead look in their eyes.
The man reached me first and said, “We will not hurt you, but the others will if they find you here. You must come with us until we can get you out of here safely!”
When I am nervous I can’t stop talking. This situation was no different, and I frantically responded to the man, “Who are you? Where are we, and who is it that will hurt me? I can’t go with you guys I need to get back home so I can”
“ah ah ah…” the older woman of the two said “you mustn’t rush your thoughts out like that.”
The younger woman then stated very matter of fact-ly “all of your questions will be answered.”
“We are part of an underground sect in OGS known as the moderates. You must have stumbled through one of the transportation portals that leads from out there where you live to here we live in OGS. We live our lives moderately and cherish human life so we must live our lives in constant hiding and fear. I’m Senterion, these two are Anastasi” he said pointing to the younger “and this here is Felinia”. I didn’t know that I could trust them but I had no choice. I didn’t know where I was and I was also drawn to them.
Felinia said at that point “In Our Great Society, where we come from we are wanted by the Professors who monitor the daily activities of the people in OGS.” At this I laughed. I couldn’t help to think of my Mother and her monitoring ways. Senterion yelled at me “how dare you laugh, the people where we live have meaningless lives and don’t know anything more than the garbage they are spoon fed by the government known as the Sanitation.” It was weird even his yell was no more than what I would consider a loud whisper. They said we were in a hurry but yet they seemed to be moving at a quite normal pace to me. I would even say we were walking slow at times even stopping while they explain to me the rules where they come from.
I was shocked by what I heard. Anastasi rarely spoke but what she did tell me was terrifying. She originally came from a district known as District Sadism where they were responsible for “rehabilitating” the citizens caught not following the rules. What she described to me there was like nothing I ever heard of before, people actually allowed to live out their sick thoughts on the citizens who had broken the law. It sounded all too absurd. It was Senterion who helped her get out of the District and into the underground sect where they practiced moderation, appreciated life and spent the majority of their time trying to stay out of harms way. Unlike the other citizens who were involved in extreme activities for a portion of their day, and lived separately in 5 Districts that were separated based on specific attributes. The citizens where the mysterious trio was from were also employed in laborious, grueling, and boring jobs during the day and this dulled life in the OGS community.
I couldn’t think strait because although nothing was happening too quickly, my mind couldn’t wrap around what they were telling me. I had to see it for myself. If what these people were saying was true I needed to see it and I needed to go there. I decided from this point on I was no longer taking this group for their word, everything was too strange for me.
“I don’t believe you and I want proof of what you’re telling me!” I stood there and waited for any of them to respond to me and give me answers. They slowly looked around at each other. Senterion spoke first,
“You do not understand. If we take you any further than this we cannot guarantee you a safe return. Our people die every single day in the thousands. Freak accidents are common in the District Adrenaline. There the people are crazed and obsessed with living life to the extreme even more so than in the other Districts. It is not a safe place for you and I am afraid you will just have to take my word for it.”
“You know Nam, he is right”, said Felinia. “It is much better if we try to get you back where you came from! Where we live things are sad and depressing but most people don’t realize it. There is no trust and even citizens are against other citizens, reporting one another to the Professors. We are even convinced they are feeding the corpses of the dead citizens to the people.”
Anastasi interrupted Felinia saying, “She must come with us, it is the only way. She could be the savior that we need. Once she witnesses what life is like in Our Great Society she will understand.” I didn’t like how instead of speaking to me like the others did she turned her back to me and spoke to only Senterion and Felinia. I mean I still could hear her word for word but it was as if I was not there to her.
As if she read my mind Anastasi turned and said in a hushed voice, “I will help you get out safely but you can only stay for one day. We will go in the morning when people are busy with their jobs, that is when it will be easiest to keep you safe. The night hours are vicious and we will start the journey back then. For now we must rest.”
She made the decision and it was final. We walked around a bit more then came up on a small cave. I realized this would be our resting point. Once inside I realized this cave was not ordinary. There were blankets and a lantern inside along with other camping necessities it was as if they prepared this place for us at some earlier point. The night was smooth after that. We spent some time exchanging stories about our respective lives and I asked questions about OGS. The place seemed like a horrible and crazy place to live and no matter how much they answered my questions I thought they were holding a lot back. Especially when I asked about their families.
Overnight I couldn’t sleep and I was extremely anxious to get on the move the next morning. I sat up quietly as to not disturb the others and I realized Felinia was still sitting up. I pointed to the opening of the cave as if to signal, let’s talk outside. She got up and I took this as a sign that she was prepared to go outside and speak with me. When we got outside we could finally speak. I spoke first. “Why don’t you guys run away from there if it’s that bad?” She looked at me and said. “We are not like you. We cannot conform to the outside world. We are not human, but mere human replica.”
I gasped. I knew they seemed different, but clones. Could it really be? This was getting weirder the more I learned. “Is that why you guys didn’t answer my questions about your family? You all don’t have families. I get it now.” I didn’t get it, but I didn’t know what else to say. She told me more details about OGS but I tuned her out for most of it. Instead I thought about my own life and what I had at home. I knew my mom and dad were at home and must be worried but I prayed they were all right. Secretly I prayed I would be alright.
Morning came and it was time to head out. As we walked I noticed the woods slowly opening up. There seemed to be less brush up ahead and I was anxious because I could feel us getting closer and further into OGS. I asked how much longer to go after what I thought was about an hour of continuous walking. Senterion responded by kindly smiling at me. I took that as we were close. I knew I was right because at that moment I could see in the distance smog and smoke being released into the sky- I knew this was one of the factory buildings where the citizens did their work.
“Ok let’s go on to the Moderate hide out and from there we will create a plan on how to maximize the time Nam will have here today, let’s try to show her as much as possible”, said Felinia excitedly. I could tell that by now she grew very fond of me and was happy to have made my acquaintance, especially after we talked last night. “Great idea. Let’s head there now.” Responded Senterion. Anastasi led the way.
As we entered deeper into Our Great Society I began to get nervous. What if their government noticed I was here and try to keep me. Even worst what if the group I was with just wanted to get me here so they could hurt me. Why did I come here? Was my life that boring at home that I need to escape to the hell I was walking into? As we walked I noticed all of the buildings were huge. Felinia explained that the citizens lived in big buildings to accommodate the population which was exceedingly large.
The very next thing that struck out to me was a group of men walking wearing identical clothing I knew from the conversations I had with Senterion, Felinia, and Anastasi that these men were a part of the group known as Professors. They monitored the citizens and would punish any caught not following the laws set forth in the constitution of OGS. I knew this meant trouble right away because we abruptly changed course and started walking the opposite way. Anastasi began to speak. “I must distract them so you guys can try to escape. I know they saw us and will try to capture us all. Since I am the only living person who has ever escaped The District Sadism and joined the Moderates, I am the most wanted member in our underground sect. They will be pleased to catch me. You three will be able to escape by running through to the district of Knowledge. From there if you can get to the District Adrenaline you should be able to escape!”
I felt really bad about the plan but I could do nothing but run with the others; especially when Anastasi made her location known by running out in front of the Professors screaming in a beast-like manner, grabbing their attention away from the screens they were using to call backup. She toppled one of the professors in one swift motion and sent his body flying onto the ground. I didn’t think she could be so violent, I mean she was such an older woman for crying out loud, but after what I learned about the District where she lived most of her life I was not that surprised. I didn’t see any more because soon we were too far ahead and I didn’t want to keep looking back.
We made our made our way through this district which I realized was District Authority. Immediately I saw that there were numerous people in these uniforms walking around the town and frantically answering their communicators. The news was spreading that we were loose in the town. I hoped we could get out of this district fast and into one of the other districts that would be easier to blend in to. Felinia was now leading us and she entered a large complex building that housed the citizens in this district. We ran up 12 flights of stairs and finally came to a stop on the landing. I was out of breath and crying by this point, but the tears mixed with the sweat made it so no one knew my true fear. I knew they were clearly in much better shape than me because they seemed to be faring much better after our long run. I now think back and realize their amazing physical abilities probably came from the fact that they were clones who probably had the best genes.
Felinia spoke and told us there was a route in this building we could use to get through to one of the other districts. I didn’t know how that would help us but Senterion looked relieved by this news so I assumed this was indeed good news. I then thought about Anastasi and asked the two what would likely happen to her. “Well if she doesn’t escape during the time they transport her back to the District of Sadism she will be killed. It is unfortunate but we must not dwell about it, people here die in the masses daily and death is a huge part of our society. However, it is not something we were trained to care or concern ourselves with so it is no big deal.” I was appalled at the way Felinia spoke about the life of people and especially since this was her friend we were talking about. “You should have more respect for life than that.” I said and left it at that. I was beginning to see that this was not like home for me and everything I ever thought was true was a lie here.
“No time to dwell on that now Nam, we must get a move on and we have to get going.” Felinia said and then started down the hall we entered. At the end of the hall I could see nothing but a wall. Nothing that indicated we would be able to get out of this building. Everything in my heart told me we would never get out, but their lack of fear helped me to stay strong. We quickly reached the end of the hall and Felinia tapped on the wall three times and TADA like magic there was an opening. When we entered there was a small landing and a gaping hole in the ground with some sort of slide reaching down towards the bottom. It was the scariest thing I have ever seen with all these rusted shards sticking out of the sides of the slide, and a very narrow space for getting down. The drop down could be anywhere from 15 stories high to 30 for all I knew because I could barely see down and as far as I could tell there was no bottom.
Senterion spoke first. “Ok, here’s the plan. I will go down first and Nam can follow. Felinia you go after her so that way she is protected by us in the front and back. Once we get down we should be not far from the District of Knowledge. We will be fairly safe there and we will be able to ease our way out of the district into the District of Adrenaline where we will be able to lead you safely to your home.” Senterion looked at me while he said the last sentence. I trusted them but the plan seemed like a long shot and I only hoped it worked. I nodded to show my agreement.
Senterion slowly lowered himself onto the slide and nudge his weight forward allowing him to accelerate down into the darkness. I rushed behind and quickly did the same thing I could no longer see him down below and I didn’t want to be too far behind him in case something happened to me and I needed protection. I was scared but somehow I finessed my way down and soon I was plunging deep into the earth I could smell the sewage mixed with mud as we got further within. There was a stale taste to the air and I could hardly breathe going down. Suddenly after about 15 minutes of going down the slide and it turned sharply and I was thrown out onto the ground. I screamed out of panic!
“Aaaaaaaggggh..ugh” Senterion quickly was behind me holding my mouth closed. I gasped for breath. HE quietly said to me “hush or we will be caught. We are fairly safe but we are still outlaws in this community and we must not do anything that will alert people to our location.” Speaking of our location where the hell were we? Books, artwork, computers, gaming devices, machines, and all types of other crap I can’t even name were everywhere. Thrown around in the streets and piled high on the corners. Out of nowhere appeared Felinia. Senterion directed us to walk north, towards a large building that could have been a University of some sort. I asked “are we in the District Knowledge?” Felinia responded to me only by nodding. They seemed rather reluctant to speak as we walked. I just couldn’t help but notice the few people we did see were so engaged in a book or a computer monitor that they didn’t even notice us. No one ever looked up from what they were doing and everyone we saw was doing something. It was late. I was tired after all we had been through that day and I knew we had to keep moving but I wanted to rest.
“Do you guys think it is ok to rest for a bit? We haven’t eaten or taken a break all day and I am worn out.” I said with a little whimper in my voice hoping that would help. Felinia looked as if she understood my pain, while Senterion clearly was not up for my complaining. “I’m going to give you something ok? It is similar to a vitamin and it will help with your energy and also stop the hunger,” Senterion said to me. Felinia just looked at Senterion saying nothing although the look on her face said she had a lot to say about what he just said. “Will it hurt me?” I asked naively. “No, but there may be side effects,” he answered. “Like what? Nausea, diarrhea, vomiting? I don’t want to feel like that while I’m here, just forget it,” I replied frantically. Now I was worried about what could happen to me. I needed something to help me with my tiredness and my hunger but I didn’t want their mystery drugs.
Felinia laughed. “Oh no. Nothing like that at all. The side effects are quite minimal actually.” She said to me quickly. “It might actually be what you need to help you feel better. Would you like to take one of the vitamins?” I told her to just give it to me instead of wasting our time talking about it so we could get a move on. I was anxious to get through this district into the next one so I could finally be on my way home. Although home was starting to seem further and further away. Senterion handed me what looked to be an aspirin. I gladly grabbed it and swallowed it using the saliva in my mouth as water. Just as I swallowed my stomach growled and I hoped the effects would be quick as I was getting hungrier and weaker by the second. As I wondered why the others didn’t seem to get hungry after our long journey I noticed my eyes closing almost involuntarily. I tried to keep them open but I couldn’t. My knees gave out and I could feel myself fall back into Felinia’s arms.
When I gained consciousness I was at the entrance of the woods near my cousin’s house. I don’t know how I got there and I don’t know what happened to Senterion or Felinia. My clothes were filthy and my hair was matted. My body was sore but there was no visible bruising. I could hardly remember what had taken place so I sat there until I had some of my memory back about what had happened to me. How did we ever escape and where were my two companions now? What about the portal to OGS? Was it still there? These were the first questions to pop into my head as I replayed the events over in my mind.
I slowly stood up and walked away from the woods towards the street. The second I got out of the woods my brain wave communicator went off like crazy. I must of have over a thousand missed communications. The last one I ever opened was the one from my mom about the dishes in the sink. I was thankful to be back into a world I was so familiar with but somehow I was sad that I never got to see more of Our Great Society. I wanted to figure out what happened to my friends and I worried about Anastasi. What ever happened to her? What ever happened to me? These are questions I would forever grapple with. From that point forward, I knew nothing in my life would be the same.
By: Domanique Borges