Haven: Part One – The Implant
The following story is a four-part series about an ordinary guy named Jason A. Sileski and
his search for a shelter – a safe place- a haven.
The beginning sentence of every story, often sets the tone for the rest of the piece. A writer may spend hours, days, even weeks pacing around his or her room, tearing out his or her hair, trying to figure out the perfect first sentence. That is probably why I am not a writer. Though my life would have been a lot more peaceful if I had been, besides the lack of hair. If my life were a story, it might start with the sentence- “The day I was born, marked a momentous occasion, not only for me, but also for my grandfather, who would never see me.” I have no idea if that is even a good sentence to begin one’s life story with.
“Man, it’s chilly.” I said to the imaginary sympathetic that was sitting in the chair across from me. There was a table in between us and four walls surrounding our human, or in his case phantom, bodies. A door stood in what I guessed was the north-east corner of the room, and across from me was a mirror. A standard police investigation room. I am the only person that I know that would think these thoughts while being in the situation I was in. The door opened and an officer walked in.
“Thank you Colby.” He said with a slight smile to someone outside the room. This was a little nuance that most “good-cops” use, unbeknownst to themselves. I silently thanked Mr. Reynolds for his “Intro to Psych” class.He walked to the table and sat down. Laying a file in front of him he cleared his throat.
“Hello, my name is Detective Brooks. Do you know why you are here, Mr. Sileski?”
“Because you want to protect me?” I said smiling. Cops usually gave this reason when they wanted to get information.
“That’s exactly right.” He paused. “But for us-”
“But for you to do that, you need to know everything that has lead up to this point right?”
“Yes it is.” He showed signs of slight annoyance from my interruption.
“So what, you want me to just throw it all out at once?” He grimaced.
“I would like to you, to start at the beginning.” I cleared my throat.
“Do you guys have anything to drink here?” He nodded and walked to the door. He asked Colby to grab a coffee. I contemplated telling that I didn’t like coffee, just so he would get more angry. While walking back he took out a tape recorder and laid it down. He pressed the record button.
“So could you start by saying your name then, just starting.”
“My name is Jason A. Sileski, and this is my confession.” I began. I thought it would be nice to make the start artistic. To have some sort of fantastical flow as opposed to the jagged spears which were the reality. “I guess it began with me getting a job in northern New-york at a place called Uniris LTD.. I worked in a place I called, The Underground, which coincidentally, was in the underground of the company.” I trailed off in thought. Uniris was a very successful technology company. I only saw three people a day- My co-worker, Charlie, the head custodian named Wenton, and a quiet secretary named Emily. Wenton was an interesting person. He was very particular in many things and was also quite easy to convince of just about anything. This caused him to be the target of most of my and Charlie’s pranks. Not terrible things, just moving his stapler from it’s place on his desk to his bookshelf or putting a few dots on his dry-erase board. I felt a tap on my shoulder and realized I was sitting at my desk. I knew in reality I was still sitting with the officer in the investigation room, telling him all these things, but ever since I was little I have been able to recall things with such detail, that I even remember the smells. The smell of the Underground was a mix between chalky and musty. After about three hours, you forget about it though. I felt the tap again and turned to see Charlie’s amused face. He was usually one to crack jokes.
“Day-dreaming about the day you finally tell Emily how you feel about her are we?” I got up and slightly pushed him, laughing.
“Nothing of the sort.”
“Of course not.” He said with a smirk. “Let’s get to work”
I turned and looked at the clock. It was 8:15. If it had been 18 years and three days earlier, I would have been raising my hand in Mrs. Hanson’s 4th grade classroom. She had asked which of us knew what we wanted to be when we grew up. There were three of us, hands raised and so proud that we had figured it out. Craig Aberforth wanted to be a pilot which surprised no one, since in second grade, he was convinced that he himself was a plane. Nancy Fraser wanted to be a novelist, which worked out for her. On my way to work everyday, I passed “Krisses Book Shop” which besides the fact that the sign was grammatically incorrect, was a pretty good bookstore. In the window of the place, I saw Nancy’s fourth book, “The Catching of the Snake is Nigh.” When Mrs. Hanson called me, I said that I wanted to work in a technology company. This worked out for me, but not in the way I had hoped. Instead of brainstorming ideas for the next thing that would take the world by storm, I was in the middle of a routine check of the underground machines. Uniris had this idea that people would like them more if they seemed to run off of clean energy, which they didn’t.
“What did they run off of?” asked the officer bringing me out from the past.
“Well I never really found out.”
“Well then, how did they get this stuff out.”
“They created this kind of synthetic material, that would only stay together if electricity was being pulsed through it. If the electricity stops, then the material would dissolve into whatever was surrounding it. To pump out all the emissions, they created a long pipeline that connected into the smoke lines of an automobile making company, therefore it would go undetected.”
“Wow, they were pretty advanced.”
“The most advanced actually.” I sunk back into the past. It was around noon. Charlie and I were sitting on a ledge, eating, and looking at a tank that was brewing some sort of new material. We always picked a different place to sit. We talked about a few things like the game from last sunday and then he asked me.
“Jason, if you could have anything, what would it be. Not something physical like a million dollars or anything but something more abstract.” I thought for a bit.
“Um, maybe an adventure. Sometimes life feels really bland. It’s annoying seeing all the people you once knew, surpass you in almost every way.”
“That makes sense.” He took a bite of his sandwich. “I think I want peace. The amount of turmoil that happens in some people’s lives is crazy.” My present self knew exactly what he meant from experience, but my past self had no idea. Routine checks usually took all morning, and special assignments were for the afternoon. If I recall correctly, it was 1:06 and the always grumpy voice of Wenton would come through the PA system right when the second hand reached the 9, and here it was.
“Jason, please come to my office.” I looked at Charlie and we suppressed our laughter. The day before, Charlie had convinced me to distract Wenton saying that he had missed a spot on one of the windows of the projector grip lenses. This of course didn’t exist. So I led an ecstatic Wenton all around the ground floor, while Charlie did something in his office. He told me I would have to see for myself what he did. When I arrived at the office I instantly recognized it. Wenton was an art lover. He usually had 13 or 14 pieces of art hanging in his work quarters. All but one of them were now on the floor, in a neat stack, and Wenton was standing at the wall, positioning the first. He had undoubtedly been working at this for at least an hour. He had a furrowed brow and only noticed I was in his office when I had cleared my throat for the third time. He turned.
“Oh, Hello.” His brow furrowed even more as if he was contemplating my possible innocence based on my expression.I apparently passed the test because all he did was ask me- “Did you see the person who did this?” He said referring to the stack of paintings. I shook my head truthfully. Though I knew it was Charlie, I hadn’t seen him do it. He grunted. “Well that isn’t why I asked you here anyway.” He opened a cabinet and pulled out a map. “This is an original schematic of the ground floor” He said. “Since you work in the underground you probably haven’t been to most of these places. There is a project room just across the hall where the engineers actually build the prototypes. There is a machine in this area.” he said while making a circle with his finger on the map. “It should have a red blinking light, which should make it easy to spot. There seems to be a problem, now, normally I would go and fix it but I need to first place all these paintings back where they go. I was wondering if you could go and see what the problem is and fix it yourself.”
“Sure.” I said. He nodded, which was his way of saying thank you, then turned to look at the painting he had put up.
“Does that look level to you?” I looked at it. It was perfectly level.
“Looks like it’s leaning to the left a little.” I said. He looked.
“Dang it, you’re right.” He then went back to trying to fix it. I got one last look at the map and then left to go back down stairs.
“What did he say?” Asked Charlie.
“He wanted to know if I saw the person who tipped all the paintings.” Charlie laughed, immediately guessing the loophole I had taken.
“What did he do when he saw them?”
“Well, I wasn’t there but he must have had a heart attack.” We busted out laughing. Once we had calmed down he asked.
“Was that it?”
“No. He wants me to fix a problem with the main elevator.”
“Ah, well have fun bucko.” Letting out another chuckle. I went over to a table and grabbed the tools I thought I would need. Once finished, I placed them in a pouch which I slung over my shoulder. As I neared the stairs to go up to ground level, I looked over to Charlie who was tinkering at a computer. He turned, waved, and then went back to what he was doing. He never liked being called Charles.
“Why didn’t he?” The officer said. I almost forgot that I was actually in a station.
“I think it had to do with his dad. He would always call him charles when he was mad at him.”
“Hmm.” I then realized he was taking notes, as well as recording me. In opposition to the grimy underground, the ground-level looked very clean and modern.
There were abstract paintings that barely varied in color and everything looked symmetrical. There were television screens playing the latest Uniris commercial on loop. I heard snippets of it as I walked to where I needed to be.
“Here at Uniris… Latest and greatest tech… Uniris… Thank you…”. I neared the access door to the workroom. There was no keypad, everything at Uniris was hands-free. I neared my face to a rectangular silver plate that was attached to the wall. A screen appeared and scaned my eye.
“Jason Sileski.” It said in probably the most natural robot voice to date. The door slid open and after I had passed through, it closed. After a second, lights turned on and showed me a room full of technology. The walls were white and the prototypes that lined them were gray. There was a table in the middle of the room and a machine was set on it. It looked like a cylindrical tower and as I looked closer, I saw there was a panel with controls and buttons, and in the top right corner, was a blinking red light. I found my target. I walked to the tower and dropped my tools to the ground. I had never seen something like this before, this machine had no removable panels or even screws to hold it together. I recalled a conversation Wenton and I had when I had first arrived at the company.
“You may come across certain machines that seem as though they are inpenatrable, like the Great Wall of China. Machines like this are like a puzzle, not meant to be solved at first glance. All you have to do with most of the stuff Uniris makes is look for an internal button.”
Going to the side of the machine, I saw that there was a hole that went all the way through. Inside the opening there was a button. Not meant to be solved at first glance I said laughing to myself, this was easy. All I had to do was press the button, let the machine open, and fix the problem.
“And was it that easy?” Asked Brooks.
“If it was, I wouldn’t be here right now.” The light stopped right when my palm pressed the button. All of a sudden, The cylinder closed on my hand. I tried to pull my hand away but it was gripped tightly. The disk that was above my hand started to warm and then I felt something like lightning shoot through my arm. After a few seconds, the grip loosened and I pulled my hand away. The back of my hand bled in a straight line.
“Implant Complete.” Implant?
“What are you doing?” asked a man behind me. I turned while holding my hand because of the pain that was slowly going away. He was security and he didn’t look happy.
“I was just fixing this machine.”
“It doesn’t look like that.” From his tone I could tell that I had done something wrong. I looked past him to the left, and I saw another machine with a blinking red light. That must’ve been the one I had to fix. The man started running towards me. Right before he reached me, I dove to the ground. I hit the ground and rolled into a wall. I got up and saw that the security was requesting that all doors be sealed. Alarms started to go off and I heard a couple other people running towards the room. If I was going to escape, it had to be now. I ran as fast as I could out of the room and into the hall. When I turned right towards the direction of the back exit, I bumped into someone coming out of the elevator.
“Sorry.” I yelled back. The door was a mere twenty feet away and people were chasing after me. In ten seconds the doors would be locked and my mistake would seal my fate. Things started to go in slow-motion. I heard yells behind me of “Stop Him!” and “He’s got the chip.”
5 feet. I braced myself for impact and then I slammed into the door. Sparks flew in all directions which meant the electric seal had started. The light from the sun and electricity gave me blindness for a second. The door closed behind me. Locked. I continued to run towards a forest that was behind the building. I had escaped.