The End: Story Three
The Sickness
By: David K. Montoya

The days that followed were a complete and utter blur. I continued to slip in and out of consciousness for what seemed to be weeks. Everything was like a soft peaceful dream. It became impossible to decipher what was real and what was a hallucination. Everything melted together perfectly, and I was content which, at the time, was all that mattered to me.

Some days were clearer than others. I recall at one point questioning myself whether or not I was still alive and if I was, then, where was I? A gruesome thought came to me. Perhaps I had completely transformed into an Unlucky. This cloudy blur I was living… was that what it would be like to be trapped in one of those demon heads? Eventually, I ruled that out with reasons that made no rational sense whatsoever, but everything became a complete mystery.

For days I had remained trapped and unaware of my surroundings. Although I could visibly see that I was not restrained, I was unable to move. Even the most simplest of tasks like turning my head seemed impossible. The only thing I could do was just lie there, where ever there was, confined to my mind to think and wonder, to question about the others. Did my actions get them into Haven, or did it cost them their lives? That question alone sent me to the edge of insanity. But then a warm feeling would cascade over me, and before I knew it, I would slip away back into the darkness.

The next time I awoke, everything was pitch black. This time I found myself more coherent but still unable to move. Again, all I could do was to lie there on what felt like a giant spider web with the soft strands that crisscrossed beneath me. I swayed back and forth as the web cradled my body.

I tried to talk but found that some sort of tube which I felt run down my throat made that impossible to do as well. So, finally, I tried to move a bit; when I felt like I might actually do something, I was met with that warm cozy feeling that made me forget everything around me.

In time I found a comforting acceptance as days passed. It felt as though I was waking up from a wonderful dream and hungered deeply to go back into my peaceful dreamscape. Eventually, I did not want to be anywhere else other than where I currently was, and although I had no idea where in fact, I actually was, I knew for whatever reasons it was a safe place.

Sometime later, I began to come around, I felt more alert but was still unable to move, and for some reason, my vision was fuzzy. To me, it looked to be a thick fog that covered everything, which made it quite impossible to make anything out. The harder I tried to focus, the more exhausted I became. Although my mind was clearer, I was, unfortunately, too weak to do anything about it.

The last time I came to, right away, I noticed an eerie blue tint to everything that, from then on, never went away. Another thing that caught my attention was how I realized that a wall of thin white linen surrounded me. It completely engulfed me. Not even realizing what I had done, I grabbed the curtain closest to me and pulled it back. I saw women dressed in white who were going back and forth from other cubes created by the white cloth.

I sat up and realized that the spider web I had dreamt of being in was some sort of hammock. The next thing I noticed was the tube that ran from a small metal box with lots of knobs and buttons straight down my throat. Without a second thought, I grabbed the transparent hose and ripped it from my airway. Then, the tiny device it was connected to began to alarm.

Again, I tried to get up and stand without a second thought, but I was still too weak. Finally, I crumbled to the ground. Before I could again attempt to stand, there were four women dressed in white standing around me. One of the ladies explained that they were nurses, and they had cared for me for almost two months, ever since I came in.

I was still somewhat confused about everything that had happened, so another nurse came and explained in detail. After being shot by Haven's border security, I was rushed to a nearby hospital. I was in a critical state, and everyone did not believe I would make it through the first hour, let alone the night.

Eventually, they stabilized me, and four days later, I went into surgery. They removed the bullets from my body and then put me in what they called the recovery cube to heal. I had remained there for almost two months.

They helped me back into the hammock; I asked one of them why my vision was so fuzzy. The woman closest to me explained that it was because I was sedated for so long that it would eventually clear up with time. Next, there was a long pause of silence. Then, finally, the nurse looked up at me and asked what my second question was.

I told her that I was not sure whether or not I even wanted to ask the next question due to the fact that I may not like the answer. She gave me a warm smile and said it was on my time, and I would ask when I was ready. The nurse let me know that I would drift off one more time, not into as deep of sleep as before, but something that would tide me over until it came time for discharge.

Four armed soldiers abruptly awakened me; two of them grabbed me under my arms and pulled me to my feet. The third one (who I guessed was in charge) told me that the Administrator wanted to see me as soon as I could talk. They gave me a gray jumpsuit to put on then shackled my hands and feet. As they began to lead me out of the white-walled complex, I stopped against the men's orders. I turned to the nurse with a warm smile and asked her what happened to my family. Did they survive? What she said next couldn't be made out as the four soldiers began to yell orders. I tried to hear, but those four were too loud. I cried out to the woman, but I did not hear her. Around that time, they began to force me out the door physically. All the while, my fuzzy sight was fixed on the nurse.

Finally, I saw her nod her head and was able to read the woman's lips as she said, "yes, they are all right." Once I made what she said out, instantly, I gave up so the men could rush me out the door. Unfortunately, I was blinded momentarily when the sunlight hit me in the face. I stood there while I waited for one of the men to unlock the back of a black van. The warmth of the sun wrapped around my body, and I took a deep breath of fresh air. Although I had no clue what the future held, I felt utterly alive for the first time in a very long time. I was led inside the van and connected to a chain that ran from a large metal ring welded to the floor. Two of the three men accompanied me in the back. Neither of them spoke during the ride, though I could tell that the younger one was itching to put a round in me, it was in his eyes. Ah, youth, what a waste.

A short time later, we came to a stop. The three of us remained seated until the driver came around and opened the door. As I came out back into the open, I was surprised to find that I was not at some high-security prison, but instead, it was a back entrance to one of the skyscrapers that were in the center of Haven. Once we reached the door to the inside, there was a young Asian woman to meet us. The woman said that she worked as someone's executive assistant, but I was unable to make out as to who exactly that person was.

We went down along a brightly lit hallway with several desks on each side of the walkways. The woman who introduced herself as Joy explained that this was the business section of the tower. I asked about the tower; after all, it was their first time being inside. Joy explained that the two skyscrapers in the center of the city were created with different purposes in mind. The first building (the one that we were currently in) called the tower of Babel was constructed as a place of progress, which meant business, labs, schools. They all could be found here.

The other was named the tower of Babylon because the remaining governing body resides along with the ultra-rich. These people never leave the tower; everything they could ever need or want was inside the building. It reminded me of Palace City, but it was a skyscraper instead of an enormous casino. My stomach twisted at the thought of another Emperor like the one in Vegas.

We reached the end of the hall arriving at an elevator. The five of us crammed inside, and Joy hit the button marked one hundred-ninety-four, and with a jerk, we were off headed for the very top. By this time, I was completely confused about what was happening, and I sincerely wished that they would have taken the shackles off.

Within mere moments we were at the top. The doors slid open, and we walked out into the governing suite. There were American flags posted on each wall, and under them was the country's great seal. I wondered if this was the equivalent to the White House, and if so, why was I there.

They led me to the center of the room. The younger soldier stood in front of me with his weapon aimed at my head. It was so close to my face I could smell the fresh gun oil. The older man was behind me, and he had the barrel of his rifle pushed right up against my head. What the third did surprised me the most; he started to undo my shackles.

I asked him what was going on, and he explained that I could not meet with the Administrator while I was still in restraints. He also explained that they would have their weapons readied on me until I was back in my shackles. Then, the older soldier elaborated that it was the rules. If a person came in cuffed, that would mean the said person was or would be a threat, and the law states that the Administrator shall not be subjected to any sort of dangerous threat.

I let out a laugh within all my confusion and immediately felt the barrel to the back of my head start to dig into my scalp. One of the men asked me what was so damned funny and something about blowing my head off, but I didn't hear all of it because, by that time, I was laughing hysterically.

Why? I'm not entirely sure; all I knew was that I was unable to stop. Each time one of them said something, my laughter intensified. Eventually, one of the men ended my crazed titter with the butt of his rifle to the back of the head. I looked up and saw it was the older soldier. He told me to get a hold of myself, if I was going to have a nervous breakdown, then to wait until we were finished with Haven's Administrator.

As I slowly got back to my feet, I turned to the older man and told him that if he ever touched me again, he'd be dead before his body could hit the ground. The soldier raised his weapon to strike at me once more, but he was stopped by a gentle voice that told the men that that was no way to treat a guest of Haven. They all stepped away from me at the order of the woman who they called Ms. Administrator. When I turned to greet the gentle voice, I almost fell to my knees with shock.

I knew the Administrator.

It was…

MY WIFE!

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