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The procedure began, and Elliot was put under the influence of the anesthesia. Lights began to dim… his mind went blank. All thoughts racing through his head came to a close….
All that was accompanying him now was just his thoughts…
Elliot closed his eyes.
Then he opened them.
He was no longer in the hospital.
A cosmos like sky lit above him, black with only a few white dots illuminating it. In the center of this strange sky was a giant old fashioned pocket watch, illuminating the strange world around him. Both hands sat on 12.
On the ground touching his feet Elliot was surrounded by a vague grey rock like surface, cold to the touch. Faint winds echoed throughout the space… mystifying the atmosphere around him. There were no major landmarks around, just black space. A seemingly endless abyss of nothingness.
Slowly, Elliot eased himself forward. “H…. Hello?” he called out… hoping to hear some sort of response. This must be a dream. It had to be.
As he eased forward something in the distance began to become apparent… a faint set of lights. Like candles in the darkness they were there, but faint, easy to miss if one were not looking close enough. It was a good walk away, but it was all Elliot really had to go on.
So he walked. He walked with a spring to his step, trying to get there as fast as he could. Every now and then he would gaze his head back to check if there was anything behind him, yet he only saw an eternity of darkness behind him. All that was with him were the echoes of his footsteps.
Telling how fast he was going seemed impossible, no landmarks except for the strange set of lights to go off of.
Finally the large hand of the clock above shifted all the way around, and the small hand shifted over.
More lights lit up in the distance the closer he got to his destination. Soon a compound was revealed, surrounded by a rusted fence with barb wire above it.
Four large towers surrounded the compound, all linking the fences together. Giant fire pits were visible, all shedding light on what appeared to be about twenty wooden shacks, and a variety of concrete structures in the center.
Elliot stared blankly out at the compound… his mind felt like it had spun completely the opposite direction. Confusion took over him. He thought he had seen this sort of place before…but what was it doing here? What even is here for that matter? This was all a dream, right? Was this all brought up by the anesthesia?
Elliot blinked a few more times, half expecting to wake up eventually. He never did though, and shadows could be seen moving through the towers and behind the fence.
Suddenly from out of the black, torches lit up on the fence, revealing a giant rusted gate.
Slowly the gates began to open, creating an ear-bleeding screech, followed by the noise of bells.
RING DING RING!
Figures with torches came walking out of the gate, four of them, spreading out in a net like manner.
He took a good look at them. All of them wore the same attire: A grim black Gestapo looking uniform, with rusted metal batons wielded in their free hands not wearing the torch. One of them put their baton away, and made a halt sign with his hand.
Awkwardly Elliot began to raise his hands, glaring at the far left then far right man. Closer and closer they walked, not seeming to be in a hurry.
The two figures near the middle drew closer to one another, meanwhile the two farthest out went out more, going behind Elliot and just standing there.
Finally they were close enough to look Elliot in the eyes. Elliot searched for eyes to look into… but saw none. The men in front of him and behind him all had no faces… just a blank space with skin that looked to be made of old wood. They had faces roughly etched in, but the wood was so rotten the details had become distorted. Iron construction nails even protruded out of some parts. Upon closer examination their uniforms had also worn out, being patchy and filled with many holes, they had lost the glimmer of the Gestapo uniforms.
Elliot shivered at just the sight of them, and he completely lost all feeling in his feet. An uneasy feeling logged itself into his gut, and it didn’t move, just sitting there. His breathing intensified, wondering just what would happen next. Was this some sort of nightmare?
Both figures waved Elliot in a motion to follow, and he felt two separate wooden hands grip both sides of his shoulders from behind him and began easing him toward the gates.
Elliot’s uneasy feeling crawled its way up to his chest entering his heart, which shifted the feeling to his mind, which didn’t know of what to make anything due to the ambiguity of his surroundings. Instinctively he tightened up his muscles, locking his legs, resisting the two motioning figures behind him.
A moment or two passed as he stood there, then both figures behind him heaved back then thrust forward giving him a thorough shove, knocking him off balance but catching his shoulders with a firm grip, this time tighter. They steadily eased him toward the gate but with more force.
In the illuminated black sky above the large hand landed on the six, while the small hand slowly shifted toward the two, but halted halfway like any clock would.
The two figures escorting him in the front split away from each other, one walking left, one walking right and stood at both sides of the gate with their batons ready.
The mannequin like Gestapo behind Elliot heaved back, then gave him a firm shove once again, knocking him off balance and pushing him behind the gate, now surrounded by the rusted fences covered in a thick coat of barb wire.
He wanted to speak, but there was a tension in his throat clogging all words, only his breath could pass through. Elliot puffed out his chest, then pushed it in, forcing words out.
“Where am I?”
The bells around him stopped ringing, and all four Gestapo walked in, just glaring at him with their faded appearances. They all looked at the towers nearest to the gate and nodded. The mannequin like figures on top of the towers nodded.
The gate closed shut. All four of the strange beings walked their separate ways, paying no attention to Elliot whatsoever.
Elliot sat in thought for a few moments before pulling himself up and walking forward through the dimly lit compound. Where was he? His mind had so many things racing through it. If this was a dream he surely would have woken up by now….
This must have been what a caged animal felt like... confused, frightened, and lacking a sense of its surroundings.
His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of sobbing somewhere in the vicinity. Elliot’s eyes beamed back and forth to look for the source.
The sound grew closer from a certain direction. He followed it, leading him to a row of run-down shacks, all with the doors closed and locked. As he searched for the source of the sound he approached the nearest shack, curiously he gazed in through one of the gaps in the rotten wood… but it was too dark to see anything.
There it was again… closer this time. Elliot ventured into the center of the row of shacks and turned in every direction to find the source. Finally he narrowed down the direction and found the source.
Scrunched up near one of the shacks, curled into a ball was a woman in striped attire, black and white, with a small fleece blanket wrapped around her. There were so many holes in her clothing that she must have been freezing. After all, Elliot had on clothing with no holes in them whatsoever, much thicker than what this woman had on and he still had a slight chill to his breath.
Slowly Elliot raised his hand and opened his mouth about to speak, and the woman’s face looked up at him, revealing an aged face with faded hair, hadn’t been kept in months.
“What do you want?” she asked with a grim expression on her face, and an annoyed tone.
Elliot was taken with surprise by her seemingly hostile remark, he had to have a few seconds to recollect his thoughts. “W….”
“Where am I?”
The woman stared at him with a curious expression, as if she were dealing with a complete moron. “Come again?”
“Where am I?”
“You must be joking…”
She sighed, closing her eyes for a few brief moments. “You’re in doudecim.”
“Doude-cim? Is that like German or something?”
“Then what language is it?”
“I don’t know.”
None of this helped Elliot collect anything from his surroundings, none of the questions racing through his mind were answered.
“Well then why did they name this camp that?”
She rolled her eyes after hearing his statement. “It’s not the name of the bloody camp. It’s the name of the realm!”
Elliot didn’t know what to make of this. A realm? Like a different dimension sort of thing?
“Well why are all of us here?”
“Because, I’m Jewish, that’s why I’m stuck in this camp anyway.”
“But I’m not a Jew! I’m not one of you!”
“You don’t have to be a Jew to be here,” she replied, beginning to slowly stand up, growing more agitated as the conversation dragged on.
Elliot on the other hand grew more confused as the conversation dragged on. “Then why am I here?”
Slowly her hand crept out of her blanket. “I’ll tell you why.” She extended her finger to point at him. “Because you are exactly like the people who built this place!”
Elliot’s facial expression turned, somewhat confused yet offended. “How so?”
The bitch of a woman scoffed at the statement. “How so? I’ll tell you how: Ignorance, you are of the kind that are stupidly ignorant, unwilling to accept change! It’s people like you who throw people like me in here, the innovators, the ones who bring about change. You can’t just accept that change needs to happen for better or for worse, so you put us in these striped outfits, and throw us behind this fence, depriving us of all of our possessions and leaving us to our thoughts while torturing our souls.”
Her voice changed to a scream. “It’s people like you who have made the world the way it is today! Never taking any responsibility for their actions, always blaming, never swallowing the acceptance of reality! That is why you are in here!”
Elliot tried to ask one more question, “But that still doesn-“
“Enough of your damn questions! Leave me to my misery!” She screamed, interrupting him. All of her commotion had attracted attention, as others dressed in striped uniforms began peering out of the gaps in their shacks, as if they knew what would happen next.
In the nearest tower an iron door slammed open. Three guards came out, all wielding rusted batons.
The crazed woman shifted her attention away from Elliot and to the approaching guards. She crouched over, and grabbed a stone off of the cold ground, chucking it at their general direction. “Be gone with you! Go away, let a little girl live for once!”
The guards surrounded her, and latched on to restrain her, restraining her hands and head while one stood back, watching the woman to make sure she did nothing.
However she didn’t intend to be restrained, and somehow the feeble woman managed to slip one of her hands from out of the puppet like guard’s grasp, striking the nearest one with a fist. It had little effect though, and the observing guard lashed out at her, slapping her face with the back of his wooden hand and then firmly wrapping his fingers around her hand, gripping it so her fingers stuck out straight. The other guards viciously beat her knees in with their cold batons until the sound of them cracking could be heard and she was brought down onto them, eyes wincing in pain.
The one gripping her hand reached onto his belt, and unsheathed a knife. She struggled to try and free her hand, tugging her arm back as much as possible but the cold wooden grip of the guard wouldn’t budge.
Elliot watched in horror as the sharp edge of the knife was put against the center of her pinky.
The woman began shaking her body viciously in an effort to escape, but the other guards restrained her. She rocked her head back and forth screaming at the top of her lungs, “Please, no, I’m sorry!”
The knife wielding Gestapo gazed into her eyes with his faded etched-in face, with nails shoved into the parts of his eyes were his pupils were.
SAW SAW SAW!
Slowly the Gestapo began sawing into her pinky, going as slowly as he could to set as much pain as possible. The woman’s eyes split wide open, and frantically they searched around trying not to focus on the pain. She screamed as loud as her vocals would allow, seconds passed but they must have felt like minutes to her, but the guard was only halfway through her pinky.
Every time she screamed it slowed the speed of the cutting even more, as if it were getting a sick enjoyment out of it. Never did it slow down to the point that it lessened the pain, but rather increased it. One by one he went through each of her fingers, starting with the pinky, then to her index, moving on to her middle, and finishing with the pointer. He lowered his gripping on her hand for her thumb, and instead of sawing off the thumb he wedged the tip of his knife into its lowest joint, slowly pushing into it to force the thumb off. Not once did it shift its gaze off of her face, and after about five seconds of pushing her thumb finally split off.
Elliot watched the entire ordeal in horror, so paralyzed with fear that he couldn’t bring himself to look away. His eyes just stayed fixated on the knife, moving finger, to finger. Blood crawled down her arm and stained her black and white outfit.
When the soulless figure finished with the sawing, it thrust it into the woman’s shoulder, then substituted the knife for his baton, mercilessly beating her teeth in with its rusted edge. The other guards joined in, bashing at any joint they hadn’t broken yet, breaking every rib until they heard all of them bash, and pulverizing every inch of her until she was completely purple.
After it was done they put their batons away, the guard grabbed his knife, and they went back to business on the watchtower as usual.
Meanwhile as the guards, with their blood splattered uniforms, made their climb to the top of the tower Elliot took in what had just happened. The woman just laid there, motionless. All that moved on her was her hair being pushed by the wind.
Elliot covered his mouth in horror, and slowly backed up. The feeling in his gut had grown even worse. Just what kind of hell was this?
Suddenly the motionless coughed up blood, and started struggling to breathe. Every breath she tried to make was so painful that she couldn’t follow through with a full breath, and whatever air she got in she quickly wept out. It wasn’t long before her wounds killed her, and she suffocated to death.
“She ain’t gonna get up, boy, you can stop staring.” An older voice… with a southern tone to it said from behind Elliot. Elliot shifted himself around to see an older man standing behind him, with a very aged face filled with wrinkles and short snow-white hair.
The older man continued. “You look new here, so let me give some advice. Just stay low and don’t attract much attention to yourself and the guards will leave you alone. They only beat those that disrupt their peace.”
Elliot rubbed the back of his head slowly. If that woman wouldn’t have overreacted to his questions she wouldn’t be dead.
“Thanks…” Elliot said quietly.
“Folk’s round' here call me Forest. What do they call you?”
“That’s an interesting name…” Forest replied. He had a saddened look to his face.
Forest peered over Elliot’s shoulder slightly. “Oh Linda….”
Elliot looked back, and then to Forest, he tried his hardest to stare at him in the eye but all he wanted to do was simply look at the ground. “I…”
“I don’t know what to say.”
Forest looked at him with an odd expression, raising one eyebrow curiously. “About what? The woman laying dead their named Linda, or the car crash?”
Elliot paused. Slowly his mouth dropped open and he stared at Forest in shock.
“How… how did you know about the car accident?”
Forest’s expression grew vague. “That’s why you’re here, ain't it? Why else would the doctors have put yah’ under. A car crash will do that to yah’.”
“But how did you know about the accident? How?”
“I’m the man that yah' hit Elliot, I’m the other driver.”
The moment paused for Elliot. He searched for a way out of the conversation, glaring up at the clock above them. According to the clock, four and a half hours had passed, both hands now sat on the six. Strange… it didn’t feel to him that four and a half hours had passed.
“Time moves faster here, if yah’ get caught up in something it really just zooms by,” Forest said, almost as if he had read Elliot’s mind.
Elliot slowly backed up. He raised his hand slowly in front of him. “Why… why are you here?”
Forest sighed. “Because you can’t accept reality. The crash was your fault.”
“No. It was yours,” Elliot said in his defense.
Forest closed his eyes, and shook his head. “No, it was not. You’re the one who ran the stop sign. I was just driving home from Christmas and happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Forest’s eyes opened and stared straight into Elliot. “Do I need to go into detail? Fine, I will. It was right at midnight, Christmas night. I wanted to sit with my thoughts for a bit to look back at my younger days, seeing how I was getting to that age that I could die in my sleep, so I pulled out my old Cadillac and started driving down a street that never was really busy.”
Forest let out a sigh and continued. “Then there was you. After a long day of partying you needed to get back home so you could sleep, since you had work the next day. Yah' should've went home earlier, but you didn’t. Two hours passed by when you realized the situation, so you sped your car as fast as you could down a road that led to a street that never really had too much traffic, so you decided it would be fine to skip the stop sign. In your rush you didn’t notice my headlights, and our fates collided.”
“When the accident happened you were knocked unconscious. The airbag had saved you but your shoulder was broken from the force, meanwhile the force of your car hitting me had pinned me down, I couldn’t move. I had injuries, but I would have been fine if you hadn’t hit my vehicle in just the right spot. My car lit on fire, and due to my state I was unable to get out.”
A bitter expression overcame Forest. “I sat there, feeling the heat of the flames grow closer and closer, helpless. I screamed out for help but no one came out, they just called 911 and waited. Eventually the flames got to my fuel tank and to me and I went up in flames like the rest of the car.”
Forest then started walking toward Elliot, putting his finger on his chest. “Then you woke up in the hospital. Policemen were all around you asking questions about the accident since no one had witnessed it, as everyone was in their beds by the time it happened. The only person who knew what really happened was you.”
“And you…” Forest’s teeth ground together, he clenched his other fist. “You lied to them. You told them you had halted at the stop sign, and I just came out of the blue and hit you. Your story seemed to be true, as I was a recovering alcoholic for exactly 12 years. The investigators concluded I must have been drunk, and my corpse was so charred that there really was no way to test if there was alcohol in my bloodstream. You knew the truth, that it was your fault yet you convinced yourself that I did something wrong.”
Elliot looked down, then up, and began to shake his head back and forth. “No… No! You could have braked, you should have seen my god damn headlights coming through the stop sign and braked!”
“Son, in my age I ain’t as quick to the brakes as you are.”
Elliot gazed up at the clock again. Now it was seven. It seemed the clock was moving faster with every hour that passed…. just what was going to happen when the clock hit 12?”
Forest put his hand on Elliot’s shoulder. “Yah’ gotta face the facts here, son.”
With a firm swipe, Elliot took Forest’s hand off of his shoulder. “Fuck you, you’re crazy!” With that Elliot slowly turned away, and started running, eventually sprinting toward the rusted fence.
He bashed against the fence, feeling the rough metal against his hands. “Let me out of here, I don’t belong here!” he screamed. His screams were met with no answer though, nothing to soothe him. All that accompanied him were the echoes of his screams and bashing. A solemn feeling of loneliness came upon him, creeping down into his soul. He hung both hands on the fence, and rested his head against it. Every thought of loneliness brought upon a tear, and soon he wept with fear and loneliness.
He wished he could have avoided the accident. All he wanted to do was just cuddle against his mother, and know that he wasn’t alone in some sort of strange hell.
He put his head against his left arm, and gazed over. A skinny man was skidding toward him, he was bone thin to be more precise. The very sound of his breath sounded sickly, and he had his eyes locked onto Elliot, not shifting anything else. The skeleton of a man had both of his arms crossed, shivering. “Hey you… yeah, you by the fence. Come here for a sec, I wanna ask yah somethin’.”
Elliot wiped his tears, and slowly approached the starved man. He motioned him closer. “Come a little closer… the guards can’t hear here this.”
Elliot did as he asked… but he wondered what this man was up to.
“What is it?”
Slowly the man unfolded his arms, revealing a piece of wood sharpened to a knife.
“Give me your fuckin’ shirt.”
Elliot began backing up. Upon seeing the shiv he realized the mistake he made, he tried to remain calm but the tension in him was rising. He tried not to let his fear get the best of him, and to be rational. Slowly he raised his hand in front of him. “Just… just take it easy man… put the shiv down…”
The starving mugger bit his lip for a second thinking, his eyes never blinked and he just stared at Elliot.
The maniac lunged forward, slashing a deep cut into Elliot's hand.
Elliot gasped in pain, quickly grabbing his hand which was now covered in blood. The guy actually slashed his hand with that thing!
“Give me the god damn shirt! The guards won’t fucking care if I kill you!”
Quickly Elliot gazed at the nearest watchtower. There were three guards stationed on top of it, all just watching the two of them as if it were entertainment.
The crazed man motioned his hand. “Come on, come on, come on!”
Elliot grasped the bottom of his shirt, and lifted it over him, then he tossed it to the crazed man.
Quickly he put it on, then raised the blade back at Elliot. “Good. Good, good, good… now get the fuck out of here before I take your pants too.”
With that being said Elliot took off, holding his battered hand in an effort to stop the bleeding.
He wandered for another 30 minutes according to the clock above. The pain in his hand… that damn shiv dug at least two inches… all he could focus on was just this sharp pain that wedged itself right in the middle of his hand… he had to focus on something else.
Eventually he collapsed against a cement structure… putting all of his weight against the cold rough concrete. His mouth hung open in exhaustion… he was too tired to breathe through his nose. All his eyes wanted to do right now was close. The exhaustion in his body… it was all too much. Elliot didn’t care anymore, he just wanted a way out. Maybe he should have let that crazed man kill him…
After a certain point he stopped fighting the exhaustion, and let his eyes close. He drifted off to sleep.
Elliot jolted up, quickly gazing at his surroundings. The clock… both hands were at 12! Guards were everywhere, going into every shack and forcing people out into the cold, where they were escorted toward the concrete buildings.
In front of Elliot was a guard, motioning him to get up. Elliot just stared at him with a grim expression, then closed his eyes. He felt a cold wooden hand grab onto his arm and pull him up.
Elliot opened his eyes and let out a scream, shoving the guard back. “Fuck you!”
Two guards in the distance became alerted by the shouting and rushed to the scene, all surrounding Elliot. He just stood there, holding his wounded hand and waiting for them to act.
They all pulled out their batons. The Gestapo motioned him to follow, but Elliot just stood there.
Elliot was on his back, all three wooden figures started viciously swinging their clubs against his arms, bashing them with all of their might, hitting his elbows, his hands, his shoulders, anything that their Batons prey upon they slammed their rusted weapons against. Blunt pain flared out in his arms, he tried curing them up from the pain but every time he did they were forced open and then beaten more. Each hit sent more pain in, like an explosion it would hit, flare up in pain and fade only to be replaced by another blow.
In panic he rolled over, but the guards just substituted with his back, thrusting the ends of their batons like hammers into his back. The bashing pain flared and went away when hitting the meaty parts, but when it hit his spine the pain would pool, the deeper it pooled, the more pain.
One of the guards put his firm boot against his back pinning him down and leaned over to his wounded hand. Curiously it examined it for a second, then it shoved its thumb straight into the wound, jutting down deeper and deeper. Elliot squirmed from the pain, shooting up through his arms and into his back. He screamed like any man would but he knew no one would hear. Just like the screams Forest had when he went up in flames. Now pain flared like fire through his hand, he could barely move his fingers from the pain.
In total there were four of these strange structures, all shaped like bunkers with strange chimneys going off of them and varying in size. All of them had two Gestapo on top of them watching over the rest. Elliot along with the rest were all divided up evenly, and distributed to their lines. Slowly they all marched in. The sound of shrieks from people being beaten for resisting could be heard all around, merciless, senseless beatings. He even thought that he heard the sound of the man who mugged him being beaten half to death.
Inside they were all put in a small room with a large metal door in the back of it, leading to what Elliot had feared. He knew what was going to happen next. He had read enough history books to have an understanding of that.
Maybe there was still a chance to get out though. Where was Forest? If he could find Forest maybe he could get out of here.
“Forest!” he screamed over the sobs and chatter of the people. “Forest!”
He heard nothing though. Was Forest in another chamber?
Elliot stripped off his pants, and looked around more. “Forest!”
Just then one of the guards in the doorways pointed at him, and motioned with his finger for Elliot to approach. Not wanting to risk another brutal beating Elliot, hunched over, arms flopped down, did as instructed. He was broken from the inside and out, all he could do now was hope… he was so afraid of what would happen next. He had seen it in movies… but the question was which method would they use? His eyes closed from imagining how much more pain he would go through, and his imagination made him even more frightened.
The guards escorted him down a hallway, and into a room full of what looked like ovens, only they weren’t, these were something of a much more sinister sort. Elliot gazed through each oven and glanced at the people inside… he knew none of them.
He was led farther down until he came to the last two. Curiously his eyes glanced through the last one. Forest! Forest was inside of this one.
“Forest!” he shouted eagerly. Forest glanced up, surprised to see him.
“I’m sorry! I’m sorry, it was all my fault and I see that now!”
It was silent though, Forest just shook his head and mouthed the words, "It’s too late now."
The guards opened the hatch into the crematory, and slid out the long metal tray. They motioned him onto it. Elliot stood there, shaking his head. “I’m not willingly going there,” he said, gaining a last minute spark of will.
This did not move the guards though, and all of them grabbed him, and slammed him face down onto the tray, then slid him in, closing the hatch behind him. The tray was cold against his naked skin, and Elliot rolled over onto his back. He gave the hatch a few good kicks but with its sturdy metal and glass it was no use. He simply stared up at the ceiling. He began to get an understanding of why this had all happened…
All of it was his fault. The car accident, he ruined Forest’s honor by lying and not accepting reality like the woman ranted to him. It really was people like him not taking responsibility for their actions that made the world… well the world outside of this the way it was.
He stared up at the concrete ceiling of the device he was trapped in. From under him light began to glow… and the tray began to feel not so cold anymore…
Oh how he wished this were all just a dream...
Written by Typingpenguin
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