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Its Routine

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I would wake up in the morning, take a shower, have my breakfast, get dressed, and get ready for work. I would then drive to work, do whatever I needed to do, come back, watch some TV, do things around the house, get ready for bed, and go to sleep.

This was how my day was like. This was how every day was like. I thought this was how everybody lived. But apparently this was not the case. My name was Man and we were told not to change our routine for any reason. If we did, they told us that something quite unpleasant would happen.

The sun rarely came out, but this was one of those times where there were neither clouds nor smog and it was visible over the wall. It made me slightly happier and I smiled as I drove to work. I drove the same route everyday passing buildings that looked oh so similar to each other. It put me into a trance and I'd arrive feeling rather refreshed.

I didn't even know what a day was until someone told me that it was the same thing as what we'd call a revolution, a cycle of day and night. We would also use fractions in place of time. It took me a while to get used to the concept of it all. I want to know more; so much more. But they hid much from us and it may not be possible to learn all that I want to know.

I had a job at the office at one time, it was very tedious work. I think it had to do with statistics of some kind, something about dying. Anyways, it was about 8 hours of work and I'd be 45 minutes through when Friend asks how I'm doing and I would answer back that I'm doing fine.

He then proceeds to talk about his family, how they are doing, what they're doing and so on. He would end the discussion and we would then get back to work. Now that I think about it, it's almost like we were doing rehearsal over and over. I don't know how I lived through it all.

He had to do this everyday since it was part of the routine. On my 2649th day at work (yes I count them), he informs me that Coworker hasn't been in for the last couple of days. It was considered quite worrisome. Friend told me that they might have discovered Coworker stumbling on a forbidden word or at least that's what he thought. He thinks that they might be "disciplining" him.

Friend whispers that he knows that Coworker found a forbidden word since Friend walked by Coworker's cubicle and heard him mumbling what sounded like to Friend was the word "vacation". Nobody knew what it meant and nobody really cared 'cept for me.

I was intrigued by the word and it soon sparked an intense feeling of curiosity within me. It was like an empty bag in the water. You could push it down all you want but it would keep coming back up. It would continually surface; you just couldn't get rid of it. It dominated my mind for the rest of the day and eventually, I gave in.

I looked everywhere I could, but I didn't come up with anything. So the next day I asked Friend what site Coworker was on when he discovered this word. He replied that he didn't know and that really, he didn't want to know as it only lead to trouble. Why? I had asked. He put his mouth to my ear and whispered that they track our movements and that revealing what they do could lead to extreme punishments. "They could be watching us right now," he said, sounding quite worried. I was puzzled as to how he knew this so I simply whispered, "How?"But he ignored the question and went on in normal conversation and I just went along with it.

When I had gotten home it felt... different. I didn't know how to describe it then. It just felt darker, if I could even say that, but I wanted to continue my search for the meaning of "vacation", so I did. A while later, I thought I heard something but had thought nothing of it. A short time after that I heard something else so I went to check it out, but I couldn't find anything unusual. Before I got back to my search though, I heard what I thought was a whisper. I really didn't know what to think at the time. I looked around to try and find out where it was coming from, but still nothing.

I felt uncomfortable at this point then I suddenly heard another whisper but this time it didn't stop. Others seemed to join it. At first I couldn't hear what they were saying. They were indiscernible. They were a medley of voices. As they got louder however, the words they said became clearer an they transformed into voices. I heard a "how" and a "they" every once in a while. I was just in complete wonderment and shock at this. I suddenly realized that there was no outside causes for this but instead came from the inside of my head! I was still in total awe as the words became clear enough to form questions.

I finally managed to focus on what they were saying. Most of them just asked, "What are you doing?" and "What are you searching for?" But one question stuck out: "What is the purpose of doing what your doing?"

" Can you hear me?" I asked back, and they responded with an appropriate answer.

Again, what is the purpose of doing what your doing was asked. I replied that I was looking at different locations so I could learn more about the outside world. They asked, "Isn't TV enough? I simply said,"No." They told me that what I was doing was wrong for two reasons: first it was outside of my routine, and second out-of-bounds research was prohibited. I agreed and with that, the voices gradually disappeared until there was only silence.

Despite the warning I continued on and with feverish delight, I finally found that vacation means to take a day off work and relax. I was quite surprised from it and it got me thinking about it. I was still thinking about it as I dozed off in bed.

I awoke with a start and managed to get to work on time despite oversleeping. After awhile, I found that I was getting bored and it left me time for thought. It suddenly occurred to me that a vacation meant I didn't have to do what they told me, that I didn't have to be bored, that I could do what I wanted to. But I was still put in my place when Boss came out to shake me awake and give me a stern talking to and said that I cannot fall asleep nor should I stop working at any time.

My burning curiosity was still going strong as I came home and I started to wonder what I should do; it didn't feel right just alienating everyone I knew. Besides, if I was to be caught, who knows what they would have done to me.

The indecisiveness really affected me for the next week. I ended up getting dehydrated at work because I would sweat so much, I couldn't sit still, got headaches, nausea, stomach pains, the works. I finally couldn't take living like this anymore, I decided to leave and through my eyes, the advantages far outweighed the disadvantages.

That night I packed my bags and left the house. I felt incredibly relieved at the thought of leaving this place. I stuffed the vehicle and drove off the parking space and immediately made a wrong turn. This alerted them and they soon took action.

While I drove an image abruptly went through my mind, that of a man holding his leg in pain, then before I could contemplate what I was seeing it disappeared and it was replaced by another image of that of someone vomiting and I felt myself gagging. It goes on like this for a while. Eventually, I have to stop driving and pull over. The images eventually disappeared. I felt dizzy, and soon I was back on the road.

I thought that was it, but suddenly, I got hit with a second wave of images but more intense than before. I saw images of falling, death, and blood this time accompanied by their sounds and for the first time I truly felt my emotions were coming out. I wasn't feeling cautious or anxious or any of those things. I felt the first strong emotion: I felt frightened. Sweating and breathing really heavily, teeth clenching, even wanting to cry and yet I continued to drive because I had to.

Finally the second wave was gone. I started to relax after a short while but I saw a police vehicle coming up behind me and I had to pull over. He pulled up behind me and got out of his vehicle. He walked up to my window and asked "what are you doing after curfew? and why are you in unfamiliar territory?". I didn't have an answer for him. Suddenly he started laughing and for a split second, he changed.

The eyes were incredibly small and beady, almost impossible to see out of them. They also became farther apart, almost like a chameleon's and his mouth, it almost spread from ear to ear stuck in a ghastly smile. Everything else on his head seemed to melt off; ears, nose, hair and before I realized what I was looking at, he was back to normal. He tried to arrest me, but in my state I must've hit harder than I thought because he was laying on the ground unconscious before me. I raced back to my car and sped off knowing full well now that I had to escape.

I remember Friend telling me how Coworker was caught and was sent to a facility to be disciplined. I realized I didn't want to be under full control like the others, I no longer wished to live the life I lived, I wanted something... different.

I was getting away with escape and I smiled at the thought of it. I was getting excited about it, then the third wave came. This time it was much worse and accompanying the visuals and sounds was a warning. The voice said in a monotone that these are the things I will encounter in the outside world if I go through with what I'm doing. Viscera, limbs, insects crawling out of wounds, absorption, rolling heads, screaming, the spurting of blood. These are the things I saw and I broke down crying.

I heard sirens and I saw that they had sent policemen after me. I wiped the tears away so I could concentrate on the road, but they still kept coming. Then without warning, I vomited and I nearly lost control and yet the images still kept coming, trying to get me to come to my senses. The police were gaining ground on me and I sped up even faster with either side of the street just becoming a blur.

The wall was coming up; it's much weaker than the door. I put the pedal to the floor and ducked my head and I heard a thunderous crash as the vehicle forced its way through to the other side. The wall was now behind me. One of the police vehicles tried to force its way through but it only got shot back towards the others who decided to stop. They get out and start firing in my direction. The bullets pass through easily and trying not to be hit, I rocket away.

With the cityline disappearing over the horizon a revelation came over me; I was free from my old life. For the first time I felt excited about something. I was looking forward to my new life and I could control it myself. This I could say in my new life, that this was the best day one could ever hope to have.

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