Wilfred Kafka sat at the table in his kitchen. It was eight in the morning. In front of him sat a plate with one bagel, one egg, and three orange slices. To the right of his plate was a half empty cup of coffee. Wilfred stared at his food, which was going cold, and he did not feel like eating breakfast. He had woken up with the intention of starting his day with a healthy meal. Yet, there was a sudden sensation that overcame his hunger. He stood up and took the plate and coffee to the kitchen sink. Wilfred bent over and opened the cupboard door below the sink to reveal a trashcan. He dumped all of his hard work into the trash. He straightened up and poured the coffee down the drain. Today was going to be just like any other day.
Wilfred had a job at the Gnama Towers. He was a mere accountant, nothing more, nothing less. He did not live any form of exciting life, nor did he necessarily desire one. He preferred to keep to himself and read in his spare time.
It was time for work. Wilfred walked down the hall and into his bedroom. He turned to his right from the door and walked over to his dresser. He thought that wearing an orange tie with his light blue shirt would do for work today. Wilfred reached for the dresser, then stopped. Something felt off for him. The air behind him grew cold and he could feel a faint breeze across the back of his head near his ears. It was almost a whisper. That is when the door exploded.
It was not as if the door had combusted and turned to ash. Wilfred's front door burst inward. The frame flung shards of wood into his foyer and the door split in two. Following the door, was a man.
Wilfred, being the simple man he was, sought to investigate the noise and find the source of what sounded like a serious accident. He walked out of his room and down the hall into the foyer. Lying on the floor next to the remaining pieces of the door was a man struggling to get up, despite his possibly broken arm.
Are you all right?
"Please, help me get up." The man responded.
Wilfred bent over and grabbed the man by his shoulder. He carried him into the kitchen and sat him down at the table. Wilfred stepped back and got a look at the man. He had a shaggy beard, which was caked with dry mud. The man's face was thin from starvation. Blood ran down the man's face from an open wound on his forehead, right above his right brow.
Can I get you anything?
"No. There's no time."
Wilfred did not understand. Of course there was time, there always was time. He was going to have to call in to work about this. He was not quite sure how to describe the situation to his employer, Mr. Harris. He would have to say an emergency of sorts had happened in his home, which was very unusual. It was unusual for anyone to have an emergency in his or her home.
"Are you hearing me?" The man asked. "There is no time at all. You have to listen."
All right, sir, tell me what could be so important.
The man took out a gun. He set it on the table. It appeared just as rough as its owner. It was caked with mud and scratched. Wilfred took a step back. While the gun seemed too damaged to actually be able to fire a bullet and successfully cause harm, he wanted to take precaution.
Can you please put that away?
"I need this, and you're going to need it too."
Why would that be?
"They are coming. They know that I know."
What on Kornak are you possibly talking about?
The man shuffled in his seat. The pain caused by his broken arm was apparent. He winced and twitched with every breath. He stared straight at Wilfred. He did not blink.
"We are not from Kornak. We are not Kornakians. Everything you have ever learned in primary school is wrong. Everything you learned in junior high school is wrong. Everything you ever learned in conditionary school is wrong."
Sir, you are beginning to sound as if you've lost your mind.
"I haven't. You have to think."
I think all the time. The idea was preposterous. Wilfred always thought. It is impossible to be a sentient human being and not have thought. I think just the way you do.
"No. You don't. Have you ever thought why things just tend to happen? They're controlling it!"
Who do you mean by "they"?
"The Controllers! They don't allow us to think! We do things and sometimes they don't make sense but that's okay in our minds because that's just the way things are! They really aren't! We aren't meant to have these lives! We are not even meant to live on Kornak! We are meant to live on Earth!"
The man was having trouble getting through to Wilfred and the frustration was apparent in his face. It wouldn't be much longer and he only had a brief moment to try and jumpstart the revolution.
Wilfred laughed. What on Kornak is Earth?
The man heavily sighed and winced from his broken arm. Wilfred took a step towards him to help his pain, but stopped. He stepped back. He then stared blankly at the man.
"Earth is our home planet. Not Kornak. We're not from here."
But Kornak is the only planet in the entirety of existence. How else can you explain stars?
"Stars are other galaxies and planets! There are hundreds of thousands of planets out there!"
They told us in primary school that stars are the remnants of destroyed planets and if we are not from Kornak, then how did we get here?
"They took us from Earth! They took us and gave us lives! They gave us thought and a way to live. They gave us the idea that we had free will. We never had any to begin with!"
If there is no free will, how am I willingly talking to you?
"I can't explain that. I don't know. Maybe you're starting to think on your own. It begins to override the thought process implanted in our heads. Come on! You've got to think!" The man started shouting. Time was running out.
I do not know what to do other than think the way I always have. The man tensed up and then relaxed.
He stomped his foot on the ground. "But how have you always thought? How has your brain always worked? What is your first memory? Do you remember primary school? How about conditionary school?"
Well, now that you mention it, I can't say I do.
"You see! Think!"
"I don't remember anything other than now…and everything that I'm supposed to do."
At that moment, things became a blank. The man sitting at Wilfred's table let out a single tear. Somewhere, Wilfred heard a faint whispering. Wilfred heard this sharp whispering, with its malicious commands and spiteful words, and heard it tell the man to grab his gun. Wilfred heard the whisper grow into a scream. Wilfred heard the scream grow so loud. The room was pulsating. Spots were blinding Wilfred's vision. The man put the barrel up against his temple, and pulled the trigger.
Somewhere, a voice told Wilfred to forget.
Wilfred stared at the corpse of the man sitting before him at the table. It was a peculiar sight.
Now why on Kornak would he do that?
Wilfred walked back to his room and put on his blue shirt and orange tie. He left his room and left the house through the hole where the front door used to be. It was time to go to work and to be a productive member of society.
The meaning behind "Think" is the illusion of freewill. Some of you may be wondering why there are no quotes around Wilfred's lines except for the one part. This is because Wilfred has no control over his life nor what he says. His words are in fact the narrator's (mine) or the Controllers'. The only reason it breaks this pattern is because this strange, battered man who intrudes on Wilfred's daily routine. It eventually breaks (for only a moment) because the man has convinced Wilfred that his "freewill" is just enslavement.
Written by Zach Zeman
Written by The Hooded Werewolf