The cold breeze brushed past his face, shaking him awake. His teeth clattered, as he tried to cover himself in his thin-sheeted blanket to ease the cold. His neck hurt from the rock-solid pillow. Suddenly, the door creaked and Vincent froze in his bed. Silently, he grabbed a piece of the stone wall from the floor, weakened and over time fallen off the wall due to neglection. Vincent positioned himself to strike anyone who enters his vision. A few seconds passed before he puts the stone down in relief. It has been days since he had slept soundly, in his excruciatingly miniscule apartment nine floors up, pieces of the wall break off everyday, decaying and rusting. He shook his head, dismissing the event that occured and headed for the “toilet”. A large pipe, connected to the other floors above and below him, was where he relieves himself, a small hole allowed him to excrete into the pipe. Picking up his blackened, overused toothbrush and rinsing it with murky water from the rusted tap to brush his yellow-ridden teeth.
A pop-up enters the top-right corner of his vision. “Your contribution to the nation begins at 7:30 AM.” The pop-up was then replaced by an analog clock, showing 6:30 AM. He picks up his pile of clothing next to his bed. Donning it, he stared into a shattered mirror in his bathroom, barely making out a malnourished man, donning a poorly tailored, roughly patched, hole-filled grey jumpsuit stuck onto him. He walks out the room, and was greeted by a concrete hallway, with the same decaying features as his apartment. He enters the elevator, greeted by a mob of men and women. His step made the elevator creek. A sudden fear of it collapsing entered his mind. His weight became one with the other patrons of the elevator. They all smile and laugh to themselves. Vincent ignored them until one pesky girl, no older than 15, entered his vision.
“What’s with the face? Come on, cheer up! Did you check out the new update they released? You can send little cartoon faces!” The girl made some gestures with her hands and stop, grinning vacantly at Vincent, who was staring blankly at the elevator door. He faked a smirk, laughing awkwardly. “Yeah.. pretty neat…” The elevator opened, Vincent paced quickly ahead to avoid the girl, only to be greeted by a disgusting, putrid sight.
Within the gloomy, grey city, whose name was lost to history, now simply known as Sector 12. Ruined skyscrapers scatter across the city, and aerial vehicles hovers over the crowd, containing soldiers overlooking the masses, finger on the trigger. The constant sound of laughter and talking muffles the massed machinery at work, the sound of gears turning and gas sizzling, with the prominent smell of smoke, covering the city in a thick, black mist. He saw crowds of men and women, gesturing with their arms and laughing maniacally to themselves. He turned his back away from them, and proceeded down the path.
As Vincent walked towards his work place, a giant poster was stuck to a wall next to him, showing the Immortal President, the leader of the sectors, saluting to his subjects. The words below ran “He Always Will Watch Over Us.” On the corner of Vincent’s eyes, he witnessed a soldier, escorting a man into a dark alleyway. The soldier threw the man to the ground, who cried and weeped for mercy. The soldier stood on top of the man, and started to repeatedly bash the man with the butt of his rifle. Vincent walked away without batting an eye.
A raging crowd drew Vincent’s attention once again. Witnessing a massive crowd, applauding and cheering towards a small, wooden stage. There knelt three individuals, two males and a female, with their faces masked by cloth wrapped around their mouths. Tiny insects swarmed around them, attracted to the blood pools left behind by the many previous victims that came before. The three desperately wriggled to try and untie their restraints on their legs and hands, as soldiers approached behind cocking their rifles, the three responded in terror, their actions replaced with more furious shaking and whimpering pleas, muffled by the cloth. The crowd’s cheers intensified, as a tall man, wearing a clean black suit, cleanly shaved and possessing handsome features. The crowd screamed his title, the Messenger. As he snapped his fingers, speakers arranged beforehand screeched loudly, that muted the cheers of the crowd.
“Ah, ladies and gentlemen! Welcome! I am so sorry to derail you from your workplace route, but what we have on display will NOT disappoint!” A great enthusiasm within his voice resonated with the crowd, who cheered just for the voice of the Messenger speaking.
Pointing at the prisoners, his enthusiasm now mixed with a hint of sadness and anger. “I will never understand, why any man or woman will refuse their calling to our glorious nation! It pains me to see such lost souls wandering towards the wrong path. And today, such lost souls are presented to us here!” His hand was directed towards the three prisoners kneeling on the platform.
The crowd booed and spit at the sight of them.
“As such, we will guide these lost souls to a place where they will no longer be lost! Within The Immortal President’s watchful eyes they will be guided correctly towards the right path which they couldn’t in life!” The soldiers behind the prisoners aimed their rifles towards the prisoner’s heads. Their cries grew louder and louder, the crowd watches attentively in excitement. The execution served another purpose other than a form of entertainment, it’s another form of psychological torture to the prisoners. Realising that the people they try to support which were the cause of their rebellious nature, are now laughing and harassing them. Mentally breaking them down before the final shot.
The Messenger raised his right hand towards the air. A great silence filled the area, as if the countless machineries at work stopped to witness this moment. Anticipation filled the crowd, a strong dread emitted from the prisoners, who did not moved a single inch. The hand was swiftly brought down just like the prisoners. Three loud shots rang across the stage, each going off one after the other in sync. The bodies hit the floor lifelessly, followed by streams of blood flowing down from the stage. As the sound of the blood dripped to the floor, the crowd roared in applause.
Vincent turned away and walked briskly to his workplace. These executions have gotten stale, the same speech, the same cheers and the same deaths. He snapped his finger to reveal the time. An analog clock appeared in his vision, which just struck 7:15. As he entered the building, passing through security, he was greeted by the familiar sight of workers gesturing and with plugs connected to the back of their heads, that stretched into the ground. Vincent walked to his post, picking up his plug and jammed it into the back of his head, immersing himself in a virtual chamber to fill paperworks. Shortly afterwards, Vincent’s eye grew heavy as the boredom of his work settled in. The job required the evaluation of comments regarding the regime, including compliments or sometimes bravely enough, criticisms by the citizens. Due to easy accessibility, thousands of comments would be created daily and sent here. Vincent would either approve them for further evaluation by his superiors, or sent them towards the “Guidance Sector” for further investigations. An extremely mundane job for a mundane system. Although it may be tedious, Vincent motivations come from the requirement to earn a living to survive, and a conscience to help the more “rebellious” citizens as a sort of good deed. Sometimes, the comments are forwarded from Vincent to whatever sender the client wants, which is a violation that can be trialed for death. As such this would rarely occur, letting too many through would draw suspicion on Vincent. As he swiped a uninteresting message towards the Guidance Sector, the first line of the next message made Vincent felt a feeling he hadn’t experienced in years – excitement.