A swift gale passes and the pages of my writing flutter. I look to the sky and see the clouds receding. The sun will be here soon, finding its way back. I wish I could find my way back too, to where I belong. It’s cold here in the Colony. The sun has hidden its face for the longest time now. The clouds gather low; casting gloom across the sky, then recede. Hazy memories swirl in my mind and I think of home. It’s has been twilight for a fortnight and everything has stalled.
On regular days, when the sun is up and the solar panels are lighting up the Colony we have a wakeup call at five in the morning. We always go to bed at midnight. Everything follows a pattern, a repetition of similar tasks every other day. We line up at the assemblies for a roll call, after which we take our specimen with us to the workstations. We have a stimulating session where electrodes are connected to the victim’s heads. A series of inducing procedures are then carried out that leaves them in a hallucinatory state. It’s hard to think of all the data being programmed, which as far as I can gather gets activated as soon as the victim is ready.
We teach here in the colony, erasing everything the victims once knew. We feed and program them such that they inevitably acquire our will. We can and routinely take away what we want from them, their emotions and feelings are substituted for signals and reception. The only thing we can’t take away from them is what they hold in their hearts, but their free will is in our hands.
I wonder how I had let myself into this. It’s now almost a year since I left home. The black suited agents had accosted me several times hinting on an opportunity that was soon to open up. When they gave their suggestion, I couldn’t refuse. It was too tempting, too convenient. A year had passed since I had made it out of engineering school and I was eager for new things.
“Here is a shuttle ready for its maiden voyage to Space.” They said. “Your expertise will be greatly appreciated.”
“And when is this voyage?” I asked.
“We should be ready for set off in November, we are recruiting in the meantime.”
“I will think about it.” I said.
It was July, and with the instant smile in the lead agent’s face, I knew at once that my voice betrayed my anticipation.
“The earlier you join us the better.” He said.
They were no letting go that easy. “Have time to get familiar.”
Back in the countryside, I would just lazy around, but with these agents, I had the chance to see the wide world. I had nothing to lose.
The lead agent motioned me and whispered, “You will be absorbed back into the firm at the end of it all. And don’t forget about experience, nothing equals that. Consider this your offer of internship.”
For many days I had desired to go away somewhere. When he went away from me the very life in me ended. And letting go without a fight tore me in halves. I craved for anything that would erase him from my mind. With these agents, I had found my destination.
In the beginning of September I picked up the phone and called the agency. The very next morning a sleek black limo packed outside my house. The rule, as they said, was that no one brought any personal items.
“Not even a photo?” I asked.
The lead agent smiled, shook his head very briefly.
We made the journey across the border into a vast wilderness, and I was completely unaware of what lay ahead of us. I waited for a shuttle, and a voyage and a reward but nothing was offered. We took to training on thought control and coercive persuasion. We could have been a military base for all I cared. There were drills each day and trainers emphasized on endurance and mind control. The task before us, as explained by the black suited gents, was to prepare and carry out advanced research. Our subject was humanity, the extents to which it could be stretched.
My past memories fade as the days go by. And with my mind now programmed to entice, suffers, resulting to a broken will and psyche. Rain triggers fond memories here. The smell of it on dry thirsty earth reminds me of the aroma of sweet smelling cocoa, just like Mama used to make it. At times like these I walk in the rain and get myself soaking wet. I like my hair loose and wild, my blouse with the buttons undone and I relive my days with him. He loved the rain too and it was in it that he took my virginity against illumination of thunder. I had had my legs parted wide, his hot breath on my face and his voice whispering my name Isadora, Isadora…
Sedation, seduction and seclusion are the order here for each of the two hundred and thirty seven men and women who arrived later. The more they are here, the more we make them all look the same, same bald heads, same manner and pattern of speech. I have a man I handle here; I rarely get to speak to him. My commands and instructions to him are relied telepathically. There is a chip at the back of our heads that enable us connect via infrared waves, a request from my head gets accepted as a command from his end. I can also control what I want him to do from a computer anywhere. I always want him to do this or that. Sometimes I want him to dance. Other times I want him sad or destructive, breaking everything before him. On occasion I want him to do himself harm, banging his head on the wall. Sometimes I want him for myself; other times I bring him visitors whose cunts I want licked. And when I want to watch pain, I have him on the electric chair, prodding and shocking till he passes out. He can barely grasp anything other than know that whatever is being done to him is not right at these times.
We restrict conversation among the specimen to the minimum. We prefer to have them isolated, locked up in cells. In their isolation, we coerce them to tell us all they recall. Should they remember much of their past life, we threaten to hurt the ones they loved. Fear is instilled till they blank out and no recollection can be achieved.
Of the two hundred and thirty seven hostages brought to us only a hundred remain. The rest, having been turned into non-thinking automatons, have successively progressed through the programme. They go back to the society totally unaware that they were once a part of it.
The people held captive here have no idea where in the world they are in. The captives here include the hostages and us, their handlers, for we are no better or safer than them. Virtual walls seem to keep everyone in. No one guards us, but everything blackens at the edge of a signal’s range. A buzzer goes off in our heads. It suddenly turns dark before our eyes and a continuous pounding starts in our heads. I have checked this with several of my colleagues and they too have experienced similar things. We barely speak enough with each other to relate in more familiar ways. We are under the surveillance of the invincible who have all the controls on us within their reach.
Maybe we will have all we gather here erased from our memory then be let back into the society. Maybe I should be afraid of what becomes of us. I think of how much damage I can do to those I’m directed to. What would matter if the past keeps on fading away and the future holds illusions and a mirage?
At times like these, I have lapses of memories that terrify me. What if what I do is being done to the ones I care about, what if the people we work on are sent to terrorize our neighborhoods?
I look back and I realize that I was not eager for anything. I couldn’t tell it then. At that moment when I made up my mind to leave, I was running away for I was heartbroken. He was leaving me for no one, he had told me, just that things were not working between us. I had begged him to stay; but he didn’t want to share his life with me anymore. I couldn’t stand to see him go and the thought of him in another’s arm weakened me.
I love and hate him in equal measure. I want him back and I don’t want him anymore. He had loved and seduced me then hurt and bruised me. He was my first love. Then he left, making me cry for the second time. It hadn’t been bad the first time, when I had let him inside of me. They were tears of passion. The second time he had broken my heart and no amount of tears would wash down the pain. When I contacted him before I left, he told me that that is what life was about, tears of joy and happiness and tears of bitterness and pain. I wish for rain now for it’s the only thing that lifts my heart. No tears would do on life’s sickening scene where am strung like a marionette.
Zak Waweru is a student of life from Nairobi. He learns from observation and prefers to write his thoughts and mould together sense and story.