Region 29

Jack Taylor is a 19 year old boy, but to Region 29 and the S.R.U. Corporation, he's Employee #7905. Because of a crime his family committed against the S.R.U, he's reassigned to the Department of Correctional Behavior.
As soon as he's reassigned, Jack knows his life will never be the same. He will be a prisoner of the Region. When he learns that there's a worser fate in store for him and all of those condemned to the DCB, how will Jack escape this sentence?
With the help of all those that have also been cast away by society, Jack slowly uncovers the dirty secrets of Region 29 that the S.R.U. Corporation has been hiding. But will finding the truth cost him his life?

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2. Escaping the Sound

     Hesitantly, I opened the door and stepped through. My eyes blinked rapidly at the darkness that greeted me.

    Suddenly, the exit closed, sealing me inside. I couldn’t see anything in the blackness and to my surprise when I reached backwards for a doorknob, it wasn’t there. Frantically, my hands traveled over the wall searching for a way out.

     After realizing that there was absolutely no escape, I began to panic. What was hidden in this darkness?

Beep.

     I heard a faint noise coming from somewhere in front of me.

Beep.

     I took a step towards the sound.

Beep.

     It was getting louder; I kept going until I felt like I was directly underneath the noise. It beeped once more and I looked up. On the roof, there was a faint red blinking dot. I frowned. What was that?

BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. BEEP.

     Suddenly the beeping got ten times louder and faster. The shrillness started hurting my ears. I covered them with my palms and madly looked around for something, anything I could use to stop the awful sound.

BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. BEEP.

     Finding nothing, I groaned and walked backwards away from the red dot. I didn’t know what its function was, but this was the DCB: it could be for anything. My back hit a wall and I slid down onto the floor, cradling my head in my hands. The noise was earsplitting now; the lady in the lobby was surely able to hear it.

    Unconsciously, I started banging on the wall behind me, hoping someone would hear and open the door. Someone had to be able to hear that beeping, it was louder than anything I’d ever heard in my life.

BEEP. BEEP.

     My fist pounded against the concrete countless times, but it didn’t seem like anyone was coming to help me. After a minute or two of the intolerable sound, it began to feel like my brain was throbbing against my skull. I already had a massive headache and my hand hurt terribly. It felt like my mind was turning to goo and I seriously wondered if I was going to die. It was a horrible feeling I’d never experienced before.

BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. BEEP.

     Slowly, I sensed myself falling sideways onto the ground. My head hit the floor, but I refused to uncover my ears. Lying there completely helpless, I found myself on the verge of tears. My body shuddered all over, from the crying and the vibrations from the noise. I shut my eyes tightly.

BEEP.

     Then, I felt a slight breeze against the back of my neck. I flipped over, careful not to remove my hands from my ears, and looked for the source of the draft. Reaching out my elbow slightly, I felt what seemed like an air vent against the wall.

     Springing into action, I quickly removed one of my hands and pulled the hood of my jacket over my head to try and block some of the noise. Then, I grabbed hold of the vent with both hands and pulled with all the force I could muster. It didn’t move.

BEEP. BEEP. BEEP.

     Frustrated, I felt around the edges for the screws that held it in place. When I found one I tried turning it, but unfortunately my fingers were too damp and shaky to properly unscrew it. I sat there for a second thinking about what to do.

BEEP. BEEP.

     The high-pitched noise was distracting, but I was determined to get out of there alive. I wasn’t ready to die. I absent-mindedly twirled the ring around my finger using my thumb as I thought of a plan. I looked down at my hand, which was barely visible in the darkness.

     The ring, stupid!

     Silently cursing myself for not thinking about it sooner, I yanked the ring off of my finger and latched it on to one of the bolts. Using it like a screwdriver, I was able to get the bottom two rivets off fairly quickly.

BEEP. 

     Wasting no time, I opened the vent and peeked inside. It was wide enough for me to barely squeeze through, but it was dark so there was no guarantee to how far it would take me. I didn’t mind the uncertainty. As long as I was able to get away from the noise...

     I squeezed into the small opening headfirst and used my arms to pull myself forward. After going for a few feet, the sound diminished and relief spread through my body. My mind was still numb from the violent attack to my hearing, but it was fading already.

Beep...

     A few minutes passed and the vent had gotten wide enough for me to sit up comfortably. I stretched out my arms, which were sore from crawling and sat quietly.

     What was that all about? Is the S.R.U. trying to kill me? Is this what happens to people in the Department of Correctional Behavior?

     I had been sentenced to death because of mistakes that had nothing to do with me. Those three dreadful years that I’d worked in ‘Waste Management’ meant nothing. The Region had not forgiven me.

     A single tear slid down my cheek as I thought of my future. What was I supposed to do from then on? Eventually, the S.R.U. was going to realize that I’d escaped the room with the red dot. They’d figure out I had gone through the vent. After all, all they had to do was track my ring.

     Instinctively, my right thumb moved to finger the band. When I felt nothing metal, I looked down at my hand. Sure enough, the ring was gone. Panic erupted in me. I felt around on the ground beside me for the band that I’d had with me since the day I’d been born.

     That ring held all my information; everything I’d ever done. It knew who I was, what schools I attended, what activities I did or clubs I’d joined, the people I chose to hang around with, what I ate, what I read, what I watched on television after work, who my family was...

     That ring was my entire life; it was me. And it was nowhere to be found.

     I was conflicted on whether to go look for it or continue forward. If I went back, I might run into a correctional officer and surely be killed on the spot. If I continued forward, the same thing was likely to happen. Either way, I was going to end up being killed. I decided to keep going.

     My head ached almost as much as my arms did and after a while of crawling, I wasn’t sure if I could continue on. There was nothing left for me in life, was there?

     “It’s for the good of the city. I’m sure you understand. You have a lot to make up for, boy. Best of luck to you.”

     Derek’s last words to me, echoed in my head.

     Is this really for the ‘good of the city’? Is killing me going to help everyone else somehow?

     I failed to comprehend what the Region or the S.R.U. benefitted from the situation. Maybe that’s why in their eyes; I had to be disposed of. Citizens like Derek never questioned the Orders given by the S.R.U. Good citizens lived for the Region.

     “I understand. I live for Region 29.”

     My own words, thrown back at me... Every day, I mindlessly repeated that phrase when it was expected of me. Without a second thought, I gave away my freedom to the S.R.U.; I pledged my loyalty to Region 29. Region 29, who had just moments ago, tried to kill me.

     Trying to decipher all that information in my head, I failed to notice that the shaft was ending. Still lost in my own thoughts, I continued to crawl and fell forward down into the darkness.

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