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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3. The Last Stop

Beep. Beep. Beep.

     Oh no, there’s that sound again... No, it’s different... Wait, I know this sound.

     My eyes opened slowly and my blurred vision tried to focus on an object in the distance. It was a truck.

     Wait a minute.

     I knew that truck, and I recognized that beep!

     With great difficulty, I managed to move my arms and hoist myself up into a sitting position. My head was pounding and my body ached all over.

     What happened to me?

     My eyes were finally able to focus and still a bit dazed, I glanced upwards. An open vent was staring back at me. I’d fallen straight down into this room.

Beep. Beep.

     The beeping started again and I turned my head just in time to see the familiar green truck exit the room through a large metal door. I shook my head to try and clear the dizziness. It was one of the Waste Management trucks. What was it doing in the Department of Correctional Behavior?

     I took a deep breath to calm myself and quickly covered my nose. The air smelled foul. It smelled like...

     Reality sunk in as I took a look around the room. Garbage was piled high and strewn all over the space. Bits of trash clung to my clothing and I wiped them off, disgusted. The place was a dump. Literally a dump... It was a collection of all of Region 29’s trash: probably a week or two's worth.

     “Last stop!” Someone laughed from across the room. I crouched down behind a large cardboard box, hoping not to be spotted.

     Another person chuckled and I watched as together, they tossed something into the nearest heap of trash. Both Correctional Officers waited a minute then smiled and walked out the door  they'd come in from. Seconds later, I heard the unmistakable sound of a lock.

     “Damn,” I cursed under my breath. I was trapped; at least until another truck came in and then maybe I could sneak...

     A faint sound echoed from the door. I looked up, confused when I saw no one there.

     “Uh nuh...” someone moaned. I stood up slowly.

     Was there someone else here?

     “H-hello?” I called hesitantly, taking a small step forward. No one answered. I was sure I was imagining things; my hearing still wasn't fully recovered from what had happened... Then came a faint reply.

     “H-here...”

     It was weak, but it was definitely a voice. I wasn’t alone.

     “Where are you?” I said, my words bouncing off the walls.

     “O-over h-here...” replied the voice. It sounded like it was coming from the heap of trash near the door. I started walking to the pile, unsure of what I would find. Was it someone who lived in this dump?

     Impossible.

     Region 29 burned all its trash after two or three weeks. It had to be someone who’d ended up there by accident like I had. My mind replayed the scene of the two Officers. No, it couldn’t be that. It couldn’t...

     My pace quickened and soon I was sprinting towards the mound despite my aching muscles. By the time I’d crossed the room, I was out of breath, but I didn’t stop for a break. Frantically, I scanned the pile of garbage.

     “Hello? Can you hear me? Hello?” I said, stepping over boxes and plastic bags. I walked around the small hill, listening intently for an answer.

     “Yeah...”

     I followed the voice and finally I spotted the back of someone’s jacket. Carefully, I moved forward and crouched down in front of them. The person was lying facedown in the trash. The jacket he wore had the sleeves rolled up, revealing multiple cuts and bruises on his arms.

     “Okay, I’m going to turn you over slowly. Are you hurt?” I whispered. The guy laughed weakly.

     Cautiously, I slipped my hands underneath him and turned him over. Blond hair covered half of his face and I gently brushed it to the side, leaning forward to see if he was conscious. Then, he opened his eyes. Instantly, I froze and felt my face redden.

     “What’s wrong? Do I look that ugly?” the girl said, her voice hoarse. I shook my head, unable to speak. As a matter of fact, she did look pretty beat up (so beat up that I’d thought she was a guy), but ugly she was not. Her big green eyes closed slightly as she smiled. She seemed about my age or a bit younger.

     “Help me up, please,” she whispered. I nodded, still unable to find my voice, and helped her sit up. I sat down on the ground next to her as she tried to orient herself.

     “Where are we?” she asked, looking around. I shrugged.

     “A dump I think.”

     “Huh,” was her answer. Then, I saw her eyes droop and she seem to wilt, falling backwards. I reached out an arm to catch her before she hit the floor.

     “Are you okay?” I asked, looking down at the thin girl in my arms. She smirked.

     “I’m fine...” she replied groggily. I frowned and looked down at her hand. There was no ring on her finger.

     “What’s your name?"

     She sat up again on her own, but I refused to let her go. She didn’t complain.

     “Amber. Yours?”

     “I’m Jack. What happened to you, Amber?” I asked. She shook her head.

     “So much, I don’t even know where to begin. But, if you’re here then you must know about the DCB already. Though,” she paused, looking me over. “You don’t look like you’ve had it too hard.”

     I shook my head slightly.

     “Actually, I haven’t really been in the DCB. Once I got off the elevator, the receptionist told me to go into a room and all that was there was-”

     “The 'Sound Chamber'?” she finished. I nodded.

     “That’s only to get you ready for the DCB. Once you pass out, they take you to your cell and prep you for your new life... Wait, how’d you get out of that room?” she asked.

     “I went through an air vent and ended up here.” I told her, sighing.

     “How long have you been here?”

     I shrugged.

     “Not long.” I actually had no idea how long I’d been passed out, but I didn’t feel like admitting that.

     “So, you haven’t seen anyone else have you? My big brother left with the Officers a couple of weeks ago. He’s about your size, but his hair is like mine. Oh, and he never goes anywhere without his red bandana. If we all end up in this dump, he should be here...” she said, hope in her eyes. She looked around as if hoping to spot him.

     Wait. This is where they all ended up? You mean, people in the DCB were put through horrible torment like the red-light, um 'Sound Chamber' and who knows what else and then thrown out like trash? Nothing more than garbage: is that what we were to the S.R.U?

     I felt my face getting red again, but this time with anger. People like Amber and her brother were tortured and then disposed of... That’s what would have happened to me, if I hadn’t skipped to the last part. They were simply thrown out.

     Then it hit me. We were ‘garbage’ and this was a dump. It was Region 29’s dump and every two weeks or so...

     “Oh no.”

     Amber looked over at me, frowning.

     “Huh?” she asked. My hand latched around her wrist.

     “Amber.”

     “Y-yeah?” she said, trying to free her arm.

     “Amber. When did you say your brother was taken away?” I asked, hoping I’d heard wrong before. If not, then we didn’t have much time.

     “Like two weeks ago, why?”

     “Amber, are you sure it was two weeks ago?” I insisted. Amber nodded and my heart dropped into my stomach.

     I stood abruptly, never letting go of her arm. She looked up at me, clearly confused as I helped her stand.

     “Listen to me,” I said seriously. “We have to find a way out of here.”

     Her hair fell into her face and she moved to swipe it away, flinching when she moved her arm too fast. I grimaced. She seemed to be injured badly.

     I had a better chance of making it without her...

     No! I wasn’t going to leave Amber behind. Even if she slowed me down a bit.

     Only a heartless person would abandon someone at a time like this.

     “Hey, Jack. Don’t worry. You said it yourself, my brother’s not here. Wherever all this trash goes is where we’ll find him. All we have to do is wait for the trash to get thrown out.”

     She stared up at me, her eyes filled with confidence. My eyes started tearing up a bit, knowing that I’d have to tell her what happened to her brother.

     “Amber, listen to me. Region 29 is the only region that is nearly an island so it can’t build landfills or large dumps.”

     “Okay...” she said, still confused. “What does that-”

     “Instead,” I interrupted.“They burn their garbage.”

 

 

 

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