Breathe. Just breathe. Slooooower. Wait. Exhale. OK. My fingers are not tingling anymore. Breathe. Focus. There’s a tree in front of that glass door. That will do. Branches, leaves, one, two, three…ahhh too many. Focus. Branches: one, two, three. It goes all the way to the top of the glass door. What are those stains on it? It could use a good cleaning. Cleaning! I left the dishes in the sink without rinsing them. It will be a nightmare scrubbing off the dried out tomato sauce. A nightmare? Come on, man…scrubbing dirty dishes is no nightmare. THIS is! Oh my God, how am I going to get there?
Breathe, breathe. Shit, my chest tightens up again. Tree, branches: one, two, three, four. This one has hardly any leaves. How many? Two, four, six, eight, nine, ten, eleven, thirteen, fifteen. Fifteen. OK. Now maybe I can stand up. Let’s give it another go. My wrist is sort of shaking as I push my hand to the ground trying to shift my body’s weight on one side and give it a little bounce up from this damp wooden crate. I force my thoughts not to question how much of the liquid seeped through my pores. It takes great effort not doing all the maths in my head: how many hours have I left to live? 12 tops, in best case. Ssshhhh. Do not calculate! Focus. Fifteen leaves, ignore the trembling muscles, get up now! Got it.
A rush of achievement runs through me. Who would have thought only one day ago that I’ll be doing a celebratory dance in my mind for being able to stand up. Fuck me. How did this happen? A guy like me celebrates when you trick the checkpoint scanner validating your tracker with yesterday’s date. Oh wait, I forgot to mention a couple of things.
I’m a bit of a rebel. Can’t help it. I broke the rules of the system twice already. So now I have to validate my whereabouts daily at least once with these scanning gates. I just call them checkpoints. What can I do? It is what it is, so at least let’s make it fun like a car racing game or something.
I’m very good at hacking their technology. Unbelievably good. Haha! Just by adding a little bit of extra lines of code to my tracker, I can backdate my scanning. If I missed one day, who cares? Tomorrow I’ll scan myself and their data will show that I did it the day before as well.
Now, the slightly problematic Fact #3:
When they figure out that you played the system, shit gets real. They track you down (see why they named it the tracker?), lock you inside a wooden box and pour this slimy blue liquid on you for a few hours. I haven’t figured out yet what the hell is in it but they refer to it as the Bluelightenment. Some call it Bluewash, like an ocean coloured brainwash. It’s supposed to slowly make its way into your body, to your bloodstream then to your nervous system. And then bamm, their magic happens and suddenly you never want to break any of their rules again. How? Goodbye to rebellious thoughts, goodbye to questioning anything and most disturbingly goodbye to your memories. You simply cease to exist as an individual with all the life experiences. So my heart may not physically stop within the next 12 hours but life as I know it will end.
Now, what should I do to make the most of these 12 hours? But first of all, where is the nearest checkpoint?