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       Eldnium, p.15

           Enoch Pyle, Jr

  He was struck out of sleep by the sound of the latch being thrown, and the door swung open with a squeal. His neck was stiff, his legs in pain, and his shirt was drenched in sweat.

  Through the doorway, a member of The Control entered. He closed the door behind himself and said to Jackson, “Option 3-5-9, Sit.”

  Jackson felt compelled to oblige.

  Once in the chair closest to him, the masked man walked to the mirror and placed his hand against it. The mirror instantly faded to black, losing all reflectivity. Jackson understood this to mean that he and the man were about to converse privately.

  The man walked to the chair opposite Jackson and sat down.

  He pulled his mask from his face, and beneath it, Jackson saw what appeared to be a regular man. Square-jawed, rough complexion, scruffy chin.

  After sitting in silence for several seconds, the man looking Jackson over very carefully, obviously deep in thought, Jackson asked, “What do you want from me?”

  The man didn’t answer at first, but continued to study Jackson.

  Just as Jackson opened his mouth to ask again, the man finally spoke, saying, “My name is Isaac, and I am here to save you. It is important that you understand I am not one of them.”

  “To save me from what? None of this makes sense to me.”

  “There is no time to explain, Jackson. You must trust me.” He shifted in his seat, leaning in toward Jackson and speaking in a lower tone…almost a whisper, “In a few moments I will leave this room. You must wait here. It may be minutes, or it may be hours. But you must wait. Do not attempt to leave…by any means. Soon, three men will come to escort you away. I will be one of them, the one holding your right arm. The things you see as we lead you away will scare you, but you must trust me. Do not struggle. Do not resist. Walk calmly and carefully. When the time is right, I will take us both away from here.”

  “Where to?” Jackson asked, calmed by the confidence of Isaac’s instructions.

  “To a safe place.” Isaac stood, slipping his mask back over his face. “Do you understand what I’ve told you?”


  Isaac walked back to the mirror and touched it again, restoring it to its original state. He then said, “Option 3-5-9 confirmed,” and left the room.

  Jackson’s head spun. Everything had become startlingly real. What felt just moments before like a bad dream suddenly came into focus, and he felt a well of panic form in his stomach.

  He slid out of his chair and curled himself beneath the table, awaiting the inevitable.

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