Then the guard throws me in the cold room and the metallic sound of the closing door echoes in the darkness.
My foot gets stuck to an object and I fall on something warm. It feels like a leg.
It’s a room full of black shadows. I can’t see anything.
“Hi,” somebody whispers.
“Where are you?” I reply. “Who are you? I don’t see you.”
Someone moans. Someone else laughs.
“He’s crazy,” a voice says. “He isn’t one of us.”
I touch the ground. I feel toes, I feel hands, I feel warm skin, and bones.
“Someone died last month,” the voice says.
Still, I feel like a blind. I don’t see the dead or the living.
“Are you my brother?” the crazy man screams.
“No, I was a journalist at the local newspaper,” I say.
“Are you the one with a gray camera?” the voice asks. “I saw you in the backyard talking to guards. It was months ago. Are you here for an interview with us?”
“I lost my job,” I say. “It was hard to find a new job. Then this morning I found this ad; the prison looking for a deliveryman.”
“Journalists aren’t fit enough,” the crazy man shouts.
“I could be if I want to,” I say. “I have a car. It’s small but I could deliver whatever fits.”
The crazy man punches the wall and screams. “Since I’ve lost my mind, I’m restless.”
“Sometimes he shows some lucidity,” a voice says.
“It’s all my own fault,” the crazy man screams.
We’re alike, I’m doomed like him, I think. Everything started with the article I wrote and then the pictures I took and then the way the guards laughed at me when they saw my car. I feel pity for the crazy man. I inhale a strange stench, smelling like nothing I have ever felt before. It’s like a force pushing me down. I want to move against this gravity but I can’t. First, I have to do my job.
“It’s mystical like destiny,” the crazy man shouts. “I wish something could expand the walls or stretch the ceiling.”
I wish something could get me another job, I think. I don’t want to deal with crazy men who think like me.
“Did you have connections?” the voice asks. “Tell us more. We want to know you before we trust you. Where were you this morning? Where were you last night?”
“I’m nobody,” I say. “I was nowhere,” I say. “I’m normal like you,” I say. “I’m not the one you saw,” I say. “I have no connections,” I say and smile. Nobody will notice the dishonesty in my grin.
“The traitor,” the crazy man screams like an injured crow and his voice touches my face like a summer breeze.
Someone falls on top of me, pushing me against the floor. Someone else fights with him, taking the weight off me. I am stuck inbetween these two forces. None is my destiny.
The crazy man laughs hard and leaves me alone.
“Ignore him,” the voices say altogether.
“I’ll never trust you again,” the crazy man shouts back. “Why did you leave me?” He’s sobbing like a child.
“I told you, I don’t know you,” I say.
“But you sound like a prisoner,” a new voice says. “Like someone we know, like any of us.”
“How many are you?” I ask.
“We don’t know,” the voice says. “As soon as we start counting, the door opens and in the blinding light we get distracted. Somebody comes or somebody leaves. We’d never know.”
“I’m the last one,” I say. “I know, I know,” I say. “The guards told me nobody else’s coming,” I say. “It’s the message.”
“You’re the last messenger,” the crazy man whispers. He seems too close again. I’m afraid.
“I’m just the deliveryman.” I say.
“Why should we believe you?” someone asks.
“I don’t know,” I say. “I just got hired. I don’t know all the secrets.”
“You’re nobody,” they say altogether. “You can’t even see us. We can’t even see you. What if you’re crazy too?”
The crazy man cries. It sounds like laughter. I want to cry too.
I lay down on the cold surface of harsh ground, pushing some legs to make room. A hand caresses my chest. Silence floats. I’m cold. The human heat is leaving my body. I have forgotten the rules of the calculation of the space of a cube in a 3 dimensional world.
We all become like a big corpse in the darkness, waiting.
Tonight I’ll go home if somebody comes, I think.
Coming from the room next door, the screeching sound of a cough defines life.