The cold, damp underbelly of the city reeked of the decaying waste fed from above. Static with lost energy and stirring thoughts, the entity that existed far from humanity starved for more; an appetite not quite yet satisfied. Far from humanity yet occupied by all humans, the one thing these days they all shared. The desire of theirs to aesthetically please created the underworld, and was visited by all, yet they were not aware they visited. The brightest minds in the lowest depths of their own world.
Vast and endless, it contained every remnant of souls lost. Sometimes, it was just a snippet of a soul, other times it was the full take over. It was there to serve the insecure, the weak and the vain, and it did so with the pride of a parent, watching their child grow. The child always did grow, but what became nobody knew. Not a soul.
Jess scrambled. The air was thick with fog, and her attempts to get through took every ounce of strength to shove past, like it was a brick wall of mist she was fighting. She knew where she needed to go. Oddly familiarised with her surroundings – a labyrinth of her own thoughts – yet she believed it to be the first time she had ever stepped foot through there. It was her feet that knew the way, as they knew the truth. Jess had been many times, but her trips were forgotten as quickly as they started.
The fear was real. Jess wanted to scream out for help but couldn’t find the words. She didn’t know how she ended up there in the first place, or where she was – despite the homely familiarity. When she began to feel at her most hopeless, the light began to flicker in the far distance. Jess desperately clawed her way towards it.
The light highlighted the shadowy figure below it, curled up into a foetal ball and unrecognisable by sight, but Jess’s instincts became her trusted ally and she knew that she needed to continue.
“Hello?” She asked curiously.
The figure turned to look at Jess, and the figure Jess instantly knew, but not necessarily how or why.
“Hello.” The strange figure responded in a blunt and toneless manner.
“Where am I?”
“No, I do not know.”
“You’re you. This world is yours.”
“I don’t understand.”
Jess didn’t understand but she began to feel the effects of where she was and was drowning in confusion.
The figure vanished.
Jess shouted after the figure, knowing she needed to see them as soon as possible; they were the answer, but the answer was running away from her. The light began to buzz and flicker, startling the frightened young girl, as she looked around for a new direction.
In a flash, she was in a new place, but it was identical to where she was before. Her instincts spoke again, and she knew she was where she needed to be, as around her were memories long forgotten, hung up like prizes and gripping Jess with a newfound sense of comfort.
“Are you there?” Jess shouted out. “Please, come back out!”
Alas, her words were enough, for it was her world after all, and the figure reappeared.
“Do you still not remember me, Jess?”
“No. I can’t even see you.”
The response was not words, but a visual reminder of who she was facing. She remembered who this was; their relevance in her mind maze puzzling Jess. Why was somebody who she barely knew in school prominent in her subconscious wanderings? A person who was a brief acquaintance, who she sometimes walked to school with and ate lunch within a group with, suddenly her guiding voice. It was her friend Ada who was friends with her, not Jess.
“I know you.” Jess concluded. “Why are you here?”
“I’m always here.”
That much was true. She always was. Everyone she had ever seen, met or walked past on the street had a place in the world she was in.
“What do you want from me?”
Jess sank. The ground disappeared and she hovered in the air below her and found herself absorbed in an abyss of lightning strikes and pounding thunder; a storm was breaking out. Siren sounds chilled her bones and rang in her ears.
“I broke the law.” Jess declared.
The fear of a guilty past catching up with a clueless Jess overwhelmed her and she burst into tears.
“You know the law.”
“But I didn’t. I don’t.”
Jess wasn’t sure about anything at that present time. It was so clear to her now, as her mind brought her to a new place where she was just a visitor. It changed the way she viewed all past occurrences, and she wondered how she could be so dim. The New Law was glaringly obvious, what was stopping her from seeing things clearly shocked her.
“I just forgot.” Jess tried to defend herself, but the still shadowy figure didn’t appear interested. In fact, it remained frozen and wouldn’t let her past. There was no breaking away. It wasn’t running anymore.
Jess couldn’t deal with the situation at hand in the slightest. Who knew that an absent-minded mistake whereby she read a message on her way to work and got side-tracked would lead to such disastrous consequences? What could she do? The New Law took over, and her obedience was obvious. Leaving a message on ‘read’, the law dictated, made Jess a criminal. That was not the done thing; no matter how she felt or her life as it was at the time. There was control over her every move within her applications and the implications of breaking from this led to a poison in an unreachable part of her mind – where the control existed.
Whilst Jess was there, she searched for who was dictating this. She shouted out as loud as her lungs could muster for answers, but her voice merely echoed to no response. The invisible power that was the New Law hid themselves well …or was hiding after being found.
“I didn’t break the law, I swear.” Jess protested.
“Yes, you did.” The figure argued. “All these people agree with me.”
More shadows emerged from the mist, and once again Jess could not recognise who they were, but it was them against Jess and they were closing in. Jess began to shrink, smaller and smaller until she was reduced to nothing, and her thoughts were no longer hers, but instead the law using her as its vessel.
As before, her instinct remained intact, and Jess acted out. She blocked the first figure. The New Law allowed you to cancel people out of your life, and Jess had no other choice. There were no hard feelings, and she even liked the person, but the new voice won. It was louder than her echoey pleas, and who was she to fight?
Jess was back at the bus stop, scrolling mindlessly as she waited for her bus. Late, of course. The sun began to break through the grey clouds, and Jess was none the wiser of where she had been. It was even less than a micro-second. Jess was none the wiser.
She still blocked, though. No real thought, or feeling, went into her actions, but the New Law dictated, and she did what she was told. She didn’t know she was being controlled. A momentary realisation gone in a flash. As was the figure.