The Mountain was a massive place, nestled in the Pyrenees chain in France. The companies that ran America bought the mountain from the French during the last Depression twenty years ago. Prior to the purchase, the Mountain was known as Bugarach. In 2012, when doomsayers thought the world was going to end based on the Mayan Apocalypse, they flooded the village at the bottom of the mountain. As a result, the villagers watched their tiny little town become a freak-show tourist attraction. The Mountain is a rare geological feature since it is upside down. The top layers are actually older than the lower. Inside the mountain is a vast labyrinth of caves, which was perfect for what the companies wanted to do. There is even an underground river flowing underneath the mountain that flows into the Mediterranean basin, which is perfect for tapping into a water source that is untarnished by man’s pollution.
Tales of aliens and faeries surround the history of the Mountain. Explorers disappeared without a trace, never to be found again. Stories going back for millennia have Jesus and Mary Magdalene travelling through the region, dropping off the Holy Grail, and travelling on. The Knights Templar were the guards for the rumored couple, but nothing has ever been proven one way or another with these theories. Others believe Bugarach was an alien airport of some sort. Some say the mountain is haunted. If it wasn’t before the Specials arrived, it certainly had the chance to become so.
William got his gear and was told to go to the 4th floor dormitory, Room 423C. After navigating around trying to find the elevator, William noticed Specials walking around. He was horrified to see numbers on their foreheads. When he looked closer, he could see small letters after the numbers. One girl had 164757AU. A young man had 734988TS. A toddler had 045295AS. William guessed what the letters stood for. AU was Autism, TS was Tourette Syndrome, and AS was Asperger’s Syndrome. He would see some that said OD, but they were few and far between. The oppositional defiant ones most likely didn’t thrive in this type of militaristic environment. He reached the elevator, but he opted to look around some more. William heard a low mumbling sound coming from behind a door. He opened it to see a vast auditorium. Inside were thousands of children, watching a movie of some sort. Guards were positioned throughout the room. “What are you doing in here newbie?” a voice shouted at William. He jumped back and hit his head against the stone wall. “Sorry, I must have taken a wrong turn.” William showed his id and went on his way. Down the vast chamber he saw what appeared to be a struggle. He prayed his son was not in this bizarre land, but he knew better.
William had no idea how to find his son, much less what he would do next if he did. The Specials were prisoners there, and like the Jews of the concentration camps of old, they were marked. His living quarters consisted of a small cot, a sink, a toilet, and a dresser. He began to wonder if he was a captive as well. Jetlagged and weary, William quickly put his clothes away and wrapped a blanket tightly around him in the cold and damp room. Underneath the covers, William pulled out a small device. His father gave it to him when he was ten years old. William looked around the room and found a plug socket. He carefully connected the device to the charger and plugged it in. With three terabytes used up on the device, William had literary company to last him the next forty years. He didn’t have that time and his son’s time was rapidly running out.
His grandfather stored all of his old blog posts on the device. Ever since the companies took away the internet from the rest of the world, aside from the classroom, news was very hard to come by. William always went to the pictures first. He enjoyed seeing the images of his father and grandfather from the early days of the 21st Century. The last vestige of freedom humanity would enjoy. Many of the names in his grandfather’s articles were strangers to him. Everyone knew who Jack and Paul were, but other names would come up and disappear just as fast. William read about his grandparents’ struggles with Delaware education. While most of the credit goes to his grandfather, his grandmother was just as important. She kept reality alive for his grandfather. There would be endless nights where he would just investigate only to watch the sun rise. His wife grounded him, and she kept the focus on their son. William’s father. He had not seen his father for a long, long time. He always wondered where he was or if he was even alive. The last time he saw his father was the night his grandmother passed. His father’s anguish was very real, but with his Tourette Syndrome it caused him to lose control. Before he knew it, the police were taking his father away. William was fifteen, and his world ended that evening.
William pulled out the headphones and listened to the old and ancient music his father stored on the device. Nobody made music anymore. It was a thing of the past. Luckily, William’s grandfather enjoyed all kinds of music so he had a wide variety to pick from. His favorite was the symphonies. It stirred his imagination like nothing else and took him away to worlds where hope and dreams were still alive. As he began to enter the twilight of his day, William closed his eyes and pictured his son. His beautiful boy who was probably the most frightened person on the planet. David was never one to shy away from fear, but William knew he would need to one day if he wanted to survive. David’s mother prayed the day they took David to the Disability Center. He would always retreat away from the world, as if he were somewhere else only he knew. He would not respond to any human voices, just smiling and rocking back and forth, back and forth. William hoped he was happy wherever his mind took him. When David would snap out of his trance, sometimes days later, he would become very angry and resentful. His parents didn’t know how to handle things but they knew if he went to the Disability Center there was a very strong chance they would never see him again.
Eventually, William feel asleep. He didn’t dream much these days.
David woke up and everything was dark. He smelled pine and he reached out his hand. He felt the wood rub against his finger. He wanted to scream but he couldn’t make the sound. He heard a noise, like someone was tearing the wood with their bare hands. One of walls around him fell down and he could see the sun peeking in. A man and a woman stepped forward. The man began to speak. “Välkommen till Gamla Stan David,” the man said. David gave him a puzzling look. “Sorry David, it has been a while since I spoke English. Welcome to Old Town.” David started to lunge toward the man. The woman put out her hand. “No David. You mustn’t. You must never harm your grandfather.”
To be continued…