Dead Ringer (Part 4)

Chapter Seven

I had lost all concept of time. There was no day or night, so consequently there were no days or weeks or maybe even months. There was me in my box, and the occasional 'hygiene breaks' which really meant time away from the unblinking eyes of the surveillance cameras. Hygiene really meant being put up against a wall and sprayed with ice water by a pressure hose, which took all of 5 minutes, then 20 minutes of 'debriefing' where they would always ask me the same senseless questions that I couldn't answer. Then 5 more minutes of being restrained and subjected to another series of injections and blood drawing. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to it, yet after long enough it became a familiar ritual, and as the only ritual left in my now unanchored existence, became a singular source of perverse comfort.

During one of our pointless 'debriefs' I momentarily gained the temerity – and lucidity – to ask what happened to my “real” life. I mentioned that even though I was not close to anyone, at some point, someone would notice that I was missing, and that they had better seriously consider this. The nameless man who always asked me the same pointless questions broke from his routine long enough to write down some notes. Maybe my questions got his attention. Maybe he was forwarding them to someone and I began to hope against hope that someday I would get an answer. I never dared hope for them to let me go, but I was so despondent that even the most terse answer to my most simple question would have been like crumbs of bread to a starving man.

I think it was 2 or 3 times after I'd conjured up the courage to ask my rhetorical questions, when I finally got my answer. My regular interrogator was joined by agent Lynch, who thanked me for pointing out a loose end. He informed me that my cabin had been raided very conspicuously by an anti-terrorist SWAT team, who proceeded to blow up my home and burn the ruins to a charred pit. They then let it be known to all my neighbors and local authorities that I had suicidally detonated all the explosives I was making when my terror campaign to outdo the unabomber was thwarted by the SWAT raid. They also claimed that I was funding my terror by cooking meth, and it was the presence of all the toxic drug-making chemicals that forced them to quarantine an acre in every direction and post guards to keep nosy locals away “for their own safety”.

Lynch was quite pleased to inform me that my “real” life was gone, and thanks to my convincingly staged suicide, Yves Derosiers was now dead - officially, as well as virtually. With that he nodded to the two guards who dragged me off for my forced injections. Only this time the injections were different, as I felt consciousness quickly falling away, I thought “it is done. They are finally free to kill me.”

I always was an optimist.

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