Carpathia III: Episode 46 - O Death
Jaze was only vaguely aware of being dragged across the floor. The air around him was still and cool. He guessed, in occasional moments of lucidity, that he must be deep underground, for those were the only places untouched by the searing heat outside.
The dragging stopped and Jaze heard the grating creak of an old metal door open, like something out of a bad horror movie. Soon after, he was being dragged again, this time, over something lumpy. Then, he was released. He expected to hit the floor right away, but instead, he found himself falling. He had only a short time to wonder what he was going to hit at the bottom when he splat down into some soft mud. Too woozy to move, Jaze stayed where he was and heard whatever door they opened creak closed again.
Pestilence: I don't understand why you wouldn't let me kill him back at the village. It was a waste of energy to drag him all the way back here.
Thirteen: The oubliette is here not for punishment, but to set an example. Everyone watched him being hauled back, being paraded through the square and being brought down here. They know he's going to rot until he dies, cold and miserable.
Pestilence: Yeah, but no fun for me.
Thirteen: There are bonuses to leadership, but you have to learn that you can't always do things the way you want. Everyone knows he's going to rot down here, and that's a very effective deterrent.
Jaze heard their footsteps walking away.
Pestilence: So, how much meat did we get?
Thirteen: Not much, but they still shouldn't have been holding out on us like that.
Their voices faded into an indistinct murmur until, finally, all was silent. Jaze lay where he was for several hours, unwilling to move because of the sharp pain in the back of his head. He slipped in and out of a dream-like state, unsure if he had actually fallen asleep or if he was just daydreaming. After awhile, he finally decided to try and pick himself out of the mud.
Slowly, achingly, he got to his feet and looked up. Directly above his head was a steel grate with a rusty door, too high for him to reach. A small window high above the pit let in a pathetic stream of light, providing the only illumination anywhere. He looked down around him in the cylindrical pit and was horrified at what he saw. Bones. There were bones everywhere. Many were scattered around. Some were full skeletons. Others still had bits of dried, rotted skin on them, which smelled appalling. Some were agonizingly small. The bodies of children. There was no practical way of exiting. This was not a room designed to allow anyone to leave.
Jaze looked around and could see nothing but rusty, steel walls held together with rivets. There was no place to get a solid foothold of any kind. The only thing breaking up the monotony of rusty steel and rivets was a grating that seemed to cover a pipe which was definitely large enough for him to fit. It was too high for him to jump to but, he thought, if he could get a quick foothold, if even for just a second, on a rivet or the edge of a steel plate, he could probably get to it. After that, with any luck, he hoped he might be able to somehow pry off the grate that was covering the pipe.
Jaze positioned himself under the grate and looked for somewhere he could place his foot to give himself a boost. He found a place where the steel had separated from the wall just a little bit and put his foot on it. It slipped off right away. He thought for a moment of taking his boot off so that he could get a better grip, but imagining the jagged, rusty steel slicing right through the bottom of his foot made him think the better of that idea.
After several attempts, Jaze finally managed to get a grip with his boot that was solid enough to propel him to the grate above him. He grabbed onto it and held fast. The steel was thicker than it looked from below and heavily rusted. It was clear that it would be impossible as it were to remove the bolts from the grate. Frustrated, he yanked at the grate several times until he fell.
Again, he slowly picked himself out of the mud, alarmed that he came within inches of impaling himself on an old rib bone sticking up from the mud. There was no way out. He did not believe anyone would come for him. He sat against the wall, the only area that was dry, and wept.
The only indication Jaze had of the passage of time was the slim stream of light through the window high above the grate covering the hole. It was daytime when he entered. Nighttime had come and plunged him into total darkness. Daytime came again and still nobody came, nor did he hear any sounds. Parched with thirst and weak with hunger, he knew he wasn't going to last very long and he was having more and more difficulty distinguishing between dream and reality.
Jaze reached down towards his sock and found, surprisingly, that his camera was still there. Through everything, he managed to keep it with him. He pulled it out of his sock and examined it carefully as though he were looking at it for the first time in the store. It looked terrible. Dirt and grime filled every crack and crevice. He began to clean it up as best he could, using one of the few unsoiled areas of his clothes to wipe it and his fingernails to pick the scum out of all the crevices. Finally, he turned it on. At first, he cycled through the old pictures. Adell, Artemis, Ryuu, Kaoru. He wept when he saw the first picture of Toma. It was so long since he'd scrolled through the pictures and this, he knew, would be the last time.
Finally, he set it to video and pushed the record button.
Jaze: If anyone finds this, it means that I died here in this place.
Jaze paused. Saying the words out loud felt strange. The inevitability seemed all too real now.
Jaze: My name is Chao...
Again, he paused, embarrassed that the compound had him nearly forgetting his own name.
Jaze: My name is Jaze Serge Bond. I am from a planet called New Berengaria. My parents are Elektra Bond and Tier Bond. To the person watching this, I hope you are a traveller from a distant world and can bring my message back to my family or their descendants. However, first, you must destroy this compound and a man called Maelstrom. If anyone makes you think that anything good happens in this place, they are lying. Do not trust them.
The chances, Jaze thought, of anyone finding his recording were next to nothing at best. Regardless, he wanted to continue and he thought for a moment if there was anything else he should say.
Jaze: I know that most of the people here were brought against their will. Please try to find out where they're from and take them home. I also think some of my friends came through with me, but I don't know where they are. Toma Lapin, Kaoru Romanov, Artemis Leingod, Adell Amaranth, and Ryuu. If they're still alive, please find them. Finally, if anyone finds out what I've done here... I hope you'll forgive me. This is my punishment. I probably deserve it.
Jaze stopped the recording and turned off the camera. He slid the device back into his sock and sat back against the wall, to wait for Death to take him.
All city pictures from SimCity 4