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Wrong Choice, Adam

I’ve always wanted to write a never-ending story, but I never have, so here is my own version of one. I feel like it says some very interesting things about the nature of writing and the nature of life itself. At a certain point in writing this, I realized that the only thing that could allow the story to be never-ending was by forcing the character to make that decision. Certain loops can be forced into a story by means of extraneous information, but if the character himself decides to go through the whole thing again, even if he made the decision unwittingly or forcefully, I feel like the story carries much more weight. Poor Adam, unfortunately for him, he cannot write his own story. He is a slave to my pen. Perhaps we are all just slaves to some mysterious hand’s pen. Or perhaps we really do control our fate. Regardless, it certainly is eery when things start to repeat themselves…

You can technically begin the story anywhere and just scroll back up to the top when you reach the bottom, I decided to start it at the same place I started writing the story. What do you think, is there a better place to start the story? Does it even matter?

Fortunately for Adam, the wind in the cave was not as strong. Still, where he stood, the air was just as cold. Aside from the faint light that managed to reach inside the cave, everything was black. He could only slightly see his hands when he held them up in front of his face. He was dressed in business attire, a wardrobe for which he was grimly aware was not aptly suited for his predicament.

He tried not to think about how he had gotten here, how he didn’t know where his wife, their son and their 8-year-old daughter were, if he’d ever see them again, or if they were even still alive. But at the moment, all that mattered was survival, that he live long enough to find them. And so he continued deeper into the cave. Soon enough, the icicles gave way to stalactites and the air warmed a little. His dress shoes squished in the muck of the cave. They had taken his cell phone, but he was able to use his watch for some light, it helped him keep from running into walls at least.

A sense of calm for the time being was settling into his skin when he heard yelling from behind, someone else had entered the cave. He held his breath in the dark, as he listened carefully, but suddenly, Adam felt a large hand grip his shoulder, not of the intruder but another man. His heart skipped a beat and he heard the words, “come with me” whispered into his ear. In the pitch black, he made his way carefully forward under the guidance of the mysterious hand that never left his shoulder.

After a brief jaunt, they made a sharp turn. The voice of the mysterious figure next to him whispered, “Down the stairs” and the hand left his shoulder. He cautiously took his first step, unsure if he really was in front of a stair-case or a lake of acid. After a day like he’d had, it seems just as plausible as anything else. But as he descended the stairs, he began to see the faint outline of a doorway, the muffled sounds of people talking behind it echoed up the stairwell. With the light coming in through the cracks around the closed door, his eyes began to adjust.

He found the doorknob and reached to open it when when something began buzzing in his pocket. He reached for it. His cellphone! The mysterious figure must have returned it. Adam didn’t recognize the number, but he flipped it open and put it to his ear.

“Hello?”

“What the hell, where in God’s name are you?!” his boss shouted over the line.

“Sir, I, I don’t know, I can’t” he replied, barely able to speak.

“It doesn’t matter, but you sure as hell better figure it out and get your ass over here, we’re implementing your system right now, we don’t have any time to wait, we have to launch it right now, we just need the access codes to start the process.”

“wait, you mean? but that was all just an experiment, it was never intended to actually be used.”

“I don’t have time for your bull-shit, son. Think about it. If it works, you’ll be famous, the first man in the world to have made such an accomplishment. You said it yourself, this is for science. Let the world be your audience. This is your time to shine, Adam. Now give me those access codes.”

“Or what, sir, you can’t do anything unless I give you them, seems to me I’m better off not doing anything.”

“I didn’t want to do this, son, I really didn’t, but sometimes things happen and a person or certain people end up as collateral damage in something that’s really just a misunderstanding. Do you get my meaning?”

“No, you can’t”

“I can.” And Adam heard the sound of a school-bell ringing, the clammering of children rushing out of a school’s front doors. Adam gulped involuntarily. He didn’t have a choice in the matter. The voice of his boss returned to the line, “now, if you can just give me those access codes, we can just forget about this little incident. But I will remind you, I need them right now.”

Adam hesitated, but he gave in and repeated them from memory into the receiver. The line clicked as soon as he was done and he closed his phone shut. And once he had taken a deep breath, he turned the knob of the door. He entered a large, bright room, filled with plushy pillows and blankets. His wife sat on the floor laughing with their teenage son. His son, Jeremy, saw him first and jumped up to greet him, but just then, a door on the other end of the room burst open. Men in Army uniforms grabbed his son and his wife and took them away as more men tackled Adam to the ground, pressing his face into the carpeted floor of the room. Tears came to his eyes as he lay in this uncomfortable position, wondering if he’d ever see his family again. He saw a pair of black dress-shoes slowly walk over to him and rest a few feet from his face. The man wearing them hunched down and put his hand on Adam’s shoulder. It was the same man from the cave. The man leaned down so Adam could see his face.

“Wrong choice, Adam.” The man said. And then everything went black.

When he awoke, he was in a helicopter. He could hear gunfire. The pilot shouted they had to make an emergency landing. They landed roughly on a patch of ice. The gunfire continued, but Adam snuck away. He ran for an hour until he found the opening to a cave. He wasn’t sure where he was, but he figured the cave should provide a little warmth. He approached, but looked back before he entered. The helicopter was lost to the approaching snow-storm. Without a second thought, he continued inside the dark cave.

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Posted in Stories by Preston on November 3rd, 2011

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