Fish: Locked in the Park ~ Day One: The Closed Door
murky consciousness swam up from the depths, he checked his watch.
That's when he realized, and he could feel it in the pit of his
stomach, that he'd stayed in the amusement park too late. He brushed
aside the thin blankets that had apparently been placed over him
when he'd passed out, and stumbled, and then ran the mile to the
Park's single entrance.
even as he panted and his side ached, that he was too late. The
doors would be closed against him. He felt automatically in his
pockets. He still had his car keys. Wouldn't they wonder who
had left their car?
never would have admitted it, especially in light of how he dealt
with such matters later, Marc prayed on the way. Please God,
just let them be delayed. A strike. Equipment failure. Anything.
Marc was fully aware that prayer was a last minute desperate act,
and that it likely meant there would be no rescue, but under stress
he stumbled into old habits. As Marc neared the huge valves that
were the Park's doors, he knew the worst had happened. He hardened
his mind as he ran, and arrived breathless, watching as he panted,
several others who milled around near what should have been open
a voice yelled from beside him, and even in his befuddled state,
Marc leapt out of the way and watched, with the others, a long
haired teenager drive one of the Park's electric carts into the
gates. They all waited, in desperate anticipation, for the doors
to crumble, as though their need was stronger than reality. As
though physics, this one time, would bend to human wishes. Perfectly
balanced, the doors were twelve feet thick and thirty feet tall.
Once closed, they could only be opened by a nuclear weapon. Marc
had learned that when he had studied the Park for an article he
was going to write on deliberate communities.
"We have no
way to open those doors," Marc said as authoritatively as he could
considering he was still catching his breath. "You saw them on
the way in, they're yards thick and the latches were made to last
of sicko makes doors like that?" demanded a man in a rumpled suit.
"Small wonder they went bankrupt. Overbuilding."
thin man in his thirties turned to Marc. "Who does that, and then
closes them on people?"
had become a spokesperson for reason, and nearly everyone began
to turn to him. "It sucks. But we have apparently been left behind
when they did the clear out. And I guess we were too passed out
or," Marc glanced at the grey haired woman on her knees praying
near where they'd pulled the teenager from the wreckage of the
electric cart, "busy with other things to notice the alarms."
any alarms," demanded the suit man. He brushed his palms down
his jacket as though the removal of wrinkles might allow him to
"I heard them,"
Marc sought out the face the soft voice belonged to. The grey
eyes of a young blond woman, seemingly in her late twenties, met
his with determination. Her declaration done, she went back to
stand beside the group of other young people, who were, by their
appearance, Japanese. By the way the man was translating for the
other two women, Marc guessed their knowledge of English was fairly
said, reluctantly thrust into the role of crowd control. "I've
studied this place. Once the doors are closed, there's no way
out." Marc tried to ignore the implications of what he was saying
even as he spoke.
hell are you talking about?" the second man pushed closer to him,
rubbing the side of his face with his right hand.
"What do you
do for a living?" Marc spoke deliberately.
he looked around defiantly, as though his profession were in question.
be of use. So try to keep your head on your shoulders and not
cause a mess," Marc gestured to the teenager who was now pounding
on the door with his fists. "Can everyone hear me?" Marc asked,
once the programmer had gone from an angry boil back to a simmer.
"We need to talk about our options."
"We need only
talk to our saviour, and then he will open the door," the grey
haired woman said triumphantly.
you keep praying," Marc tried to seem more charitable than he
felt, "and the rest of us will just talk." When she dropped to
her knees, the crack of stretched tendons loud in the sudden silence,
Marc turned to the others. "I've studied this complex. So I know
some things about how it is built. One of the things I know,"
Marc was trying to be deliberately clear, "is that there is only
one set of doors. That was a huge problem at the time, and laws
had to be expanded to allow it." Marc remembered how the most
intriguing aspect of the construction, legally at least, was how
easily safety regulations had been shuffled aside. "But the fact
of the matter is, we can't just batter these doors down. They
are way too strongly built for that. We'd be just as likely to
open them by other means," Marc gestured to the woman praying
and the tall thin man laughed nervously.
a control room, so we can go there and check the external cameras.
And we can try to contact the surface. There is some kind of public
address system." Marc wanted to tell them not to be too hopeful,
for he remembered reading a description of how the Park would
be sealed and exactly what backup systems would be employed. Jesus
Christ. Couldn't they have at least checked to see if anyone was
still here before they slammed the doors? The question clattered
so heavily in Marc's mind that he looked around as if someone
else had said it, and then realized his internal dialogue had
momentarily slipped its controls.
Marc pointed to the argumentative programmer, "come with me and
let's find the control room. You will know the computer systems
better than me."
Much of his
anger dissipated by a goal, the man came to stand beside Marc,
his hands twitching by his side. "We shouldn't be long. The room
is near the entrance. We'll be back in less than a hour." Marc
turned away, rifling his pockets for something to use to break
into the main office.
As Marc and
the programmer left, the Japanese tourists talked excitedly amongst
themselves, the teenager began to try to right the smashed cart,
the praying woman grew slightly louder, and the man in the business
suit slumped onto the ground to rest.
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