The Factory

The Factory Judele turned the key on the cabin door and walked out into the cold early morningHis warm breath releasing was visible in the faint light from the halogen. Gabriela was waiting in the car and he sat in the passenger seat. Her eyes were wide as she stared down the long dark avenue to the weird existence of daylight up ahead and the sight of men working. It was 5.30am or at least close enough to that time and though the car heater was blowing at full blast, a cold air circled in the mix and shivered them.  “Are you sure about this?” Judele asked. “You could get me in a lot of trouble?”  She didn’t even look at him nor did she blink and even under the gloves—gripping ten and two to the steering wheel—she felt the trembling from fear rather than the significance of the cold.  “I want to see what is there?”  She began to drive down the avenue at such a crawl that she would have moved quicker on foot. There was a deep pothole which furiously rose up to meet the wheel. Gabriela ignored it as if it hadn’t at all happened. Her eyes always watching ahead as the daylight slowly began to take over the long dark avenue.   The workers which had been visible from the cabin were now gone and as she arrived at that place she was concerned as to why this was. A large open space was surrounded by three huge warehouses around from where they arrived. She drove into the middle of this place and stopped the car.  “Where is everyone? Judele, I saw them before. Where are they now?” She was becoming even more stressed and she struggled with the tears arriving at her eyes.  “It’s okay, they have they’re breakfast now. They are all inside.”  “Everyone. What time is it?”  She had at last looked into his face and he was serene, much in comparison to her. In the rear view mirror you could see that the long driveway was gone and a busy road ran the width of the factory.  “It’s 10am here. Do you want to go inside?”  “Okay.”  Judele and Gabriela left the car there and walked to an adjacent building. He led her there but she walked freely and he opened a door leading inside. She could confirm there that Judele was comments were accurate, as a busy cafeteria was enjoying breakfast. They both needed to relieve themselves first and he continued his lead of her to the bathrooms. Gabriela was surprised to see that the only bathroom was not designated for Men or Women but instead a sign read – One for All. They went inside and to separate cubicles next to each other. When Judele had finished washing his hands, he waited for her but it was complete silence as if nobody was there. This brought on the foundation of a concern and he wanted to stay because he didn’t want to go back outside alone. At last, he heard a voice. “You can wait outside”, she softly said.   Judele walked back out into the cafeteria and immediately he saw three people that he recognized. They waved to him and he decided to buy some breakfast and then sit with them. However, he wasn’t sure if his card would be accepted as a transaction so before ordering he went back out to the car knowing that there was some money inside. When he walked back outside he was met with the shock of the empty yard. The car was gone. He looked around and saw a young man coming towards him. He was smiling. He looked at Judele and said “Fucking hell man, we had to push the car by hand. Ha, ha, ha. Madness.”   For some strange reason, Judele couldn’t speak to ask the man where he had taken the car to and instead walked back to the front of the factory after the young man walked off, in hysterical laughter. There were hundreds of cars parked in two car parks. He wondered how could he find her car and it made him forget all about breakfast. Frantically, he rushed around the first car park but he never found it. He was on his way to the next one when he saw Gabriela.   “Where is my car?”  “I can’t find it. He said he moved it.”  They walked to the second car park together but there was no sign of it there either. Gabriela was getting more and more upset and she was nearly convinced that her car had been stolen. She started to cry and she had regrets about coming here, when suddenly she felt like someone inside may know where the car was moved to and she grabbed Judele’s hand and went back to the canteen.   This time, nobody was there. She rushed with him to a door at the far side of the hall and they went inside to discover what seemed to be an attic with steel triangular beams and falling cables of which Judele questioned had they been holding live power. She didn’t think about it and instead rushed through them with her hand all the while dragging him with her. He heard the hum of the electricity but he didn’t feel it. At the end of the passage way on the loft, a sharp right turn brought with it an old elevator made up of timber and chains with a rusty caged door. She released his hand and got inside the lift but no sooner had she arrived in it that it began to descend, leaving Judele on the other side of the cage. He watched her rapidly descend and the lift quickly returned to him. He opened the cage but already the lift was on his way back down. It was moving up and down too quickly for him to take the risk and yet Gabriela had made it in and out in one attempt. He called out to her. “Gabriela!” All he was greeted with was his echo.   “Julie!!”  Echo. More raucous.  “Sophia!! Erika!! Elnara!!”  He furiously shook the cage. There was no life there. Judele hung his head—there was noise of a large fan whipping the wind in the extraction system. Then he heard the footsteps approach him as if they were close by all along and he looked up to see Joseph who pointed behind him.   “Why don’t you use the stairs”, he asked.  Behind Judele was a very tight winding stair case. So compact was the space that he wasn’t sure if he would fit in it. He crouched down at the top of the stairs but before he could go very far, he saw Gabriela climbing towards him. She had one eye stitched closed.”   “Come on let’s go”, she said. “I got money for our breakfast.”  “What happened to your eye? What’s going on?”  She grabbed his hand as she had it before and she again dragged him through the loft and back outside.  “Someone stole my car”, she said.   The busy road didn’t help with an easy passage and when they eventually got to the other side, the night eclipsed the daytime but on the long dark avenue, Gabriela felt an ease to her weight. She paused and turned around knowing what the feel of her empty hand would reveal. Judele wasn’t there.   “O shit”, she said with an innocent fear.   She felt very lonely and she remembered what had happened in the factory. At the bottom of the lift, she looked inside a peep hole and though her observation was brief before she was blinded by the sight of what she saw—she had enough to time to see the factory owners Johnston, Charles and Beaumont. Then she remembered something else important. That Joseph had gone into the water and the sign on the bathroom door suggesting that there was only one sex. She had only looked in through the peep hole but what about David, he had investigated it further. The blood from her empty eye sockets poured out onto the floor where Judele was sitting and talking to her on the phone.   “Sophia, I’m not dead. Just a part of me died.”  “But if I killed a part of you, a form of you, then you are dead.”  “Yes, I know but I live. Dead and alive in a torturous coexistence. “  “When the cracks appeared I couldn’t let it escape. What did you see that brought it back out?”  “I saw that in this place, you loose your strengths but my strength was a weakness, a hidden honesty of who I was. It had a reverse effect on me. When I went into that water I was there. I was blind. I went there myself, orchestrating my own downfall. It’s a place where your spirit is crushed.”    On the descent back into the town, the blue lights flashing meant it was clear that there was an accident. Even though there had been three forms of itself, there could only be one car and then Judele realized that it was one of them who was after stealing Gabriela’s car.   Having just sent the email to Fox, the unsettled Dr Benedict sat thinking about what the untangle web was meaning. It was quiet on the halls and corridors of the institute—only the storm made an impression outside of his office window. He watched the flashing bolts of lightning, now and then. The extreme gales of wind and the driving rain. It was like he watched over Churchtown from under a waterfall. The lights of the town stained by the furious rain. He was mostly thinking about Gabriella now but all of a sudden as he watched the wild conditions of the lonely night, something from previous in the evening returned to him, alarmingly. How did Tom Stanley know it was stormy outside? He had no window in his room, deeply built from the outside world. There was no way he would know unless someone had told him but the curious magazine which he thought he’d seen, took Benedict on a road of enquiry which led him to the sign in sheet at the reception desk. Once he’d found it there, he went through the pages, studiously. Constance was still there and he called to her.   ‘Has anybody come to visit Tom Stanley today?’  ‘Of course not’, she laughed.  He slammed the file onto the desk and it shocked her.   ‘What the fuck is this?’  She looked down at a line that he pointed to. It was signed with a scribble—Agios O’Baphomet—visiting Tom Stanley. She was shocked and horrified. It hadn’t happened on her shift but she took the full brunt of Benedict’s fury. The adrenaline raced through him to the extent of reaching the security office—desperately acquiring the video surveillance footage of the character that signed in as Agios O’Baphomet—as a visitor at 2:17pm.   ‘Since when do you allow visitors on the Arbutus wing, Doctor?’, asked the security guard.  ‘We don’t—everyone should be aware of it’, he said indirectly, directed at Constance—ever-present.  From 2:15pm they stopped the fast forwarding tape. Nothing unusual was happening until 2:16,53pm when a dark cloaked man approached the front door and just as he opened it the tape went into a distortion and disappeared for a full two minutes.  ‘What the hell?’, the security man shouted and even hit the side of the monitor, the correction of an old disobedient cathode ray deep telescreen. When the camera returned to correctness, there was nobody at the desk. Benedict rummaged through the computer files of recordings and on every camera—including outside the building—the picture fuzzes up to eliminate the arrival of the character calling itself, Agios O’Baphomet. According to the sign in sheet, he didn’t sign out upon departure and furthermore, the tape rolled on undisturbed with no sign of anyone suspicious.   ‘Check whose key opened Tom Stanley’s door today, other than mine’, he ordered the guard but would prove to be fruitless as no key registered art that time.  ‘Nobody went in to him, Doctor Hurley. No key was used’, said the security man. Benedict threw his own coat over his shoulders, marching towards the door.  ‘Where are you going, Doctor?’, asked Constance.  ‘To the security gate.’  He drove down to the booth by the entrance of St Vincents. When he pulled up—parking—behind the cabin, he saw the guard approach from his shelter. It was the same guard from earlier that evening. Benedict shepherded him back inside—shelter from the storm.   ‘Long night on the gate?’  ‘A colleague needed the night off… family bereavement.’  ‘Bad night to be doing the gate. I need the sign in records from today.’  The guard paused and looked at him queerly.  ‘Do you have that authority?’  ‘O, none of your shit, man. This is of the utmost importance, now bring them out and none of your baboonary.’  He didn’t move. Continuing his strange and confused look upon Benedict.  ‘I can’t do it, in fairness. You’ll need to get clearance before I do that.’  ‘O, come on now. I don’t have time for your pathetic bureaucracy. Hand them over or I will go for clearance and when I’m asked why I need it, I will explain how uncooperative you’ve been over this grave matter so come on now, hand over the records from 2 – 3 pm this afternoon.’  ‘No.’  ‘No?’  He didn’t have them. It was the security guards duty to file the completed sign in sheets at the end of their shifts and all of the sheets prior to 3pm were complete. Benedict let loose a violent examination and collided a furious fist with the table. There was further issue in that the colleague had forgotten to file that days sheets—he’d simply drove home with them.  ‘I’d say there will be murder over this’, the guard said with a huge timely flash and rumble decorating the stormy sky.   Benedict demanded his name but the apprehension to share such personal information from the guard test him beyond tolerance and instead he dashed back to his car and thusly back to the hospital. He checked hospital rotations records to find the name of the security man in question—Herbert Schubert. A German nationalist who had worked in the security of the hospital since only recently. He wondered how peculiar it was that his previous occupation was on the security gate of a nearby steel works factory. 

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