Episode 1: Welcome to the New World
I woke up with the distinctively irritating feeling of sand in my mouth. Sand and blood, the two formed a horrible combination when mixed, and also an overwhelming feeling of nausea when you had no idea where either of them had come from. I managed to pull myself up to my feet. At a complete loss for where I was, or how I had gotten there, I did the only thing I could think to do, and begin to walk toward the setting sun.
From the inside, all deserts look the same. My mind scrambled trying to remember or recall, which one I was currently in. The Sahara, the Mojave, the Gobi; was I dropped out of a plane, did I escape from some remote facility, did I just randomly pop out of the sand? I had no history, no memories, nothing. Amnesia in the truest sense, and it sucked. Then again I couldn’t even faithfully call it amnesia, as far as I knew 20 minutes ago I didn’t even exist. To have amnesia you have to at least have a past, you just don’t remember what it is, but when you’ve just popped up out of the sand, you don’t have a past. You’re just there.
I checked my person for equipment or even clues as to my identity. Heavy duty standard issue work pants, made from a chemically treated fabric, a cotton polyester blend, tough enough to offer me ample protection from the elements without stifling or restricting my movement. They were apparently designed for such conditions. How I knew this, I had no idea. Perhaps I was a tailor in a past life, either way, the pockets were empty and I was still, in a word, clueless. I was wearing a matching jacket made from the same technologically advanced material, and though the heat beamed, I zipped up the jacket. Protection from the sun and sand was more important than a little sweat.
My feet sank deep into the shifting sand with every step. I stumbled, over dune after dune with no particular destination in mind.
After walking for what seemed like hours, I could see, what I assumed to be, a group of crudely constructed buildings in the far distance. My excitement grew as the buildings turned out to be actual solid objects and not simply symptoms of my oncoming madness from the extended exposure to the sweltering heat and complete lack of water. I picked up my speed and by the time the falling sun begins to touch the horizon; I was closing in on what looked to be some type of abandoned village, a ghost town. The collision of the Sun and Earth turned the world a brilliant color orange, setting the tone for the ominous showdown that was about to ensue.
By the time I hit the empty village the unbearable heat had done a complete 180 degrees turn and had suddenly become mind-numbingly cold, the only feeling of consistency was my unwavering thirst and the translucent orange tint that covered everything visible to the naked eye as the sun sank deeper behind the strange planet’s distant curving peak. I entered the ghost town in a frenzy. I stumbled clumsily through the dirt and grit of the small plot of civilization that someone, at some point in time, had probably considered a town. The scene was indeed desolate, to say the least. The air smelled heavily of abandonment, the buildings and city structures showed multiple signs of neglect. It seemed to not have been populated by a living soul in years, perhaps decades, there was no real way for me to know, but in my current state, It was safe to say I didn’t care. Banging on the first door I came across, I began frantically calling out for help and begging some unseen Samaritan for water. Though in my heart, I knew I truly expected no one to answer my call. More than anything I believe I was screaming only to say, once I died, that I did indeed fight desperately for my own survival. Sad I know.
I reached for the door handle of a small shabby hovel of wood and stone, only to find it tightly locked. This surprised me, and against my better judgment, a small glimmer of hope sparked from deep within my stomach. If someone thought to lock the door than that meant that that same someone had to be inside. I pressed my face against the smooth wood, it was warm! I heard the sound of shuffling feet on the other side, someone was there!
“Hey!” My voice cracked and trembled as my throat screamed for some type of moisture. “Is anybody there?! I-I was out in the desert; I just need some water, maybe something to eat! I-I-I can pay! Please, I have money!” I lied. I reached into my pockets to find nothing but lint, my main goal was to get that door open, the details, I figured, could be worked out after I avoided dying of thirst, hunger or hypothermia.
I begin to bang even harder. My life depended on it. “Hey! Open this door, are you going to let me freaking die out here! I’m asking you for help”
“Please,” a soft whimper came from the other side of the closed door. “Please go away, we can’t help you.”
“Is someone there?” the sound of another voice calmed my frantic pounding and yelling, it wasn’t until hearing the comfort of another sentient life form that I realized how lonely and afraid I had been, and now, how absolutely crazy I must have sounded. “Please, please, please I understand. I just need some water. I woke up in the desert alone, I’ve been walking for hours, just some water please that’s all I ask then I’ll leave you alone.”
The voice on the other side went quiet, the shuffling stopped. Perhaps a few seconds passed without a single sound from the other side of the door. I begin to wonder if I had imagined the shuffling, imagined the voice, I begin to panic, the feeling of dread and loneliness begin to set back in. The only thing worse than dying of thirst and starvation in the middle of nowhere is going insane before dying of thirst and starvation in the middle of nowhere. I began beating on the door again, determined to make the phantom voice appear once more. “Hey! Hey!” I screamed as loud as my voice would allow. “Are you still in there?”
“Please,” the phantom voice returned even softer than before “You have to be quiet, if I give you water do you promise to leave”
“Yes,” I responded without hesitation. Hell, at that point I would have agreed to anything, anything for the promise of water and to keep the voice from disappearing again. “I’ll leave, I promise just please, please give me some water.”
“Sister, no!” another voice from behind the door emerged.
“Be quiet, if he keeps banging and screaming he’ll attract them for sure, this is the only way.”
It wasn’t until I heard the other voice, which sounded distinctly like that of a young boy, that I was able to fully appreciate the gentleness and femininity of the phantom voice. It was a soothing and mellow sound, and for a moment I allowed its rhythmic melody to dance in my mind, focusing more on its beauty, as opposed to the actual words. As it turns out I should have been a lot more focused on the “them” and finding out exactly why they were so hell-bent on not “attracting” their attention. Regretfully now I admit, I did not.
Once again the shuffling stopped. The locks on the door began to unlatch themselves, slowly the door crept open, I breathed a sigh of relief, followed quickly and swiftly by a gasp of complete and utter horror.
The door opened slightly only to reveal an Ape standing behind it, slightly peeking out from around the edge of the door. And then, right before I could even let out a girlish scream of absolute terror, it spoke.
“Well, what are you waiting for, come in!” She spoke in a whisper. She? It was her, the phantom voice was the ape girl. The room began to spin, maybe it was the sudden drop in temperature, the lack of water, or whatever extenuating circumstance that brought me to this strange and terrible place, but my fragile mind had reached its breaking point, and right before my it passed into absolute oblivion, I managed to choke out the words
“You’re a monkey.” And with that, I begin a face-first descent into the cold hard wooden floor of the doorway. I passed out before I hit the ground.
To Be Continued…