My breathing was really heavy and I almost couldn’t move after pulling myself out of that lake full of tar or petroleum. I had no idea what it was and I wasn’t going to find out by staying there. The people that had dropped me there to kill me had already gone and the night was very dark in this part of the world. I wasn’t in the city anymore, I was somewhere where water was very highly contaminated and the birds didn’t even sing. As I cleaned myself with my hand and some big leaves of a tree, I realized the substance was very oily so it had to be petroleum. Walking was the worst as I couldn’t move properly but I made the effort any way because I didn’t want to stay there through the night. I walked for an hour until I saw some lights and ran towards them.
The lights became brighter and there were so many I couldn’t even count them all. They lit a huge factory with chimneys on top and suddenly I realized that place was the source of all the pollution. That was the place I had tried to shut down but many people were not at all interested in that. Money flowed from that factory and all because of the oil the tankers brought from the sea. I had been there and I had seen the platforms, horrible places were people that had nothing to lose decided to win their living. Those were not factories but prisons filled with heavy warmth and an awful smell. Needless to say, you couldn’t see a bird or any other animal near those places. Even they knew those places meant death.
Instead of asking for help in the factory, I went the other way, following the road the trucks used to gain access to it. In no time, I was in the main road and a nice old lady picked me up. But there was more to her than what met the eye. I hadn’t called her and I would never use auto-stop, as the country was too dangerous for that sort of thing. I hopped into the backseat and we didn’t say a word until she left me in front of my home, an hour later. I just said “Thank you” and she just nodded. She was called Delilah and had been my friend for a long while but we never really spoke about our lives or anything like that. She had saved my life once and that was enough for us to become friends.
Delilah had been married and had too sons and a daughter but they lived far away and she didn’t really care about them coming into her life again. She had raised them well, done her job and that’s all she was interested in. When I went up to my apartment, I wasn’t very shocked to see that every single object in my home was on the floor. Broken, torn apart or just laying there, all my life was on the floor. They had come here, maybe as they drugged me and dumped me in that thick lake, and destroyed everything. My backup files, all stores in hard drives, had been stolen and my computer was just a bunch of metal on my desk. But I had more backups so I didn’t really care about the state of things.
I went through my ripped clothes and destroyed drawers. I grabbed some things that no one would care to take away like my mother’s wedding ring or my parent’s picture I kept in a book. They were my link to them because I wasn’t the type of person that was into graveyards or however you want to call them. I just liked to talk to their picture and tell them what I was up to then. I had always been the rebellious kind of kid and I knew they would be so worried about me. My mother would asked me if I had a way to clean myself and brush my teeth and my dad would remind me to check my body for bruises in the shower. Somehow, he said, the body bumps into things and you never realize it until it’s too late.
They were the only two people in the world I cared about. They had died years before and now I was all alone, fighting against something that was bigger than me and that any other human being. I was trying to bring a corporation down and, although I had some friends like Delilah, none would be so much into this cause as I was. I had invested my life in investigating; taking advantage of my position in society to bring everyone involved in this down and now my life had an expiration date. What I couldn’t understand was why they had dropped me in that pond and not shot me or something. Were they cowards or was that their style? I don’t know and, honestly, I have no idea if I want to know.
Proof. That’s what, supposedly, justice wants from me in order to apprehend the people that have cause so much misery and despair around the world. Because this city is just a piece of the whole puzzle. I have traveled the world and seen children drown in similar ponds to the one they wanted to use to kill me. Huge factories built just next to all the little and rattled houses that people have built with their effort and suffering. There’s nothing quite like misery because it’s brutal and forces you into the real world. It makes you see how more than half of the world lives their lives and that has the capacity to shock anyone that has feelings or even just a pair of good old eyes.
I was the kind of person you would find in high society events, whether they happened in a club or in a yacht, in the Riviera or a penthouse in Paris. I was always there and I had been educated to know what to do, how to talk and who to be “friends” with. Because even then, I was friends with no one. My family knew that I hated all of it but that I did it for them because they were all too important in society. Every man and woman wanted to have my attention because they knew who I was. But they weren’t interested in knowing anything more than the amount of money I could give them or what I could show off to them. It was very pathetic.
It was the day my parents died when I knew how vicious that society I had been feeding could be. The day of their burial, no one was there but me and a couple of people that were too afraid the ghosts of my parents would pull their legs as they slept. Cowards. They never moved a finger when I was being dragged through the mud, laughed at for everything I did to help people that had no way of helping themselves. None of those high and mighty people had any heart or soul. They only cared about profit and making their wallets and bank account even more filled with money. They cut every single link to my parents company and I had to save what I could before they tore it apart completely. My parents weren’t being stupid: they had left me enough for me to keep on living in peace for many years.
I moved fro my former neighborhood, which helped me exterminate many bad feelings I had for all those people. I didn’t want to hate them so I just disappeared from their lives and asked them to disappear from mine. They heard me, at least that time, and I have to say I lived a very good year after that. I was teaching and I was helping the people I had met so many years before. But nothing can be as perfect forever. Life has a way to even out and that’s exactly what happened. I discovered the contamination of several national parks both in the sea and the land as well as contracts between oil companies and banks in order to make the economic system fall to their feet. That wasn’t a difficult thing to do.
This world, after all, is not built on solid ground. Our society was built by greedy men that only thought of their profit in that moment of time but had no interest, or very little, in the future. People were not aware of how easy it was to influence the stock market in order to benefit a certain country or a certain type of company. I have to confess that when I discovered it all, I felt sick to my stomach and I felt guilty because I was part of the problem. I was the kind of person that complains but never does anything. I was the kind of person that things their ideas should be implemented and then I would go and have cocktails with my friends.
I’m not saying people shouldn’t have fun. I only think we should all be more aware of what happens around us. How people in power use us to get there and never recall what the promises that were made were all about. Politicians are rotten because the whole system is in decay. I thought this to my students: the economic and political system of our western society cannot last for a thousand years. In one moment, everything will stumble because that’s what nature does. It has to keep changing in order to stay alive and nowadays, nature is slowly dying and we cannot do anything anymore. It’s too late for the world and now we have to pay the consequences of our ignorance.
I help because I need to. Because I still feel guilty. Because I don’t have anything else to do. When I went back home, I put everything that hadn’t been torned apart into a suitcase. I grabbed it all and left for the place where I hid part of my archives. Those were not all but I didn’t need them all, not all the copies. I needed even more copies until the world decided to wake up and listen to what the planet had to say. After I picked up the information, Delilah came for me and took me to a city four hours away. It was the first time we actually chatted. And it felt good.