No matter how much I try, I will never forget what I saw in that cave. The scientists had already done their digging and everything was as organized as it could be. To my surprise, people I had known from the past and from afar, were working with them. I didn’t know why but I never asked anything in detail, it was better if I was in the metaphorical dark. In the cave I was in the real dark, a humid place that appeared to be like a museum, at least in the first area I stepped in. It was a scary thing to do, entering that place, but I did it anyway.
Then, I saw him. It was very strange: he came up to me and said “Hi” and I answered. We knew each other but, deep in my being, I didn’t know from where or why. He seemed to stare at me to much, making me a bit uncomfortable. I tried not to look at him too much because he made me feel worried somehow. Then, another man appeared, one that was already leaving the cave. That one I knew very fast who he was: I had bought my ticket in from him and I think I don’t really have to explain what that’s supposed to mean.
We didn’t looked at each other for long, instead pretended to ignore one another. A kind girl I had known back in high school gave me a helmet and some protective goggles. I had to loosen them up a little bit because they were really tight around my head and I was already getting a headache from seeing two guys I had been intimate with in the same place. I suppose that didn’t really spoke very well of my behavior but, to be honest, I don’t really care how others perceive me as long as I’m able to get whatever it is that I want.
With the girl, I started to descend into the depths of the cave. I was getting more and more nervous because I knew what they had found there, I knew very well why I had come and it was because I wanted every single piece of the truth in my power. I wasn’t going to give up an ounce of the knowledge I had gathered along the years and I certainly wasn’t going to pull back from getting my hands on every piece of information I might need. I think everyone that knows me has that in their mind when they see me and, to be honest, I like it.
Julia, the girl who takes me deeper and deeper into the ground, doesn’t seem to care about any of that. She had always been so kind and respectful of everyone when we were in school together. She was a little bit like me: never excelled in anything, always been a very average student. However, she had it clear in her mind what she wanted to become: a renowned journalist. She worked her ass off for it and made it. Now she worked with this corporation because she thought she would get the first scoop on the story.
I got scared for the first time when I stepped on a rock covered in moss and I almost fell right in the hole they had made in the ground. Julia was very agile and managed to grab my hand in the almost dark, pulling me back afterwards in one go. She was stronger than I had imagined and now I understood why they had hired her. Maybe she had being trained, like all those other security guards that I had seen around the compound. They were like huge rocks, impossible to overcome. They weren’t even scary but massive.
We descended a little bit more until Julia took my hand and told me to let her lead, as there was a doorway built into the wall that lead into the space which I wanted to visit. After walking for a bit, we crossed a plastic curtain and then there was a very potent light. She told me to grab one of the hazmat suits that were hanging on hooks on the side of the tunnel and put it on as fast and as efficiently as I could. I don’t know why, but I started to shake a lot right there.
When I was done with suiting up, I realized she had been ready for a while. I couldn’t hear her and she couldn’t hear me. I guess the suits prevented even know from getting in or out. I felt strange, not very sure of what I was doing but I was already there and there was no turning back. Julia walked first and I followed her. The tunnel continued for, at least, fifty meters and then it opened up into another chamber in the cave system. Julia had a flashlight and made me realize how massive the space was. A building could have easily rested there.
Then, she grabbed my hand and indicated with her hands that she was going to be pointing the flashlight downwards. And then she seemed to ask something of me: to remain quiet. I didn’t really understand why she would do that sign. I did moments later when I didn’t obey her advice and screamed at the top of my lungs. It was the most awful thing I had ever seen and the image was now stuck in my head, in my eyes even. She pulled me out as fast as she could and, in what seem seconds later, we were on the entry point of the cave.
I ripped off my suit and decided not to listen to her orders or to anyone else. I dropped every piece of equipment as I walk straight to his office, to Michael’ office, the guy I had slept with in order to get in there. He wasn’t in the office. I started looking around for him but the small group of trailers that made up the camp next to the cave was not exactly a big one. There were not really many options to where he could have gone. I left the last pieces of the suit there, turning around as if going crazy.
Then, Alex came and grabbed me tight. He took me to one of the trailers and close the door. He was the guy I thought I knew but didn’t quite remember. When I saw his eyes from a close distance, I remembered him all right: Alex had been one of the guys in my life that I had to convince of things that weren’t real. That was my life and now he was in front of me again and the worst part was that he seemed to still think that everything that happened was true. But I wasn’t up for that, not then.
I asked him, before he could say anything, if he knew about the cave, if they all knew. He told me only a handful of people had gone down there. He hadn’t and neither had Michael. Only Julia and the group of scientists had been there but the rest of the crew in the camp knew exactly what was down there. I started crying. I couldn’t control myself. I told Alex that it was horrible and that I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I had wanted information and now that I had it, I didn’t know if I wanted it anymore or if I could do anything with it.
He held me in his arms, which were very strong, and I realized how nice it felt. Actually, I remembered how I had lied to him for a long time in order to get to another secret I was seeking. He knew who I was and, instead of trying to arrest me or something, he was hugging me and trying to make me feel better. We looked at each other’s eyes and I realized he was crying but I never got to know why that was. Someone was knocking on the door and Alex opened it. He got out and I got confused for a second and then I saw Michael coming in.
He closed the door behind him and demanded me to tell him what I had seen in the cave. I told him he knew exactly what I had seen and demanded his thugs to let me out of the camp. Michael smiled in the most awful and disrespectful way and told me that now I was theirs and that I had to work with them as a mean of payment for what I had seen. I told him he was insane if he thought I would tell anyone about what they were keeping underground. I would never be able to reveal such a secret to anyone a live unless I wanted to scare them for life.
He grabbed me by the arm and reminded me how I had thought I had used him to get inside that camp. Now, he was giving the orders and the most important one was that I wasn’t going to get out of there anytime soon. Then, I felt the most awful look all over my body. His eyes felt like the most awful medical devices, making me feel more than naked, almost violated. He got out of the trailer without even closing the door and I collapsed on my knees. My job, my life choices, had taken their toll on me and now I had become something I had never wanted to be: a prisoner. Basically, they had beaten me at my own game.