Last of the Knowers

“Every dog has its day,” Jim thought to himself, as he clutched the bowl and began to partake just as Rot would have, with a scarfing suction followed by grunts and belches, just after washing the slime all down with that rough brewed beer he had long come accustomed to. He finished the meal and guardingly strolled out of the compound and back in the direction of the consolidated living quarters.

Just as he was cleared back into the dam, alarms blasted, sounding from every speaker-mounted post along the great wall. He knew instantly and exactly that those sirens were meant for him, but he needed to follow through with the plan that might well determine the ending of his being or his unexpected living through it… No regrets!

At the end of the quarters was the great wall of the dam… “This is it! The guards have discovered Rot’s body. Now it’s time,” What he had feared – expected – was happening. It overtook him, but he acted on it just to his plan. Now he wondered if he would live through it. It just did not matter in his staleness. His life was no life anyway, just in his being there. Jim began his race, faster than the beating heart heaving through his chest. Feet slamming to the cement trackway and the weight of the thigh-taped stolen power source canisters ripped away at his muscles with the jolt of each hammered foot. He realized that in his run he was being witnessed by the city citizens and surveillance drone alike. They would notify the enforcers and them their dogs. If luck would have it, might he be one step ahead of them all? He counted on those very witnesses and the drone, to complete his plan – they could witness and relay his method of debarkation of the quarters.

In his desperate run, he anticipated the drones and understood their timing, and the way he would be sensed. Jim was in a literal run for his life, either way it went. With desperation, his plan was closing with the hammered slam of each foot. There just before him was the last retaining obstacle; the stub of the high dam wall overlooking the deep roaring river below. The drone lifted in turn, in its following attempt to catch its quarry, Jim had no way of knowing that it was there above and just at his left behind him.

“Can I get there in time?” He asked himself. “Or would this be it – all over before the starting?” One, two…. Three more feet. He hurled himself with a leaping thrust, unthinking, up and over the short rim wall guard and off the towering structure of concrete and steel Container City dam. He hit hard, one third of the way down, glancing like a skipping rock across a pond’s smooth surface, yet not so smooth or gentle the impact. His ribs jolted with pain in his slam and hide was removed from his left forearm, but he had to beat the scout drone locking in. His descent to the black abyss was his ascent into the unknown – possibly freedom – at the same moment. Skipping like a stone on the surface all the way down, his skin only saved by the outward flow of jetting, lubricating water flowing from the dam which also speeded his plummet into the black, dark water below. He slammed into the throaty deep wash of the overflow, pulled down to what seemed to him a hundred feet more. The black, turbulent rolling water seemed to suck him back down, over and over, several times.

Jim held his total life breath, fighting to find and breach the surface. Direction was just a guess – and luck. The whole fight, he was frantically removing his clothing, in a turmoil of panic and darkness, while hanging onto the suit for dear life. He cleared the surface with struggle and relief, frantically removing clothing and gasping for air. As he struggled to remember just how his suit had appeared to be installed through the pictured instructions found and studied within the vault, bullets plunged into the water above from the one lone scout drone that honed onto him. With speed in his fingertips and practiced memory from the dozens of time he had studied the instructions, he managed to don the suit with his last possible breath.

The suit hiding him from the drone, and his lungs creating new life within, he had somehow beaten the odds placed against him; inconceivable, yet achievable. As impossible as it was, he had done it.

Thus far.