They run among the trees. The sirens sound like crazy warning of impending doom. On the downhill they see the last big canopy. A small door with thick glass gawps open like a dark mouth. They knew that the refuge was only for the elite of their world. Sheikhs, kings and multimillionaires had paid fortunes to close their places in underground communities around the world, which would ensure the survival of the select few. They assumed, however, that they were accompanied by their servants who would make their lives more pleasant and tolerable.
Daphne and Zoe had been informed by the local revolutionary group about the door that had been "forgotten" open by their own people who would come in to sabotage the project. It was a secret but Daphne had overheard it and Zoe was her best friend.
There was no one around. They stopped abruptly realizing that the sirens had died down. They listened to the sudden silence as a harbinger of evil. And suddenly the tension came back even louder. Screams and commotion, new intermittent sirens and frantic footsteps approaching struck them like a menacing wave. Zoe ran to the door while Daphne froze looking something to the left Zoe could not see. Her friend's face became a motionless mask of terror. She started shouting at her to get inside louder and louder but her voice was lost in the noise. A new fear flooded her as she felt the danger getting closer and closer. With an automatic movement she closed the glass door. She wanted to live and her instinct for survival had turned red. Then Daphne woke up abruptly from the source of her terror that had reached her. She ran to the door like crazy, while something was pulling her wildly, begging Zoe to open it for her. Zoe knew it was too late. She had to choose whether to let her friend die or whether she would die with her. Slowly and mechanically, seeing Daphne begging with her fingernails out of the frame, she pressed the button that closed the inner door, leaving everything outside. The sadness and pain of betrayal in Daphne's eyes was the last thing she saw before she returned with a frozen heart to her new life.
She is sitting alone in the small room of six square meters. A narrow bed with a hanger where she had all her clothes is all she can use. The property is forbidden to the servants, who washed in series in the common showers with water, which were cleaned again and again, and used the common chemical toilets, which used the already dirty water of the showers. Day and night were vague concepts in the shelter, since from the moment of the blockade there was no contact with the outside world. Most of the mechanisms were automated and the central computer had severed all connection with anything that did not belong inside. What Zoe knew was that there was only death and destruction out there. That the air and water were polluted and that, if there was anything moving, it was the monsters that radioactivity had created from the last humans. The thought alone of going out was considered treason and such a suspicion would do great harm to anyone who expressed it.
When Zoe had struggled to integrate into the enclosed society like another pawn on the chessboard, she did not initially realize what that meant. At the time of their exclusion from the rest of the world, the notion of human dignity was lost along with the blue sky. The central computer secured the shelters for the next four hundred years and nothing could enter or leave them for highest security reasons. The theory was that small detection teams would then be sent to see if they could return to the surface. The servants sold their lives and dignity for survival and put on their collars, while the Lords became unscrupulous in order to entertain the boring endless years ahead of them. All the servants wore the same clothes, which showed their role, and had to be available at all times of the twenty-four hour period. They were obliged to satisfy the ever-increasing demands of the Lords, who used them in every compatible or immoral way. All attempts to overthrow this situation resulted in sadistic punishments for example, which Zoe did not even want to think about.
She closed her eyes leaning back against the wall. She was tired of repeating meaningless days. And that was all she would ever had. There was no hope for any of them. Because, regardless of their role, everyone was imprisoned for life.
She had seen that dream again. Daphne's eyes as she closed her out of the shelter, growing larger looking at her soul. She wanted to speak, to apologize, but the voice did not come out. It reached up to her throat and became a desperate stranglehold. And, at that moment, suddenly, after years she could no longer count, she burst into a loud and relentless cry. All the nos and the whys came out to ask for their justification. She curled up in bed like a baby longing for everything she had never lived and would never live and for the first time blessed Daphne, who died a quick death, instead of her own slow martyrdom.
Daphne and Lefteris go hand in hand up to the clearing. The spring scents, the flowers and the laughter that came from the celebration area lifted their mood. In the first years after the shelters were sealed, everyone worked hard to rebuild their societies, which the rulers oppressed by force. But they never forgot to celebrate the anniversary of that day and today, ten years later and despite the various clouds that had begun to form due to the new wanna be masters of the new era, the celebration would be even greater. The children were already there rehearsing for the play and the benches were set up since morning. Many people went up the glade, next to the local shelter that had been covered by nature's touch. Grass and small white flowers now covered the once glossy surface.
Daphne turned to look but Lefteris shook her hand and hugged her.
"I know what you think every year this day", he told close to her ear. "But it was her choice to go with them. You tried to stop her. "
"But if she knew the plan? That all this was set up by the revolutionaries to trap our oppressors? That even their computer program was made by our own people to make sure they would not come to the surface again? She would never have done it! ” she whispered breathlessly.
Lefteris put her in front of him and looked at her. His green eyes shone in the sun.
"But you know it, and she proved it, we could not trust her. The more people knew about it, the greater the risk of getting it in the wrong ears. It had to be kept secret until the end. She was your friend but I loved her. The very next day, when all this was over, I would ask her to marry me. But she made her choice and, after suffering for a long time, I realized that the only woman for me was you who always supported me, even when you hurt yourself. One day we will have to overcome it and move on with our lives. ”
Behind him was the sealed tomb of the living dead, voluntarily imprisoned by their own fear.
"You are right, my love," she told him and hugged him gently while a strange smile formed on her face.
"Mom, Dad," Elpida and Orestes shouted happily when they saw them and ran towards them. Elpida, dressed as a flower with yellow petals around her head, and Orestes, a green Peter Pan in a pointed hat, four and five years old respectively, hugged their parents and began to pull them to show them their artistic creations.
At the time when everyone was united with the people, Daphne turned back to the green shelter and thought: “And yet, I knew you loved her! That's why I became her friend and that's why I filled her mind and heart with fear for the impending catastrophe, before playing the role that marked the lives of all of us forever."