“Red Cells”

Nick Perzanoski

All rights reserved by the author

 

Part 1: Life in the hands of the Red

 

   “Bleep, bleep, bleep, bleep,” the alarm clock in Jack’s room sounded off at four in the morning.  Today was usually his day off, but he had been called the previous day by the Red officer in charge of disposal to come in due to “a change in the work force.”  Groggily, Jack crawled out of bed, rubbed the short brown hair on his head, and threw on his work-issued one-piece jumpsuit uniform made of denim.  He searched around his room, stumbling, looking for a light to turn on.  When he finally found the light switch he flicked it on and squinted at the bright glow that emanated from the wall.  He observed the room he was in and realized that it was not his own.  Searching his memory for what he had done, his eyes stopped upon a half naked woman underneath the sheets and blankets.  Sighing to himself, Jack pulled a fifty dollar bill from one of his zipper pockets and left it on the bedside table.  With the light switched off and the door closed behind him, Jack left block 241 and headed for work.

   On his way, Jack’s mind was filled with useless thoughts.  He wanted to be at home and finally rest his body after not having had a day off for more than two weeks. He was allowed one day off every three weeks. Exhausted and getting angrier by the minute because of the “change in the work force”, he had to work.  Only a block away from his job, Jack witnessed one of the daily public executions.  As he got closer he could hear what they were saying.

   “Do you know what you are guilty of,” the executioner dressed in Red garb questioned. 

The prisoner was silent. 

“You have been found guilty of conspiracy against the Red government which calls for immediate execution.”

 Once again, the prisoner was silent.

 “Are you listening to me, you piece of shit,” the executioner inquired with a snarl, pulling the prisoner up from his knees and looking into his eyes. 

The prisoner stared back and spit right into the Red’s face, sending saliva dripping down his jacket.  “The Blue will overcome the Red! Long live democracy!” 

The executioner punched the prisoner in the side of the jaw, sending him reeling backward against a wall.  Then, out of a holster attached to the executioner’s belt, he pulled out a pistol and shot a bullet straight through the prisoners kneecap, discharging blood and bone fragments.  At the drop of his thumb, the executioner gave the firing squad the go-ahead.  Amid the fireworks of gunshots, Jack went back on his way to work. 

   Although he showed up five minutes early, Jack got reamed for not being there earlier.  The officer in charge said that he “should be ten minutes early next time.” 

“They are never satisfied with anything, ever,” Jack thought to himself, quickly getting to work.            

Jack worked as a disposal unit, but not in the disposal of trash and other items usually thrown away.  He worked in the disposal of human bodies.  People who have died of natural causes, or have been murdered, end up in the hands of Jack Krauzer.  When Jack receives them, they are in what the disposal units call “burn bags.”  These bags full of human remains are thrown into a giant furnace and burned to ash, then anything that’s left is dumped into the deepest part of the ocean.  Jack does not particularly like his job, but he is treated better than most of the Blue workers.  He has also worked his way up the ranks to be able to work at the disposal unit which is on the subterranean level of the main Red headquarters.  Here, the bodies that are burned are used as fuel for heating and back up electricity when needed.    

   Jack continued his ten hour day, punched out, and immediately went home.  He had to eat quickly because he had a mandatory meeting to attend.  Jack shoved some leftovers from a few nights ago into his microwave and then down his throat.  He took off his jumpsuit and put on the normal, unadorned clothing of the Blue society.  He had lived in Paris 4.1 his entire life and not once could he remember a time that he wore anything but the dull outfit that he had on.  In fact, he couldn’t even remember a time when he had actually left Paris 4.1.  His entire life had been based around work and nothing else.

 On his way out of block 562, Jack picked up several books with some notes.  With all of his things in hand, Jack raced out of his block.

   Jack walked all the way to the city where his meeting was to take place.  He came to a street with an Army Recruit Station on the corner and took a right.  He began getting to the sketchy part of the city with its dimly lit street lights, condemned buildings, and countless numbers of bums and junkies.  When he reached a half torn down billboard on top of a building on his right that read “Secede or you will be succeeded,” he looked to the opposite side of the street to find an alleyway. 

Jack looked around cautiously and noticed there was nobody in sight.  He walked calmly down the alleyway until he reached a bum sitting next to a dumpster that said, “Hey, you wanna buy me somes alceehol?” 

Jack looked the bum straight into the face and said, “Only when Blue overcomes Red.” 

At that moment, the bum stood up and unlocked the top of the large dumpster next to him and lifted the top.  Jack looked inside and found a set of stairs leading beneath the ground. 

Jack turned to the bum and said, “Jeez, Bill, they have you doing this now?” 

At that the bum said, “Yup, but it’s ok. I like to help out wherever I can.  Go ahead in.  Everyone is waiting.” 

Jack gave a smirk and a quick thank you and made his descent into the subterranean. 

Jack came to the bottom of the stairs and looked down the long hallway that lay in front of him.  At the opposite end of the hallway was a large, dead-bolted, steel door.  When he reached it, a small sliding window opened up and a large, menacing man peered through. 

“What do you want?” the guard inquired. 

Jack looked up to the window and repeated, “The Red is the scum of the Earth that shall be purged by the Blue.”

   At that there were sounds of the man unlocking the steel door and turning the handle.  Jack was allowed in and welcomed.  “Now that you’re here, we can finally call this meeting into session.”

   Jack fixed the collar of his shirt, cracked his neck on both sides, and opened another door in the room he had just entered.  He stepped through the doorway and looked around at the five hundred blank faces staring back at him.  Jack stepped up to a podium which stood at the front of the room and began to speak.

“Welcome, everyone. Thank you for returning here and aiding our cause.  I know that being here is putting every single one of you in danger, so I would just like to let you know that you are greatly appreciated.  All of us here believe in the power of the Blue and the evil of the Red.  I personally believe that we should act, sooner instead of later, to bring down these Red bastards.  The Reds have been in power for too long and the longer we wait, the more powerful they are going to get.  We are all in charge of our revolution, our future, and the outcome of our children’s future.  We are all strong-willed people with the power to overcome any obstacles.  The only thing left to do is fight. We need to alert the other underground Anti-Red communities and we need to fight as Blue versus Red.  Our time is now!” 

Jack’s inspirational speech riled up his audience and sent a burst of cheers throughout the room.  As Jack stood at the front of the room smiling, he knew that things were going to change. He knew that he could have an army in his power in an instant, and that the future of the Blue society lay in his hands.  As thrilled as he was by this, he was overcome with worry because he knew that this task was not going to be an easy one.  In fact, it would be hardest thing he would ever have to face.

Part 2: The Revolution

Several weeks had passed and Jack and the rest of the Anti-Red society had been constructing a plan of action to bring down the Red empire.  Each night after every person had finished working during the day, everyone would arrive at the secret underground headquarters and brainstorm ideas until early in the morning, only allowing them between two and three hours of sleep a night.  Jack just wanted their plan to go smoothly.  After nights and nights of grueling insomnia, Jack and the rest of the Blues had completed the plans for “Operation Purple.” They had amassed all of the weapons they could get their hands on, completely mapped out where and when each action was to be executed, and communicated with the other Anti-Red societies.  It was that final night of planning that Jack went back home and said to himself, “The future begins now.”

The minute Jack arrived back at his block he passed out in his bed and slept for as long as he possibly could.  He had to get up and work that next morning, but he knew he could fit in a good five hours of sleep.  This sleep was crucial to him because “Operation Purple” commenced at fourteen hundred hours the next day. 

As on a usual day, Jack awoke to his alarm clock, put on his work-issued jumpsuit and began his stroll to the “crematory” as it was called for obvious reasons.  He arrived at the crematory ten minutes early as he was instructed by the Red officer several weeks earlier.  He started his work as if nothing unusual was going on and continued receiving bodies to throw into the fire pits.  Jack by this point was completely unfazed by the work that he does anymore.  In between the dumping of bodies into the fire pits, Jack frequently checked the clock to see what time it was, anticipating the start of the revolution.  Eleven, twelve, one, then finally, two o’clock hits. 

“And so it begins…” Jack said with a deep breath.

“Hey! What are you doing over there? Did I say that you could take a break?” The officer paused for a moment and Jack had nothing to say. “I didn’t think so. Now get back to work before I make you get back to work,” the officer flared.  “It looks like we have big load coming in, get ready to prepare and toss in around one hundred bodies.  The truck is pulling around right now.  Apparently it was a good day of killing.  That’s what I like to see.”  The officer left the room to sign the papers for the new truckload of bodies.

   All of the bodies were brought in by Blue workers and dumped into a pile next to the pit.  One of the workers looked up at Jack and gave him a wink and a hand signal which the Red officer didn’t notice.  When this small amount of communication was conveyed, Jack picked up one of the fire pokers and hid it behind his leg as he walked toward the officer in charge.  Jack snuck up behind him, raised the steel poker above his head, and landed a crippling blow to the officer’s neck.  The snapping of three different places in his vertebrae sounded like a man walking on a pile of dry sticks. 

   As the officer lay helpless on the floor, Jack began unzipping the “burn bags” with the bodies that had just been brought in.  None to his surprise, live humans began crawling out of every opened bag, each wielding a pistol and a semi-automatic weapon.  One of the soldiers tossed Jack a gun and an ankle blade.

   Quickly, Jack undressed the dead officer, replaced the Red suit with his jumpsuit, packed the officer’s body into one of the “burn bags” and threw him into the fire pit.  Jack looked around at his fellow Blue and gave the order to proceed as planned.

   The Blue soldiers lined the sides of the doorway that Jack stood in front of.  As the soldiers looked to him for more orders, Jack gave the three, two, one, hand signal and on one kicked in the door, ready for anything that awaited him on the other side.  As he peered through the doorway, a Red officer at the end of the hall was yelling something that Jack couldn’t make out.  Jack raised his pistol, aimed steadily, and shot a bullet straight through the officer’s heart.  As he dropped to his knees, Jack sent another whizzing through the center of his forehead and out the back spraying blood and brain matter all over the wall behind him. 

   The one hundred Blue soldiers from the bags funneled into the room and followed behind Jack, checking every corner as they continued through hallway.  Jack got to the end of the hallway and checked both ways.  It was clear, which Jack found to be suspicious.  As he drew closer to a door that read “Red Barracks”, he could hear voices coming from inside.  He peered through the window on the door and noticed three other doors inside the room, each with two armed guards standing on either side.  Apart from the guards, there were also what appeared to be scientists busily working on computers, each computer monitoring a different part of the city. 

   Jack briefed his troops on the situation at hand and then made sure that all the soldiers braced themselves for what was to come.  This door was much heavier than the last which forced them to use a small amount of putty explosives to detach the door from the wall.  The putty exploded, sending pieces of cement and steel flying through the air and allowing the Blue soldiers to infiltrate the room. 

“What the fu..?!” the Red soldiers exclaimed confusedly.  The Red soldiers released a powerful wave of bullets through the front line of the Blue, mowing them down like helpless blades of grass.  Pools of blood began to expand, filling a good portion of the floor. 

The scientists that had been in the room dove to the sides, sheltering their heads with their arms from any airborne debris.

One of the Blue soldiers fired an exploding round into one of the Red guard’s stomachs, forcing him to look down.  By the time he looked up, the round exploded leaving a gaping hole in the guard’s torso.  One of the exploded guard’s ribs flew out and pierced one of the other guards through the eye socket causing him to drop his weapon and, consequently, falling to the floor. 

   At this point, Jack had taken cover behind a desk as a severed hand landed in front of him.  He stood up and took three shots at one of the guards that stood alone; one to the shoulder, one to the stomach, and the other straight between the eyes.  Lifeless, the guard’s body dropped to floor into a pool of blood.

Jack got up one more time to find that all the guards had been killed, along with a good fifteen Blue soldiers which lay on the floor bleeding from numerous bullet wounds.  He looked around the room surveying the damage, noticing a lot of fizzling computers and smoking electronic equipment.  Jack also noticed that the scientists had also been killed in the fire fight.

Proceeding with plans, Jack scrutinized the doors in the room and decided to choose the one that seemed to be the most secure.  First Jack tried to open it by hand and realized that it was securely locked.  He then ordered one of the Blue soldiers to cover the door with putty explosive.  The soldier followed orders and everyone stepped back as a plume of white smoke appeared with a bang.  As the smoke cleared, Jack noticed that the explosives did absolutely nothing to the door.  Frustrated, he decided to rummage through the bodies of the guards and hopefully find some sort of key. 

Nothing in the first body.  Nothing in the second body.  Finally, in the third body he managed to find a keycard among all of the entrails and other severed, bloody body parts. 

Jack took the keycard and slid it into the keycard reader on the door.  A series of beeps and other noises occurred, but then a green light appeared above the door, causing it to slide open.

“That was way too easy,” Jack concluded.  “I don’t get it.  There’s nothing even in this room.”  The room was completely dark, empty, and gigantic.  It was the size of a theater inside. 

All of a sudden, a light flickered on from the ceiling directly in the middle of the room onto a ladder that spanned the entire length from the floor to the ceiling.  Jack was thoroughly confused by this point.  Puzzled, Jack approached the ladder.

   As he looked up, a hatch opened up in the ceiling, allowing an even brighter light to escape.  Jack told all of the soldiers in his command to stay behind and keep watch as he climbed the ladder to the top.  When he reached the room above the ladder, it took several minutes for his eyes to adjust to the bright light which filled it. 

“Hello, Jack,” a voice from behind him welcomed.

Jack turned around to have his eyes meet with an elderly man that was sitting in a black velvet armchair.  “What the hell is this? And who the hell are you?” Jack questioned.

“We were wondering how long it would take someone to reach us.  Actually, you’ve surprised us Jack.  We didn’t expect any of you down there to reach us for quite some time.”

Jack was getting more and more perplexed by the second. “Wait, what are you talking about? I don’t understand.”

   “We’ve been watching you, Jack.  We knew that you would be the first to reach us because you had the strongest will out of anyone from below.  What we don’t understand is how you inspired all of these people to join you,” the voice continued.

   “I gave them hope.  Most of those people down there had no futures, no individual thoughts, no one to look up to.  I gave them a little hope, they trusted me and now we’re here and we’re pissed. I answered your question, now answer mine: What the f**k is going on?!!” Jack said raising his voice irritably.

   “Ok Jack, here it is. You, everyone down there with you, the Blues and Reds; everyone down there is just part of a giant government experiment.  We placed two different “races” of people down in Paris 4.1, as we decided to call it, one inferior race and one superior race.  We incited in each of the race’s minds that one was better than the other.  This caused the one race to gain an incredible amount of power and control over the other.  Now, our experiment, which has been ongoing for over forty years, was to observe each of the races individually and monitor their progress with time.  We wanted to find out how long it would take the inferior race to build up enough hatred before they exploded and revolution ensued.  Jack, you should be proud.  You finished ahead of all our hypotheses and statistics.  You’re truly revolutionary.” The elderly man finished his explanation and sat in silence.

Jack’s head began to ache and all of his muscles gave out.  As he fell to the floor, memories and thoughts were rushing through his brain creating an even stronger pain.  “All those people…so many dead…and for what?” Jack questioned himself.  Jack breathed heavily, trying to gain control of his senses.  Then an abrupt burst of rage rushed through Jack’s body, bringing him to his feet. Jack felt for his pistol and held it to the man’s head.  A look of fright was frozen in the man’s face as Jack fired a single bullet through the man’s brain.

   Jack went back down through the hole in the floor and closed and locked the hatch behind him.  As Jack reached the room with all of his troops, one soldier asked, Well?”

Jack replied, “There was nothing up there but a few computers, let’s keep moving…”

  

   ©2005 by the author