“Put your right hand on the podium, please,” said a polite voice.
I slowly looked up to see a tall, pale faced man with black almond shaped eyes tapping his foot on the white, squared tile behind an all-white podium.
“Ma’am, may you please put your right hand on the podium,” He repeated.
“Where… am … I?” I slowly asked looking around and seeing people waiting in a long line.
“Ma’am, I need you to put your hand on the podium,” urged the pale faced man in a stern tone.
I raised my eyebrow as I rapidly looked down at my grey, baggy jumpsuit then looked up back at the weird man.
“Where is Thomas?” I asked looking around at the many people in the long line behind me.
“Ma’am,” said the voice in a stern tone and a cocked head. “That does not matter now, just put your right hand on the podium and all the questions will be answered shortly.”
“I want to know right now where my son is,” I exclaimed shaking my head.
“Ma’am you are really testing my patience,” said the pale faced man rubbing the side of his cheek. “Now either you are going to put your right hand on the podium or we are going to do it for you.”
I squinted my eyes and looked around at the various people staring at me in in the line, but none of them were my Thomas.
“Ma’am,” said the man.
I looked back to see the man’s face changing from a blanched white to a salmon pink.
“I am going to ask you one last time,” commanded the man. “Put your right hand on the podium.”
“I don’t give a fuck what you asked me,” I said looking into the man’s demonic eyes. “I want to know where my fucking son is.”
The man’s face suddenly turned back to his normal color, and his mouth slowly opened to show all of his straight edge, perfectly aligned teeth from one corner of his cheek to the other.
“What the fuck are you looking at?” I asked looking up and down at him. “You fucking heard me, where is my god dam—-“
My face suddenly kissed the podium as I could hear the man giggling.
“I told you that was your last chance,” he said.
I sucked up as much blood in my mouth as I could as my hands were grabbed behind me.
“Give me your hand,” commanded a voice behind me
I shook my head.
“Give me your damn hand,” he yelled.
I slowly looked up at the man behind the podium covering his mouth to not expose his smile.
“Okay, I see you’re not going to make this easy,” said the voice behind me.
I closed my eyes as my nose hit the podium. I tried to stay stiff as he was pulling my right hand from behind my back. Unfortunately, with a few minutes and abundance of strength the mysterious man won the battle, and put my hand on the podium. He released my head at the exact point where the pale, ugly man grabbed a glowing needle and put it into my veins. My uncontrollable screaming did not cause the weird man to bat an eyelash. I closed my eyes as my veins turned a neon yellow color. Sweat dripped down my face as my entire body felt like it was on fire. The pressure suddenly left my arms as I fell onto the white tiled floor. I turned to the various people in line staring at me and whispering to one another.
“He…. He,” I kept uttering as everyone in the line continued to stare.
“She’s ready,” said the blanched man.
I looked up to see two guards walked towards me and grabbed both of my arms.
“He… Hel,” I murmured as everyone stared in confusion as to what was happening and about to happen to them.
I was lead down the hallway with dull, white walls, cement floors, and a humming sounds from the fluorescent lights that were above us. One guard grabbed both of my arms as the other slowly opened two big, black double doors. As the door opened a bright light flashed before my face only to reveal two men dressed in beige robes standing next to a black chair.
“Come forward, please,” said one of the men.
The guards lead me inside the room as I heard a loud boom of the door closing behind me.
“She can sit down now,” said one of the men in a beige robe.
The guards walked me over to the chair, sat me down, and then simultaneously stood by the double doors.
One beige clothed men walked behind the chair while the other pinned my hands down on the arm seat and put a black belt across it and looped it into a lock. My whole body trembled as I suddenly heard a grinding sound close to my head. I looked up to see the other man with clippers in his hand.
“Don’t touch me,” I commanded.
“Ma’am, I have to do this.” responded the man. “I am just following orders.”
I squirmed in my seat screaming and repeating the phrase, “You are not going to fucking touch me.”
“Ma’am,” said the man who restrained me to the chair. “You will have to stay still or else he will cut you, and I cannot do anything if he does that.”
“I don’t care.” I screamed squirming in my seat and moving my head.
“I see we will have to restrain you,” said one of the men.
“You’re not going to fucking touch me,” I exclaimed.
The man who was in front of me walked towards the closet and grabbed a collar made of steel with rods rising out of the top of the neckline and bent at the ends of the poles.
“Lift her head, please,” said the man holding the collar.
The man holding the clipper lifted my head a few inches away from the chair.
“Leave me alone!” I screamed. “Please, leave me alone.”
Sweat ran down my face as the collar was getting closer to my neck.
“Please, just leave me alone,” I begged.
As the collar got closer I closed my eyes and let the remaining tears fall from my face. The cold feeling of the steel possessed my neck and stabbed my collar bone.
“Okay, you may continue,” said the man looking at the other worker.
“Please, just let me go,” I urged. “I would give you everything I have.”
The men ignored my plea as I heard the humming of the clippers above my head. I tried to squirm in my seat, but my neck hurt even more when I moved. My blood was boiling as I realized that I had no choice, but to surrender. I just stared at the ground as clumps of my hair fell aimlessly on the floor.
“Why are you doing this to me? “ I murmured.
“Because I have to,” whispered the worker cutting my hair.
I closed my eyes and imagined me looking out the rear mirror to see my son is in his car seat rocking his small, formless head. He loves watching the Eagles sour across the Mississippi river then back into his view. He kicks my seat in a running motion causing all the clothes that were covering the cushion to fall down. I pictured him uttering the only words he could say, which is mamma.
“She’s done,” said one of the workers, while turning off the clippers.
I opened my eyes to see one of the workers grab my neck and push it forward in order to remove the removed the collar. One of the workers held my shoulders as the other knocked on the door. The door opening gave me goosebumps as the guards took me out of the room and back down the narrow hallway. We quickly stopped by another cold, bland room. The only difference with this chamber had at least five people sitting on the benches with freshly shaved heads, baggy uniforms, and neon colored veins. They were hurriedly looked at each other while rubbing their wrist. I was very confused as to why they looked so dismayed at each other as if they were surprised that we all looked the same. The group continuously looked up and down at each other in disbelief as if they just realized they were all human.
“Excuse me,” I said. “Does anyone know why we’re here?”
Everyone looked towards me with their mouths opened and ready to utter a sound. Unfortunately, we heard the door open. We quickly turned to see a handsome man with high cheek bones and thin lips walk slowly into the room. He never says his name or his title, but I will call him Tailor since he wore a tailored suit and a red tie.
“Hello, everyone,” Tailor said waving his hand in the air and grinning. “How is everyone’s day?”
The room was silent as we all looked down at our glowing wrist then back up at the man.
“Well, look like we have a silent bunch, which is fine,” said Tailor. “Well, I will just get to the point since we got things to do and we all want to go home.”
My ears perked up.
“In a few moments you will go into the court room.” Explained Tailor.
Everyone suddenly started yelling out questions.
“Quiet,” yelled the man. “As long as you all are patient everything will be explained to you.”
The room was suddenly filled the humming of the fluorescent lights above us as we waited for the handsome man to speak.
“Please look down at your wrist,” explained the man in a calm manner. “Everyone’s wrist is a different color. The judge will call you by your color and you will quickly come toward the bar for your case to be heard. Please, come as quick as you can to the bar. You will not look the judge in the eye. Also, you will speak when spoken to. If anyone does not follow these rules they will be punished accordingly. Please remember the quicker we can get through this process the quicker we can get out of here.”
I looked around the room at everyone either raising their eyebrows or shrugging their shoulders.
“Where are we?” someone yelled.
Tailor held his hands and looked down at the floor.
“To be really honest even if I give you the name of this place you will still not understand where you are,” Tailor explained. “Unfortunately, you will soon find out without me even explaining.”
“I don’t understand how we even got here,” I blurted out.
“You were chosen,” Tailor said nodding his head.
“Why were we chosen?” I asked cocking my head.
Tailor crossed his arms and looked back at the ground.
“Ma’am, I do not mean to be blunt, but you all know why you are here,” said Tailor.
I raised one eyebrow.
“I really don’t,” I said in a confusing tone.
“Yes you do,” responded Tailor. “And if you do not remember we will tell you in moment.”
“Sir, do you know where a four year old boy named Thomas Mayfield is?” I asked.
“No, ma’am, I’m sorry,” Tailor said.
My stomach felt like is was turning inside out as I closed my eyes in order to stop the tears from running down my face.
“Sir,” I said slowly as my voice cracked. “I really need to find my son.”
I put my face onto my lap as tears ran down my face onto my jumpsuit. I suddenly felt someone rubbing my back.
“I totally understand, ma’am,” said the man. “But I promise you the quicker we can get this process over with the quicker you will be able to find out your son.
I looked up to see Tailor rubbing my shoulders and looking into my eyes.
“I promise you,” whispered the man.
I nodded my head as I rubbed the remaining tears from my eyes.
The man walked out the door as everyone looked at either the wall or each other hoping time past by fast enough where we could get out of this tiny room.
We finally got our wish as a loud boom caused everyone’s head to turn towards the door. Three guards walked into the room and looked at everyone single one of us in the eye.
“Rise,” commanded one of the guards.
We did what we were told.
“Form a line,” said the other guard.
Again, we did what were commanded. The guards lead us down the narrow hall way to the court room. We sat down behind the bar. A few moments later the door opened.
“Look down at the ground!” yelled a guard.
I hurriedly looked down at the ground then slowly moved my eyes were I could see a man walking toward the bench in a black cloak.
“What did I just say?” said the guard. “Look at the fucking ground.”
My body shivered as I looked back to the ground.
“Hello everyone,” said a familiar voice.
I peeked my head up to Tailor walking toward us.
“Now, we can begin,” said the man taking a deep breathe. “Red.”
I stared in confusion.
“Red,” Tailor repeated. “Who is fucking red?”
Everyone either stared at him or the floor.
“Come on people it’s not that hard,” exclaimed Tailor, “Look down at your wrists and if you’re Red step forward.”
Everyone looked down at their wrists to see what color they were. Slowly, someone stepped forward to the bar.
“Finally,” said Tailor rolling his eyes and pointing at a desk. “Sit here, please”
The person followed Tailor’s orders while looking at the ground.
“Alright, we are ready to begin,” said Tailor walking towards the judge.
“Guilty,” said the judge in an authoritative tone.
“What?” said Red slowly raising his head.
“Don’t you dare look at the judge,” yelled Tailor.
The man quickly put his head towards the ground.
“You must face the consequences for your actions starting today and for as long as you are able to endure the punishment.” said the judge.
The guards grabbed Red’s arms before he could fully comprehend what was happening to him. They lead him out of the double doors and moments later only the guards came back.
“Orange,” yelled Tailor. “Who is orange?”
Everyone looked down at their wrist and the process continued with the person coming toward the judge and him saying guilty only to never be seen again.
“Yellow,” said Tailor.
My heart dropped.
“Come on guys,” said Tailor. “We went through this process several times. Whoever is Yellow please step the forward it’s not that damn hard.”
I looked down at the floor trying to control my legs from shaking while swallowing the little vomit that was coming from my throat.
Tailor rolled his eyes and turned towards the judge.
“This is ridiculous,” said Tailor. “These people spend most of their lives looking at colors and now that can’t identify it when it’s actually important.”
My head felt like a balloon as I looked down at the floor hoping they would just go to another color.
“Yellow,” Tailor repeated.
“That’s me,” I said. “That’s me.”
Tailor looked at me in disgust.
“That’s great” said Tailor smirking. “Now come to the front like I said a thousand times before.”
I walked towards the front praying in my head to whatever god could hear me at the moment.
“Guilty,” said the judge’s voice echoing into every area of the room.
“How can I be guilty when I don’t even know what I have done?” I exclaimed.
“How dare you talk to the judge in that way.” said Tailor. “You have no manners.”
“Fuck manners,” I exclaimed. “How can he declare me guilty for an unknown charge? How can you sit there and let him do that to me?”
“What do you mean ma’am?” asked Tailor. “We are just doing our jobs.”
“What kind of job is this?” I asked. “To belittle people and to send them to some mysterious fucking place without their consent.”
“Ma’am, I am not belittling you,” explained Tailor. “You have to be somewhat important for me to do that.”
“Oh, go to hell,” I said.
Tailor looked at me for a couple of seconds.
“I don’t give a shit about how you view me or anyone else.” I said. “I just want to know where my son is.”
“Oh, yes you are the one who caused your child to be retarded since she couldn’t stop drinking.” said Tailor smiling. “I remember you now.”
I looked behind me to see the expression of everyone whispering to each other behind me. I looked back at Tailor with my hand over my chest.
“Do you remember her, your honor?” asked Tailor while looking at me.
“Yes,” said the judge. “I remember her very well.”
“How do you rem—-“I said.
“Let’s move on,” uttered Tailor rubbing his head.
“Please, let her speak,” said the judge in an annoyed tone.
Tailor gave me a daring glare as he walked towards the judge’s bench.
“Your honor, I just don’t understand what I am guilty of,” I explained.
“I don’t understand how you don’t know what you did,” said Tailor. “You were conscious when you did it.”
“Silence,” said the judge.
“Ma’am to be honest everyone knows deep inside what they have done in their lives to get here,” explained the judge. “Unfortunately, most of the time they try to confine it in order for everyone to not know about their bad decisions.”
“But your honor I can assure you I did not break any laws,” I said. “You have the wrong person.”
“Heard that before,” Tailor commented.
“Ma’am, I can guarantee you that you are the right person,” explained the judge.
“How?” I asked. “You’re not even telling me what crimes I committed.”
“Do you really want to go there, Yellow?” asked Tailor rubbing his eyes. “No one has time for that.
“Well, I want to know, “I argued. “I want to know what I have done. I want to know how I got here. I want to know where my son is god dammit.”
“Watch your mouth,” commanded Tailor. “You will not disrespect your honor in that manner.”
My hands were clinching my knees.
“Fuck him,” I yelled.
“I want to you to tell me where my fucking son is.”
“Yellow, you are so funny,” said Tailor. “Why would I help you find your son when you barely thought of him when you were conscious?”
“What do you mean when I was conscious?” I asked. “I always took care of my son.”
“When?” asked Tailor. “When you were drinking or when you were sucking dick to get the money for your little habit.”
The whole room gasped.
“That’s not true,” I said.
“Yellow, me and the judge both know that’s true,” said Tailor plastering a smile to try to hide his laughing.
“How do you know that’s true?” I said holding my arms and looking at the furniture around the room.
“Yellow, if you know you did it then everyone knows,” explained Tailor putting both of his arms out in front of me. “Like I know what you did to your son.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“How could you not remember what you did to your poor son?” asked Tailor.
“Because I didn’t do anything, but take care of him.” I said.
“Really, that is all you did?” asked Tailor. “Stop with the games, Yellow, you know what you did to Thomas don’t let me have to tell everyone.”
I looked behind me in dismay.
“I don’t know what you are talking about,” I said.
“Come on, Yellow,” said Tailor. “You know what you did before you even got into this shit hole of a place.”
“No, I don’t know what you are talking about.” I said.
“Well, I would love to tell everyone the details.” said Tailor smiling and putting his hands out like a circus performer.
I looked around hoping that I could remember an inkling of what Tailor was talking about.
“You killed him,” said Tailor jumping and moving his arms in a circular motion.
“What?” I said. “How fucking dare you say I killed my child when he is still alive.”
“Really?” said Tailor rolling his eyes. “How would you know if you don’t remember where he is?”
“I just know that my son is not dead,” I said. “I would appreciate it if you do not talk about him in that way.”
“Oh, please, yellow,” said Tailor. “You play such a great role as being the victim, but if you do not remember where your son is then you should just assume he’s dead.”
I shook my head.
“You have to remember the moments of him leading to his death,” said Tailor.
I stared at Tailor in disbelief while he rolled his eyes.
“Yellow, you have to know if you both died together.” hinted Tailor.
“What are you talking about?” I asked. “How can I murder my son if we both supposedly died together?”
“Yellow, please don’t let me tell everyone the details,” said Tailor. “You know you don’t want me to that.”
“You have nothing to tell,” I said. “I didn’t do anything to myself or my son.”
“Yellow, how you not remember committing suicide?” asked Tailor while cupping his face with the palms of his hands. “You already knew it was going to happen.”
I looked down at the floor as my legs were shaking.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I said nodding my head.
“Yes, you do,” said Tailor coming towards me and rubbing my shoulder. “You know you remember your last days.”
I looked into Tailor’s eyes in disbelief.
“The last thing I remember was sitting in my car at the river,” I murmured. “That is all I remember.”
“You remember more than that,” said Tailor.
“I really don’t,” I said with shaking my head.
“How can you not remember accelerating the car into the lake?” asked Tailor in a calming voice.
“Because I didn’t do that,” I shouted. “I couldn’t have done that.”
“But you did, Yellow,” said Tailor. “You killed yourself and your son.”
“No, no, no,” I said falling onto the floor. “You’re a fucking liar.”
“Sadly, this is not one of my lies,” said Tailor.
“No, that’s not possible,” I said. “I only thought about killing myself once just to see what it would be like on the other side, and if our lives would be better if we both died together.”
“And that’s when you did it,” said Tailor looking into my eyes.
I shook my head.
“Pardon me if I interrupt your pity party,” said the Judge. “But you wouldn’t be here if it was just thought, ma’am.”
“Well, if we are dead then how come my son is not right here with me? “ I asked crossing my arms.
“There is only three places he can go to ma’am,” said Tailor rolling his eyes. “If he is not here then he is obviously at the one of those places.”
“That is it,” said the Judge slamming down on the bench. “This hearing has gone on long enough. I convicted her guilty so she has to pay the consequences for as long as she can endure the consequences.”
“Wait, just give me one more chance,” I begged. “I will make everything right again. I promise just let me see my son one last time.”
Tailored howled with laughter.
“Ma’am we gave you enough chances,” said the judge. “Now, you must face the consequences.”
A sudden scream filled the room. My cheeks were vibrating profusely as I was taking small amounts of air. My body was shaking violently. My hands were banging on the floor to the point I had blood on my hands. I flew my head back and forth and eventually fell over with my eyes closed. I laid there formlessly waiting to die another death. Finally, I opened my eyes to see Tailor putting his hands over his ears. I slowly looked down to see my stomach going up and down. I covered my mouth realizing that I was the person screaming.
“Get her out of here,” commanded Tailored.
Guards instantly came by my side and picked me up off the floor. All the strength I had was back on the floor where I left it. I finally came to the conclusion that my body, mind, and soul was not there anymore instead it was left on the floor with no one to pick up the pieces. I opened my eyes to see the narrow hallway. This hallway was different than all the others due to the darkness that surrounded it and the mystery that was contained inside the walls and onto the floor. Finally, the guards stopped at two huge double doors. I clinched my eyes shut as I awaited to disappear into oblivion.