“Fr...freed'm,” he wheezed through flour-crusted, dry lips. The single word a herculean effort, contracting his diaphragm to expel enough air sent arrows of pain through his chest. Moments passed as he gathered his strength to continue, he MUST continue, he knew. A man of considerable size, he found it difficult to stand from his plastic bench throne. Shuffling slowly across the dimly lit expanse on red, swollen legs the man gazed at the beauty around him. He couldn't remember anything else besides this place. When did he get here? Had it always been like this? Such questions were irrelevant, all that remained was the fight, the War. He knew his parents had been brave warriors too, and their parents before them, generations of his kin battled the Enemy and paid with their glucose tolerance. In the end it was for the sake of all. Even if it meant the damnation of his body, at least his soul-and the souls of all mankind- could be saved by his rheumatic, sweaty hands.
Arriving at the dispensing unit, he steadied himself and squinted at the list. What could he take in this state? He knew he was nearing his time. He was 25 after all-or so he thought, time passed strangely here. Finally it came to him and as he mumbled and slurred-why did his lips feel so tingly- the words required for his task, he could already smell the Victory as it was prepared for him. In less than a hyper-tensioned heartbeat it was ready for his glorious moment. A hush fell upon the place as all eyes took aim to the would-be savior. The silence screamed at him to win. His heart pounded, more than usual, as he unwrapped It. Glorious, it was, gleamingly greasy and breathtaking to behold. Touching it to his lips he felt ecstasy flow through him as those in their seats murmured in approval. His heart beat harder...harder...too hard! It was wrong, so wrong, and he knew it in an instant. The two empty halves of biscuit fell to the tiled floor, wails of agony echoed through the room, and the man's heart rebelled.
Am I unworthy?! What have I done wrong?! He was dying and he knew it, he must escape. No matter what had just happened he could not defile this...temple. Pain shot through his arm as he spun, panicked, looking desperately for the exit. Chaos was erupting behind him, wails of agony and despair. Some shouted it was a sign, others a curse. The man didn't care, his instinct howled at him to survive. As he burst through the long sealed doors, he faltered. Even in his mortal panic, the light was blinding and terrifying. On his knees now, crying, he felt his life slipping away. He gazed up at the strange blue sky above him. Was this here all along? Silent tears trickled down his pock-marked cheeks.
Suddenly he could feel someone there, someone speaking to him, it felt, from so far away. It's too late, I've failed, he thought, slipping further away. Nothing to do now but...pain! There was pain, incredible pain, worse than before. It was waking him up. A rhythmic pressing on his chest that hurt more than anything he'd ever felt. Seemingly an eternity passed before he opened his eyes again to see a man hovering above him pressing on his chest. The dying man was confused, what was going on? In that moment, the other man's mouth tightly close over his own! No! NO! THIS IS THE ENEMY, ISN'T IT?!
Spitting and sputtering with all his strength, the dying man pushed his savior away and wiped his defiled lips with a sweaty forearm. He glared at the man above him,
“Fag...” he coughed, and then the darkness took him once more.