“So, why are goods transported via car referred to as a ‘shipment,’ while goods sent by ship are called ‘cargo’?” asked a penetrating voice in the room’s silence. All was black in the room of makeshift confinement – perhaps even pitch black, if such a difference between “black” and “pitch black” could be determined. There was a man – no, less of a man laying in the corner of the room, disturbed to all but himself. His eyes were dark umber in hue, as was his hair, which fell down over his neck. The male’s build was hardly a build at all, consisting of malnourished muscles and bones that made plywood look like vanadium. He was locked in the fetal position, laying on his left side with his back parallel to the wall; if he were stable enough to realize it, he might notice that he was shaking like an epileptic.
Crash! The rattle of steel pots and pans thundered on the outside of the door, wherever it happened to be. The noise fell on deaf ears, though, as the man was far too busy pondering nonsense in his attempt to keep himself company. If he were aware that his eyes were closed, perhaps he could find the light stretching its hand out through the crease between the floor and the door; actually, if he had any self-awareness, he might not have to seek comfort in his own voice.
One can only imagine how this man became of himself, in all sense of who, where, why, what and how. He could not have been in his quarters for too long, for dehydration would surely have taken claim of his life. Maybe God was watching over his deranged mind?
No, God was far from the truth. Two women, appearing to be in their mid- to late-twenties, scrambled outside the black room as their cart hit the corner of the hallway, just to the left of the door.
“Oh come on!” exclaimed one of the women, bearing a frustrated tone. The woman was a blond-haired, blue-eyed 27-year-old with a small cut above her right eye; she wore a name tag, which read “Cassandra.” She was Caucasian and wore her hair short, just above her earlobe. “This is why I failed my driver’s test six times before passing,” Cassandra joked to her colleague, having abandoned her aversive tone. The other woman, also Caucasian, was decorated with long, raven-black hair, which reached the middle of her back; her eyes were brown, and she bore no visible scars. The black-haired woman also donned a name tag, boasting the appellation “Aaliyah.”
“I don’t think a driver’s license will save us from those ghouls, Cassey…” mumbled Aaliyah. Aaliyah was always thinking of the impending doom that humanity’s fatal adversary could bring; for her, the glass could never be half full. Cassandra looked to the 24-year-old brunette with sympathetic eyes, both of them now kneeling and picking up the pans they had dropped; thankfully, the two that had fallen were the only ones that were empty.
“We could always run them over, you know,” suggested Cassandra, whom held a warm and tender smile along her lips. Aaliyah could not help but laugh, nodding her head in silent agreement as she set the empty pan back on the dish cart. Aaliyah outstretched her hand to the door beside the corner, which had “Door 13” written across it with a red marker. The handle turned without resistance, and the door popped open without so much as a creak; Aaliyah took a moment of stillness, as if in preparation for something.
A familiar man lie in the corner, idle except for his constant shivering. The two women tread cautiously over to him, both carrying one pan, each. Cassandra set hers down, first, which offered a small ration of vegetables, presumably the roots of edible plants. Aaliyah’s dish was more of a bowl, MacGyver’d out of a steel pan; obviously, it wasn’t perfectly shaped, and sat at an odd angle upon the floor, as if it were going to tip over. The women spared no other moment with the man, walking quietly out of the room as the male mumbled unintelligibly to himself. Cassandra closed the door behind them, as she was last to exit; Aaliyah stood beside her, bearing a visage of obvious depression.
“You know there’s nothing we can do for him,” said Cassandra.
“It’s not so easy to simply give up on him, though, Cassey.”
“I know, Ali, and I’m sorry for you, but he’s out of his mind; Daniel will never be healthy again, after what he’s been through. It must’ve been horrible to see thirteen members of his family taken by those disgusting creatures…”
“Thirteen of my family members, too, Cassey!” Aaliyah snapped at Cassandra, filled with spite and resentment. The blond could only frown and lower her head, slowly walking down to hallway in shame. Aaliyah’s hands were clenched into fists, her fingernails digging so hard into her palms that an impression would be left. A salty liquid tread down her cheeks as she slammed her fist into the wall beside Door 13, her body quickly weakening under emotional stress, forcing her to her knees. Her forehead rested against the wall and her breathing became heavy, sobbing at the thought of her brother’s condition. “Seeing them go couldn’t’ve broken you like this, Daniel… There must be something more to this,” she sobbed under her breath, attempting to understand the situation, but could find no underlying cause to her brother’s madness. “There must be something more…”
“Black holes aren’t really black, y’know. Their nature causes them to absorb all particles that pass the event horizon, so they are always illuminated – are you following? If there were no particles within a black hole, only then would it be black, but if there were no particles, then it would not be a black hole, and therefor a black hole can never be black,” Daniel continued to ramble. Many of the survivors residing in Hancock Airport thought of Daniel as a genius, but with his mind now crazed, he provided little use to anyone; in fact, most who know him now think euthanasia is the best thing for him. Without opening his eyes or even with recognition of the fact that two women had entered his room mere minutes ago, Daniel grasped the oddly-shaped bowl of water and brought it to his lips, sipping at the sustenance with almost sophisticated etiquette.
“Cure for the itch!” Daniel cried out, his free hand impulsively reaching to the back of his neck and scratching mercilessly at a hidden wound. He dropped the dish of water and his skin became covered in sweat; a cry of pain filled the empty air with a shriek so wicked that even banshees would flee.
Aaliyah forced the door open upon hearing the sound of nightmares animated, her eyes now filled with terror.