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541588 is different from the others. They accept their world blindly; the lack of freedom, the repetitive tasks they do every day, their forced suicide. But 541588 can’t take it anymore. It feels that there is something more, more to life, more to everything. It decides to venture in the forbidden palace at the centre of the commune and so begins its irrevocable path toward ultimate tragedy.

12944 woke up. It was 7:09am. It creaked up from its bed and marched its way out of its apartment. The room was bare, consisting of only a bed, a toilet and a showerhead contained in grey concrete, but 12944 didn’t mind at all. It was the same room everyone else had, and it was everything it could ever want or need.

12944 passed through the hallway, its stride excited by the cold bare floor, and made its way down five flights of stairs to the communal canteen. The canteen was designed as a large hall; symmetrical, with singular desks accompanied by singular chairs evenly spaced across the room. At both ends, where the staircases led from the apartments, there were dispensers where breakfast, a mixture of vitamins and minerals suspended in a thick concoction of water and grains, was served. 12944 picked up a metal bowl and metal spoon and realised how hungry it was. It stood in front of the dispenser and after a healthy serving of the gloop squeezed out of the pipe and onto its bowl, it made its way to its table, next to 12943’s table and behind 12934’s table.

Five mouthfuls into its meal, 12945 sat down next to it and began eating as well. The gooey mix was delicious, tickling 12934’s tastebuds as it slithered through its mouth and down its throat. The room, though there were a hundred or so people eating in it was silent as it was every day, apart from the scrape of spoon on bowl and the rhythm of the footsteps of those descending from the stairs above. No-one said a word. No-one ever said a word. 12944 finished its breakfast, placed the bowl into the square chute which led into the washrooms and made its way to work, its hunger satiated.


by Arnold East (All formats) – 110 pages

Nothing by Arnold East