• Published 24th Aug 2016
  • 2,812 Views, 83 Comments

Shooting Towards The Moon - Gray Compass

Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same. Sometimes you just don't know what the hell is wrong with the world.

  • ...

Empty Fields

I had this unsettling feeling that something odd wandered around the crops when I wasn't looking. And I wasn't the only one.

It almost a local consensus among the people of Taylor County, specially here in the south, that a 'thing' was crawling near the edges of their properties, furtively, never to be seen or heard — only felt — like a presence in the limits of your eyesight, always fading into obscurity. Some dismissed it as mere fantasy, or a futile attempt to avoid the real problem: that an unknown disease was killing the crops, and no one had the money or the means to stop it.

With a steamy coffee mug resting cozily between my hands, I gazed through the windows at my once vast corn field, extending itself to the limits of the forest. It was early in the morning, I woke up to check Luna, who was deeply asleep in the bedroom next to mine. It wasn't easy to convince her to come upstairs, but now that I was officially alone in the world, there were three vacant rooms in the house.

It took me a while to shut my eyes the night before, but I was sure that anyone in my position would stay awake with the eyes stapled open wide. I was stuck with a unicorn under my roof, if one had enough reasons to become an insomniac, this person would be me. Still, I felt somehow numbed, and the pains of the world were perceived vaguely, like the coldness of snow through stuffed gloves or poking embers with a fire iron. You know the fire is there, but you can't feel the burns.

I sipped my coffee for a moment, watching as the crows made circles in the sky, dancing around in dark swarms against the steely clouds. They drifted away, some finding comfort on the tree tops, where they stood perched up.

In silence, I returned to my room and closed the door with an elbow.

The curtains allowed the place to remain comfortably dusky, with only dim patches of light here and there.

My old computer hummed in a corner, I never turned it off — there were chances it wouldn't turn back on again. There in the corner it rested, just waiting for the right command to awake, like a person pretending to be asleep only to avoid questions.

I pulled a chair and sat in front of it, pressing a button on the side of the screen. Immediately I was presented my neatly arranged desktop; only two vertical lines of shortcuts and folders stacked at the left and right sides. The empty center revealed an old picture of Chicago set as wallpaper. It was dark, hazy, empty — it reflected the state of my mind late at night.

I clicked on the browser window, some tabs were already open. Google searches, odd websites with dubious conspiracy theories, very few concrete answers. I had started my 'research' the night before, but surrendered to sleep. There was just too much to know about, and too little information.

I had tried searching about unicorns, fantasy creatures in real life, and all the sorts of things, but only found some ridiculous videos and extensive Wikipedia pages about mythology and reported sightings of yetis. Needless to say, the search result for 'flying unicorn' was even worse.

Placing my coffee mug aside, I stroked my chin, trying to think about a better choice of words to drop on Google.

'Northern Borealis Railroads'

Yes, of course! Something in my mind finally sparkled. Someone would know about a massive railroad connecting the two sides of the country.

'No results found for Northern Borealis Railroads'

Other suggestions:

- Search for: Borealis Corporation
- Rail transportation in the United States

- Make sure all words are spelled correctly.

I frowned at the results.

However, it turns out that the first suggestion returned me some intriguing information:

'Borealis Corporation, or as otherwise named: Borealis Research Laboratories, is a subsidiary of Life Corporation. Although divided into Northern Borealis and Southern Borealis, the company has its headquarters in Hartford, CT. Northern Borealis operates in North America, Europe and Russia. Borealis Research Laboratories is the branch of Life Corporation dedicated to developing and experimenting new chemical solutions and materials.'

I opened a drawer beside the computer table, empty bottles of pain-reliever pills and muscle relaxants clinked against each other. I grabbed them, placing the flasks in front of the screen. Life Corporation; right there, in front of me.

I knew that name sounded familiar, Life is a pharmaceutical brand. A major one.

That was definitively creepy.

I didn't bothered to search about Life, but the pages about its daughter company, Borealis, were long and diverse. Apparently, they were widely regarded as one of the leading laboratories in terms of technology and patents. They produced many things, but nothing as absurd as unicorns... or railroads.

In fact, the only thing I could find with the terms 'Northern Borealis Railroads' together was a short YouTube video titled 'For Katherine J. Leibniz' . The terms were the description.

It was recent; only a week old. It had exact four views. Seemed like the person who uploaded the video accidentally turned it public, as the video itself was specifically directed at this woman.

I pressed play.

'Hi, this is Dennis Faraday... That's the fourth time I'm uploading a video. Ah- I hope you get a chance to watch this before it gets blocked like the others.

This is very serious Kate.

It's 3 am here, and the helicopters are finally gone. Again... It's been like this for nearly three weeks. I can't shut my fucking eyes until they leave.

I don't know what the hell was in that train, but I'm telling you: It was anything but chemicals.

I've seen some crazy ass accidents before; toxins, chlorine smoke and all that shit. Nobody cleans chemical leaks with helicopters — at least not for three goddamn weeks!

They're looking for something.

That's not the first time Borealis has messed up, you know it's not... They've been moving stuff to and from, using the underground tracks to avoid exposure.

But they can't hide forever. Not when their shit start exploding right beneath our feet.

About three weeks ago nearly a square mile of my property was tossed into the air. I could've died, my neighbors could have died. That's just too much for me to handle. I don't care if they stop paying us.

They isolated the area with barbed wire and plastic walls. The government says it's a matter of security; I don't have access to my own land. What for Christ's sake Borealis has to do with the government?

They don't build planes, they're not into weaponry, they don't provide any sort of military technology. Borealis works with pharmaceutical and medical products — what sort of authority do they have?

I have no idea.

But you do.

I'm leaving this place; I need to sleep — I need to think — somewhere else. You know where to find me.'

"What are you doing?"

I jumped, my hand was splattered by burning droplets of coffee, I grabbed the mug before it could spill anything else on my keyboard.

"Jesus!" I spun on my chair, only to find Luna standing a few steps away. "How d-did you opened the- I thought you was sleeping."

"I heard this voice, and I thought someone else was here." She muttered, backing away a little.

"If that was the case, do you really think it would be wise to appear in front of a stranger?" I argued, cleaning my hand on my pants. "Damn."

"I'm sorry. It wasn't my intention to startle you." Luna said, observing with a hint of curiosity the computer screen.

"It's okay..." I sighed.

"Who is this man?" She pointed to the pale looking guy of the paused video, his messy auburn hair tied in a bun. "That doesn't look like a portal."

"He's Dennis Faraday. And it's not a portal, it's a screen. Before you ask; he's not in there"

"I'm not an idiot. Of course he wouldn't fit inside such a small space." She rolled her eyes. "You haven't answered me."

"Yes I did. This man is Dennis Faraday, so far that's the only thing I know about him — that and the fact he probably knows someone who knows a lot about Northern Borealis." Luna's expression immediately changed at the mention of Borealis. She seemed truly bothered by that.

"Don't- Don't look for them... They are no good." She shook her head. "No good at all"

"I'm not saying they are." I said, turning off the monitor. "I just want answers."

"I once wanted answers, and this is what happened to me." She looked at her body with sad eyes filled with a silent anguish. "Borealis never gave us any answers."

"They only gave pain."