Cubicle

Still laughing at the blind idiot at the dock who had tried to tell him about warnings that the blind idiot’s friend had read on Google regarding icebergs, Stephen the idiot reloaded his grenade launcher and took aim at the next iceberg which was half a mile in front. BOOM! And half the iceberg was blown to smithereens. And a few seals as well much to Stephen’s delight! BOOM! The other half of the iceberg was blown to bits. And a few seals as well much to Stephen’s delight!

“HA HA HA HA!!” shouted Stephen waving the launcher around like a madman and re wrapping his arctic grade scarf around his face. He was well on his way to Antarctica by now. Only a few more days to go. Surely riches await on that strange land! Behind him on the deck of the small oil tanker were literally thousands of grenade rounds – some of them ordinary rounds, some of them flame rounds and just a few of them acid rounds. Many icebergs and whales and squids had been blown away on his journey from Southampton down past Portugal and Africa and into the Southern ocean. Some pirates as well. And his food stores were still very much in stock as Stephen had learned to eat the scraps of whale flesh etc that had sometimes rained down from the sky after the sea creature had met grenade launcher. ‘I bet that blind idiot would throw away his computer now!’ He thought.
He walked back to the bridge that had lost its window glass when part of a whale carcass had struck it. By now parts of his ears had fallen off in the cold, but he barely noticed, mumbling and drinking stinging nettle tea which he sipped out of his flowery tea cup and saucer. With croutons and lashings of vinegar.

“HA HA HA HA!!” he shouted again and vaguely wondered why blood was running down the sides of his face. And he waved his arms around frantically again for a good fifteen seconds as if some invisible enemy were attacking him. His heart raced in his chest and once again, for the ten thousandth time he fired a grenade round diagonally forward off the left side, this time into the gathering and approaching mist knowing he was surely aimed at the might of Antarctica, laughing.

The oil tanker had been acquired by means of a game of black jack in a previously unvisited bar and with two men he was sure he had seen and been exactly there and under those circumstances before, somewhere in Time. It had taken a trial in the army to smuggle out the ammo and weapons (he also had an M9 handgun which had picked off a few squid leaning from the prow of the deck) The tanker had no oil in it now as Stephen had let it all out just outside Southampton and had dramatically torn up the contract that he had signed, agreeing to deliver the oil to New Zealand. The tanker was black and orange. He laughed hoping the spill had been mentioned on the BBC news.

A day later and he had one hand on the wheel of the craft and was chewing on some squid flesh. He was pointing out waves to himself watching the dark waters splash over onto the tarpaulin covering the mounds of grenade rounds. Mumbling and unshaven he was remembering once being in a dim stairwell at the back of a disused mill or warehouse. The ceiling was high, enjoyably much TOO high if the truth be told and the stairs went down to the next landing so far that you are for a second thinking it can’t be real. The whole scene tipped on its side and a blubber man with fungous hands moaning loudly and waddling and padding slowly along a corridor of misery not only towards but above and below your unmoving form with no idea of why you are there or where you could go to get away from the man-thing. And the blubber man is evaded by sudden weightless jump and you realise the blubber man did not reach you in time (for now). As you land on the ground outside the window that could have been at any height and every galaxy is within a paltry reach and you look at it all in a state of stark physical paralysis, it black and diamond as the warehouse floor below had been for a spilt second, if it hadn’t been for the grey and green blubber man.

*

Some days later, his vessel was creeping through frozen mist and suddenly to the port side – another oil tanker! He had slowed down because the icebergs were becoming widespread. He reckoned this meant he was near the frozen continent where riches must surely be.
He watched for the bridge of the other ship, only feet away from his boat now was the other boat and it seemed to be deserted. A lone body, covered in blood and wearing captains hat, was drooped over the side of the doorway that lead onto the bridge. Satisfied that this apparent rival had met his doom Stephen revved the engine slightly and left the rival behind.

An hour later he could see land! It was Antarctica after all these weeks. The air was incredibly cold and he was approaching in near silence. He had a look of puzzlement on his face and had since spying land. This was because on the white shoreline he had seen through binoculars some kind of enormous construction beneath the feet of mountains. It had high and wide flights of steps near both sides and was white and deserted. On the left side were three vast, white triangular prisms. There was some kind of building balanced in the middle that looked about the size of a small house. It too was white and had some sort of a domed roof. The whole construction seemed to have many levels and smaller flights of steps with barren platforms overhanging lower platforms that Stephen could not guess the meaning of. But he told himself that the overall affect was of a revolt against sanity, because the steps when he followed their shadows up and around the thing with his magnified eyes, led nowhere. The domed building might tell more, but he would have to jump or build a bridge to reach it he thought as his tanker approached, as no steps seemed to lead to across the deadly enough looking chasms around it.

It was like Apocalypse Now at the end where he is approaching the place of the mad man Marlon Brando. Except it was deserted and freezing, but the sense of slowly approaching things unnameable was similar. As his tanker bumped the base of the (alien?) construction he remembered parts of that film.

He let down the anchor and got off the boat, armed with handgun. He clambered onto the white construction and turned right aiming for the building that looked like it must at any moment topple and the wind blew cold and exciting.

All the steps were alike in size, which was a bit higher than normal steps; a man would have to be somewhat taller for them to be normal.

Many hours, steps, platforms, wrong turns and detours later he somehow suddenly arrived (as close as he probably could hope for) onto a platform near to the building that had always been in view. He was sweating profusely and looking about knew that he would have to make a running jump to reach the building. And knew he would because upon arriving on this particular platform he had spied a pirate chest sized box camouflaged at the foot door of the building. Treasure!

He looked down at his ship. Then feeling the cold he wiped his brow and prepared for the jump. The floor surface was grippy and not icy. It would take an incredible jump, but he was decided.

He leaned back and ran full speed along the platform, gun holstered. Flying through the air he was never in any doubt of making it – which he did catching the far edge with force with his forearms and elbows.

He clambered up and laughing quietly, ran to the box. He flung it open wide eyed, and to his up most dismay and puzzlement saw only many coloured Lego blocks of different sorts. He picked up a transparent aluminous yellow piece that was probably a windscreen for a spaceship. He looked at it for a second becoming angry and amused. He flung it down and dug frantically down into the Lego seeing if anything else was in the box. He swept aside Lego blocks and the noise they made filled his head. This went on for a few minutes and as they passed he slowly realised there was nothing but Lego in the box. He closed the lid.

The door was about eight feet high and was made of the same unknown, hard stuff as the floor. Stephen spotted the handle in the panelled door, simple panelling it was with triangles here and there. The handle was cold and he pushed the door, one hand on the handle the other on the door itself. It opened with ease and without sound and Stephen held his breath as he noticed the extreme silence, then went through the door closing it behind him. The inside of the door was painted bright orange, and inside the building was lit up by illuminated panels in the white ceiling ten feet above. However he did not know what to make of what was on both sides and further on, straight ahead; which seemed to be normal sized swimming pool changing cubicles with their grey plastic curtains closed. The floor was tiled with brownish red tiles and a gutter ran down the middle of the floor. He carefully opened the cubicle on his left and it was empty, except for a plastic bench as you would expect. He crossed over and opened the cubicle second from the door, it was the same, he went back out and looked down into the place. There were five cubicles on his left and four on his right and the gutter turned right up at there, so the corridor must continue that way. It did he found, and there were more cubicles leading to a cubicle straight ahead. The gutter ended at a drain in front of the end cubicle. All the cubicles curtains were closed. He looked back at the bright orange door that he had just entered before walking out of sight of it down towards the ending of the gutter. He approached the end cubicle and opened the curtain with some anger. What was on the wall above the bench took a moment to sink in; it was a wooden picture of a old English pub scene with horses hitched outside. It was set in the eighteenth century he knew because his Granddad had made the unique picture some years ago and it had hung in his living room, should still be there like every time Stephen visited. Stephen turned and ran in amused horror back above the gutter, turning and expecting to see the orange door and his escape. But there was only another cubicle ahead of him where the door should be. “Impossible.” he croaked. The gutter turned left, where it had not done so previously and Stephen ran there and saw more cubicles, five on his right and four on his left, curtains closed silent and unmoving. He ran to the end and saw more cubicles. He ran to the end, more cubicles. He started opening the curtains frantically one after another, eventually going back towards the one with the picture but he never reached it – went way past where it should have been, where the gutter should have ended. On and on he went, but there were just more cubicles.

THE END

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