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Song of Sirens

My restless semi-consciousness is interrupted by the abrupt scream of a siren. I am awake. My emaciated body is somehow disentangled from threadbare sheets. I am aware. My icy feet meet the weathered boards of the floor. I am alert.
The blare continues as I stumble to the lone window of the cell and my eyes scan the empty city for signs of life. The blare intensifies and the every surface in the room trembles. The tremors shake the floor then make their way up my legs, through my arms, and come crashing in to my consciousness. My bones shake from the shivering sound. My mind surrenders to the chaos and my body soon follows suit. An idea begins to formulate itself about me, enveloping me like the siren, and slowly consumes me. The idea possesses me, and I am forced to act upon it. In a rare calm, I obey a voice inside me. Cross to the chest of drawers, empty it. Over to the withering shelf, clear it. Anything deemed useful finds its way inside the folds of a burlap satchel.
The roar continues to escalate until a robotic baritone interrupts the alarm: “Testing. Testing. This is a test of the emergency siren system. Prepare for lockdown drill.” It plays thrice, and thrice again. I steal a glance once more through the milky panes out onto the cityscape, but quickly retreat into the shadows of the room. As my mind and body adjust to the clamor, I consider the notion of escape, and plans begin to formulate in my muddled brain. Carefully, I slide the sack beneath the rusting bedframe. I return to the shabby sheets with a glimpse of hope, as I hear the alarm slowly recede until, “The test of the emergency siren system is complete. Lockdown terminated. Please regard all further alarm.” It plays thrice, and thrice again.
As my alertness wanes, traces of the monotone message can still be detected, bouncing through the city. “Please regard all further alarm.” I become aware of myself fading fast into the shadows of sleep, and eventually submit to the fatigue, with a whisper of a smile on my pallid visage. My slumber is soon saturated by colorful dreams. I quickly discover however, that the relentless ringing of the alarm has not ceased in my subconscious thoughts, and my vibrant imaginings are soon overwhelmed by the incessant buzzing, laced with the prerecorded warning of the baritone. “Please regard all further alarm.”
“Please regard all further alarm.”




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