The Cage

Part One: Fading Dreams

Chapter 1

"Walter!" shrieked a teenage boy's voice, piercing the night's serenity. "W-Where are you?" cried the same voice once more. The boy's words trailed off, echoing through the cold, damp streets. Yet, he attempted once more "Walter!" Lights began to flash on in distant homes and the voices of many could be heard now, an awful harmony of middle-aged men and insane old women attempting to hush the boy, it was two in the morning now. The boy dropped his head at the voices and receded back into his own apartment building "W-Where are you Walter?" he sighed to himself, collapsing in front of the door.


"Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep," the alarm clock sounded, forcing the boy to his feet. He rose, stretching his sore, tired limbs and smacked the top of his little beeping enemy, "Shut up...," he whispered quietly. Apparently, the alarm clock responded to one of his gestures, as it ceased to beep.

"W-What happened last night..." he said to himself in a tired manner. "Whatever happened, it sure does hurt like a bitch…" The boy lifted up his pants to reveal a large cut running down his left knee. Dried blood stained his white, cotton, pajama pants. He simply shook his head at this and dropped his pant leg back down, hiding the blood.

The boy proceeded into the kitchen of the apartment, "Now, what do we have here…" he whispered to himself as he slowly opened the deep green refrigerator. He stood there for a second, staring blankly at his empty fridge. Nothing on the shelves, nothing on the door, and nothing in the meat compartment…

"Who stole my food!" He slammed the refrigerator door shut. "I could've sworn I went grocery shopping just yesterday…Who stole my fuckin food!" The boy withdrew to his room again and began to go through his closet. "Maybe it was Walter… I'm going to kill him…," he mumbled to himself, pushing t-shirts and pants out of his way.

"Ah ha! Gotcha!" The boy reached into a pocket of one of his sports jackets and pulled out a fifty-dollar bill. "Hmmm…what the hell…" he said as he slid the jacket onto his rail-thin body. Just then, he heard a knock on the door, a single knock, followed shortly by two heavier ones.

"Mr. Morrisey, will you please open the door!" bellowed a strict voice. "Coming!" shouted the boy, taking a small bag out of his pocket and placing it underneath one of his dirty shirts that littered the closet.

He hastily opened the door, "How may I help you today Mr.… well… I don't know who you are, so is it ok if I just call you mister?" There was no one there. "Hmm… strange…" He quietly closed the door to his diminutive apartment behind him and headed down the corridor. He tried pressing the elevator button twice, but received no response on both occasions.

"Stairs it is I suppose" said the boy in a sarcastically chipper tone. He threw open the door and began racing violently down the stairs. Down and down he went, for what seemed like hours. "Damn elevator…" sighed the boy, gasping for breath. He was not even half way down. He found it odd that with the elevator down there were no others riding the staircase today.

"M-Maybe they got it working…," he said in an optimistic tone. He arrived at the next floor and pulled the door open. Strangely, it looked identical to his own floor. Slowly he walked down the hallway to the elevator, 16, his own room. He simply shook his head and shrugged it off. "Maybe… they have more than one room sixteen…"

He arrived at the elevator and pressed the button… still, no response. The boy looked puzzled, he reared back and charged at the elevator.

To his surprise… he fell through, he landed right outside his apartment building, face first on the hard cement. He rose to his feet and brushed himself off. The sun beat down on him causing him to squint. It was already mid-day. People were already rushing through the streets, grocery bags, handbags, schoolbags, dirtbags… "So many bags…" chuckled the boy to himself.

"Move it asshole!" shouted a biker as he swiftly moved past the boy. "Carl…" said a voice in the distance. "Carl, can you hear me…?" said the same mysterious voice. "Walter…? Where are ya buddy?" said the boy, moving into the street searching for his friend. At that instant, his trance was broken; a car had hit him.

"Yo buddy! Stay inside where you belong!" barked the driver of the car. Carl was slow to rise to his feet, yet, he had not felt any pain. "I'm ok!" said the boy finally rising to his feet "I am ok…!" "Yeah ok buddy, no one cares now get out of the fuckin street before I run your ass over again" The boy nodded and did as he was told, receding to the sidewalk, where he belonged.

"Groceries!" he cried to himself in happiness, pedestrians shot him funny looks as they walked down the damp streets. Carl found it most entertaining to shoot funny looks back, for some reason it brought him pleasure. He now began walking down the sidewalk; finally, he would get his food. He walked block after block until he thought his feet would fall off.

"Yo Carl! Back for some more already" chuckled a small African American man who seemed to be a little too cracked out. "Sure thing Eddie, you think I could get an ounce this time?" The small man laughed and put his hand in his pocket. "Man, what's this gonna last you, another two days or so? It'll be two hundred…," he said slowly extending his hand to Carl. The boy reached into his own pocket and pulled out some twenties and fifties, "20-40-60-80-100-150-200… There you go my man," he said taking the bag from Eddie's hand and placing it deep into his own pocket.

Eddie flashed him a crooked smile and the boy was on his way. "Let's see…what do I need today…,"he whispered to himself. He looked down at his hand to find pen all over it "Chocolate Pudding, Beer, Pizza Sauce and Eggs" it read in blood red ink. "Now there, my friend is a strange combo, but if the hand says it, I must need it…," he said pushing the door open to the grocery store.

A warm breeze and a heavenly sweet scent hit him as he entered the store, food everywhere… he was in heaven. Carl proceeded to the back of the grocery store in search of the ever so elusive Chocolate Pudding. Yet, oddly, he found himself still outside of the store's doors. He attempted to walk in again… however, no movement from the automatic doors. He tried once more, jumping on the ground directly in front of the doors. He had it for sure this time…

The doors opened, yet swung and hit him in the face and a family slowly emerged wit their bags. He looked up, above the doors, and made out the letters E-X-I-T. "Hmm, Exit…must be French or something…" he mumbled to himself as he walked through the recently opened doors. Now he was in, at last he felt that breeze and smelled that scent. He looked at his hand, "Donuts, Beer, Sushi, and Chicken," it read in dark blue ink. "Hmm, I guess I will look for the Sushi first…," said the boy, dropping his hand to his side.

He strolled through the aisles, humming to himself his favorite tune. He did not know what his favorite tune was, yet he insisted on humming it anyway. He completely zoned out, forgetting what he had came here to do, or even where he was, he just simply hummed. Further and further his mind wandered, "Where was Walter? Where was his best friend? Did he steal his food? Did he happen to catch a train to Cincinnati?"

Suddenly, a gunshot echoed through the supermarket. The divine presence of death soon held the store in its very hands. Fear was contagiously spreading throughout the establishment. A deep silence was felt, until, another shot was fired, and another, and another. Shot after shot rang through the building, scream after scream echoed, plaguing Carl's mind. Pedestrian after pedestrian fell right in front of him, right behind him, to the left of him, to the right of him. Puddles of blood rushed from heaps of corpses lying on the ground, lifeless.

"Carl!" shouted the deep voice of another teenage boy. A cold feeling filled the boy's body as he dropped to the ground in pain.

He had been shot, like every other person in the store. Deep crimson blood rushed from his arm as he tried to tie his own shirt around it.

"Carl, let's get out of here!" said a familiar voice. "Walter!" said the boy weakly, being helped to his feet. "Where have you been?" he said smiling, "It doesn't matter, all that matters is that I am back, and we have to get the hell out of this store," said Walter in a stern tone. "I'm not the same without you man," said Carl wincing in pain, Walter simply looked over at him and kept running. "This way" cried Walter as he burst through the back door or the supermarket leading to an alley.

Carl blacked out, and collapsed onto the ground.