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Random Reminiscences 4 Episode 3 Panic

By litherlandb, Dec 13 2014 03:54PM

I cannot remember now which particular zone we visited last. I think it may have had something to do with play. I remember that the children were particularly keen. It was remarkably quiet when we entered. There were spaces between the people, actual gaps. You could see the floor. I relaxed. I repeated the rules and we agreed a time and a place to reassemble. In twenty minutes we would leave and go to the arena where we would be reunited with the others. I would know they were all there. I would feel a moment’s peace. I could almost taste it.

The children departed and, as they did so, it was as if a deep, impenetrable fog had suddenly gathered around us. I don’t know where the people came from. Within moments I could barely move. I pushed my way through the jostling mob vainly hoping to catch sight of one of my group. I failed to see a single one. What I did see was a turnstile at the very end of the display. It was only then that a feeling or real panic set in.

Anyone who passed through that turnstile had passed out of the zone. There was no way back. Only the vastness of the dome lay beyond. What if one of the children had passed through it? Or all of them? It would have been so easy to do. They would have been swallowed up by the crowd. They might never be seen again.

I tried to calm myself. I walked back through the zone searching for my lost group. I walked along each display; I missed nothing – nothing, that is, except the children. I did not see one of them. I convinced myself they had gone forever. I saw a Sun headline looming. It would be better to end it all here, throw myself on the ground and be trampled to death. No-one would notice until the place closed.

I hacked my way through the undergrowth of visitors and waited at the designated point. They were all late; every single child returned late. Even the most reliable was three minutes late. Chris was seven minutes late.

I could have died during those seven minutes – easily.

However, panic over and heart rate gradually restored, I led them towards the arena and the show.

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