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Around and around it went, chasing its tail, the dog spun, and Jason Lamborne laughed at the video on the computer. When it finished, the next video appeared and it featured two pensioners arguing at a bus-stop which led into a fight. Jason shook his head, amused. Sometimes pensioners can be so immature, he thought.
The next video featured a busker in a paved shopping area, singing away whilst a clearly drunk individual swayed and shifted, dancing, stepping to music that did not match what the busker was playing.
Jason worked in a call-centre, which basically meant cold-calling people to try and get them to part with their money, asking whether or not people have been involved in an accident at all and that they can make a claim.
He was on his half-hour lunch break, and had only been here a week, so didn’t really know anybody. Not that he cared about that. It was not the type of job that warranted commitment, and he guessed that the other workers felt the same way. It wasn’t a good job, more convenient to earn money whilst hoping something better would come along. You would get your loyal ’employee of the month’ jobsworths, trying to please their superiors, and this place had them, but Jason didn’t care. He had had a few successes so far, but nothing special. Most people as soon as he rang and found out what he was after, just put the phone down.
“Good evening sir” he would say happily, “How are you today?…..” Even that put people’s defences up.
Or, the recipient would say something along the lines of: ‘What, you want my bank details?..ok here we go, grab a pen write this down….********…’ and it would be Jason that hung up.
Or sometimes people would use him to have a rant.
‘You know it’s people like you that run this country down….’ Again, Jason would hang up.
Then he would strike oil where the person swallowed everything he said. Ok, here are my bank details. Then Jason would receive a bonus for every customer he found. He wondered if he shouldn’t use his spare time here to look for jobs instead of watching videos.
The next one, on random auto-play featured a man in some sort of prison cell, lying on an uncomfortable looking bed, doing nothing. He looked to be from the Mediterranean area, perhaps Greek or Italian. What’s so amusing about about this? Jason thought. There was a door to the left on the back wall, and to the right the man just lay there. The walls were bare and cream coloured. Jason watched as the man looked up, as though he been awoken by light shining in through the monitor. He got to his feet and slowly made his way towards the screen.
“Hello,” he said, “Can you see me? Can you hear me? Hello…” he waved, and spoke with a Spanish lilt.
Jason decided to wave back.
“Hello,” he said, not expecting a reply, yet, he got one.
“Hello,” said the man, ” I can see you. You have dark red hair. You’re wearing a blue shirt and you look to be in your late twenties. You look like you’re in some sort of office”.
Jason just stared.
“Wait, you can see me?” he said.
“Yes”, the man replied. “My name is Raoul”.
“I’m Jason, but how can you see me through the screen? These computers are old, they don’t have webcams”.
“I can see you through here. Anyway, could you please do me a favour?” He pointed at the door.
“I need you to come and let me out. I’m locked in here”.
“Where are you? You could be anywhere”.
“I’m much closer than you think,” said the man. “Anyway, you’ll probably have a new smart-phone or something like that. Could you get this video up on it? and I will guide you”. Jason just stared for a few moments, then nodded.
“Ok, it’s my break anyway”. He grabbed for his phone in his jacket which he had slung over the chair. The man told him how to get the video up and soon he was watching him on the small screen. He turned off the computer and stood up.
“Hi” Raoul said, waving, “Show me the room”.
“I can’t, people will think I’m filming them”.
“Please, I really need to get out of here, and I only need to see where to guide you”.
“I could leave the building and then you could tell me where to go”.
“Ok,” said Raoul, disappointed. Jason put on his jacket and walked out into the corridor.
“Alright, I’m leaving. Better than an afternoon of cold-calling anyway”. He made his way to the stairs.
“Stop!” the man shouted and pointed to little effect as Jason looked at the screen.
“I just saw a door, a room. Could you go in there please”. Jason saw he was by the managers room.
“This is one of my bosses rooms. I’m not going in there”.
“Are they in?” Jason saw through the windows that he was, engrossed in a conversation at his desk on the telephone.
“Next room,” said Raoul. “Is there a room next to it?”
“That’s another of my bosses. I’m not…”
“Are they in?” Jason saw through the window-blinds that the room was empty.
“No, she’ll be on her break”.
“Could you go in please. I have something really important to tell you”.
“What? tell me here”.
“Please,” he could see on the screen the man looked desperate. His face was reddened with eyes wide and hands clasped, pleading.
Jason sighed. “Alright, this better be quick. I don’t want to have to make an excuse as to why I was in her office”. He opened the door and stepped inside.
Only to be grabbed by the lapels and thrust into the room. He fell to the ground and turned to see Raoul standing by the door. He also saw he was in the room in the video.
“Sorry my friend. This room. It’s…alive, and requires a spirit or soul to use as a kind of…battery. Somebody needs to replace me, and if you can convince somebody to come and let you out, then you’ll be free”. He pointed to the far wall where there was a small monitor showing the same screen as the mobile phone.
“You’re live on the internet, and when someone watches, you’ll see them on there. Trouble is, the video is hard to find. So you better hope that somebody finds it and watches you. Farewell”. Jason heard the door slam. The man was gone. He got up and rushed to the metal door, only to find it impossible to open. He found his phone which had spun under the bed, and looked at himself on the screen, and found he could do nothing else. Couldn’t dial out, couldn’t return to the main screen, and in a burst of frustration he hurled the phone at the floor where it broke into three pieces. He leaned against a wall. It felt strange, almost as if it was skin.
Yet, he knew he was trapped, and went to the bed and sat down. There was nothing he could do but wait for someone to tune in.
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