Chasing Madness

This was a place where sanity had been abandoned. Arun stood at the doorway of Guy’s office with only the last of the evening’s rays from the hallway window to guide him, but even in the gloaming it was obvious things were well out of hand. The room had no windows, and when he tried the light switch nothing happened. He could make out a desk in the center of the room, piled high with notebooks, unfurled maps, and circuit boards wired together, some of which dangled from the desk like they were repelling to the floor–or forgotten at the gallows. There was also an electric lantern on top of the pile. Arun crossed the dark, the door falling closed behind him just as he turned on the lantern.

It was worse than he’d thought.

One entire wall was plastered with high resolution satellite images of clusters of buildings in desolate environments: desert sands and icy tundra and washed out wastes. Arun didn’t recognize them. The other three walls were covered in overlapping clusters of blotter paper, graphs, and scotch-taped handwritten notecards of various colors in no apparent pattern. What was Guy doing in here? Arun could pour through this madness for a year and not be any closer to finding him. He balled his fists at his sides. “Dammit,” he whispered. His whole body shook with fury.

“DAMMIT!”

Arun snatched a hard-backed spiral notebook from the desk and launched it at a paper-covered wall. It made a slight rip sound. Not a hard thwack–a rip. The notebook sailed right through the wall. Arun hurried to the rectangular slit and pulled the paper away, tearing like a dog digging up a bone. He stepped away to not occlude the light. Behind this paper wall was a staircase leading underground. This wasn’t Guy’s office at all. Arun grabbed the lantern and entered the darkness.

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