Finally, beyond our baggage claim and into the brief halls of many whereabouts, there were only shops full of knick-knacks and thoughtless things such that one might find for waiting for people. Jumble’s of gears and wires made up the walls that seemed unending and all but an afterthought in the construction of this place. A place that seems, senselessly to only exist in these between places. These spots, that people wait in for other things to happen. Such as a name, or flight, or number to be called out. Yet that did not happen.
It seemed as I went on people who had been here longer had started to build things out of the bits that seemed to just pop into existence every day. More wire and gears and nails, pens, magazines and for some reason guitar picks. Each a new strange thing that had a purpose that has more permeability than the original. Not a transient, effervescent existence, but a real tangible thing that had more realness built in. These new things ranged in their complexity from simple to the very complex. Some were instruments, like a long pole made of melted wires strung with guitar picks that shook as you stamped it on the ground. Another was a made of gears, wires and bits of plastic and made an odd but not unpleasant series of noises. There was also a number of people who had taken bits of piping that always seemed to repair themselves and made them into all sorts of different blown instruments. Eventually, whole bands got together and one of the more popular ones would play at what everyone called Grand Intake Central. The sort of area where people came from the strange sterile machines that got them here.
Each person came off a vehicle, what they called them, as blank as clean wall. No one knew exactly where they came from or what this place was. Only to get their baggage from the carrousel that seemed to continue bringing new bags every time a vehicle arrived. Like regular clockwork, they came in every morning, and once everyone had got off them they seemed to shut the doors and there wouldn’t be a new one until the next morning. None had a memory of anything but that, and sometimes people seemed to know they were related by blood to another person who was already here. That was all they ever knew other than their name.
Everyone’s bags would have the same content in their size and always in black, red and blue. Five shirts, four pairs of pants, twelve pairs of socks, thirteen pairs of underpants, a wash at with toothbrush, toothpaste, a comb, a brush, a bag of disposable tampons and pads (regardless of their own gender identity or presentation), a small plastic cup and a towel which had a series of numbers on it. Each seemed to be randomly assigned to the person and no two were the same. It was almost as if someone had read what clothes a person could want but not actually really have any actual experience with travelling or being a person.
Each day food also appeared, cooked and processed in the cupboards and freezers that according to those I had asked had existed since they got here. Every person I asked didn’t know how they got here. The food cupboards and freezers would only ever seem to have just enough for the people present. If you tried to hoard or keep your food, it would almost as quickly rot and be useless. Thrown into the bins that seemed to automatically empty every day.
Eventually, people started to think about staying up, to see what happened at night. The seats that were around were not uncomfortable to sleep on but also seemed to stretch back to allow you to lie down and snooze. When the lights went out, only a slight blue glow remained. Those who had decided to stay awake tried hard to keep awake. Slowly though each one of us nodded off to sleep. I tried to run on the spot, hum, click, walk around the areas of the place we were in, but to no avail. Eventually, I fell asleep. I woke on the hard cold floor and everything had replenished just like it always did.
Boredom started to become a problem, and we seemed to need to come up with new ways to entertain each other. Walking, running around the complex only provided slight relief.
We started to theories of why we were here. Some decided that it was just the Will of the Bag Carousel and that we should not question such things. But like a itch, you can’t scratch it dug away at you.
Privacy was one of the things people started to crave. The lavatories seemed to provide some but not really enough to make you feel alone with your thoughts. There was no real outside to get to. The rooms just connected together in a large circle. A woman who called herself Port made a map. Soon it was clear we have only ever enough space for the people we had already and any more who came had a new room added onto the honeycomb of rooms. Grand Central Intake and the Carousel area took up two whole hexes. Then one he was the space you could walk through to reach the next hexagonal set with the two other closest hexes taken up by first eating and sleeping hexes. As you went each hex seemed to have one eating, two sleeping areas one area full of spare bits that we had either gathered or made or new ones appeared in. Then each would also have a smaller connection hex that allowed for you to pass to the next five hexes and its connector. The whole pattern seemed to repeat itself a number of times till it doubled back on itself leading to a vast open circle.
Port calculated that their whereabouts twenty more sets of people to be coming from the ships until no space would be left and the circle of hexagonal areas completely full. After such time if more came we would have either to hope whatever force kept us here would help us by giving us more food and space or find that it wasn’t a priority for them, and that we should starve.