“There is the exit, go, go,” the man screamed. They had been walking through the maze of subterranean tunnels that covered the whole island for days. Yes, there was a gate, a sign of civilization. And they ran towards the exit, stumbling on one another, elbowing one another, hoping to be free of darkness and dampness and thirst and cold. As they approached the exit, they saw a wonderful garden, filled with beautiful trees and green grass. Everything looked so fresh and alive. Yet, something, at the back of their minds, told them to be cautious. They huddled in that narrow space as a litter of puppies looking at the sun for the first time, uncertain of whether to go forward and explore the wonders of that new world or stay together and hidden in the protective shelter of the tunnel. One of them ventured out and jumped with joy and ran back and forth, rolled around in the grass “come! It’s amazing! We are free!” All the others followed, except Tom. “Aren’t you going? You are free,” said the man, who had caught up with them by then. “I’m waiting,” replied Tom. And they waited. It puzzled him why the man wouldn’t go and jump and yell and be happy as everyone else though. Two hours went by. “Aren’t you going? You are free,” said the man. “Aren’t you going? You are free,” he repeated endlessly, like a broken record, until his voice dimmed so low that Tom could barely hear it. The others had fallen asleep in the cool shadow of the trees. Tom stood up and looked at the man sitting upright. It was a very good product. No one had noticed. His battery must have died down. They had been out there for a while, he thought, it must be safe to go outside. But it wasn’t. Suddenly, the others were melting horribly in the cool shadow of the trees that had become glowy and shiny and odd. They seemed to be alive, as if they were… being fed. Tom took a step back. Yes, he would have to find another exit through the subterranean maze of damp cold tunnels.