The sun was his alarm clock, rays falling from the partially blinded window. His eyes opened slowly, catching light. He rolled carefully onto his side, and scanned his watch. 8:32 the digital numbers blinked back him, checking twice just to be sure. He rubbed tension from his tired eyes, and sat up- trying to shake off his dreams. He felt like he was missing something, and didn’t want the feeling to be haunting him all day. A shuffle along to the end of the hall where coffee was waiting for him. Two strong cups and a couple of hand rolled cigarettes to get his head right.
He liked to face the day slowly, basking in the rising sun before he finished getting ready. He had a long walk ahead of him, slowly stretched before picking up his bag- packed and ready to go. Back to the garden, a good bye to the plants. It was a couple of miles walk to where he was to meet the convoy. Three trucks sat waiting, silently running. He said a few quick greetings and hopped in the back of the lead vehicle. They were still waiting for a few more people, and he had to prepare his mind for what was to come. Pulling down his blindfold, he tried to make himself comfortable. Overcome with blackness, he fixated himself on the quiet purr of the engine.
The trip was spent in silence, the rushing of wind filling their ears. Bumpy roads eventually got smooth after a long while. One of the riders sparked up a joint, and after a deep inhale- passed it off to the left. The smell wafted to him even in the rapid winds, and he lifted the bandana a few inches. The desert sun stung his eyes as he got accustomed to the brightness. Each man gave a nod of thanks as it was their turn to inhale a deep lungful. A pat on his arm, a careful handing of the sacred plant. He brought it in close, lips moving in a silent prayer. A few words of thanks. Each man in turn bought forth a product of their own harvest and shared with the others. Quiet bonding over sacrifice. By the time it was over the scenery had changed. The farms were on the horizon, a splash of green at the edges of the desert sand and rock. The men turned their heads to see, but otherwise remained seated.
He was the youngest, and his face showed his anticipation- he had never been to one of the cities before. Never witnessed the massive self-sustaining metropolis they were about to travel to. Instantly he knew he was being looked at, and was overcome with a calm reassurance. It wasn’t going to be long now- and he could see their glorious squalor for himself. “No, not long at all…” A voice spoke in his head with a grin.
A peek and he saw the wall, it was massive and extended as far as the eyes could see. Several voices had joined the first, all speaking terrible things to him. Whispers on the edge of his mind. He glanced at each man in turn, getting back a slow nod. They were dark, malicious and the closer they got- the stronger they became. Dusk was settling around them when they reached looming massive concrete. The engine died, and each man stood- stretching. A tunnel lay before them, a break in the wall. A team before them had already broken through the thick iron bars, a space just large enough for a single man.
The elder with greying hair handed out the torches, lighting each one as they were about to enter. A warm nod, and those grey eyes which cast away the voices for a second. He was starting to get a headache, screeches running through his mind. The small flowing river at his feet smelt stale, lazily lingering two inches deep. They walked until they came into a widening, where several streams from above condensed into one. The men helped each other up, taking a moment to rest.
They had set up camp for the deep in the sewer system. Small fires and thin blankets on the hard concrete. Whatever food they had was shared among them, although each man didn’t eat much. The voices had been plaguing them for a few hours at this point, and stomachs churned at the suggestions. The elder cleared his throat, and the others turned to face him. A long pause before he spoke, gently poking a fire with a stick. “In the morning we break camp, you all know that. You know your tasks, what each of your missions are. Be sure to check your watches, we need to be back here at dusk. That hits six-thirty by the clock.” He took his time with the next part, knowing it didn’t need said- but wanting to give it power. “We cannot wait for an individual, you knew the risks when you volunteered. The community will need us back as soon as we can. You know how to find agents within the walls should something happen, but the mission always comes first.” Nods of agreement made their away around the circle.
Another man reached deep into a pouch and brought out the caps to be passed around. “Golden teachers. We come asking for your knowledge, that it may help us in our tasks to come. Generations have feasted before us, and we hope to receive the same blessings. Thank you.” The elder bowed his head. Each man took as many as they needed, and slowly chewed the dry flesh. He took three, occasionally washing fragments down with water and bringing the bandanna down over his eyes. Nothing else needed to be spoken at this point, and each man took their time getting comfortable. He lay on his side, head propped on his arm and facing the flame. It warmed his face as the visions came to him. Fractals of color, bleeding in form. They started off with the ancient tales of those who came before him, the history of his tribe. They entranced him, the floating worlds in the void. The mushrooms reminded him of his death, which was yet to come- awaiting on a foreign horizon. They told him not to fear, and bound him in their warmth. Little details were given to him, telling of what was- of what could be. They took him where was needed, showed what they had deemed important.
He felt like he was melting into the world around him, as their organic death greeted him. The night ran long with his minds eye filled. Time had collapsed in the darkness, drawn out by these representations of his subconscious. At some point he was aware that the voices had left, replaced with the solely speaking fungi. He was filled with thanks and awe. By the time his mind was able to rest into sleep, he was ready for the day to come- a comfortable knowledge resting in his mind.