They regain consciousness in a glade near a little forest. Parts of their lab – computers, equipment, pieces of lasers and other types of trash – are scattered all around. It is warm outside. The sun is still just above the horizon. It looks like it’s still early morning.
Gordon: Phew….what the hell was that? Freeman, hey, Freeman, are you alive?
Freeman: (kneels down and begins to rub his eyes) I don’t fucking know if I’m alive or not. Where are we? (he looks around). Gordon, damn you, look what you’ve done!
Gordon: Well, looks like our lab is done for. But what the hell happened anyway? Apparently, we’ve been teleported somewhere. And it seems like we’re on Earth.
Freeman: What happened? Because of you, a black hole exploded in our lab! That’s what happened! And it looks like it wasn’t just our lab, but the whole research center suffered. Gordon, when we come back, you’ll be sent to prison. Or even better, directly to an asylum!
Gordon: Stop harping, Freeman! Let’s get up and go look for signs of civilization. Apparently, the black hole had sent us somewhere. Look, the sun is over there, so the south is there too. Come on, Freeman, get up, let’s go towards the south.
Freeman: (mumbles something to himself)
Gordon stops and begins to dig through his pockets.
Gordon: Freeman, do you have your phone? I left mine in the closet.
Freeman: I have it, but there is no connection. Apparently, we are too far from any cities.
Gordon: Turn it off so that the battery doesn’t die. And follow me.
They head south. About two hours later they reach the edge of a big field. Far off in the distance there is a big can be seen. Part of the field is enclosed with something similar to a fence.
Freeman: Look, Gordon, there are some people there. A lot of them. Hmm, what are they doing?
Gordon: Looks like they are working in the field. Look at this weird fence, Freeman. It reminds me of laser beams. I wonder what it is. Let’s get a little closer.
They go right up to the beams. Freeman tries to pass his hand over the beams, but after barely touching them, he jerks his hand back and cries out.
Freeman: Damn it, damn it! What is this thing? Oh, ouch!
Gordon: What is it, what happened?
Freeman: I got electrocuted, or something like that. My hand is paralyzed (he begins to rub his right hand and moan)
Gordon: (looks attentively at the beams once again) Hmm, I wonder what kind of beams these are. Strange, very strange. Look, Freeman, there are people sitting on the other side of the fence. Let’s go and ask them what’s going on over here. How is your hand?
Freeman doesn’t answer and trudges towards the people.
When they come closer, they see several people. They are all men, quite well-nourished. Their heads are shaved, and they have practically no clothing on. Only some rags cover their bodies below the waist. Their bodies, arms and faces are dirty. They are sitting by a trough and eating something that resembles porridge. Freeman comes closer to the fence and addresses the men.
Freeman: Hey, guys! Could you tell us… umm… what is this place? We are looking for the nearest city with a mobile network. I’m not getting any reception here.
The men don’t seem to pay any attention to them. They continue sitting on the ground and eating their porridge. Freeman looks back at Gordon and shrugs his shoulders, perplexed.
Freeman: Excuse me, do you speak English?
The men look at the strangers, but without any interest.
Gordon comes up to Freeman and whispers into his ear.
Gordon: Freeman, something is wrong here. Look at their faces, look at their eyes. They seem so empty and lifeless. That one over there is staring straight before himself and doesn’t react to anything. And this weird fence. They look like slaves. But why are they so well-fed?
Freeman: Yes, really. Listen, maybe they are on drugs? Maybe it’s a rehab hospital? Look over there, about fifty more people sitting just the same way. And there are just as many over to that side.
Man: Hey, you, Humies! Are you lost? (he says it in English, but with some strange accent)
Gordon and Freeman turn around. It appears that one of the men has gotten up, come up to the fence, and is now standing a few meters away from them. His face is smeared with porridge. He is looking at the strangers with his sad apathetic eyes.
Freeman: Sir, I beg your pardon again. We are scientists from California and we’re looking for the nearest city…
After hearing these words, the man suddenly bursts out laughing. He laughs so hard that he falls down and starts rolling on the ground in a fit of laughter until he is foaming at the mouth. He seems to be going insane. Then he suddenly gets up and roams back towards the others with the same empty expression on his face.
Gordon and Freeman stand frozen, not knowing how to react. Gordon grabs his friend’s sleeve.
Gordon: Let’s go, Freeman. Let’s get out of here.
Freeman: Did you see that? Looks like something is really wrong with them. Damn it, where did we end up, Gordon?
Gordon: I don’t know, I’ve no idea, but we should try to get out of here as soon as possible. Let’s walk that way, I can see some buildings over there.
They walk along the forest. The field with the unusual fence is indeed next to a small town. Coming up even closer, they see an unusual futuristic building, and, adjacent to it is a large square with some sort of hard surface, which looks like a parking lot. The friends are so glad to see this building that they rush to find the entrance and take a look inside.
Gordon: Freeman, hey, it looks like these glass doors are the entrance. Let’s go!
Freeman: (looking around suspiciously) What an unusual building, don’t you think, Gordon? Look, what’s that over there? (he points at an object nearby, which resembles a vehicle in a way, but has no wheels).
Gordon: Freeman, let’s go to the door! I’m sure you’ll have enough time to admire the local architecture later on.
They come up to a large tinted glass door that opens automatically as soon as they come within 2 meters.
Freeman: Gordon, did you see that? There was some lighted sign with some strange symbols. Definitely not English, more like Chinese or maybe…
He doesn’t have time to finish speaking, because Gordon, who’s been walking in front of him, suddenly stops and Freeman bumps into his back full-force, and his glasses fall down on the floor.
Gordon: Holy shit! (he stops and stands frozen, unable to utter a word)
Freeman: What the hell, Gordon! (he bends down to pick up his glasses from the floor). You almost broke my glasses!
Gordon remains standing silently. His mouth is open in surprise.
Freeman: (he puts on his glasses and looks around) For God’s sake…
They are standing in a room very similar to… a butcher’s shop.
Just across from them is a table with ice and human legs chopped off at the hip. Some of them are already partially skinned. Right there, in the ice, there are a few severed human heads. On the left and right are the refrigerated display cases with fresh meat, entrails, liver, brains, kidneys, lungs and more on metallic trays. There are human legs and are hanging behind the counter, on the wall – all cured in some way like Iberian ham.
Gordon walks slowly along a display case with different organs.
Gordon: Good Lord! Freeman, is this what I think it is? Just look here (he points at something inside the display case). Those are penises, Freeman! Shit! (he swears with relish).
Freeman: (he remains stunned, unable to say a word, and stares, spellbound, at the human heads)
Gordon: Look, Freeman, there’s a board with something written on it next to each tray. They look like price tags in a store. I just can’t see any numbers.
He comes back to his friend and, seeing that he’s motionless, nudges his shoulder.
Freeman: Gordon, what do you think, is all of this human?
Gordon: (he points to a wall to their right with his forefinger) It is, judging by this ad.
Freeman looks over to where Gordon is pointing. There is a big screen on the wall resembling a plasma TV, about 3x3 meters, with happy smiling people with children against the background of green meadows along with some unintelligible symbols.
Freeman: You mean to say that it is a human meat shop? Have you gone nuts or what?
Gordon: So, you’ve got a different idea?
Freeman comes closer to the display case.
Freeman: Maybe it’s some prank, or they’re shooting a movie here?
Freeman sees something in the display case that suddenly makes him sick. His eyes blank out, and his stomach turns inside out. He doesn’t even have time to look away. His breakfast suddenly materializes right on the display case glass.
Gordon approaches his friend.
Gordon: Are you okay? What did you see – penises? Let me give you a handkerchief.
He is about to take a handkerchief from his pocket, when out of the corner of his eye, he notices that someone is standing behind him. He turns around and freezes. Some strange creature is standing ten steps away from them. It is considerably bigger than a human, about 2.5 meters tall. It’s got a short body with long skinny legs and long sinewy arms with long fingers. Its head resembles an oblong egg. Its face is clearly non-human – the creature has huge convex black eyes, like those of a dragonfly, a very long nose, and a small mouth at the very bottom of its head. It is dressed in a leather shirt and a blood-covered apron.
Creature: Hey, you, motherfuckers! What are you doing here?! Where are your owners?! Get out of here!
Freeman and Gordon can’t understand what the creature is saying, as they can only hear something like Rrrar uhhrr varrr rurr ssssshvak.
Freeman dashes towards the door so quickly that it doesn’t have time to open, and he bumps into it extremely hard and falls down on the floor, unconscious. Gordon grabs him by the collar and drags him outside, cursing. He drags him off to the side from the door and begins trying to bring him around.
Gordon: Freeman, damn you, wake up, son of a bitch! Wake up, I’m telling you!
At that moment, he hears the already familiar rrrar varrrbehind his back.
He turns back and sees two creatures standing nearby. One of them has some kind of a stick with a tip that he points directly at Gordon. A moment later, a blue beam emerges from the stick and Gordon loses consciousness.
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