Hello. My name is Autumn Clarke. I am writing this because I am currently being held against my will and am in need of some help.
About two and a half years ago, the leaders of this institution lured me into this strange place filled with other people around my age. When asking around, everyone says they, like myself, willingly came here upon hearing promises that “it would be the time of our lives”. Alas, this place does have it’s positives, but at the same time, they constantly demand us to complete various tasks requiring everyone to stay up until odd hours in the morning and run full speed ahead on four hours of sleep. At times these tasks seem to have no point.
The leaders, who call themselves “professors” and “doctors”, measure our performances with some abstract concept called “grades”. I believe these leaders may be running experimental tests on us. Now I am stuck here as they demand more and more from us each day while threatening to remove these things called “scholarships” if our work doesn’t exceed their expectations, which will thus send our lives spiraling out of control for an indefinite amount of time. The fear of this looming chaos is one of the few things that keeps me going any more.
They have everyone living in designated buildings on the premises with a cellmate. Thankfully, my cellmate and I seem to get along quite well. I hope to use this camaraderie to my advantage.
Each day, everyone has a specific time-sensitive schedule. They’ve planned it well; they’ve invited enough of us to make us feel like we’re in a fairly large community, but they’ve kept it small enough that if one of us does not stick to the set schedule, at least one of the leaders will notice and, more than likely, will run into us at some point later on in the day, at which time an interrogation will begin regarding our whereabouts earlier that day.
But the worst part is that each day that I’m in this strange place is yet another day that I am not hunting. Every time it seems like I’ll be able to get a breath of fresh air by going hunting for just one day, they somehow find out and come up with a reason as to why I shouldn’t go. It’s usually something terrifying like a speech that counts for 20% of our “grade” where we’re forced to perform in front of a group like some sort of circus monkey, or a “group project” where we must attempt to complete another strange task with several other people. I’m starting to think they have managed to place microphones in my room, or have gained access to my planner. I will certainly have to be more careful about sharing my information and plans from now on.
Now it’s looking like the only thing I have to keep me going is the promise of Thanksgiving “break”. However, even then they’re guaranteed to follow us home and continue the banter and harassment with this magical thing called an “email”. I do have to respect their determination; these people cannot and will not be stopped.
They feed us fairly well here, although at times the rations can be questionable. However, I don’t ask questions and eat it anyway. At the very least, I must use this to keep up my strength, because they certainly won’t allow me to stay strong with a full night’s rest.
I walk around with a general anxiety about what will happen next, whether it’s a “test” (a petrifying experience in which one must race through a series of questions and complete a number of tasks within a time limit) or an “essay” (an equally terrifying practice where we must write about a given topic for a certain length of time, only this time our “grade” depends on whether or not one of the leaders here likes it).
I wonder how it is in the hunt field…every day that I know everyone back home is hunting, I wonder how the day is going. I hope they haven’t forgotten me yet…I wonder if they’ll recognize me once I finally make it out there again? I plan to use Thanksgiving as an excuse to make it out there again. I just need one day, one hunt, to be able to carry on again.
So I’m asking you, your friends, family members, anyone, to help me. I’m welcoming any information from the outside world that you can hear me. I don’t expect you to rescue me; they keep telling us that these four years here are absolutely vital to our existence afterwards. But I’m welcoming any information, stories from the hunt field, photos, and updates on how your day hunting was, whether it’s a novel, an email or a text message…any bit of information I can have that tells me you’re all carrying on hunting will give me hope of one day joining you out in the hunt field once again.
On that note, I’m off to bed. My body needs the rest, and my cellmate has already hit the hay. Besides, I must get up early tomorrow morning for “workouts” (they recruited me to the equestrian team at the beginning of my time here; this team has become my main source for support in this place). They have an extensive building filled with weights and machines of various sizes and a running track for our fitness. Little do they know, the team and I will use this facility to train and get stronger as we wait for our moment of freedom, however brief it may be. Until then, please, please pass this message on until it reaches somebody who knows me and can let me know they haven’t forgotten about me. My comrades and I shall continue to trudge on faithfully, our heads down, noses to the grindstone, backs to the wind, hoping, praying that our moment of freedom and relaxation will soon come to our rescue.
***Note: I do enjoy my school and time at college as much as one can enjoy a school and am fully aware of how important it is that I obtain a college degree, hence why I continue to show up and try my hardest every day. However, I missed Opening Hunt because of this school, haven’t been hunting since early October, and won’t get back out there until Thanksgiving at the very earliest. To say I’m a tad bit stir crazy would be an understatement.