I sighed and wiped the sweat from my brow, dropping into a crouch behind a convenient bush.
‘What are you doing?’ Gaspar, my guide, hurriedly whispered at me. ‘We need to move, now.’
‘I’m just catching my breath,’ I lied, frowning at the path behind us intently.
‘I told you at the start,’ Gaspar growled, shifting nervously, eyes darting around the treetops, ‘if we stop moving, we won’t make it.’
‘I know, I know,’ I said. In truth, I wasn’t paying attention to what Gaspar was saying. I was too busy looking.
I wanted to see them.
‘Then you’re on your own,’ Gaspar shook his head. ‘Good luck, stranger.’
‘Gaspar,’ I called out after him. He flinched at the noise, reflexively dropping into a crouch. ‘Gaspar, do you know what I used to do for a living?’
His only response was to glare.
‘I used to work in an office space designed by Melbourne professionals.’ I said. ‘Make sure that whatever you design can live up to that impossible standard.’
A twig cracked behind us, and Gaspar’s eyes widened in fear.
‘I was miserable,’ I went on, ignoring it. ‘Completely, utterly miserable. And then one glorious day… this happened,’ I gestured at the world around us. More branches broke, and a rustling spread through the trees.
‘I could stop worrying,’ I laughed, the sound echoing through the foliage. ‘I could finally stop worrying about all the little, useless things, like the price of coffee, or which company was the best at commercial fitouts. Melbourne offices need to be the best – it’s just a fact.’
Gaspar was frozen in fear, only his eyes still moving, searching, hunting.
‘You’re crazy,’ he eventually croaked out.
‘We all were,’ I nodded mournfully. ‘Living like that. Well, now we’re free. Now we have purpose, we have drive. And it’s all thanks to them.’
I began to well up, a huge smile spreading across my face as I prepared to turn around.
‘And now… and now I finally get to meet them,’ I whispered. ‘Our liberators.’