I'm going to die. I was sure of that fact up until yesterday.
About a week or so ago they came in; A professor, two guards, and three agents. The professor in her pristine white lab coat read off a list of names.
Though the term termination was never used I like many others I began to mourn the dead teens before us, that is until they called my name "Dana 148-C".
No. It flashed through my head as I sat stunned in my place,
spoon dropping from my hand as agents moved forward to cuff me. I could do nothing more than stare shocked.
Why? What did I do?" I thought.
I followed all their rules, all of them. I did anything they told me to, required or not. I was and still am in perfect mental and physical health.
So why? Why would they get rid of me?
They marched us down a hall, single file the guards to the left and right, the agents moving up and down the line occasionally prodding us with their stun guns.
We were nervous little ants marching one by one to an anthill that would surely be flooded. None the less we didn't stop. If we stopped the birds wouldn't hesitate to pick us off.
Upon reaching the end of the hallway they led us into a room that was too small to hold all of us. They didn't care. They just filed out of the room slammed the door behind them as the room began to fill.
That was the last thing I remembered before I woke here.
The door slides open revealing a man in a white lab coat. At first, I would have thought him a professor but upon closer inspection, I thought no.
He could be, I mean some people have babyfaces, but this one looks...Fresh? Is that the word? Youthful, In appearance and mannerism? Vaguely familiar too.
Needles and tubes run the length of my body. Researcher Callahan told me there were nine days left until the day, the one where we all go to sleep...
I... don't... I don't think... he means all of us. Some of us will go to sleep and wake up after our 300-year nap, but, I don't, I don't...I...
And then black. Fuzzy. Calm. Black.
My room is empty now save for me and the bed I'm chained to.
I squirm, slowly at first but gaining speed, my dirty blond hair slapping me in the face.
Tears of pain blur my vision, but I'd recognize those locks. They're red, almost unnaturally so.
He moves forward, wiping the tears from my eyes with a handkerchief.
"Are you alright?" he asks, his brown eyes full of sympathy.
I nod causing pain to shoot through me.
He looks at me, a sad expression on his face before he turns from the kindly, caring man into any other austere researcher.
He berates me with questions seemingly forever but they were preferred to the testing that followed.
By the time it is over I'm in pain, covered in needle marks, exhausted, and drenched in sweat.
Breathing heavily I watch through my hair now plastered to my face as the professors and researchers leave. The last one turns to me letting his persona slip in order to give me a supportive smile and wink.
The door slides open and there he stands.
"Dana," he says louder.
There's worry in his eyes.
"Yes, researcher Callahan?".
"Call me Fen," he says, extending an arm only to pull it back.
Fen. Where have I heard Fen before?
Then it clicks.
"You're Reina's brother".
I knew Reina before we came here. Ever since arrival, we would cling to each other like baby sloths to their mothers. We were the only people we knew and as a result, became closer than ever. Best friends, sisters even, that's what we are, but...
"She told me she had a brother but, she never said he worked here".
"I'm new," Fen says, taking my hand.
"Why aren't you with your sister?".
He looks away, but I saw. There was deep despair.
"No. No! She can't be dead".
"She's not" he whispers, squeezing my hand.
"Then what? What did they do to her? What are they going to-"
I start sobbing. I can't help it, I'm going to lose her and there's nothing I can do about it.
He's hugging me. It's awkward and a bit painful, but he's hugging me.
"It's going to be alright," he says softly.
"Everything will be okay".
"If...If she's not dead, then...then what...what was decided?"
"You have to stop them. You, y-you, y-you have... You have to stop them".
"And so we will".
There are people examining me. They're going to poke and prod me again, I know they will, but they're not going to kill me. Not intentionally at least...
They need me for something. That much I know.
A man, young, early to mid-twenties, dark brown hair and eyes that match, he moves closer and...gas.
The last thing I see is him stepping back, cold eyes locked on mine.
I should be opening my eyes, staring, try to find out more about the day but...As it is...
It feels like I face-planted into a pit full of lego bricks with my eyes taped open.
The scientist and researchers are talking amongst themselves in a cacophony of sound.
I try to focus on one voice but I can't. All the voices, all the sounds, they blend together twisting and distorting, depriving them of meaning.
I-I can't. I can't...
I'm quivering, shaking, convulsing. I'm no longer in control, any semblance is gone.
The world quiets becoming a mere drone of white noise.
A voice cuts through louder than a freight train. "Did it work?".
Did what work?
A jerk then light a thousand times brighter than the Sun. I shriek.
The door opens and in comes Fen. His hair is covered and his lab coat has been replaced but I can tell.
He stands there squinting before turning to me.
"Dana? Is that you?".
Further examining his face shows the same features so why-
"I can't see".
What? How can he not see? Is this some sort of a ploy, by them? By him?
"The lights," He says, catching my attention. "They're off".
He expects me to believe that? I can see fine. Besides, the lights are never off. Dimed at night sure, but never off.
"What?" he says, eyes widening momentarily. "How do you want me to prove we're in a pitch-black room? By running into a wall?" he continues bewildered. "Wait, how can't you tell..." he stops mid-sentence.
Feeling with his hands he moves forward. It's an awkward series of motions but eventually, he manages to wrap a hand around the edge of my bed.
Feeling with his other hand he moves towards me eventually reaching where one of my hands is bound, squeezing it before turning to face the door.
He nods to himself. "Good".
Facing me again he reaches into his coat pulling a small plastic flashlight from an inner pocket.
Glancing at the door once more he flicks on the flashlight and...
Pain rips through me. I barely managed to stop myself from screaming...okay, that might have been Fen’s hand.
"Oh, oh wow".
"Fen you idiot" I snap when he removes his hand from my mouth.
He's not paying attention. He's staring in awe at my eyes.
"That, yeah actually, that explains it. I wonder what else-"
Flinching, he almost drops the flashlight.
"Hold on, hold on," he says, pulling something from his pocket.
"What did they do?".
His eyes are guilty.
"Fen!" I shout.
"Shh, shh" he hushes me waving his arms.
"Callahan," He stops. "Give. Me. The. Mirror".
The idiot stares at my bound arms. He looks like he's about to say something but stops.
"Hold it" I clarify "So I can see".
After a moment he shrugs, leaning forward ever so slightly with the mirror just...Enough...that I...Can see. My eyes.
My irises are purple. Once a warm chocolate brown they are now stained a dark and regal lavender.
"Why are they purple?".
"I, well, this isn't my field but...I believe it's for identification" he replies unsure in tone.
"So the numbers weren't enough! What are they trying to do? Strip away any last semblance of our bloody humanity?!" I yell.
"I can't tell you for certain," he says. "But, I can tell you it will be useful" he finishes before racing out the door.
The sound of several sets of heavy footsteps fills the corridor as they chase their more nimble pray.
I-I don't know what will happen. But if they find him, if anything happens to him it will be my fault and I'll carry the weight for the rest of my life.
And this is why Aunt Frida didn't want me to talk to boys.
Most don't recover quickly, many might not at all. We are experiments, test subjects, disposable little lab rats, yet...We are valuable assets, those that work anyways. Some likely won't heal fast enough, if at all, by the time we enter our stasis. I wonder...Will they be left to rot, or will they be euthanized, 'a mercy job' they would call it.
The door opens revealing Fen, red locks tucked under a new hat and black scarf hanging from his neck. Adorning his eyes is a pair of old goggles, clips rusted from oxidation.
He nods, giving me a grim smile, as he moves to undo the cuffs. He doesn't use his key card, who would, but he doesn't use the keypad either. Instead, he uses a small metallic brick with smooth sides spattered buttons at seemingly random orientations.
When he holds it up to the cuffs they click then open.
"What is that?" I ask.
"A magnetic lock pick".
"How does that work?"
"It doesn't matter, all that matters is that it works," he says sternly before opening the door.
I stumble, nearly falling to the floor. He winces.
"What did you expect? I've been stuck to a bed for more than a week".
He groans bringing his hand up in a motion seemingly to draw his fingers through his hair only to stop as his fingers brush his hat. Shaking his head he pulls his scarf over his nose, tossing a coat at me, then bolts.
Barely managing to tug it on, I follow trying to keep pace with him.
We turn down corridor after winding corridor taking care not to cross paths with any guards yet here we are hiding behind crates as a guard stands guarding the entrance to the corridor.
Cursing Fen bangs both fists on one of the crates. The sound reverberates through the hall causing the guard to jerk.
"Who's there" he calls.
Dang it dang it dang it dang it dang.
Hugging myself I noticed the coat. It's white, and not just white but a proper lab coat.
Eyeing the crates I notice a clipboard hanging from the side and a pair of safety glasses laying forgotten to the side.
This better work.
"Get behind the crate".
I slip on the safety glasses, not answering.
"I'm warning you," the guard calls again. "Don't make me use this" the guard says pointing his gun our way.
Clutching the clipboard I step out from behind the crates.
"Calm now guard," I say mimicking the tone of the more experienced researchers.
"Professor?" calls the guard. "What are you doing here this late? I wasn't informed you would be here. I'm going to have to ask you to leave".
"And what makes you believe someone as esteemed as myself has to go through someone as low ranking as you. I have work to do, my job is more important than a billion of yours. You could be replaced by any other brute on this forsaken planet. Now, do I have to tell you again? Get. Out. Of. My. Way".
Oh wow, I almost feel bad for the guy. He shrunk back in the corner looking like a beat dog just short of whimpering.
"GO!" I bark, and he does, walking anxiously, before taking off at a run once out of sight.
"Wow. Who knew you were that scary." Fen says, crawling out from behind a crate.
"Don't worry Fen," I say, patting his back. "I won't fire you". He laughs, but I slap his shoulder.
"We got lucky".
"Yeah," he says. "Most guards ask for credentials, especially when given orders by a professor they don't know".
"So why didn't he?".
"Probably because he was vying for a chance at a chamber," Fen says, his voice calm.
"What?" I ask in a sharp whisper. "How can they give away slots to the guards when there isn't even enough for the kids they promised sanctuary?".
"They promised the guards a chance. That chance is what keeps them working here. They have, or had, lives too. They don't want to die. Even if they don't like what they're doing they still do it for life. And," he says. "The program will need guards just as much as, if not more than, now"...
It's nearly dawn when we see her. She's alone and like me, wearing a lab coat.
"What are you doing?".
"Fen, stop," she says raising a hand.
"But you aren't-"
"Stop big brother".
"Reina, you should be with the group. It's not safe over here and-"
"And it's safer in the group that was caught before they even got their lab coats on?"
"We separated, Fen. We knew it wasn't going to work".
"What? Why? What would make you think that? We've been planning this for-"
"Days, Fen, days. They got the best of us. They didn't give us enough time to prepare. They kept changing the list. They separated those they suspected were in on the scheme. Before we even split they knew. We couldn't even come up with a proper lie for why some unguarded mini researchers were dragging around double the number of subjects. Were just lucky they believed they caught them all".
"Did they? besides you?" Fen asks, sounding desperate.
"Why does it matter?" I ask.
They turn, staring at me in shock.
"Dana," Reina starts.
"Not that," I say before she can continue. "Never that".
They both let out sighs of relief.
"Then what, Dana?" Fen asks.
"Why does it matter if they let us go now? They let us go before".
"They're afraid," Reina says before Fen gets the chance to.
"Afraid of what? some kids? What can we do?".
The siblings share a look.
Reina speaks. "When they are conscious, we are not an issue, but when asleep surely one of us could figure out how to break their tubes”.
"They let others leave".
Fen speaks. "That was before everyone knew what they were. Before the cruelty. Before the experiments ".
"So, you're saying-"
"Unlike before when you would've had no reason to be mad, letting you go now could lead to...complications".
"Oh," I say lamely. "What now?"
We made it to an exit. Fen opens the door revealing the sun rising in the East. The clouds are a beautiful array of oranges, reds, and pinks, yet the ground below is barren, brown and grey, void of most life.
"Isn't it obvious?" Reina asks, stepping out onto the ruined land. I try to follow, but she pushes me back. "You stay" she finishes.
She hushes him with a hand.
"You will not come".
"No. This," she says gesturing to her surroundings. "Is my future. I have no choice. This is the only future I could have. But you" she says, pointing at me "Do. You don't have to live in this world shaped by human greed and convenience along with forces of nature beyond our control. You can live on a planet repaired by time. You can still have a good life. I can't".
"No. No I can't. Not if I leave you. We lost so many, becoming so close only for this world to snatch them away. I'm not losing another friend. Especially not you".
"Dana, please. If you can't live for yourself at least live for me".
She's crying. I haven't seen her cry since middle school. I enjoyed it then. I would cause it, but she stopped reacting. The last time she cried was when I slapped her. I tried to apologize, but she avoided me. I went too far. The only reason we started talking again was because we became selecteds.
We knew our past, how we knew each other, but even then we never acknowledged it. I never could apologize, but this, this is the last time I'll ever see the girl.
I'm tugged from the past, literally, by Fen. He's crying, she's crying, I'm crying, we're all crying, but there's nothing we can do that won't make it worse. Nothing but this "I'm sorry" I manage, locking eyes with Reina.
"I forgive you," her eyes say even though I can't hear the words.
They came for me early that morning. They took me from the bed and led me to the chamber. I didn't flinch when they pulled out a large needle. My mind was thinking of more important things; the sister I lost the day prior, the professor's conversation about it in the hall, the young man in the corner with the unforgettable red locks, and most importantly aunt Fridas last words to me. 'In a new world you must not forget, the most dangerous thing alive is...them dang teenage boys". She never said anything about the twenties.
You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.
In loved it. Came here as soon as I finished part 1
"Nine days left in the day.." Did you mean to say: "nine hours left in the day..?" "Dimed at night.." did you mean to say: "dimmed at night..?" I noticed some missing commas. Beside the minor typos, I found this story really engaging, with wonderful imagery. Well done.
The story reads "Researcher Callahan told me there were nine days left until the day, the one where we all go to sleep...". This was the thought of a barely conscious Dana, what little cognitive abilities she had at the moment spent wondering if she would wake with the others. As for the "Dimed at night", I did intend to say dimmed. Still working on the commas. Thank you for reading and commenting.
This is a beautiful story and an epic part 2, but I noticed that there weren't many commas. That's ok., though, since lots of little mistakes can be made like that.
Thank you for the compliment and criticism.
A wonderfully written sci-fi! There were some typos, but none hithered the intenseness and detail in the story. Well done :)
This is so good! I love the descriptions and imagery. I was so entranced by the first one I just had to read this one. Both of them are amazing! Great job! Oh, and thanks for liking my story:)
Thank you! I loved your story as well, especially the plot twist at the end. Did that make Sara revise her plan?
Thanks! I think it did, but only a little. I might write a part 2 where Sara has to figure out what to do next with this new information
This was such an amazing story! Need a part two Abigail! :) P.S. Happy Valentine's Day! Have a Magical day filled with happiness and love. <3
Thank you and happy Valentine's day to you as well! I'm glad you liked my story, but I have to ask. Did you read part 1 "Stasis"?
Ooops, I might have missed that one! I was looking at my library, so....sorry! :)
It happens to everyone sometimes, although at the moment they could have been read in either order. The events of the stories take place around the same time through the perspective of different individuals.
Oh, ok, thank you so much for letting me know! I will definitely read it! :)