Authors note: this story is the second part to The Equals (yes, I changed the name, but the series name is still going to be Flawless Imperfection) so I would suggest you read that before you read this (if you haven't already). Thanks :)
The machine next to me beeped, a small noise that sounded every minute. I had no memories of where I was and why I was there. The letter that I had found had not helped, I was just as confused as before. But something had stuck out to me.
The name Jax.
Jax, where have I heard that name before? I pondered, trying to pull the memory out of my head.
The lady in the room coughed, bringing me out of my thoughts. She was still holding the chip, her fingers squeezing tightly on it as if she were afraid to let go.
When she saw me glancing at her questionly, she just smiled. “Don’t worry, dear. Just sit back and relax, this will be over before you know it!”
I didn’t respond. Even though she was smiling, the smile didn't reach her eyes. Her eyes were as cold as ice, and something about them told me to run far, far away from her and this place.
I need to get out of here, I thought. There was something very wrong about how white and clean everything was, and how seemingly perfect the lady dressed in white standing in front of me was.
“Miss, help is needed in Room 138.” A man addressed her, his eyes blank and unblinking.
The lady sighed, as if annoyed. “Can’t you tell them to wait? I’m almost done here.” She gestured to where I was laying.
“Sorry, Miss, but they said it was important.” The lady rolled her eyes.
“Fine. Watch over her.” She glared at me, her smile gone from her face and left.
The man sat on one of the white chairs, and stared at me, unblinking.
Something is wrong with this man. It’s almost like… like he’s not in control of his own mind. But that’s not possible, is it? I sat up, wincing as a sudden flare of pain ricocheted in my head.
The man made no moves to stop me.
Breathing hard, I glanced at the bed. The only thing stopping me from escaping was a tube attached to my arm. But, instead of a normal tube, this one was sticking in my arm, almost like…
I pulled on it, and almost cried out in pain.
There was a needle that was stuck in my arm. My breath started to quicken.
A needle. In my arm. That was why the man made no move towards me, he knew I couldn’t escape.
But I had to try.
Something in my mind told me that my future would be even worse if I didn’t escape.
I gritted my teeth, bracing myself.
And then I pulled.
Almost immediately, a searing pain shot up across my arm, making it hard to breath. But I continued, knowing that if I stopped I wouldn’t be able to start again. I took a deep breath and pulled again, this time successfully pulling the needle out of my arm.
Blood streaked down my entire forearm, coating it in a blanket of red. I looked around the room trying to find something to wipe it off.
Then the man picked up a little device and held it to his ear.
“Yes, Miss, everything is going fine here. Yes, of course.” He stood up.
“The Lead Equal is coming back soon, so I shall be leaving. It was a pleasure meeting you.” He nodded at me and I nodded back, pretending I didn’t have a bleeding arm.
I froze. She’s coming back so soon? I looked at my blood-streaked arm. This can wait.
Clutching my arm, I pushed the door open and glanced outside. The man was probably commanded to make sure I don’t leave the room, but now that he’s gone I should make a run for it. After making sure there weren’t any people around, I ran into the hallway.
Blend in, I told myself, no one would suspect you. Everyone looks the same. Suddenly, I was struck with the feeling that I have done this before. I wouldn’t be surprised. I can’t remember anything.
As I neared the front door, something stopped me.
Jax. A little voice in my head whispered. Find him.
Sighing, I turned back around.
I walked back to the hallway, and stopped at a door.
Here. The voice told me. If you get me killed- I thought as I pushed the door open.
Inside was a room that looked the exact same as mine had. Everything was white, the bed, the sheets, the walls.
And in the bed lay a boy struggling to gain his consciousness.
“Jax?” I whispered.
He looked up, and met my eyes. “Adira?”
I caught my breath. It must be him.
“I guess you got my letter then.” He smiled, and then almost immediately frowned. “Are your memories wiped?”
I started to nod, but then stopped. Something must have happened when I caught sight of him, something that had triggered my memories.
“We’ll run away.”
“That… was the name I secretly gave you.” Adira.
“Yes, I like the name Jax!”
“Remember, pretend that you belong.”
“We will have an unstoppable army at our hands.”
“Your Father is an Equal.”
The flow of memories swirled around my head, slowly falling in place.
“I… remember now! Seeing you must have triggered it.”
Jax grinned at me.
“But what about you?” I asked. “Do you have your memories?”
“Yes, I do, I’ll tell you about it later. Let’s get out of here first.” He sat up, and then almost immediately fell down.
I glanced at him, worried.
“I’m fine.” He gritted his teeth. “They just gave me something, but I’ll be fine.”
I nodded, and helped him up.
“Adira!” He cried, surprising me.
“What, what is it?” I looked at him.
“Your arm! What happened to it? Are you okay?” He pointed at my arm, which still had the blood on it.
“Yeah, yeah I’m fine. Let’s just go.” He nodded, and then sat up with difficulty.
We stood up, him leaning on me, and walked out into the hallway, hoping that nobody would look at us.
I held my breath as we neared the front door.
But no one even noticed us, and soon, we were out.
The fresh air helped calm my nerves, the soft breeze swirling around us and rustling the leaves of the trees.
“Adira… can we… find a place… to rest…” Jax closed his eyes, leaning his entire weight on me.
“Oh God, Jax, are you okay? And yes, of course we can.”
I looked around, my eyes resting on the willow tree that we had slept in before.
Carefully, I led him to the tree, peeled away the leaves and went inside.
“Thank you.” He rested his head on the bark, breathing slowly.
“What did they give you?” I whispered.
“Some… thing to make me weaker I think…”
I sat next to him, and slowly fell asleep.
“Adira. Adira!” Jax hissed in my ear, awakening me.
“Yes? Is something wrong?” I asked him.
“I’ll… let you see for yourself,” his face looked grim. Jax peeled back the leaves of the willow tree that were hiding us. I looked outside, and fell back in shock.
The streets were lined with posters caption “If you see a girl named Number 1027, report to the Equal Tower immediately. She is wanted for trying to ruin our society and take away everyone’s happiness.”
My mouth fell open in shock. Jax stared at me, his face mirroring mine.
“Why… they…” I could barely make out a sentence, my anger making the world appear red at the edges.
They accused me of trying to ruin their happiness? All I have ever wanted to do was to improve society, they're the ones trying to ruin it! I gritted my teeth, glaring at the posters.
“Well… what do you think we should do?” Jax asked me.
“I don’t know! Why are you asking me? You never come up with any ideas!” I yelled at him, and then immediately regretted my words. “Oh my God, I am so sorry Jax! I didn’t mean it… I’m just really upset… I…”
Jax held up his hand, stopping me. “No, no, I understand. It must not be easy for you to be on a Wanted poster.” He smiled sympathetically at me. I smiled back at him, glad to have such an understanding friend.
“Well, I guess we could go to my Father?” I wondered aloud. “I mean, he was an Equal so maybe he knows a way to stop the Chip or something.”
“Yeah, yeah that’s a good idea! But we need to keep a low profile. I’m sure the Equals have planted that you’re guilty in the Chip, which is basically everyone’s brains.”
I nodded. At least they wouldn’t be able to identify me by my looks.
We carefully stepped out under the willow tree. And with Jax following my lead, headed back to my house.
As we neared the brown two story house that everyone had, I stopped to catch my breath. I’ve changed so much since I’ve last been here. I glanced up to the window where my old room was.
“We should probably go in when it’s nighttime, so my Mother doesn’t notice us.” Jax reminded me, pulling me out of my thoughts.
“Yeah, that’s a good idea.”
We found a spot and sat down and rested.
A few hours passed, and we could see the white stars dotted on the dark blue sky, like windows to another world.
“Let’s go,” I whispered to Jax.
We carefully opened the unlocked door. There was no need to lock doors as everyone had the Chip implanted in them, and wouldn’t be able to steal or commit crimes.
When we were inside, I gestured to Jax to follow my lead.
I took a wooden chair and banged it hard on the ground, but not smashing it. I knew my Father would come see what the noise was, because he didn’t have the Chip implanted in him. My Mother, however, did, and the Chip would make sure she doesn’t wake up until 7:30 the next morning.
Just as I expected, my Father’s footsteps echoed into the silent house.
“Hello? Is anyone there?” He asked, turning on a light. He gasped when his eyes landed on Jax and I, stepping back in surprise.
“Adira? And Number 1098?”
“Actually, it’s Jax,” Jax replied.
“Father… we need your help.” I looked at Jax, and he nodded back at me, encouraging me.
“We need to know how to turn off the Chip.” My Father looked at us for a few minutes, leaving us in silence.
And then he spoke. “There… is a place underneath the Equal Tower that produces the Chip. It also has a place where you can turn off someone’s Chip. It’s the first thing that an Equal does when they get the job. There is an entrance to it outside, it's a small trap door that isn’t visible unless you know what you’re looking for. But they have very good security, it's not like the other places of the Unity where there’s not much security. All the security guards are trained to kill anyone they see that don’t have the badge that allows them to enter.”
I looked at Jax. “It isn’t too late to back out.”
He snorted. “Maybe not, but I’m not letting you go there yourself, what kind of friend would I be then?” I smiled gratefully at him.
“Wait.” My Father frowned. “Is that a… tracking device?”
“What?” I asked.
“That blue substance on your arm,” Father pointed at the place where I had pulled the needle out. “Let me see.” He examined it more closely, and then stood back up with a grim expression on his face.
“What is it?” I asked, getting nervous.
“I… was correct. They must have implanted a tracking device on you in case if you escaped.”
I froze. A tracking device? Who do they think they are? They can’t just put tracking devices like that! My blood boiled with anger. I will stop them, no matter what it takes!
“Thank you, Father, for letting me know. But we must get going now, we need to go to the Equal Tower to deactivate the Chip.” I stood up briskly, gesturing for Jax to do the same.
“Adira, Jax,” my Father called, and we turned around. His eyes softened. “Be careful, okay?”
We both nodded, and walked back outside into the dark night.
“Adira,” Jax said breathlessly, leaning against a tree. We’ve been walking nonstop for an hour. “Don’t you think… that we should… have a plan?”
“We don’t have time for a plan! They could be tracking me as we speak! We need to get going!” I started walking away from him, not letting him rest. It’s easy for him to say that. He’s not the one who currently has a tracking device in their arm.
“Wait! Adira… can we rest for a few minutes? I’m really tired right now.” He called to me, still against the tree.
I turned around and glared at him, unable to stop my anger from bursting out of me. “No! We cannot! God, why don’t you understand, Jax? They are TRACKING me right now! We need to get there! You probably wouldn’t care anyways, it’s not like it’s you their tracking!” I screamed at him. A little voice in my head told me that I shouldn’t have done that, but I didn’t listen to it.
“You know, you could have just told me you didn’t want to come!” I continued on yelling.
“Look, I know you’re angry right now-” Jax started.
“No! You don’t! You don’t know how I’m feeling, you don’t know anything! YOU CAN'T DO ANYTHING RIGHT!” I cut him off. I didn't want to be calmed. I liked the feeling of my bottled-up anger spilling out of me, like a can of soda bursting out after being shaken. It was a dangerous feeling.
Jax looked at me, hurt. “You know, I’m starting to regret coming with you!”
“I’m starting to regret taking you with me! Why don’t you just leave?” I glared at him. "It's not like you're helping anyways, you're just a burden!"
“Okay then, if that's how you feel, I will!” He fired back.
“Good!” I exclaimed.
He threw his arms up. “Good!” He looked at me one last time, the hurt in his eyes turning into burning anger. "Have fun going without me, wanna bet how long you will survive?"
He continued before I could answer. "I bet you won't make it past the Equal Tower." And then he stormed off, taking all my anger with him.
Now that my anger had disappeared, I felt small and incomplete without Jax by my side.
“Why,” I groaned, lifting my eyes up to the sky. “WHY?” This time I screamed it. “WHY DID I SAY THAT?”
I looked beside me, where Jax was standing just a few minutes ago. I was so focused on my goal that I had forgotten to appreciate the things I already had. He was so kind and caring, he even comforted me when I first had started yelling at him. And in response, I had yelled even more. Right there and then, I had only one wish.
To be able to take back what I had said.
But now it was too late.