You can read previous episodes of The Amberly Chronicles HERE.
The alarm reverberates through my head, making it pound, and my stomach clenches.
I fight back the bile stinging my throat and look up at Oliver. “What did you do?”
“I pressed the emergency alarm,” he shouts, and my eyes grow wide.
“No.” The word comes out a whisper.
“I had too, Amberly, you’re sick. You need help.”
No. Not yet, it’s too early. I struggle to my feet and Oliver takes my arm.
“Amberly, you need to lay down.”
I can’t believe he pressed the alarm. I’ve got to get out. I’ve got to… my stomach cramps so violently that my knees give out and I start to fall. Oliver gently guides me to the ground and then I’m heaving again, but my stomach is empty and only a thin trickle of bile comes out.
This can’t be happening. This isn’t fair.
I stare at the floor. “Where do they take the sick?” I shout. My stomach churns.
“I don’t know? No one has really gotten sick before that I know of.”
Oh God, oh God, oh God, oh God, Oh God.
Oliver is pulling me to my feet, telling me I need to get into bed. I wipe my mouth, my mind screaming for me to run, but I’m trembling and the room is spinning and my stomach is still churning and I can’t run.
Oliver scoops me up and puts me in bed. I grip my stomach, curling in on myself. My mouth taste awful and I wish for some water to rinse it, but I haven’t got the strength to get it or to even ask Oliver to get some for me.
Oliver strokes my hair. “It’s okay, Amberly. When they come, I’ll go with you, wherever they take you.”
Psknah stares at the screen, eyes wide.
“No. No, no, no, no,no.” 9009 cannot be sick. This will ruin everything.
-Computer, shut down the alarm.
–Alarm shut down.
-Have AIRGU0012 report to the medical room immediately.
–AIRGU0012 orders received.
Psknah nods. If she can get 9009 medicine before The Director is notified, she can still save her experiment.
-Computer, delete the last ten minutes of recording from room 150.
Psknah draws in a deep breath to try and steady her racing heart.
The door slides open and she jumps, her eyes growing wide as The Director steps into the lab.
“What is the emergency?” he demands, stepping up to the screens, his eyes gliding over each one.
She places her hand on her neck. “9009 is sick,” she squeaks.
“Computer, show me 9009,” The Director barks.
Psknah’s heart sinks as the computer fills all the screens with the rolling footage of room 150.
“Is she Talented?” The Director asks.
Psknah’s heart pounds in her ears. She gulps in quick secession. “No.”
“Why hasn’t a AIRGU retrieved her and placed her in the medical room?”
“Put the other human in isolation to make sure he isn’t sick as well. If she is mendable, I will review.”
The Director turns and marches out.
Psknah watches hopelessly as the computer turns the AIRGU around, sending it to 9009’s room.
Her only hope now is that 9009 is mendable.
-Computer, cut all the footage of 9009 and 7008 and put it in a viewing file.
The alarm stops but my head still pounds, the memory of it playing faintly in my ears.
I crack open my eyes when I hear the swish of the door. Oliver jumps to his feet, spinning around, blocking me.
Botcop enters. Oliver stiffens when another botcop comes in behind the first. I never realised there was more than one. I struggle to get up, only making it to my elbows when the first botcop grabs Oliver.
Oliver jerks back. “I’m going wherever Amberly is going.”
A needle comes out of the botcop’s finger, jabbing Oliver’s arm. He collapses and the botcop picks him up, slinging him over his shoulder.
I push myself up onto my knees, calling Oliver’s name. The other botcop sweeps me up, catching me under my arms and legs.
I struggle against its metal chest. “Please, no, I think I can s-”
I feel a small sting, a flash of cold, like water is shooting up my arm, and then blackness washes over me.
There is an incessant beeping sound. A thick blackness presses all around me. I struggle to push through it. Something is holding me down and I can’t open my eyes.
Two women are talking nearby. I call out but they keep speaking between themselves, ignoring me or unable to hear me. I still to listen.
“What is wrong with 9009?” One of them asks.
“Amberly,” the other one corrects, emphasising my name with barely restrained agitation, “has had an allergic reaction to the fish she ate.” So that’s what was wrong with me. If you’re going to wipe someone’s memory it might be a good idea to find out their allergies first.
“What is an allergic reaction?” the first one asks. What? Who doesn’t know what an allergic reaction is?
“Allergic reactions are sensitivities to substances called allergens that come into contact with the skin, nose, eyes, respiratory tract, and gastrointestinal tract. They can be breathed into the lungs, swallowed, or injected. A person can be allergic to a number of things. It is something that is harmful to their bodies, which makes their bodies react. In Amberly’s case, eating fish makes her vomit. If someone is severely allergic to something, it can be fatal. ”
“So she is not a risk to the others? They will not be sickened by this allergic reaction?”
“So 7008 will not be harmed from being in her presence while she was sick?”
“No. You can release Oliver from the isolation chamber.”
My heart jerks at the mention of him. I need to open my eyes, to see the people who captured us. To see where I am. To escape, to get to Oliver.
“Send your report to The Director, he will want her reviewed before she wakes.”
There’s a soft padding and the swish of a door opening and closing.
The remaining woman sighs. “I wish I could help you more,” she says, barely audible. “That I could help us all.”
And then she retreats, whatever type of shoes she’s wearing whispering across the floor. The swish of the door tells me she is gone, and I’m alone in the darkness.
Psknah holds her breath as The Director watches the footage the computer had put together of 7008 and 9009. She had just explained her idea for a side experiment and scrunched her white coat in her fingers as she waited his reply.
The footage ends and The Director looks up from the screen in his desk, his gaze steel. “Is she not a child?”
Psknah’s finely trimmed arches rise. “Technically yes, but her body is ready for child bearing.”
“I do not condone children having children. It is not our way. If an adult Talentless arrives and such interest is shown by a Talented I will review the matter.”
Psknah’s snow white skin turns ghostly. “Yes, Director.”
“As for 9009, put her in any spare house in Area 2.”
She drops her eyes, unable to look at him a moment longer, not without giving her anger and disappointment away. “I will order it.”
Psknah goes to turn, but stops as The Director continues. “And since you have shown such keen interest in 9009, you may join the team in the observation lab in Area 2.”
It feels like the ground is pulled out from under her, cold stirring in her stomach.
It was a demotion, he was demoting her. She swallows hard, nods and walks out as steadily as she can, keeping her head high. When the door closes behind her, she leans against the wall, her knees trembling.
It is not fair. She had been the one who had discovered Earth. Discovered humans had the unique ability to create; that there were Talented among them. The Director had been her partner before he came up with the idea for this experiment and had been made director. Seems like old alliances no longer mattered.
Light slices through the darkness, burning my eyes. When they adjust, I can see a woman hovering above me. She is beautiful, in an airbrushed way. Perfect porcelain skin, flushed cheeks, navy blue eyes, unnatural in the depth of their colour, and silver hair – not old lady grey, but as if the strands were actually made of fine silver threads.
She gasps, her small mouth forming an O, before cold rushes up my arm and darkness starts swallowing the light.
I hear a few clipped words – take…Area 2 – before the darkness swallows me completely.
©Rochelle Sharpe 2015.
Cannot be reproduced without permission.