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The rec hall is a lot bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside. The main room is a large hall with a stage at the end of it.
“This is where we have our dance nights,” Laura says. “They are really fun.”
I nod, but I’m not that interested in attending Friday night dances, they will just remind me of Oliver.
There are large screens inbuilt into the walls along the length of the hall. Laura notices me staring at them.
“They show us footage from the Talented,” she explains. “Nothing else, but hey, they’re pretty interesting over there.”
I am so embarrassed to know I was being filmed. I wish I could see what footage they showed of me. It’s not right, they shouldn’t be filming people without their permission. But what if we did give our permission? What if this is just the latest extreme reality TV show and I signed up for it and then they wiped my memory as part of the show?
Would I sign up for something like this? It doesn’t feel like I would, but how am I supposed to know?
“Do you have any recordings?” I ask. “Can I see my time there?”
Laura shakes her head. “Sorry, Amberly. It’s live streamed with no recording function. There’s no way to play it back for you.”
My heart sinks. “Can we see some footage now?” It’d be nice to see if I can find out what happened to Oliver. I feel so terrible that he got in trouble for me. He shouldn’t have, we barely know each other.
“They don’t play anything during work hours, but I’ll bring you back tonight,” she offers.
“Thanks, I’d appreciate that.”
Laura leads me through a door at the end of the room, across from the stage. Inside this door is a row of doors on both sides.
“The first two doors are bathrooms,” Laura explains. “Females to the right, males to the left.”
I nod, I worked that out for myself from the symbols on them.
“Next is the medical room,” she says, pointing to the door after the second female bathroom. “That’s where you go if you are sick or injured, obviously.”
I nod. There is something about that room that really makes me want to check it out, so I make a mental note to sneak back here when I’m alone.
“This will blow your mind,” Laura says, and then opens the next door. My jaw drops. There is an ice-skating rink inside. This place is much, much bigger than it appears.“Do you skate?” she asks.
“I don’t remember,” I tell her.
“Oh, right.” She laughs. “I keep forgetting about that. Feel free to give it ago in your spare time if you want.” She closes the door and we walk on. “We have all kinds of swick rooms here. Even though they don’t worship us like they do the Talented, they do allow us to indulge in our own talents.”
The next room is a sporting field with a race track around the edge. The room after that is a gym. We cross the hallway and Laura opens another door. “This is for the architects,” she tells me.
The next room is a skate park. The room after that is a pool. She opens the next door and there are two people inside. They are leaning over a table, looking down at it. They have to be the fashion designers that Laura was telling me about, Jas and Jeza.
Jas is tall and slender with black hair that ends at her chin. She has to be close to forty. She is wearing a flowing sliver dress that stops at her knees and looks inspired by the nineteen twenties.
Jeza is tall and big busted, with long platinum hair and clear blue eyes. She looks to be in her mid-twenties. She is wearing silver pants and a white shirt with silver buttons, arms rolled up to her elbows, matching silver boots on her feet.
“A new girl!” They both say with a flourish and then start circling. I look to Laura for help but she just smiles at me and gives me an encouraging nod.
They both murmur noises as they look me up and down. Jas grabs my hair, lifting it, and I pull my head away.
“Gorgeous figure,” Jeza says.
“Nice size chest, not too big, easy to work with,” Jas says, and I feel my cheeks turn red.
“What do you think?” Jeza asks. “Silver or baby blue for the dresses?”
“How about a mix?” Jas suggests.
Jeza smiles. “That’s why I love you.”
Jas pulls out a strange rectangular black thing, about the size of a TV remote, but with only one button. She points it at me.
I step back. “What is that thing?”
“It takes your measurements, darling,” Jas explains. She pushes the button and a red light comes out of it; a thin red line pulses at my neck before traveling down to my feet.
“Thank you, darling,” Jas says, placing the measurement thing on the table.
“We should have your new clothes ready for you by Friday,” Jeza says, and they both turn to their desk and start tapping at a screen inbuilt into it.
Laura grabs my arm and leads me out of the room. “So that was Jas and Jeza, as you may have guessed. They don’t do outdoor work. They provide the clothes not only for us, but the Talented too. They are super busy, I don’t know how they keep up with it all. Ant must be taking a break, remember I told you about him? The shoemaker. He works in there too. He’ll come up with a beautiful set of heels for you based on Jas and Jeza’s designs.”
I want to pull out of Laura’s arm and run back into the room and ask them how exactly they get their clothes to the tower.
Laura is about to go back into the hall, but she hasn’t shown me everything. “You didn’t show me that door,” I say, looking over my shoulder, to the door at the end of the hallway. She skipped over it before.
“Oh,” Laura says, stopping. “That’s the transporter, you won’t have any reason to go in there.”
I yank my arm out of her hand. “What do you mean the transporter?”
“It’s how Jas and Jeza get the clothes they make over to the tower,” Laura explains.
My eyes bug out of my head. “So it only takes clothes?”
Her eyebrows furrow. “Yeah?”
“Are you sure, you know, it couldn’t take one of us back there?”
“I don’t think so. I’m not sure anyone has tried. I don’t know what would even happen if anyone tried.”
“Let’s find out.” I turn and head for the door.
“You can’t,” Laura says from behind me. “The door can only be opened by the finger print of Jas, Jeza or Ant.”
The door to the design room opens and Jeza comes out, carrying a large metal box.
“Are you taking that to the transporter?” I ask.
Jeza nods, her face looking strained.
“Laura was just telling me about it. It sounds fascinating. Could you show me how it works?”
“Sure,” Jeza says.
“This is crazy,” Laura hisses from behind me.
Jeza presses her thumb to the door. A green light shines beneath it for a second and then the door whooshes open. The room looks like the inside of an elevator and is about the same size. It is rectangle shaped but has a silver circle in the middle of it, spreading out to take up half the space.
Jeza places the box down in the circle and then says, “Send.”
A white beam shines over the box and then it disappears. I stare at the empty space, mouth gaping, my mind racing.
I look at Jeza. “I’m guessing it’s only Ant’s, Jas’s, or your voice that can send something?”
“Do you think you could send me?”
Jeza frowns. “I don’t know? It could be dangerous. We don’t know how it works.”
“It could kill you,” Laura adds.
I’m willing to take the chance.
“Please,” I say, looking at Jeza. “I need to go back, need to at least make sure Oliver is safe. It’s my fault they took him.”
Laura and Jeza exchange glances.
“Please,” I beg.
“And what if I get in trouble for sending you?” Jeza asks.
“I’ll tell them I forced you, pulled a knife on you or something.”
“You should do it,” Laura says to Jeza, surprising me by her change in attitude. “You shouldn’t stand in the way of true love.”
It’s not true love with Oliver and me, we never had the chance to find out if it could be, but I’m not going to correct her.
Jeza lets out a sigh. “Step into the circle. Squat down and make yourself as small as possible.”
I give her a big smile and step into the circle. I squat down, my heart racing, wrapping my arms around my legs and putting my head on them.
“God help me,” Jeza mutters. “You better not die.”
I’m hoping the same thing.
“Send,” Jeza says.
The beam of light hits me, warmth flooding over me. As my body is lifted, a sharp pain slices through me and I scream.
©Rochelle Sharpe 2015