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A loud pinging draws Dr Psknah’s attention from the hand held screen she had been viewing to the computer.
9009 is trying to leave The Farm via the transporter. Shall I power it down?
Dr Psknah’s heart leaps and she rises to her feet. She places her hands down on the edge of the control board and stares up at the screen, focusing on the one showing 9009.
-No, let her go. Record everything she does.
This could be her chance. 9009 will get back to 7008 and the Director will not be able to ignore how having them together will be beneficial to the experiment. He’ll have to keep 9009 there and have no choice to reinstate her position. She would get out of this secondary, mind numbing lab. She’ll be the new Director before the old one knows what’s happening.
I scream as pain slices through every inch of my body. The light surrounding me burns my skin. It feels like I’ve been torn into a thousand pieces and then stitched back together again. The light fades and the feeling of falling ceases. I feel ground beneath me. I roll onto my side and vomit. I groan as I try to sit up, head spinning. I feel like I’ve just been hit by a truck. I manage to crawl through the door when it opens, pulling my heavy body out into a corridor. I only wanted to come here to find Oliver. I didn’t know it would hurt like it did. Who knows what damage has been done to my insides? I’m stupid for trying such a thing. What am I going to do now? I can hardly move. Someone will find me. I’ll be busted and sent straight back to The Farm, or worse. I don’t want to think about the worse.
Botcop comes around the corner and panic sets in. There’s nothing I can do. It hurts too much to move at any great speed. Botcop stops, scans me, and then bends to pick me up. I’m limp in its arms and don’t have the strength to ask what it’s going to do with me. A door swooshes open and Botcop places me on a bed in a white room. A woman spins around. She rushes to my side, looking down at me, her brown eyes wide.
“Amberly?” she whispers.
How does she know my name? Wait, she’s probably seen the footage.
“You aren’t supposed to be here,” she says, glancing over her shoulder.
I groan in response.
“How did you even get here?”
I curl onto my side, holding my stomach, wanting to vomit again.
“You didn’t use the – oh God.”
She goes over to a cupboard and comes back with a needle. I don’t even feel it as she jabs me with it. Coldness washes over me, numbness following in its wake, and the glory of feeling no pain hits me. Whatever she just gave me is some powerful stuff. I unscrew my eyes and blink up at her.
“What are you doing here? You know what an insane risk you have taken, right?”
I uncurl my body. It feels extremely heavy, heavier than before when it was weighed down by pain. “Please. I just need to see Oliver. To see if he is OK. To tell him I’m OK.”
She bites her lip, her brow furrowing. She nods.
“I should send you straight back,” she says, and then looks over her shoulder again, at the door, likes she expects someone to burst through any minute. I’m surprised they aren’t here already.
“Please, before they come, you have to tell me. Is he OK?”
“Physically he is fine,” she tells me.
Dread forms in the pit of my stomach.
“Do you think you could walk?” she asks.
I nod, but I’m not sure. I push myself up and manage to stand somehow. The doctor wraps her arm around my waist and helps me across the room. We make slow progress, panic pounding against me, screaming for me to hurry, but my body ignores it, my frustration with myself rising.
The doctor takes me through a different door to the one I was brought through, and into a corridor that is lined with doors. We make our way down it at the speed of snails and I’m sure we are a second away from getting caught.
We stop three doors down. The door is clear and I see Oliver on the other side. He is sitting on a bed, staring at a wall, his back to us.
I clench my jaw as anger flares. “Why don’t you let him go?” I ground out, looking up at her.
“The door is not locked,” she tells me, and my eyes widen with my surprise. “I can take him back whenever he wants, but he is refusing to go, refusing to sing until he sees you again.”
Anger whooshes out of me, replaced by surprise.
She knocks on the door and Oliver spins around slowly. His eyes bulge out of his head when they land on me. He moves off the bed, walking towards me at the rate I was going down the corridor, like he is in disbelief that I’m actually standing in front of him. He steps up to the door and it slides open. He looks between me and the doctor. He swallows multiple times. And then he is on me, pulling me to him hard. I sink into him, close my eyes, inhale. He smells good, and it’s familiar, comforting.
“You’re real, you’re here. What did they do to you? Are you OK?” he asks, pulling away from me but keeping his hands on my arms, his eyes searching mine.
“I’m OK,” I tell him. “I just wanted to see if you were alright.”
I look at the doctor. I want to be alone with him but I’m not sure if she’ll let me. I don’t know what to do from here. Now that I’ve seen him it’s not like I can escape and I’m not neive enough to think they’ll let me stay.
“Now that you’ve seen him, we best get you back,” the doctor says.
“Back where?” Oliver asks, raising his voice. “Where have you been?”
I go to tell him but the doctor cuts me off.
“It’s dangerous for you to know that Oliver, but it’s alright, she’s safe.”
He looks to me for confirmation and I nod.
“Please, Oliver, just…” Tears fill my eyes, blurring my vision. “Just go back. Don’t stay here in this prison or whatever it is, for me. Sing. I know you love singing. I can see you from where I am so just sing OK?”
It’s the only thing I can think to help him because there’s no way out of here. We are stuck and I can’t stand the thought of him being in a room not doing anything. “Please?”
The doctor puts her arm back around me and we shuffle down the hall. Oliver follows us.
The doctor pauses, looking over her shoulder at him. “Please, just stay here. I’ll get her back safe.”
“I want to go with her,” he insists. “Go wherever she is going. Please. They don’t need to know.”
Her laugh is mocking. “They know everything, Oliver. Now I’m going to get her back before they come here and send her some place worse. You don’t want that, do you?”
He swallows hard and shakes his head.
I let her pull me away, wondering how we got in this nightmare. Wondering when is it going to end.
“Is he going to be OK?” I ask, needing reassurance.
She gives me a small smile. “Now that he’s seen you, I’m sure he’ll be fine”
“Why did they have to separate us?” I ask her. “Why can’t they just let the two groups be together? The people on The Farm know about the Talented so why not just let the Talented know about them?”
She sighs, looking very tired all of a sudden. “I don’t make the rules, Amberly. I’m just as much a prisoner as you are.”
This surprises me. Before I know it, the doctor is jabbing me with a needle she pulled out of her pocket before I could even blink. She heaves me up on the bed as coldness rushes over me. This time it brings darkness.
©Rochelle Sharpe, 2015