Darkness, deep, deep slumber. Sound, sound again. “She is waking up again. I am seeing stimulation in the ventrolateral preoptic nucleus. We need to administer more sedatives.” A sting of pain, weight, darkness.
Light, and a cold shiver. “Damn it, she is waking up again.” A man roars in a distant distance. “Administer another dose.”
“I can’t do that sir, she will die.” a young woman replies, her voice close, just beyond the wall of slumber.
“Looks like this one is a failure too.” an older woman comments. As the shadows grip hold of my nerves, I am tugged below the eternal nocturne again.
“We don’t have time to wait. The cells are already dying.” an older man growls tugging me toward the surface.
“We could try cloning again.” suggests the younger man.
“No, we already know cloning does not work.” he murmurs. “This time has to work. We have no other options. Get me a dose of epinephrine and adrenochrome. We will have her stabilized.”
The feel it, warmth, traveling down the channels of my veins pumped along the organs path. It expands upon every corner and a flutter comes over me, like wings lifting me out of the maw of this hell. Drifting me over past the gates of the arctic black. The entire world tremors as I tumble into a bright light.
My fingers claw against the cool sleek walls of the enclosure. I feel the cool chill run into my arm as my body spasm. Yet even so, my eyes are blind in the darkness. I to let out any noise I could muster but I seem to have lost my voice and she has run far away hiding deep in my throat. Skin crawling as the world spirals. Darkness returns, my sense of locality melts into an open space again as I am left suspended in the endless void.
“It’s a failure, just like the last ones. Why waste our efforts? Hasn’t the past weeks proven my point. Hellibor it is time to give up. This is no way to treat a person. I will begin the process of cremation.” the older woman groans.
“Stop!” commands the older man. “We will not abandon this one. My method will work! We need to extract the needed parts. That is all, I will not waste this donor because of the boards refusal to use extreme measures.”
“Sir, I disagree.” the younger woman comments. She laces a fair amount of concern in her voice.
“If she dies during the process, she will be ruined. Let’s allow her to wake up. Treat her well. She doesn’t have to know.”
“We cannot sustain her here. She would die of starvation. It is better to put her to rest.” the older woman speaks with sullen words.
“No, we continue the process regardless of the board’s decision. I purchased it, I will decide what to do with it.”
The passage of time… …is unknown.
“Damn it!” the older man screams waking me from the darkness. “The board is terminating her life support! We can’t keep her in stasis much longer. We only have supplies for…”
“Please, I will take care of her myself.” the younger girl pleads.
“Well, I will take responsibility with the board. They will not like this idea at all.” the man says. “We don’t wake her from her coma yet, however, we first prepare a place for her. We will ask the board for permission after.”
I try to scream, “Wake me up!” but sadly either I never did, or they ignored me.
“Thank you, Doctor Winters, you won’t regret it.”
“I should hope not. We just need her to pump blood. It should not be too difficult to manage.” the old man grunts.
A thousand arms claw against the walls of my dark hall. Each limb tearing at each other to pull itself closer to the capsule I rest inside. Bloody neon handprints line their wake. Dirty, the room leaks fluids from every wall as I’m left screaming inside my prison; with no other options I’m stuck curling in the darkness.
“… your parents loved you very much.”
My lids lift to a world in ruins, my arms tightly bound behind my back. I look up to see a street light burning above my head. “Help me!” I croak. With every intention of raising my hands to my face I receive a quick reply of pain stringing down my arms. I turn my sight to the dull throbbing sensation to see hundreds of intravenous needles and their attributing tubes. Black inky fluid pumps through their narrow passages. I scream again to the desolation surrounding me.
“Your name is Primina.”
A violin stabs in the pool of darkness. I stand before a pale man resting on a flight of stairs. A rusty set of stairs stretch on to nowhere. The performer is cloaked and shielded in rags, playing a strange instrument similar to that of a thick guitar. His six arms move in accordance to the haunting tune as he slashes the bow. It is a stabbing horrible evil song the man rocks his body to. The room is corroded; covered in a thick layer of grime and filth. “Sir,” I whimper, half expecting the thing to rip off its veil to reveal some grim expression. “Could you play something, nicer?” He freezes as though time had stopped. Everything blows away into black soot as I am left standing, not here or there anymore.
“You have been asleep for a long time. You have a sickness that cannot be cured. So we preserved you until we could heal you. You been having a lot of brain activity lately.” the girl chirps. “I wonder what things you are seeing right now. I wonder if you can even hear me.”
The voice speaks to me again. “A sickness? Is this all a dream?”
“She cannot hear you. I don’t know why you bother.” an older man growls.
“You don’t know that. I remember stories about people in comas being able to hear things.” the young woman retorts.
I mouth the words “I can hear you.” I am not sure I managed the feat of moving my lips. Though I hope they did. Even, though, I don’t know who she is. I am glad she is somewhere near me. Whoever she is.
“Leave her be. She needs to rest for now.” the man says before the sound of a door slamming shut sending me back into endless night.
“I won’t feel a thing?” I chirp to a woman dressed in white scrubs and a man stands next to her in burgundy ones. The wall of the capsule seems to contour to my spine. I watch as my feet come to rest on the platform. Dainty little uncovered toes. A small amount of nail polish remained from days before. I look up to meet the pair’s smile as they nod. My cheeks flush from the form fitting clothing they had me wear. It honestly felt as though I was wearing nothing at all. The man speaks but no words leave his mouth. “All right, like this?” I say to him adjusting my arms to rest folded on my chest.
The glass shielding of the chamber closes locking me inside the capsule. “No! Let me out!” I scream. Immediately the temperature drops. Then wetness covers my feet. I look down to see a clear fluid like water rising past my ankles. A mask covers my face releasing a steady stream of air into my lungs. “No!” I scream as the two people give me a wave. “What are you doing?!” I shriek as the water level reaches my hips. I thrash all that I could until my body fatigues. The orientation of the chamber levels itself flat forcing me into a lying position. Water covers her face. I can feel the capsule moving into the wall locking me into darkness. “Please, someone help me!” I cry. A foul odor enters my mouth causing me to cough. Soon the coughing becomes a burning sensation as everything slows. I gasp for air until I fall into that long slumber.
“You had a younger brother and two older sisters. Your family loved you very much. You will be awake soon. Everything will be all right. You can trust me.” the familiar voice of the woman is comforting but does nothing to satiate my unyielding desire to awaken.
“Brain activity is returning. Looks like she will wake up any moment now.” A young man states. As the dark fades I can see the dull orange-red glow of light shielded through her eyelids. I squint as I take in a deep breath slowly lifting the curtains from my eyes taking in a view of a sterile padded roof above my head. It is only then I notice the soft pillow resting beneath my head.
“Good, she is moving.” a gruff older man comments. The rest of the room appears to be made of white plastic. A young man manages some sort of switch board system and monitors mounted into the wall. As my eyes scan the room, I see two people standing in the middle of the office just across from my bed. My gaze meets the gray-blue eyes of an older man’s chasmic face. “Hello,” he says pulling a pen from his pocket lowering himself to my level. With a click of the pen a bright light from its tip blinds my vision. From behind the encompassing fog I can see him giving me a look over before switching off the light. “Fantastic. Her eyes are responsive.”
“Where am I?” I mutter.
“Below ground.” the old man states. “In a medical bay. You are safe here. This will be your new home. There will be a time for question but not right now.”
“Hellibor!” my sights snap to the young woman. That voice, that is the voice in my dreams. “If you have questions honey, we will be more than happy to answer them.” Perhaps the older man is right, right now is not the time for questions. Nevertheless, I am sure whoever this man is would not appreciate them, regardless of the multitude I had. “Hello Primina.” The young woman kneels down. Her smile is bright and clean. Her hair is tied back into a long ponytail the color of the night sky. “My name is Vanity, and this,” she says pointing to the older man. “Is Doctor Winters.” She looks over her shoulder directing my attention to the man managing the switch board. “And that man over there, is Cody.”
Dr. Winters returns to my side placing a hand-held device against my bare stomach. The cool metal sends a shiver down hmy spine as the doctor stares off into space. “What is this for?” I ask.
“Shhhh, quiet.” Dr. Winters snaps. He takes in a heavy breath releasing a long sigh. “Good.” Without a word he gets up bringing the device to the wall hanging it back into a white plastic compartment.
“He was just checking your vitals dear. You’ve been a sleep for a long time. We want to make sure your body is adjusting well. You had woken up several times during the process and well, that is very dangerous.” Vanity explains.
Cody swings his legs around white bench turning from the computer station. “I didn’t have much hope myself.”
“Is that why the old woman called me a failure?” I asked. Everyone turns in my direction. Their slack jawed expressions and measured glares causes me to take pause. “Did I say something wrong?”
Doctor Winters shakes his head. “No.” he flatly replies holding a gun in his hand. Out the end of it stuck a large needle. “This might sting a little.”
“You are going to do it now?” Cody’s down-turned expression sends a small shiver of concern through me. I notice Vanity shaking her head as Doctor Winters approaches the bedside. Holding the needle tip in the air he kneels down to my side.
His soft fingers grip my wrist outstretching my arm. “Could you sit up for me?”
With a subtle nod I crouch forward past the lip of the chamber. Doctor Winter’s grip tightens around my arm as he turns it toward his face. “Hold still.” A stinging pain explodes in in my left arm’s anterior. The gun now placed onto the surface of my skin. I instinctively jerk to get away but Doctor Winter’s holds me in place. “I said hold still.” he growls. The glass tube at the end of the gun fills with my ruby red fluids. “Good girl.” he says releasing the trigger with a click.
“That hurt!” Primina groans looking down at her arm, a small plastic seal covers the entry point. A slow deliberate smile creeps over Hellibor’s lips which gave Primina the creeps.
“Pain,” Vanity murmurs under her breath. “That is the look I am seeing isn’t it.“ Her eyes lock onto me with a gaze of fascination. “It’s been a while since I heard that. Do you mind, describing it?”
I look at the small dot left behind from the gun as a frown mask my face. “It stings, like Doctor Winters said it would.”
Vanity smiles. “It would, that is such a silly question.”
“So she is the real deal.” Cody raises his posture to sit more upright. His grin growing as he looks up to Doctor Winters. “You were right. Infectio Nervosa is the gift we have all been looking for.”
“We shall see.” Hellibor grunts as he takes the vile of blood from the gun. “I have a meeting with the board. I am expected to present a demonstration to decide how things should go forward.” He makes his way to the threshold of the room. Turning his head he looks to Vanity. “You agreed, make her comfortable and show Primina to her quarters. I will be back later.”
With the strange and scary man gone, I felt more at ease. “Vanity, why am I here?”
Vanity smiles, the light shines in her large brown milk chocolate eyes. “Well, like I said. You have been sleeping for a long time. A lot has changed since you went to bed. We rescued you from a facility where you were kept asleep.”
“Why did you have to rescue me? What happened to the people there?”
Vanity bite her lip, I saw it just for a moment but she did. Her eyes uncomfortably glance toward Cody who nods. “Well,” reaching out Vanity places her hand on top of mine. The sensation, felt nice.
“No physical contact.” Cody barks. “You know the rules.”
Vanity lets out a long sigh. “I know Cody.” she chides. “It’s just,” there is a pause as Vanity removes her hand. “You are right. I don’t want to encourage bad habits.” I am left wondering in silence as the pause continues. “A terrible thing happened Primina. Everyone had to leave. So, they left you alone down there forgotten about.”
“They forgot about me?” I gasp feeling a lump grow in my stomach. “What about my Mom and Dad?”
Cody shakes his head. “Should you be talking to her about this Vanity?”
“No, I want to know.” I demands.
“No, they did not forget about you.” Vanity rises to her feet turning back towards me. “However, after what happened they could not get to you.”
“Why not?” I ask. “What happened?”
“Well, the rules of everything changed. The world changed in an instant. So, we brought you here. You are safe here.” Vanity explains.
“Ok but, what am I safe from?”
“Enough.” Cody states slashing his arms to his sides.
“I remember monsters.” I say looking down at my feet. “I remember a lot of things. I never thought I would get out of the darkness.”
Cody shakes his head. “I think it is time we end this conversation. Vanity take Primina to her room.” Vanity nods walking to a box on the side of the wall. She presses a button in the center opening the box revealing several sets of folded clothes.
She unfolds a military style set, blue pants with a white stripe down the right leg, a white undershirt, a blue high collar military jacket that buttons to the far left side of the body. The jacket had a similar white stripe up the left side which extends to the collar. A pair of brief underwear and a pair of white clip on socks with a pair of black boots. “Are these mine?”
A smirk crosses Vanity’s face as she places the cloths beside me. “I know not all that fashionable but, they will do for now.” I pull myself back into the capsule as I change into the cloths. “I think you will like it here Primina. There is so much to see. We even have a garden, one of the few left in the world. At least, the only one in the world I know about.” Vanity chirps. They are ill fitting but I appreciated the clothing none the less. “All changed? Well then, come with me Primina.” Swinging my legs off the side of the capsule I place my feet onto the floor for the first time in ages. Pushing forward I lift myself up. In an instant I felt heavy in the chest, winded already. My body burned to keep balance. A groan seeps off my lips as I take my first step. “Are you all right?”
My face falls as my brows furrow. I look up from the floor hunched over reaching toward Vanity. “It hurts.” I grunt.
Vanity looks over toward Cody. He shakes his head and sighs. “Help her, just don’t let the others see you.” Cody gets to his feet studying me at arms reach. “It is to be expected. Your muscles were pretty much dormant for,” his face sterns before continuing. “A long time.” And then it softens again. “It would make sense you would experience a little fatigue. That will pass with time though. I would imagine moving around will be a little difficult for the next few weeks.”
“This will be awful.” I groan as I struggle to stand upright. Vanity tucks herself next to my waste wrapping an arm behind my back. “Why can’t you touch me?”
“It’s not just you honey. They do not allow us to touch each other on the colony because bad things could happen if we have physical contact. If we get a scratch, we have to leave the colony for the safety of others. So minimizing that risk, we have a no contact policy at all times.” Vanity’s help is a godsent I thought to herself. My legs felt as though encased in concrete and my neck had a large bolder tied to it. Outside of the room is a hallway with dirt covering the floor. Grass lines the walls along with ivy and other flowers. I can only describe the sight as beautiful.
The hall opens to a very large parkway. There are trees and a solid polished stone path and above hangs a hologram of a blue sky. Clouds pass over casting shadows over the open room. The path meets at a nexus ring with a large fountain in the middle. Several other people are walking in similar suits to the one given to me. “This is pretty.” I comment aloud.
“I imagine the people who designed it worked very hard trying to make it feel like above ground. I don‘t remember it myself.” Vanity keeps a few steps ahead of me leading the way.
“Why can’t you remember?”
A small chuckle passes between Vanity’s smile. “Too much time has passed I suppose. I don‘t remember what life was like before the colony. Maybe you can tell me sometime?”
“Yeah.” I chirp hiding my concern behind an artificially happy tone.
Vanity stops at the end of the path in front of a white wall with a white electronic door. She holds her hand up to the screen, and the door unfastens opening. “This will be your room.”
It is a cramped looking room. A wall-mounted screen covers a quarter of the space. They inlaid a desk into the wall with a black tripod stool. Next to the desk is a bed with white blankets and sheets. At the foot of the bed is a refrigerator with a microwave on top. Above that is a shelf, with a coffee machine and some tall device I am not familiar with. The floor is some kind of patchwork metal but it is smooth as glass. By the fridge is a rounded glass shower. Beside the shower a hand sink and beside that a toilet. The space is just enough to move around in. “Everything you need should be here. Be careful not to eat too often. The fridge has a few snacks but they will be rare, so ration them.”
I nod my head stepping into my new home. “So this is all mine? Like I can do what I want in here?” Vanity nods. “Then, can I have paper and some pencils? I want to draw, make posters. Liven up the place.”
“Yeah, sure, I will see if I can find something for you like that.” Vanity looks around. “If you need anything, come see me. I work in the medical bay so. You will always know where to find me.”
“Will do.” I comment as I take in the place. Vanity shuts the door as she leaves. Jumping onto my bed I lay down. My bones ache and my muscles burn in agony. Still, I am free from the all canvassing darkness. A new chance at life. An opportunity I would not waste. With the troubling thoughts heavy in mind my lids still grew heavy and unto that familiar slumber again I fell.