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. “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.
“We don’t have time to wait. The cells are already dying.” an older man growls.
“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.”
Her fingers claw against the cool sleek walls of the enclosure. As she feels the cool chill run into her arm her body begins to spasm. Yet even so, her eyes are blind in the darkness. She tries her best to let out any noise but her voice has run far away hiding deep in her throat. Her skin crawls as the world spirals. Darkness returns, her sense of locality melts into an open space again.
“It’s a failure, just like the last ones. Why waste our efforts? It is time to give up. I shall start the incinerator.” 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, it 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.
The passage of time… …is unknown.
“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.”
“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 the dark hall. Each limb tearing at each other to pull itself closer to the capsule. Bloody neon handprints line their wake. Dirty, the room leaks fluids from every wall as the girl screams trapped inside the capsule; stuck curling in the darkness.
“… your parents loved you very much.”
Her eyes open to a world in ruins, bound to a streetlight. “Help me!” she screams. With every intention of raising her hands to her face she receives a quick reply of pain stringing down her arms. She looks down to the dull throbbing sensation to see hundreds of intravenous needles and their attributing tubes stretching out of her arms. Black inky fluid pumps into her veins. She screams again to the desolation surrounding her.
“Your name is Primina.”
A violin stabs in the pool of darkness. Primina stands before a pale man resting on a flight of stairs. As Primina observes the rusty stairs, they stretch on to nowhere. He 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 he plays as he slashes the bow. It is a stabbing horrible evil song the man rocks his body to. Primina looks around the corroded room covered in a thick layer of grime and filth. “Sir,” Primina whimpers, half expecting the thing to rip off its veil to reveal some grim expression. “Could you play something, nicer?” Then he freezes as though time has stopped.
“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.”
The voice speaks to her again. “A sickness?” she wonders in the oblivion she lives in. “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.
Primina mouths the words “I can hear you.” She is not sure if her lips moved. Though she hoped they did. Even, though, she did not understand where she is or rather what is happening all together.
“Leave her be. She needs to rest for now.” the man says before the sound of a door slamming shut sends Primina back into her endless night.
“I won’t feel a thing?” Primina chirps to a woman dressed in white scrubs and a man next to her in burgundy ones. Her back rests against a surface that contours to her spine. She watches as her feet come to rest on a platform. She looks up to see the pair smile and nod at her. The man speaks but no words leave his mouth. “All right, like this?” she says to him adjusting her arms to rest folded on her chest.
The glass shielding of the chamber closes locking her inside the capsule. “No! Let me out!” she screams. She feels cold. She looks down to see water rising on her feet. A mask covers her face releasing a steady stream of air into her lungs. “No!” she screams as the two people give her a wave. “What are you doing?!” she screams as the water level reaches her hips. She thrashes but her body fatigues. The orientation of the chamber she is in levels itself flat forcing Primina into a lying position. Water covers her face. Inside the wall the capsule retracts locking her shut in darkness. “Please, someone help me!” She cries. A foul odor enters her mouth causing her to cough. Soon the coughing becomes a burning sensation as everything slows. She gasps for air until she falls 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 her unyielding desire to awaken.
“Brain activity is returning. Looks like she will wake up any moment now.” A young man states. Even with Primina’s eyes closed she knows the room is dazzling. She can see the dull orange-red glow through her eyelids. She squints her eyes while taking in a deep heavy breath. As her lids open she is greeted by the view of a sterile white padded roof above her head. It becomes clear to her that her head is resting on something very soft.
“Good, she is moving.” a gruff older man’s voice comments. Primina turns to see 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 her eyes scan the room, she sees two people standing in the middle of the office just across from her. Her 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 her level. With a click the pen becomes a bright light. It blinds Primina. He gives her a looks over before switching the light off. “Fantastic. Her eyes are responsive.”
“Where am I?”
“Below ground.” the old man states. “In the medical bay. You are safe here. This will be your new home. There will be a time for question but not right now.”
“Hellibor!” Primina sights snap to the young woman. That voice, that is the voice in her 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. Primina considered. After all, she is sure he would not appreciate them, regardless of the multitude she had. “Hello Primina.” The young woman kneels down. Her smile is bright and clean. She tied her hair back into a long black ponytail. “My name is Vanity, and this,” she says pointing to the older man. “Is Doctor Winters.” She then looks over her shoulder. “And that man over there, is Cody.”
Dr. Winters returns to Primina’s side placing a hand-held device on her bare stomach. The cool metal sends a shiver down her spine as the doctor stares off into space. “What is this for?” Primina 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?” Primina asked. Everyone turns in her direction. Their slack jaw expressions and measured glares have Primina make a double take. “Did I say something wrong?”
Doctor Winters shakes his head. “No.” he flatly says 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 Primina. She notices Vanity shaking her head as Doctor Winters approaches her bedside. Holding the needle tip in the air he kneels down to Primina’s side.
He takes her by the arm. “Could you sit up for me?”
She nods crouching forward past the lip of the chamber. Doctor Winter’s grip tightens around her arm as he turns it toward his face. “Hold still.” A stinging pain explodes in her left arm’s anterior. The gun placed onto the surface of her skin. She jerks her arm but Doctor Winter’s holds her in place. “I said hold still.” he growls. The glass tube at the end of the gun fills with her 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. “It’s been a while since I heard that. Do you mind, describing it?”
Primina looks at the small dot. A frown comes over her 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, Primina 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 bites her lip looking to Cody who nods. “Well,” reaching out Vanity places her hand on top of Primina’s.
“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.” There is a pause. “A terrible thing happened Primina. Everyone had to leave. So, they left you alone down there forgotten about.”
“They forgot about me?” Primina felt a lump grow in her 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.” Primina demands.
“No, they did not forget about you.” Vanity rises to her feet turning back towards Primina. “However, after what happened they could not get to you.”
“Why not?” Primina asks. “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.” Primina says looking down at her 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 the military style clothing, 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 them down beside Primina. “I know not all that fashionable but, they will do for now.” Primina pulls herself back into the capsule as she changes her clothing until she is dressed, they are ill fitting but she appreciated the clothing none the less. “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. “All changed? Well then, come with me Primina.” Swinging her legs off the side of the capsule Primina places her feet onto the floor. She pushes forward lifting herself up. She felt heavy in the chest, winded already. Her body burned to keep balance. A groan seeps off her lips as she takes her first step. “Are you all right?”
A frown falls on Primina’s face as her brows furrow. She looks up from the floor hunched over to Vanity. “It hurts.” she grunts.
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 looking over Primina. “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.” Primina groans as she struggles to stand upright. Vanity tucks herself next to Primina’s waste. “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 Primina thought to herself. Her legs felt as though encased in concrete and her 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.
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 her. “This is pretty.” Primina comments to herself.
“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 Primina leading the way.
“Why can’t you remember?”
Vanity lets out a small chuckle. “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.” Primina chirps.
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 space. 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 Primina is 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.”
Primina nods her head stepping into the room. “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.” Primina comments as she looks around her room. Vanity shuts the door. Jumping onto her bed she lays down. Her bones ache and her muscles burn in agony. Still, she is free from the all canvassing darkness. A new chance at life. An opportunity she would not waste. With the troubling thoughts heavy in mind her lids still grew heavy and unto slumber again she fell.