A/N: I'm still alive! For those of you who don't know me, I've a account under the same name, and I've written a great deal of fan fiction, some of which is actually worth reading, and that is what you will find on my page. Go and look me up!
That sort of thing probably goes on my profile, though I'm not sure if anyone actually reads the profiles. Anyways, there it is.
So: a little background on this piece. I've written original works before, but I've decided to post this one. The main thing that's different about this work from any of my others is that the universe is enormous, and highly developed as a collaboration between a few friends. So far there are four of us; three develop individual sections of the universe in detail, and one sort of coordinates the whole thing. No, I'm not the coordinator.
As far as I know, I'm the only one who's actually written anything set up in this sprawling thing. That's the beauty of it: since everything is so fleshed out, I'm offhandedly mentioning details or events or people who have had an extraordinary amount of characterisation effort put into them. You don't really see much of the universe in this story due to its nature (yet, and you may never - we shall have to see), but it's there, and more is coming.
This story actually started as an effort to flesh out a relatively minor character that I've sort of fallen in love with, and thus has become more and more important as time went on (wait till you see the major characters. I've written what amounts to a thirty page biography about one. I know who his childhood friends were, his 2nd year teacher, his favourite colour... EVERYTHING).
So, summary (for those who skip the enormous author's note) is as follows: the expanded universe behind this is BIG, and more is coming, so pay attention, because offhand comments are sometimes enormously important events that will be expanded upon later.
You see what power is - holding someone else's fear in your hand and showing it to them.
He didn't remember much, just a great deal of shouting and noise. That sort of thing could make a great impression on a child. Anyways, it probably wasn't very important: he hadn't much liked it any better there than he did here.
Except for Miss Bone. He liked Miss Bone. The world was always those endless grey corridors, and colourless, pale-faced adults who ignored everything he said and stuck needles into him. They did a great many other things, too – timed how fast he ran, measured his height, weight, eyesight – everything that was measurable about him.
Miss Bone was different. Unlike her namesake, she always dressed in bright colours and delightful patterns. One day he told her he liked her dresses, and from then on she made it a point to wear the loudest, flashiest, oddest, and most gaudy collection of clothing he had ever seen. He never minded – she looked beautiful. The more sequins, rhinestones, and feathers, the better.
The effect was odd against the sterile white corridors, as though she were the only real thing in a land of ghosts. She laughed loudly and uproariously at his jokes and antics, and she hugged him and cuddled him. None of the other people would so much as touch him, unless it was to give him another shot.
The other adults were pale, stern things. They had no names, but their shirts said things like "Anderson", "Bracewell", "Compton", and the like. Miss Bone sometimes asked him to call her Paula, but he liked "Miss Bone". It was something familiar, solid, something to hold on to.
Sometimes he would dream that the world had suddenly become intangible, and he would fall through the floor were it not for her grip. And the other people would just float about their appointed rounds and not even notice that he was gone.
Dreams are generally unrealistic. One time, he did wander out of his little room, and the adults had gone frantic looking for him. Miss Bone had found him in the end. She embraced him with tears in her eyes and told him not to scare her like that anymore, so he didn't.
She taught him basic arithmetic and reading and writing and science. He liked science best of all. After a while, she moved on to algebra, trigonometry, statistics, and calculus; geology, biology, chemistry, and physics; more and greater works of literature. His handwriting was a neat copperplate that she always made sure to praise.
One day he asked her about the literature. None of the people in the stories lived in dull grey sterile corridors. She told him that perhaps it had been like that, once, but now it was possible that nobody lived outside of dull grey sterile corridors. There had been a war, and everyone was probably dead or horribly mutated, sort of like those things from the Lovecraft stories.
The next day, Miss Bone was gone.
He sulked for a while, until it became clear that she was gone for good. No amount of protest would bring her back, so it was pointless to play this silly game. He sulked a good extra few weeks, just to reinforce the fact that this state of affairs did not please him.
They gave him a new lady, one that taught him things, but, though she wasn't white-coated like the rest, she was still a pale-faced sterile dull adult. Miss Bone had been alive.
One day, there was a great crashing noise. He couldn't get out of his little room anyways, so he sat and ignored it. There seemed to be a great deal of shouting. Then, the lights flickered and went out. Red emergency lighting strips lit up along the floor. The door slowly swung ajar.
Well, this was new. He didn't think he'd seen this much red in his life. He wandered out.
As with last time he wandered off, the adults were in a frenzy of activity, but this time, they barely noticed him. And then a new set of adults found him – he could tell they were new because they wore blue instead of white – and took him away.
It was fun for a while, but then they took him to a new set of corridors and the grey, white-clothed adults were back, poking him and measuring him. They'd gone into a frenzy of measurements and injections and blood samples the day he arrived, and then he only saw them intermittently. It didn't matter: things were more or less the same as they were before. Only, this time, there was no Miss Bone. Instead, there was a man.
He was tall and broad and dark-haired, though there were streaks of silver shooting through it. He stopped in every seven days exactly, staring in through the little glass window. At first, the man's appearances frightened him, but eventually he grew accustomed to them, and even began to welcome the silent little visits.
He memorized the face in every detail. He used to make up little stories to pass the time – there were no more lessons, nothing to do but sit in the little cell. Perhaps that little mark was a scar from a knife-fight. Perhaps this little wrinkle in his suit meant he'd been sitting in a confined space, a vehicle perhaps. He spent a while envisioning the sort of car the man would own, but it was hard. He'd never seen one before, only read about them in the books.
There was a little adjoining room containing a commode and a shower and a sink. The shower water was always cold regardless of which way the little knob pointed, and the sink was large, no-nonsense porcelain. There was also a mirror, toothbrush, toothpaste, and soap, so he spent a while breaking open the plumbing system and stuffing the soap into the pipes. Eventually, he gave up on it.
The man spoke to him once. It startled him, and the voice was deep and rich, not at all what he would have expected. "It has come to my attention," the boy's head snapped around, "that you attempted to escape last Friday."
The boy hadn't spoken for years. He'd almost forgotten how, but something about the man made it clear that he was used to being obeyed, and his tone goaded the boy into speech.
"I," he said indifferently, "got bored."
At this point, he didn't really care what they did to him. He would welcome the shots and the measurements if it broke the dull monotony of his cell. Anyways, the locked door was something to do, something to think about. He disassembled the little security camera in the top corner of the room and, when this no longer interested him, used the parts to pick the lock. He'd never done that before, and this lock was rather a challenge – it took him three weeks.
"I see," said the man in his velvet tones. Then, he left.
The next morning, when the boy woke up, he found two fat texts at the foot of his bed. They read "Biology: A beginner's course" and "Introduction to Genetics". As he opened the first, he saw a little note written in a smooth flowing cursive on the front inside over.
He wasn't often bored after that.
A/N: oh, one last thing: I've a temporary name for this, but if anyone thinks of a better one, be sure to let me know. Thanks!