"An experiment to create the awakened state.
A manual enlightenment.
Now, you musn't tell me the physical condition of the subject. It is absolutely critical that for all intensive purposes here we must consider him to be "alive" for the duration of the study.
What do you mean?
There's nothing special about you at all!
You're just playing around with human life
-It's not life. This, is the soul
I have no reason or need to rationalize myself"
My body was cold, oh so cold.
That seemed to be all I knew now. I had red marks on my arms where they inserted needles, and bruises all over my wretched body from where they beat me. "An experiment" they all say. "We'll let you go as soon as we are done testing your…unique abilities."
They say that every time I ask them, and I started asking as soon as my mother was no longer there to soothe me. They say that she was let out because she has "concluded their tests. But I know that there was more than their tests that she had "concluded".
They didn't know I know they killed her. In the tests.
I'm the new one, a recruit to this place where they test the morphed humans. Dare they be called even that?
My watch read 11:43.
The test is at 12:00.
"You think you can handle it?" I glanced away from my arm to see Cristopher walk into the room. He held a steaming cup in his hand, filled with which I assumed to be coffee. He took a noisy slurp of the liquid.
I nodded. "It can't be that bad, can it?" I dropped the strap I had been loosening and stood straight, relief flooding to my back. I stood a good two inches higher than Cristopher, but he had seven years of experience under his belt. Today was my first day at the facility. The first test was at noon, but then, after the necessary sanitation of anything needed, they would bring in the other one. The one.
Just the thought made me shiver.
You alright there, New Guy?" Cristopher dropped his now empty cup into the trash bin by his feet. "You seem a little bit skeptical."
"My name is Peter, and yes, I think I can handle it." I stood up straighter and squared my shoulders to Cristopher. "Now I'm going to have to ask you to leave, Subject 7 will be in here momentarily." Cristopher didn't comment as he left the room, his black shoes clicking louder than normal on the white laboratory tiles.
Was I ready?
They say that Subject 13 was legendary, but I didn't know what test they were undergoing, how things operated. I was only told to follow orders, immediately. Whether it was "Pass the gloves", or "Run, get the police, and don't come back". I swallowed a growing lump in my throat and set my jaw.
I would do this. I would, and I would prove Cristopher wrong.
I will do this.
I looked down at my watch once more, just to see the numbers change.
I sat in my room. The lights were too bright and the temperature too cold. For some reason, I felt the strange sensation of being watched, but didn't see anything that would give evidence. No cameras in the corners, no windows in high places. All the walls were just a dull gray, somewhat reflective of objects in the room.
I shivered in my gray clothes. They did nothing to keep me warm, just exposing my pale flesh to the biting air. My arms and legs were covered in goose bumps, and I sat, shivering.
What time was it? There was no way to tell. I didn't get anything, not those strange clock thingies, not the straps on your wrist with the clock in it. Not that I would be able to read it anyway. All I have is me, myself, and I.
And at once my mother, but I prefer to keep her out of my mind.
I have found, over my long time of isolation, that it is best for one to keep their mind blank. To think of nothing. Just imagining a vast expanse of nothingness, where anything can happen. Of course then, I imagine being free, and I end up hurt, bruised from banging against the wall. My fingers will be raw and red from scratching for the door in the otherwise smooth walls.
All this time alone and I can't do anything productive on my part. I just want to get out of here, but there is no way. Not any way.
I will be stuck in this white room for the rest of my life, which I know won't be as long as most.
I stood in the observation lab, watching Subject 13. I a few minutes before we brought her into the laboratory to be tested, and I wanted to be prepared.
It honestly surprised me how much that Subject 13 appeared normal. It, or she, was just sitting in the center of the room, rocking back and forth with her hands under her knew and pulling them to her chest. Her gaze was blank, just staring into nothing. I wished she could see me now, before we tested on her, because now, I was an innocent to her.
Afterwards, she would never trust me, or look at me the same way. If she was really looking at me now.
The glass I was looking at Subject 13 trough, was only one sided. She couldn't see me back, only a reflection of white, or possibly at some times, herself.
I felt a hand on my arm and jumped.
"Edgy Peter?" I turned away from Subject 13 to see my superior, Jess. He was giving me his big toothy grin, the smile reaching his eyes as he squeezed my arm. "They said we have to report to the laboratory now." I nodded and followed just to see Subject 13 jump to her feet as two guards entered her room to bring her to testing. I lowered my head and followed Jess.
Subject 13 wasn't in the same room as us.
Well, she was, but we were in a glassed of section with the computers that analyzed the data. The screens were all showing different things, but I could only watch as they strapped Subject 13 down to the chair in the other portion of the room. I couldn't hear what they were telling her, but I could see.
I saw their red faces as they yelled at her and struggled to keep her down so they could tighten her straps. I almost couldn't watch.
She hadn't noticed us yet. Our side of the room was dark, only lit by the glowing computer screens. I could see the reflection in Jess's glasses as he set up the data receivers and analyzers. He was in his work mode now, not nearly as outgoing, but with his certain serious curiosity. I could see it in his eyes.
But my curiosity must have been a lot bigger, showing a lot more. Jess glanced up at me watching Subject 13.
"Why do you guys find her so strange?" I finally ask, not finding anything necessarily peculiar about her. On the outside.
"Come look." Jess bent back down over his computer and pulled up what I recognized as a heart monitor. The line was quiet and flat.
I glanced over into the room again. Subject 13 struggling as two guards tried to hold her down to get an I.V. into her arm. When I saw that they finally succeeded, I looked back to Jess. Do they have her hooked up? To the heart monitor?" Jess's eyes flashed.
The line was flat, emitting no sound.
"We have also discovered that she has certain immunity to some fears, most of which would harm a human if they get too close." I stared at Jess blankly. "Well, when you see a poisonous snake, poised to strike at you, are you afraid. If this snake bit you, the poison would be within your whole system in minutes and you would die, right there. Would you be afraid?" I nodded, keeping my eyes on Jess's. "Well, Subject 13 doesn't have those fears; she just stays calm and collected. Through further testing, we figured out that she has immunities to those types of poisons and have since then been trying and failing to figure out what gene or piece of DNA does that for her. Then there is also the fact that she has no heartbeat, but is, indeed, alive. Not that we necessarily need her alive for the study. We have all the pieces of information we need, we just have continued testing to find any other anomalies."
"Why do you need this data?" I asked, not fully piecing together the whole picture.
"Peter, with this information, we can change many things for the better of the humans. This is just the next step to becoming the most dominant species, just one step closer, but still that much in the right direction." I sneak a glance back at Subject 13, who is now leaning over herself in the chair, limp and only held up by the straps.
They'd sedated her.
Now is when the true tests begin.
It was as if I was watching the torture of another human, which I guess I kind of was.
The others were injecting her with strange colored fluids to observe her reaction. They told me it was only simulations that she would see in her mind, so they could see how she observed the situation. I almost couldn't watch.
This made me wonder, how often these people do this so that they were perfectly nonchalant about watching this horrid scene unfold in front of us.
I screamed, the sound numb to my own ears. The scorching pain shooting up my arm from where they injected me as a new scene began to appear in front of me.
How is this even possible, I thought, I am still in the chair, I know, so how can I be here? I would never know.
It was a new scene, one I had never seen before. There was a giant wall in front of me with a whole bunch of shapes that were different colors. Some were flat, 2-D shapes, others hanging off the wall in 3-D.
The voice was in my head, and I knew only I could hear it, if there was even anyone else here. My arm was still stinging, the fingers turning blue. I had to choose quickly. Before it was too late.
They were cold. I touched all of them, it seemed, and each making my fingers turn a little bit bluer. Then I saw one. Reaching past the veil of pain that seemed to rack my body, I reached for it.
It burned my hand, making me scream. As soon as my fingers touched it, a bright light erupted.
Darkness enveloped me.
Darkness surrounded me…
And I remembered no more.
A flash blinded me for a moment, but when I opened my eyes it was gone. Jess sat beside me, staring at his computer screen in disbelief. A smile slowly creeps across his face and he steadily rises to his feet, bringing his hands up to rest on his head.
I can only stare ahead.
The men that were in the room with subject 13 are rubbing their eyes as they unstrapped the limp figure from the chair. I couldn't tell is her chest was moving or not. Was she alive? The heart monitor wouldn't help me, even if it was still hooked up. I turn back to Jess, who is still running his fingers through his hair excitedly.
"We did it," he whispers. Then he turns to me and grabs me by the shoulders, pulling me up so I'm standing. He shakes me. "We did it!"
I look back into the other room. "Yeah. Now what will you do with Subject 13?"
His eyes grow dark and his smile dissipates. "She died during the process of finding the gene. But now, we are able to enhance the human culture, to rise up in the world!"
Yeah, I thought, but at what true cost.
Hey, sorry it's been a long time, but I have completed another One-shot! This one was given to me by Leigh Aldridge who was kind enough to leave a Challenge in her review. I am getting out of my writers block and am eager to write more little short stories, so expect more soon! Hope you enjoyed my somber tale about Subject 13 (as much as you can).