With every step I took I felt the weight lift off my shoulder that had been holding me down all these years. Only after leaving my room – which felt more like a cell – could I see how much effect this place had on me.
The closer I got to the upstairs room the more chattering I heard. Were those the people who had been locked up just like me? I wondered how many people were on the other side of this door. In total there were 23 cells, mine included, meaning there should me 22 people behind the other side of the door. Though, I wondered if the people who kept me in that room were there too, and what the reason was for let out.
I shook my head as I stopped in front of the door, inhaling a deep breath. I was slightly frightened by all the unfamiliar walls around me, but I wasn't going to look like the crazy person the moment I walked through that door. Those people had gone through the same as I had and they seemed to be doing fine from what I could hear. However, my first impression wasn't going to be one if I just stormed in like a madman.
My hands lifted to rest against the door, pausing for just a second longer before pushing it open. It creaked loudly. I cursed under my breath as the muffled voices from before quieted down to nothing. There was no turning back now, they already knew I was here. I pushed the door further open until I was fully facing the giant room. They were all staring at me, and I stared back, not knowing what I should do.
Swiftly, my eyes scanned the room. There looked to be indeed around 20 people in the room. Well, room, it actually looked more like a large hall. Cuts had been made in the walls. Small holes were spread across the floor, pieces of stone that had fallen from the ceiling laying everywhere. The red liquid I had seen coming from the tip of my finger was splashed against the walls and smeared across the floor. However, it looked much darker and dried out.
Chairs and broken tables were thrown all over the place. Some people had sat them upright so they could sit on them, others were leaning against walls. Either way, they were all watching my every move.
After blinking a few times to snap myself out of whatever daze I had found myself in, I said, "Where are we?"
A broad guy stepped forward, looking about the same age as I was, or what I thought my age was. It wasn't like I had been counting my every day in that damn room. He carried himself with a sense of pride and dominance, trying to intimidate me. He wore a white shirt similar to mine, though it seemed to fit to him better. His eyes were gleaming an odd green, still and focused, while his brows were raised in amusement. A sideways grin was playing on his lips. His entire posture was screaming power, but the only description my mind could eventually agree on was actor.
I found myself tilting my head, the urge to smirk rather strong. Why, I didn't know. "It looks like 000 has finally awoken."
A snort and a scoff followed by some of the people standing behind the tall guy. I noticed how some of these people started to get closer, approaching my with the same intimidating stance. For some reason this actually made me less scared.
Now the smirk I had been holding back actually made its way on my lips. Perhaps I had been wrong; they were probably just as frightened as I was. This man had taken the role of the leader upon himself, and as long as there was someone leading others followed. However, simply because he looked strong didn't mean he could lead.
The dark haired man wasn't too pleased with the change in my attitude, maybe he even felt a bit humiliated since I didn't back down when he took another step closer. An odd sense of confidents and cockiness rushing through me. The feeling was strange yet familiar.
I liked it.
"Let me rephrase that question," I crossed my arms, this time being the one to take a step closer, "what is this place and what were you able to find out until now?"
He opened his mouth to speak but was cut off by another voice, one of a female. "All of us are lab rats, kept in here for who knows what reason, but the people who had kept us in here appeared to be all gone. For some reason we were lead out of our cages. We tried the doors that lead outside but those are still locked. So far my theory is that our captors have been killed by something or someone, but what I can't figure out is why they let us live."
I took in each word while searching the room for some sort of clue. The woman who had spoken was watching me closely, and the man beside her glared daggers. If it was at her or me I wasn't sure.
"Found any files that might hold any information?" I asked, stepping further inside the room and letting the iron door fall shut behind me. A loud bang filled the room, making a large amount of people winch at the loud noise. To my surprise, I didn't even flinch the slightest bit.
It was strange. The more people I noticed, really took a moment to look at them, the more the sense of duty rose inside me. It was somewhat overwhelming how much I wanted to help these people. I didn't even know any of them… did I? They were strangers to me, just like I was to them. Still, I somewhat felt responsible for these people I didn't even know the names of. Hell, I didn't even know my own name.
"It looks like they burned everything before they got attacked; a pile of ashes was found in what looked like an office. All the drawers were empty," the woman explained further. The way she talked to me was familiar. She spoke with a steady voice, just spilling the information I wanted as clearly as possible. It was way too natural for two strangers.
This made me wonder about what I've believed all this time. It was obvious I've talked to her before, there was no doubt in my mind about that, but when was just what I couldn't figure out. Besides that, my body and mind were recalling thing that I only could have known by experience and learning, yet I've been locked up my entire life according to my memories. Something wasn't adding up.
"Alright." She nodded, her arms wrapping around herself as she let her shoulders relax. A sigh passed her lips, her caramel hair covering her face.
"Is something the matter?" I fell into step beside her.
"Just tired and confused, like everyone else." She offered me a small smile.
I nodded, though she couldn't see that I did. I understood the feeling rather well as I myself was experiencing some sort of tiredness now that I've stepped foot out of my room. I was curious and excited, yet tired in some way. My body felt drained from its strength, as if it's been through more than just life in a simple room. I didn't know I was missing this strength until I needed it.
We entered an office room, and just like she had informed me, a pile of ashes was in the middle of the room. It had already been searched for any surviving pieces of important documents that might tell us something about who we are.
I kneeled down, the scent of burned paper filling my nostrils. The texture of the ashes between my fingers stung, only then did I remember the cut I had gotten from the stone earlier. It had opened again and started dripping crimson into the blackness. The combination was gorgeous.
I looked up, the girl who lead me here gave me a wary look. "Of course," I whispered to myself, "blood. How could I forget the concept of blood?"
It was a rhetorical question, yet she answered it, "We've all forgotten, something else we uncovered."
"How did you discover this?"
"It just doesn't add up. How can we have knowledge of even talking if we can't even remember being taught a single word. Many other things beside this make it clear that we haven't been here our entire lives, and that we weren't some experiment gone wrong."
I nodded in acknowledgment and stood. "What's your name?"
"I wouldn't know," she answered, "on my door stood only the numbers 001."
"My door had 002." The low voice from the doorway said, and I looked over to see the guy from before leaning against the frame. He looked less threatening now. I gathered it was because we were alone. "Does that make us three important in some way?"
It was a serious question and it did seem possible. When numbering something you always start with the most important piece, then count down to the lesser ones. But why would I be the most important? What was different about me?
"What's the plan?" The two looked at each other before back at me. "You do have one, right?"
"We've just been freed by something that killed the people who kept us locked up, yet they didn't help us further. Most of us are scared to leave these walls." 001 crossed her arms, hoping I would understand where she was coming from.
"Others are eager to leave, though," 002 added, "they believe what killed the professors is still inside. Waiting."
"I see." I tapped my chin, the strands of long, blond hair falling before my eyes as they had grown over the years. I had been wanting to cut them but just couldn't find anything sharp enough. "What if we start by naming everyone? This way we can start a trusting base with the people, give them something to hold on to, a sense of reality. From there on we can debate what would be our next move, whether it is safer to stay here for a few days or move out."
"That might be or best option indeed."
We exchanged one last glance, something that felt oddly familiar. A smile tugged at the corners of my lips as they turned to head back out to the group. I didn't know where it had come from, neither did I care why I felt the need to smile. It felt nice to interact with others.
002 seemed to be a nicer guy then I expected, but my interpretation was right. He appeared strong for others, reassuring them that everything was under control, until someone would take the role over from him. He thought with his heart, which is weak in some circumstances, yet strong in others. He was a good man to have by my side in a time like this I concluded. That he was more muscular and broader than me was another reason I might want to stay on his good side.
001 was another story. I couldn't quite figure her out yet. She seemed bright, closer to a leader than the other guy. However, there was something about the air around her that didn't sit me well. Perhaps in the life we had forgotten we knew one another, but were our circumstances different. I just hope for it to be better than before.
I eyes the room one last time before leaving but stopped in my track when I noticed a half burned piece of paper peeking out from under one of the drawers that had been thrown to the ground. I carefully removed the piece. It only showed four word, writing in pitch black ink;
Subject 000: Immortal Lord
A/N: Review? :)