The world was once a beautiful place, filled with an abundance of coloured flowers and blue skies, or so that’s what the stories I hear tell me. My name is Hilaria and I live in Zolo the last city on earth. The walls that surround the city are 20 metres thick and lined with steel spanning a height of 15 feet. I suppose you think why are there walls around your city? Well let me tell you. 85 years ago, society was hit with a terrible disease call yimsunye, it originated in China well so they discoveredeventuallybut by that point it was too late. It might have been too late after the first infection but we will never know because the world went to shit after that moment. After you got infected you became Awakened, Society started calling it that because the infected became awakened from any inhibitions they had and became Feral, Feral to the point that they started to fucking eat people! How crazy is that humans eating humans, anyway the point is the world spiralled into chaos, cities fell, un-awakened people fighting for survival even started resembling the awakened, they fought over supplies and food and even shelter and murdering others became a daily task for some just to live. It was crazy, or again so I’ve heard. The last few remaining legs of government started a major operation to build a stronghold in Texas to protect the last semblance of humanity, Zolo. Once the wall was built it was sealed so no more could enter and none could leave, the virus had been eradicated from within so it was officially named a ‘safe zone’ and life started getting back to normal or as normal as could be, the noise beyond the wall could still be heard, the screams, pleads for help and gun shots. Eventually after a few years all became silent outside the wall, I guess scientists had extrapolated that the virus burnt out the infected bodies and they eventually just shut down. My guess is they just ran out of the living to devour but what do I know I live now in the present where I have never seen an awakened or heard an awakened, just the stories.
‘Hilaria! Get the Hell up! We are gonna be late for Class! , Said Clara.
I jolted upright, covered in beads of sweat, Jesus it was so hot for a fucking March morning and I had only hit my snooze button what felt like two minutes ago but somehow an hour had passed and I wasn’t even showered or ready.
‘Listen Bitch!, im in no mood for you to be acting like my god damned Mom right now so just leave without me and I’ll meet you after for Electrophysics!’
‘What the Hell is taking you so long anyway I heard your alarm go off ages ago! And you told me last night we could stop by Barataco for a Lemon Frappacino before class and now your blowing me off?’
I swear it was like talking to a child sometimes, I really lucked out with getting Clara as a roommate this semester for the first two months we fought like cat and dog but when our Floor got raided by the Zolites and we spent 5 hours in an interrogation chamber we instantly stopped fighting and comforted each other through the ordeal. I wonder if they ever caught the guy accused of leaving the city. Flip I didn’t even know you could leave the city I thought the wall was locked up tight not even a spider could get in unless it climbed over the top.
Darn it! I zoned out again that always happens to me but lately its getting so much worse.
‘Right Clara! I guess I don’t need to wash today give me two minutes till I pull on my clothes, hope you realise for this ordeal your putting me through your buying me the Frappay!’
‘Fine just hurry the fuck up or next time you are getting a bucket of ice water over you when you sleep through your snooze’
‘Love you too Clar’; I smiled to myself as I rapidly pulled on my jeans and hoody. That bitch got under my skin so much but god if I didn’t love her like my own sister.
Clara decided finally to come into my room after shouting across the corridor, when I was just pinning my hair up.
‘Jesus Hil, a friggin Zolite could get dressed faster than you and that’s with the full body armour on’.
‘Shut the hell up, ive had a rough morning I hardly slept, I had that horrible dream again’
‘Hil, it’s just a nightmare your probably projecting from watching that shit ass horror crap you and Quane always watch on your weird little date nights’
‘They aren’t date nights! Jeez, he just a friend’
‘Yeah, Yeah tell that to the constant sex injuries you turn up with’
‘Dude don’t go there, remember the last time you went there? Still healing I believe Clar?’
‘Next time im in the firing line of a book ill just duck’; she said with a smile. That smug little smile deserved another book but I guess I’ll save it for later or I could just get Quane on her. As much as she jokes I see the way she looks at him. I have tried countless times to set them up with no avail but shes convinced that we are together when in actual fact we train together. After being interrogated by the Zolite, Quane told me he would train me to defend myself and try to feel less powerless, I at the time obviously accepted because I was shitting myself that they would come and arrest me again. Now, he pushes me so hard I just want to give up but he says what are you going to do when they come again and this time don’t let you go, they do that with innocents you know if they suspect you of breaking any part of the code you are done, vanished, gone. Anyway Quane is so wound up and so Is Clara it only makes sense and hey, it would get the both of them off my back.
‘Hello?’, Clara was waving at me like I was mental or something.
‘Dude! You totally zoned out again. What is wrong with you?’, she was giving me a puzzled look but I just shrugged it off and opened the door and walked out, Clara following behind. She had obviously let the subject go as she was about to get her lemony goodness fix in approximately five minutes, you could pretty much wave the drink in front of her and she would completely lose her place in a sentence or her stance in an argument.
We made our way down the steps to the student quarter to the Barataco kiosk and it was absolutely rammed. We would never make it to the front of the queue and then to class before 10 o’clock. As I was contemplating what to do I turned round and Clara was deliberately shooting me evils. Clearly she was angry at me because it was my fault we were running later but I didn’t rise to her glares and continued to analyse what the next logical step was to this mornings blunder. My train of thought however was quickly interrupted by someone clearing there throat behind me. Of course there was someone behind me we were smack bang in the middle of the pedestrian traffic around the student Hub, I turned around to let the stranger pass by when I froze mid turn. In front of me was a Zolite, oh shit!, they make petty arrests even for people who get in their way, clearly the power they have has gone to their heads. This one however, he didn’t have a scornful look on his face nor did he immediately start yelling at me, he just smiled and said thank you as he walked between me and Clara, making his way to the Barataco Kiosk. That smile, could literally bring any woman to their knees but I was still in shock that we had actually come into contact with a nice Zolite. I turned to see Clara literally staring with her mouth agape.
‘Are you OK?’, I asked.
‘Hil we are going to that Kiosk right now, Fuck Class I wanna meet the sexy Zoly!’
‘Clara you really are such a bad influence, and they say im leading you astray’, I laughed as I said this but she was already en route to the kiosk to stand behind the Zolite. I followed her over and stood beside her when she started to make weird giggly noises.
‘Clara what are you doing?’
‘Ssssh, he will hear you, start laughing I want you to pretend I said something funny, all guys love funny it’s in the rules of life and sex’
‘Dude you are Bat Shit Crazy’
‘Crazy in Love Hil, Crazy In loveeeeee’
I rolled my eyes and started laughing because god knows if I get between her and a man with the added ingredient of her Lemon Frappacino I literally had no choice. The Zolite immediately lifted his head from staring at his feet, possibly and turned round to look me directly in the eye.
‘What is so funny here ladies?’, He said.
Claras face immediately dropped and she went pale as a ghost because he had a slight tinge of anger in his voice. I answered,
‘Eh....Eh.......Just my friend told me a joke that’s all’
‘ Oh really? What was the joke?’, he had a slight smile now on his face as he was saying this, and smugness really got to me especially if it was from a Zolite.
‘Oh nothing a Zolite would understand, only people with an actual sense of humour could grasp the joke’. Clara gasped as I said it and oh shit I totally spoke before I thought, because I was nearly sure at this point I was have to utilise Quane’s training at this point as the smirk had completely vanished of the Zolite’s face.
He said so coolly and calmly that i thought I had imagined it, ‘Listen, you need to be careful what that pretty mouth says because if it was anyone but me you would be face down on the ground right now with cuffs being placed on your wrists being carted off to interrogation, Do you want that?’
I answer no straight away but he didn’t look appeased, in fact he inched ever closer to me and stuck out his hand in a hand shake motion and said, ‘Hey, I’m Dansi, Nice to meet you’, and then he cracked that killer smile again. I was literally standing with my mouth open and squeaked ,’ Hilaria, nice...to....meet...you...too’. He continued,’ And Your Friend?’.
‘That’s Clara and we should really get going to class because we are mega late, Nice to meet you!’ I shouted as I dragged Clara off Down toward the University Hub.
Getting into class 20 minutes late was not the best idea for Clara and I, because Mr Tonsky was in one horrible ass mood and with the vision of us two slipping into the back, set him off on a rant about the importance of punctuality. We could feel the whole class tense up and knew straight away we would get some grief for this little stunt after class. I guess we would just have to make a speedy exit much like we did with Dansi 15 minutes prior. I still don’t understand what happened, I thought or at least I thought I knew that all Zolites were pretty much the Devil incarnate but this one was different, there was a pain in his eyes, a pain I recognised and pain I often felt myself day in day out. The cause?, I was still working on that but I was going to find out. I was adopted so never felt like a part of my family, god knows I love them but ive always felt that something was missing and no matter how hard I tried nothing could fill the void inside me.
Not again!. This time I was on the immediate firing line of a very angry teacher who had asked me a question about the homework on one of my zone outs, add that to being late and hey presto you’ve got yourself one very pissed off faculty member looking for your head!. Just as im about to answer him giving him an excuse about feminine problems getting in the way of me being able to complete my homework, a high pitched noise starts shrieking, this noise I’ve never heard before but I knew instantly that it was some kind of alarm and I knew something bad was happening. Mr Tonskys face drained of all colour which was odd because it was a very rosey cheeked man, this I when I knew something was really wrong, then he finally spoke after what seemed like ages,
‘Class I would like you to leave your belongings and follow me, NOW!’
We all immediately got up and followed Mr Tonsky who had walked over to his Chemical cabinet and pushed it aside to reveal a door, that no one knew existed, with a large computerised panel. He typed in a series of numbers and the door screeched open, spitting out a large bellow of dust, clearly this room hadn’t been in used in quite possibly decades. We all filed inside the room, which was larger than what I expected, inside of which was lined with chairs along the walls and had a holo screen in the centre of the room. Once the last person was inside Mr Tonsky locked the door and we or should I say the entire class of Chemistry 101 was locked inside. He then cleared his throat, which always meant that he was about to go into one heck of a speech but this time he had the classes full attention.
‘Right guys, this is not a drill and this is something I have been trained for but have never thought I’d have to carry it out, not in my lifetime’
‘Obviously you guys all know about our history and in particular The Awakening, Correct?’
The response from the entire room was that of an uncertain yes.
‘Well this system which you have just witnessed and experienced was put in place 5 years after the wall was built to stop the spread of infection so it could be eradicated within the wall. It proved successful and the disease stopped occurring within the Zolo colony, until now’
You could feel every single member of the class stuck in this tiny chamber take a sharp intake of breath, which made me worry about running out of oxygen, not the fact that the deadly disease that pretty much wiped out humanity had returned and there could be Awakened right outside our door. Mr Tonsky Continued,
‘So guys if you bear with me im just gonna make a quick phone call to the Dean to see what the situation is.’
He walked to the other side of the room and started speaking into his Holophone in a rushed and very hushed voice, occasionally raising his voice. This did not look good but I remained calm, Clara hadn’t said a word since we got into the room and some of the more fragile girls in the room had started to silently sob. I took a moment to look at everyone, they all appeared to be extremely frightened even the guys and the hardcore Jock types, the only person who even looked remotely calm in the room was Mr Tonsky and now he was having a full scale argument with the Dean, his face going extremely red. Clara turned to me tears now filling her eyes,
‘Hil, what if this is it?, what if this is the outbreak that finally wipes us out? And why the hell do you look so calm?’
I was taken aback by how harsh her words were in last question but I guess she was going through an ordeal something I clearly wasn’t getting or understanding. Why was I so calm? , Should I not be an hysterical little bitch like the rest of them?, I was stopped mid though by a sharp pain in my arm as Clara had gave me one hell of a welt.
‘Hilaria what the hell this is not time for one of your zone outs! We might Die!’
‘Don’t be so dramatic Clar, It’s probably just a computer virus or malfunction in the alarm system. How could a disease that has been eradicated for years suddenly come back into a closed off community where no-one gets out or comes in?’
‘ Uh Duhhhh! Its called mutation Hil you should look it up or at least read a friggin history book on the nature of viruses, sometimes I wonder whether you give a shit about anything, your always in your darn head.’
That was pretty harsh for Clara, she was always play fighting with me but she was never genuinely mean and the way her face was turning I knew she had instantly regretted what she had said to me because she knew she had hurt me.
‘Sorry Hil, im just freaking out and all I can think about is my family and if they are in a safe room like us or out in the streets with the Awakened’
‘Clara, we don’t know for sure what’s happening outside so try not to jump to conclusions ok?, it’s probably just a false alarm, maybe it’s only at the university hub and hey look Mr Tonskey is off the phone maybe now he will give us an update?’
I was watching Mr Tonskey now who had beads of sweat on his brow and was deep breathing. He was just staring at the centre of the room for what seemed like an eternity then he snapped out of his day dream and went to the computer screen on the wall and hit a button. A holograph of our President, The president of Zolo rendered in the centre of the room and he started to speak,
‘Dear Citizens of Zolo, now you have probably been made aware of the alarm system and its purpose within the colony. We are still gathering information of the outbreak which occurred today at 10.05am in the Student Quarter of Zolo. Details remain vague as the Zolites are still at the scene trying to control the busy student sector and discover the extent of where the outbreak has spread too, how many are infected and origin of the infection. We will be back online soon to give you an update but until then sit tight and remember Zolo protects you, Always and forever’
The image rendering blinked out and the room which had been in eerie silence broke into hysteria, the outbreak it was so close to us, there could literally be Awakened in our classroom, there could be infected in this room right now who havn’t started to change, I heard that the incubation time is around two hours and we had only started class 40 minutes ago. Clara slumped her head into my shoulder and started to silently sob, I didn’t have a clue what to say to make her feel better or any safer so I just put my arm around her and held her close. I knew one thing about this whole thing being trapped in a room with potentially infected people was not where Clara and I needed to be right now, i guess we would find out whether we were in the midst of infected in just over an hour. I did a once over of the room when we came in and saw several items which would do a a weapon incase some class mates started to develop a taste for the rest of the class. I was ready, Quane had made me ready and I felt better in know that I had the power to protect myself and my friend at any cost. I just realised now why I wasn’t scared earlier and why I’m not scared now, because I know how to defend myself and I’m not a weak person, I can do this’.
An Hour had passed since the President had rendered and gave us his message, and everyone in the room had gotten incredibly restless and most people had started to sweat which made it difficult for me to detect who was getting sick or not. Clara had fallen asleep on my shoulder, I guess the whole ordeal had gotten to her and she just needed to sleep and forget the world around her. Twenty minutes, then I’ll know for sure if we are safe and just as I thought this the holograph in the centre of the room started to render, I thought we would be graced with our lovely president again but this time it was the head of the Zolites, basically the second man with the most power next to the president. He started to speak, ‘Fellow Citizens, I am trying to collect information about the incident of outbreak which occurred earlier in the student hub in order to get this whole mess sorted out so we can go back to our daily lives in peace and prosperity. We have removed the threat of infection out on the streets and it is now the turn of those in the safe zones to be removed from threat. The outbreak occurred in the Barratoca hub area at around 10.05 am which means some citizens who have made it to the safe zones in the university after being in the area of outbreak are possibly infected. We as protectors of our community need information on the whereabouts of these citizens who were in the Barritoca Hub around the time of the incident. You will be immediately quarantined to be checked for infection and if you are not infected you will be released and if you are infected we will do everything in our power to save you, however as time has passed by and the incubation period of this infection is small it could already be too late. Do not hide you identity, do your community the best thing you can and give yourself up before you infect more individuals. Make yourself know to the trained in the room and we will be in touch shortly to get you, Remember Zolo protects you, Always and forever.’
Clara had not woken up whilst Commander Uplink was rendered which I was glad about because to be honest she would be completely hysterical by this point, I off course would make ourselves known because we were there at the time but I didn’t need Clara to know the real goings on, I would just get her to follow me to the quarantine zone and tell her everyone is doing it. I got up and propped her against the wall I was leaning on, Jesus that girl could sleep for Zolo. I got up and headed towards Mr Tonskey who was conversing with 3 other students who looked a little panicked, I over-heard there conversation and they were in the hub too at the time. He had his notebook out and was tallying up the students at the hub, from what I could gather her had 6 so far and we were about to make that number 8.
‘Hey Hilaria, tough day isn’t it? What can I do for you?’
‘Sorry My Tonskey I just wanted to let you know that I was at the Hub earlier with Clara hence why we were late’
‘Sorry to hear that Hilaria but if it makes you feel any better ive read all about the incubation of Yimsunye and symptoms usually show up after an hour or so which is extreme Fatigue and bloodshot eyes. By looking at you I see you have neither so I doubt you have anything to worry about’
He said this with a smile which did make me feel at ease until his face suddenly dropped and became devoid of all colour. I then heard a scream coming from behind me, one of the girls from my class I think, I swirled round to see Clara standing up, well it looked like Clara but her face was all twisted into a snarl and she was moaning at our other classmates. I froze, she was fine, she wasn’t infected wasn’t sick, her eyes were bloodshot because she was crying and I figured she was just sleeping because she had been out last night. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t speak, I could do anything but watch what was happening in horror.
Clara had launched herself at a boy Called Eric from our class who was nice enough, maybe a bit quite but was now on the receiving end of an Awakened, my Clara. Eric released a bloodcurdling scream as she sank her teeth into him, i awoke from my bystander behaviour and jumped into the situation and pulled Clara or what was left of here off of Eric. She turned around snarling at me, everyone had gone to the opposite end of the room whilst I handled Clara, Eric was bleeding out on the floor, he was helpless now and soon enough we would be trapped in this room with two Awakened. I could hear Mr Tonskey shouting into the computer screen but I couldn’t make out what he was saying as I was busy with the Clara situation and I hadn’t even had time to process the fact that my friend was gone. Clara staggered towards me trying to grab for me but I dodged her, I couldn’t keep doing this I had to do something about her before Eric Awoke or else I would have a more difficult job of dodging two. I needed a weapon was what I needed and nothing could do I needed to focus on the threat at hand. Mr Tonskey shouted something at me which was inaudible over all the screaming but it distracted me for a split second which is all it took for Clara to sink her teeth into my arm. I pulled her off me but it was too late, the damage had been done I was officially infected however; I still had enough time to save the others in the room.
Suddenly the door opened and several highly armed Zolites entered the room, Dansi was among them. They started to shout at us all to get down so we all dropped to the floor as they put Clara down, followed by Eric who was starting to Awaken. The threat was eradicated or so they had thought until they seen my bleeding arm. They shouted several questions at me,
‘ARE YOU BITTEN?!!!!’
‘WHEN WERE YOU BITTEN?!!!!!’
I wasn’t able to answer the question as my vision had started to haze and blur, I knew I was falling unconscious and for the first time all morning I felt scared because I knew this time I wasn’t going to be able to control anything, I was infected and nothing would change that.........
Chapter 2 – The White Room
I was in the nightmare, the nightmare I had been having for months. I was standing barefoot on a derelict path, well what used to be a road I could see that much. The tarmac was so worn and cracked from going through the seasons constantly with no repair. My feet were bleeding from walking along the jagged road or running on it, I’m not sure which. The air was crisp and cool, there was no pollution here unlike what I experience within the city with the many citizens that inhabit Zolo. Its peaceful out here, I know it’s out here because this could not be a place that belongs to the city, it is too quite there is no noise, only silence and the birds singing there cheerful morning song, not hundreds of bustling bodies trying to get to their destination in the tiny cramped colony. The peaceful feeling doesn’t last as I start running, I don’t know where I’m running too or what im running from but I know I have to run as fast as I can as far as I can. I run and my feet bleed constantly, why am I not wearing any shoes?, I notice now that these aren’t my legs, well they are but they aren’t my legs now they were my legs back then. In this nightmare I’m much younger possibly too young to be alone, why am I alone?, Then the sound comes, I hear the screeching and moaning of what sounds like thousands of the Awakened all coming at once. I realise this Is why I have to run, I’m running from them, all of them coming at me, running at me, screaming for me. The road goes on forever how will I ever get away from them, my feet are throbbing, I’ve been running for hours or maybe its perhaps only minutes, the sound is growing closer and closer. I’m taking less care of the road now because I so desperately need to get away from them, they are getting closer, so close, too close. I trip of one of the road cracks and everything goes black and I wake up.
I adjust my eyes because the white glare that surrounds me is over powering, the fluorescent lights are blinding and the smell around me is clinical. As I start to gather my bearings I realise very quickly that I’m shackled to a hospital bed, in a hospital gown, in a white room. I try to shout but my voice is hoarse, have I been screaming? I am unsure. I can’t remember why I am here, what happened before, I remember being taken into the shelter by Mr Tonksey and I remember the President and Commanders messages in the holograph but after that it’s just black with only the nightmare filling the void. Where am i? and what am I doing here?, I don’t know but I’ll find out.
‘Hello?, is anybody out there?, what’s happening to me?!!’ I say hoarsely.
What I get back is only silence, eerie silence which only makes me feel more uncomfortable and trapped. I don’t understand why no one will answer me, I have done nothing wrong, I thought Zolo was here to protect us not keep us prisoner without a single word or reason why. Just then an automated voice comes on over the intercom positioned in the corner of the ceiling.
‘Subject 22 requires assistance as she is now fully awake and responsive, Thank you and have a good day’
Thank you and have a good day, really?, what was I meant to do with that clearly something really wrong is happening I shouldn’t be here, I’m just a college girl who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, I can’t be interrogated again, I just cant. Tears start to fill my eyes, I am trying to be strong but I have no idea what’s going on or where Clara is because we were in the safe room together and now I’m alone. The door to the room slowly opens and in walks a Zolite who still has there shades and hood on, I’m unsure as to whether it’s man or a woman but from its build I would defiantly be falling on the male side of the coin. He takes of his sunglasses and hood and is revealed to be Dansi, the man I met earlier at the Barrotaco Kiosk. He speaks,
‘Hello Hilaria, my name is Dansi and I will be debriefing you today’
‘Well isn’t that nice I always love a good debriefing’, I say sarcastically, ‘What the hell is going on here? Why am I here?! And why am I chained to a bed?’
He replied rather sceptically,’ What do you mean why are you here? Do you not remember what actually happened Hilaria?’
‘I.....I....remember the commanders speech but then everything is fuzzy or just completely gone, Do you know where my friend Clara is?’
He looks shocked with my response and a wave of pain shifts across his face but it disappears as soon as it comes. ‘Hilaria I’m sorry to have to tell you this but Clara is dead, she got infected and Awakened. You saved your classmates by keeping her at bay until our units arrived but we had to put her down and another classmate Eric, it was too late for them Hilaria once the infection takes hold there is no way of saving the person they once were’. He said this with a great deal of pain on his face which made me think maybe he’s lost someone too. Clara is gone. How did all this happen in front of me and I can’t remember, why couldn’t I save her, did I even know she was infected?. The pain of loss has not come but I know it will, it will hit me like the wild sea crashing against a rock, all of a sudden at full force. I have to be prepared for this, I can’t break down. I need to find out how I lost my best friend, how is it possible that the virus got past our greatest defence, our wall and why was it in the student quarter.
‘Hilaria, one other thing that you must know’, he said again with much scepticism in his voice.
‘yeah?’, I answered not really paying much attention to what was going on as I just got some of the worst news of my life and was still processing it all.
‘You were bite by Clara when she Awoke’, he said rather matter-of-factly.
My mouth dropped open in utter shock. How could I have been bitten I feel fine, actually I feel better than fine, it’s almost as if I have more energy than I’ve had in years. Maybe this is how the bite works, it gives you a false sense of security in that you think you’ve missed the infection, that your different somehow but really you’re going to be dead in an hour, oh wait sorry, Awoken. You may as well be dead, you can’t communicate with anyone all your other drives take over, you can’t feel real emotions only anger and hunger, maybe that’s exactly where I’m headed. I answer Dansi back because hes waiting for some kind of response from me,
‘Just tell me how long have I got?’, There’s no cure for this infection only a release which is death, that’s why they kill the Awoken. Either kill or be killed that used to be the way of the world, I guess that’s the way of the world now, now that Zolo is under threat of the virus re-emerging. Maybe I should be grateful I won’t be alive to see everybody else I love suffer, change and die, maybe it’s better this way. Dansi now has a look of surprise of his face as he speaks,
‘Hilaria, you were infected 9 days ago and you’ve been in a temporary coma while the virus worked its way through your body, but you didn’t change, in fact the virus gave you all the strength and vitality that the Awoken have but you have remained yourself. The drives never took over, yes they are heightened to an extent in your case but you are immune to being Awoken’
The words he spoke echoed through me but I couldn’t for one second be happy all I wished for was that Clara had this immunity and not me at least that way she would still be alive, still be Clara. Instead my best friend turned and bite me and I lived and am not superhuman. What a great day I’m having or should I say a great 9 days. I can feel Dansi staring at me waiting for a response but nothing comes. I think he expects me to be relieved and happy that I can never get the virus but all I feel is numb.
‘What happens now?’
Dansi gives me a look, ‘Well you are in fact one of five people in this infection that has showed immunity to the virus so the next step is to figure out why these five people have exhibited this immunity when the rest of the infected Awoke, and I guess try to duplicate it so we can inoculate the entire population’.
‘Oh, Ok so I need to stay here then?’, I asked as a common curtsey even though I know what the answer was going to be.
‘Yes, Hilaria just for a little while but we are creating a facility and living quarters for you and the others to live while we conduct these tests’, he says again very matter-of-factly. Does this man have any human feelings or is he just a robot for the Zolites, I thought I seen some humanity earlier when he told me about Clara but I guess that was just in my imagination. He went to leave when I caught him with another question which had been bothering me from the start,
‘Dansi, you were at the Barritoca Kiosk when we were and you didn’t get infected? Whys that? How come your standing in-front of me delivering this news?’
He just smirked at me again with that Killer smile and then sauntered out the door not even answering my question. I didn’t dwell on what an ass he was because the grief hit me soon after, Dansi was the least of my thoughts because Clara was my family and now she was gone, I lost my adoptive family five years ago in a district fire so when I met Clara she became my surrogate family, I even spent the holidays with her family because we were like sisters and they had come to love me like a daughter. I’ve lost my sister and now I’m a lab rat for the society I hate, like how did the world go to shit in 9 days, well I suppose it went to shit decades ago but my world is now and always will be different. I lay down in my bed and started to sob, life took horrible turns and mine was a constant winding road, the only break I seem to have caught is this immunity but then again that doesn’t seem to be all it’s cracked up to be.
I awoke to the sound of the door to my tiny white cell opening. Two Zolites came in, none of which were Dansi, I guess he was done with my case and was moving on to making the citizens lives in Zolo hell. I didn’t care but yet why did I instantly think about him when they entered the room. I put it to the back of my mind because I figured there was only one reason why they were escorting me out of my room, I was moving to my new living quarters. Somewhere completely alien to me and away from all my memories of Clara, I wonder if Quane was wondering where I was or at least trying to find me. I hope he was ok, I hope he wasn’t near when the infection broke out but I guess I’ll never know as I am now imprisoned in this medical facility for the near future. We approached an air-lock door with a very complex looking computer system attached to it, living quarters I thought to myself more like a bloody prison. They were making us believe we were making a choice to help save the society when in actual fact I think if I refused I would still be at this door anyway.
My guard dogs typed in a 6 digit number, I knew this because I watched them but I only managed to get three numbers maybe if I get taken out for walks I’ll be able to fill in the rest. I entered a large living room chamber which was completely white, white walls, white sofas, which bookshelves, white holographer, white cabinets, just generally clinical. There were five doors off the room each with a different coloured door which I realised the colour matched our medical wristband. I was blue, blue was usually my favourite colour but in this moment it was my most hated colour. It was the colour of entrapment and a reminder now I had nowhere to run. I was escorted to my door and told to scan my wristband on the scanner and wait in my room. This demand was totally fine with me because I had spent enough time in the presence of these men.
I entered my room to find something very surprising. This room looked exactly like my room at home, all my belongings where in the room, it was just home. Why were they doing this to me, giving me this false feeling of security that I’m in my own room when in actual fact I’m in a research facility. Whatever way I looked at it I knew one thing it reminded me of Clara and that made me calm slightly. Several minutes passed as I drank in everything around me and then I spotted it, the picture me and Clara took when we went out for her Birthday two years ago. I grabbed it immediately and help it close and that’s when the uncontrollable sobs came, then it hit me like a hurricane and I felt like I was never going to stop.
Maybe it was an hour or possibly two when the guards came back to my new living quarters; they unlocked my door and entered my sanctuary. The taller of the two spoke,
‘Subject 22 we would like you to please accompany us to the lounge area so you can introduced to your fellow subjects’
I figured I was indispensable now that I had developed immunity to Yimsunye so answered back sourly,
‘I have a name you know and it is not Subject 22’
I was correct in my assumption because they ignored my attempts at antagonism and continued out the door expecting me to follow. If this had been any other time and someone answered these Zolite’s back in the manner which I did they would simply just disappear never to be seen again. I knew my immunity would be powerful and I liked the way I could challenge the authority with no consequence, I could use this to my advantage if I ever got out of here.
I eventually followed them out the door to great my new cell mates because after all this was a prison. I got into the lounge area and bar the two guards there was nobody else around. I thought I was going to meet the other four immunes, where were they? And why were these guard toying with me. All of a sudden however the red door hissed open to reveal a young girl with blonde hair and a tear stained face. She was my age or around my age as far as I could tell and she held so much pain in her eyes. She came over to where I was sitting on the sofa and sat beside me, she spoke in a shaky voice,
‘Hey, I’m Emelie or as they call me here Subject 37, what’s your name?’
I answered as politely as I could, ‘I’m Hilaria, and it’s nice to meet you even under the circumstances’
She replied with hesitation in her voice, ‘I know it’s strange isn’t it? Its feels like yesterday that we were going about our daily lives, now we are just numbers in a testing facility, how life takes funny turns eh?’
‘Yeah being immune really has its advantages doesn’t it, we get to wear these sexy white nighties all the time and get to eat different coloured pastes, I would Say we are living the dream Emelie’.
She laughed and I was instantly happy that I had made this sad fragile girls life slightly better in that moment, if only for a moment. The hissing sound happened again and the green door roared open to reveal Dansi standing in the doorway in his white looking scrubs. I gasped, why is in a subjects room and why is he dressed like a subject. Dansi walked over to us in a relaxed manner and propped himself against the arm of the sofa. Emelie was smiling at him, clearly his looks had roped her in already, I however was glaring at Dansi, possibly burning holes into his head.
‘Well Hilaria, Don’t you look happy to see me’, he said with a smirk.
Emelie looked puzzled and said,’ You two know each other?’.
I replied through gritted teeth,’Yes this is one of the men responsible for kill my best friend, the Awakened that bite me’.
Emelie’s drained of all the colour that had come back to her face after my joking earlier and she simply said ‘Oh...’.
‘Well now that, that awkward reunion is out of the way, Hi im Dansi nice to meet you Emelie’, He said and he briefly shook Emelie’s hand who was still clearly in shock and looking puzzled as to why he knew her name. She was about to respond when he continued,’ Don’t worry I was briefed on all your backgrounds before I came in here, it was one of my conditions’, with a smile on his face.
I cut in, ‘You failed to mention you were also immune when you debriefed me yesterday’
‘ I was trying to respect the boundaries whilst I was still in the uniform, plus it wasn’t exactly the right time to tell you when I had just delivered the news about Clara’
As he said this the yellow door hissed and slide open, I however was too busy glaring at Dansi to pay any attention when I heard my name, ‘Hilaria?.....’
I turned around slowly to be faced with Quane who had a look of horror on his face. I ran to Quane forgetting all about Dansi behind me and embraced him. He instantly embraced me back and the tears came thick and fast.
‘Hilaria, What are you doing here?’
I tried to answer him through sobs,’ I......I.......Clara turned while we were in the safe room in Chemistry 101 and from what I was told I was bitten by her, I don’t remember any of it except from what I’ve been told but Quane’, I cried,’ Clara is gone......gone’.
He embraced me tighter and stroked my hair, ‘Hil, everything is going to be fine now ill protect you, we are immune so you won’t lose me anytime soon’
I was so glad to see my friend, so happy to be reunited with some semblance of normality but that was short –lived as Dansi cleared his throat behind me.
‘So......You guys know each other then.....That’s great....just great’, his voice trailed off towards the end but I am pretty sure I detected a tinge of jealousy in his voice. I smiled to myself whilst still in Quanes embrace. Maybe this little experiment could be fun after all, well maybe not fun but at least I could make my stay more bearable if I could make Dansi’s less bearable. The fact that I knew I had a hold over him made me feel like I could have a little fun.
My happiness that Quane was alive and with me was short lived because the final door was going to open any minute and I don’t think I could take any more surprises. We all stood in silence, Emelie was awkward shifting from side to side. I knew she was nervous; we all were for what we were going to endure. I had to be strong for her, for everyone; my adoptive mother always said I was the strong one but I never really knew what she meant until this moment. She said when I was younger I was always protecting my little brother, making sure he crossed the streets without getting injured, making sure he got right to his classroom door before I even got to mine; All the schools where in the same district within the Academic Hub so it never took me long to get to where I needed to be. She said I would be there waiting for him at three o’clock when all classes ended and the child curfew was due to kick in within the hour. I don’t remember any of this but then again who ever remembered their youth that well.
I missed my family so much when I lost them. I had been away on a field trip to the astrology Hub when the fire broke out. Apparently someone on the third floor of our apartment block had left the solar powered stove on at too high a setting and a fire broke out. The fire spread rapidly because the building was old and had no defences against the flames. At least that’s what I was told when I returned home to find the building only a pile of debris and ashes. It seemed suspicious to me, there were too many Zolites around at that time for it to be just your typical city fire. I was young, too fragile to question it at that point but now I’m beginning to wonder what really happened that day. I’ve been looking into it for the last few months but found concrete evidence that it was just a fire, it was too concrete like the facts had been doctored so no-one suspected, but I suspected. None of this means anything at all anymore, I can’t continue my investigation, I’m trapped in here sentenced to a life of poking a prodding, being a lab rat for our society so that they can live on, sacrificed for the greater good.
A hissing noise woke me from my day-dream, this was it the last door was opening, the last immune revealed, the violet door.
There was a boy standing in the doorway, well a boy in his twenties I would hazard a guess. He had blonde hair, very golden in fact, similar to the colour of my own even though it had become dirty with the events of the last nine days. They had only given clean fresh clothes since I woke up not let me leave the room to get myself washed. However, this boy in front of me was cleanly shaven and washed unlike the rest of us which I thought was rather odd. My thought didn’t stay there for long as a wave of familiarity hit me. This boy, I felt like I knew him, like I had always known him, like he was a missing puzzle piece I had been looking for but I wasn’t actually looking for it. It was just then I noticed he was also staring at me, wide-eyed like a rabbit caught in the headlights. He had a similar recognition across his face that matched my own. He composed himself very quickly in the blink of an eye, no-one would off noticed it unless they were staring intently at him which I was. He strolled over like the last 30 seconds and started to speak;
‘Hi Everybody, My names Luther and I’m an addict’
Everyone remained silent, stunned by what this stranger had just revealed. He laughed and continued,
‘Jeez guys didn’t think being immune made you lose your sense of humour. The only think I’m addicted too is cigarettes and so is half the population’
We all remained silent stunned that this boy could crack any semblance of a joke when we were all in such potential danger, trapped in what was essentially a giant cage.
‘Oooooookay.......looks like nobody here is a big talker so when you guys decide to get your heads out of your asses holler me’, He stalked back towards the direction of his bedroom.
I can’t let him just go back in there, I need to know who this boy is and why I feel like I know him and to be perfectly honest I was well aware that we all hadn’t made a good impression but I was too stunned at his initial introduction to actually voice any words.
‘Hold up!’, Shouted.
‘Sorry.....Luther, we are all just a little overwhelmed, you gotta give us a break we have just lost our family and friends to become prisoners of science, we kinda lost our sense of humour a while back’.
Dansi cut in, ‘Not me......we are all here for a purpose, a purpose greater than our own. We could find a cure for humanities biggest enemy, how could you all not want that’.
I swirled round, ‘Dansi have you ever actually stopped for a moment and actually thought.....How did the virus get here? Over the wall? Onto our streets?’
I looked around the room at everyone at this point,’ We were told the wall had been sealed up decades ago, no-one in and no-one out, so how could a virus that has been eradicated suddenly reappear unless it came from outside?, something is being hidden from us, the reason why the virus is back and they’
I said pointing to the cameras,
‘know exactly how it got in or who got it in!, Yet we are the ones that have to suffer for society, we are the ones that have to correct their mistake. Maybe there is a greater purpose Dansi but it certainly isn’t ours!!’
Dansi remained silent only his jaw clenching, he was clearly angry with me but heck if I cared. His mind was so warped he would believe shit was edible if they told him it was. The room stayed silent for a while to the point where I almost swore I heard crickets but it was clearly my imagination. I was waiting for someone to speak but they all looked deep in thought now, shocked into realising that we really were completely and totally screwed. It was Emelie that spoke first,
Texte: Sarah McKee
Tag der Veröffentlichung: 17.03.2014
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