I sat patiently on the cold mattress. Scars ran up and down my arms from where they inserted the IVs. My long, blonde hair was held perfectly in a high ponytail. I wore nothing except a thin hospital gown and my undergarments. I could hear the clock ticking on the wall opposite from where I sat. An empty metal tray and cup sat on the table by the door from my breakfast this morning. The walls looked depressing from the plain white paint that covered them. I had been at this facility ever since I was thirteen, and I remember the day I was taken from my family.
It was a bright summer day. The sun was high in the sky and there was a warm breeze as my brother, Cahal, and I played in the field behind our house. We were playing for what felt like hours, but after a while, my mother called for the two of us.“Cahal, Sophrona,” she said, “come inside please!” We ran inside and our mother guided us into the living room where two government officials and my father were sitting. The two men wore black suits and ties and sat professionally on the couch across from my father, and their faces had little emotion. “Here they are,” my mother said her voice strained possibly from holding back tears. “Thank you for your cooperation,” one of the men said. Both of the men got up from the couch and began escorting the two of us out of the house. My brother and I began screaming and crying, wondering how and why our parents would do such a thing to us.
And that’s how I ended up here. I haven’t seen Cahal since that day three years ago. I sometimes wonder how he’s doing, and if he’s okay. I always hope that I’ll see him again one day. I begin thinking about my childhood with him. As I do so, I feel a tear run down my cheek. How did we get here? I wondered, And what is the purpose of keeping us here, taking our blood without explanation and inserting an unknown liquid into us? I probably should have been asking these questions a long time ago, but unfortunately, I was that naive. I was cooperating with them to stay alive, so I never asked questions.
It’s funny, no one but me can remember their past prior to their life here. For some reason, they take all of the details of that life away from us but allow us to remember names. I suppose they’d have to do that to keep our mouths shut and to keep us in the dark, that way we can’t say anything about it and the staff here can’t get in trouble for it. But what I don’t understand is what they do once the children’s memories are removed. Do they replace them with false memories, or do they just let them form new memories? I’m guessing that I won’t be getting the answers to those questions any time soon though considering my situation.
I’m snapped out of my thoughts when the large metal door that separates me from the world outside this room is opened. A guard dressed in a black military uniform walks in and grabs my arm roughly. “Get up,” he says gruffly. I stand up and he puts handcuffs on my wrists before the two of us exit the room and walk down a long, dull-looking hallway that has lights, which clearly need to be replaced since they won’t stop flickering. The floor is cold against my bare feet as I walked behind him.
“You could have at least let me brush my hair or put some shoes on,” I muttered as I stared at the floor.
“Quit your whining,” the guard said irritated.
“Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning,” I say, amused with his reaction. It’s kind of funny how easy it is to get on the guard’s nerves, probably because the only thing they do is stand outside of our rooms all-day until it’s time for us to go to the lab or to the courtyard for our two hours of recreational time before dinner. They probably do that so none of us lose our sanity and start bouncing off the walls like a bunch of monkeys. After what seemed like forever, we make a left turn and continue down another long hallway. “I don’t recall it taking this long to get to the lab,” I comment as I struggled to keep up with his accelerating pace.
“That’s because we’re taking a longer way,” the guard said with his impatience evident in his voice.
"Why?” I asked.
“Because the other way is receiving maintenance,” he replied.
“Is it actually receiving maintenance or is it because of something else?” I ask intriguingly.
“You ask way too many questions,” he states flatly. We make a right turn and come to a halt to let the medical team pass with one of the other teens. “Did she go overboard again?” the guard escorting me asks one of the nurses in scrubs, who had Chestnut colored hair.
“No,” she replied, “This one forgot to eat before going to the lab and passed out shortly after she drew her blood.” The guard nodded and continued towards our destination. We made a few more turns, and by the time we got to the hallway that led to the entrance to the lab, my toenails were turning a little blue and my feet were ice cold. As we approached the steel metal doors, I could hear the awful sound of screams, restraints moving, and people yelling orders. It literally sounded like the souls that burned in the fiery pits of hell. And that’s all I heard in my sleep every night. I heard people crying in pain and sorrow. We miss our families and the comforts of home. We miss the days when we could go out and play for as long as we wanted. We miss the ability to touch each other without worrying about contaminating each other. We miss our basic human rights.
When the guard opens the doors, I can’t believe the sight in front of me. “Cahal?”
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