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|A Real Nightmare|
October 3, 2012
A scream in the night leads to a scream in the dayEdit
The scream resonated throughout the entire house. A young girl jolted up, her body drenched in sweat and her eyes wild. Less than thirty seconds after screaming, her parents crashed through the door in an equal panic.
"Chryseis! What's wrong?" Her mother spoke first, her tone being of motherly concern as well as alarm.
"Mommy, I had a bad dream!" The young girl sounded exasperated. Her father moved from beside his wife's side and knelt down beside his daughter. He tenderly touched the back of his hand to her forehead.
"Rys, you're burning up," he diagnosed, withdrawing his hand and turning to his wife. A crease was drawn on her forehead as she furrowed her brow.
They both knew that their daughter had been having trouble sleeping of late. Why, they did not know. But their exchanged glances reflected their concern regarding their daughter's strange symptoms. Night terrors, headaches, body pains: all these illnesses had been afflicting their daughter for the past month. Due to special circumstances, they refused to take her to any doctors, but now she had a fever as well.
Her father stood, and approached his wife. He purposefully positioned himself so that his back faced his daughter and he could whisper without her listening in. "We have to take her to see a doctor..."
"You know we can't!" Before he could finish, his wife interjected with a sharp, still quiet, disapproval. "They'll hand her over to the military and turn her into a lab rat. I don't want that for our daughter..."
"Then what?" He grit his teeth, hissing through them in response. "You would have us watch helplessly as she dies? Any doctor would have a cure, and instead of seeking it we would knowingly let her suffer!"
"It's better than knowingly sending her to a miserable death!"
"It's not a guarantee that she will die then! If we do nothing, it is!" Chryseis's father's voice rose unconsciously, thus he quickly hushed himself to continue, "This illness will probably kill her if not treated, we don't know that whatever experiments they might do would kill her..."
"But we know that they will do experiments."
A warm hand patted her shoulder in reassurance. "My love, everything will be fine. They experimented on us, but we made it out in one piece. I will fetch the doctor." She did not argue, rather she watched her daughter sadly as her husband left.
"Mommy..." The nervous whisper broke through the silence. "Mommy, I'm scared."
At the sound of her daughter's fearful voice, the corners of Chryseis's mother's mouth curled into a smile, contrasting the tired solemnity which the dark circles and wrinkles gave her. Now, she was beside her daughter; she reached up to brush Chryseis's dark locks out of her eyes and whispered. "Everything will be fine, Chryseis. I'll read you a story to put you to sleep."
Murmurs from an unfamiliar voice brought Chryseis out of her sleep. She did not remember the story her mother had read, only falling into sleep while looking into those tired eyes. With her cover still drawn to her chin, the young girl looked over to see a man in a long overcoat standing in her room. Her parents were there, too, with their backs facing her bed. Just barely, she could see the man's face, and the long, old burn along his left jaw and neck.
"You know I am a military scientist as well as a doctor." His voice was dry and crackly, like a broken radio humming through a talk show. "I cannot simply turn a blind eye to such powerful talent. And it's natural! Think about the advances that could be made in the field of Distortion with such a Distorter. Finding a way to create such powerful soldiers without implants..."
"Hayao, we've known each other for twenty years," Chryseis's father spoke, arguing for his daughter despite prophesizing this outcome, "at least wait until she's a teenager. Chryseis isn't even ten! Does the military abuse children as well as patriots now?"
The strange man looked around the parents, making direct eye contact with Chryseis. She shrunk back under her covers in response. He spoke again, his voice more hushed, "We'd only look at her genetic configuration. A few cheek swabs, nothing more. She already has the ability to distort," he pulled up his sleeve, showing a freshly bandaged burn, "so there's no reason for us to experiment with implants. Your daughter will be fine, I promise."
Before he could pull his sleeve down again, Chryseis's father clasped his arm. He winced; the father had a serious gleam in his eyes. "You swear on your pride? On your family's pride?"
Hayao understood now what clasping his arm meant. He grabbed Chryseis's father's arm as well. "I swear on whatever word my family name still holds; your daughter will be safe."
In unison, they released the other's arm. "I'm holding you to your world."
Without saying anything in response, Hayao approached Chryseis's bed and knelt down next to her. "This will only pinch for a second," he said kindly to the child. From within his overcoat, he produced a small syringe. The device was eyed cautiously by the young girl as Hayao cleaned it with a cloth and squirted a little bit from the tip. With the gentle touch of a doctor, Hayao lifted Chryseis's arm and swabbed above a vein with a small dab of alcohol. Then, without warning, he injected the syringe into her arm. It did pinch for a moment, and then everything went dark.
"You're planning on giving her multiple implants?! No one has ever survived the procedure, much less a child!" Sharp shouts woke Chryseis. She opened her eyes to look around, but could not see. The room was blurry and white; she tried to sit up only to find that she physically could not. It was Hayao's voice which woke her—even after only knowing him for a short time, she could easily recognize his brittle speech.
"She survived the Air Implant, which no one has survived. She can already Distort multiple elements. Are you really going to argue with a direct order, Hayao?" This voice, though softer, was somehow much less comforting than Hayao's: it sent a shiver down Chryseis's spine. "Your name is already tainted; you don't need another blemish on your honor."
"'Blemish on my honor'?! Experimenting on children will doom my soul to eternal damnation and blacken my name darker than a moonless night!"
"Your poetic nonsense won't do you any good here. You can do the experiment, or someone else will. Regardless, martyring yourself won't do anything."
"Then drag someone else to hell! I refuse."
"So be it." There was a pause in their conversation. Then, a gunshot rang throughout the room; Chryseis flinched as a blur of red splattered across her vision, followed by a rather heavy body crumpling onto her. She did not move. The blur of the other man approached her, and clicked his tongue. "It looks like he was even giving you less of a dose of drugs than we prescribed." A cold liquid flowed throughout her body, and she could faintly make out an IV in her arm. Her consciousness did not last long, as once more she drifted off into a deep sleep.
For the final time, life would flow through Chryseis's body. The room was blurry still, but her drugs had worn off and no one was around. She had lost track of time, and all her thoughts were confused and enigmatic. Carefully, the young girl tensed all of the muscles in her body to try to sit up. As she was still unable to move, Chryseis noticed that leather bands held her in place, and it was not her own strength failing. Her body relaxed and she squeezed her eyes shut. This is all just a nightmare, she told herself, though a cloud in her mind made the lie hazy.
How long had she been awake? Or asleep? She glanced over at the bag of fluids dripping into her bloodstream. Nothing made sense, and now she noticed a throbbing pain in the back of her head. A deep part of Chryseis hoped that someone would come in and give her a high dosage of the drugs again, so that she wouldn't have to keep feeling the pain.
The door to the white room slammed open, and two large men entered. They wore heavy chest armor and masks, though their arms were simply covered in a skeleton-like metal covering. Roughly, they removed the IV from her arm and undid her bindings. Behind them was a man Chryseis did not recognize, until he spoke: "Don't underestimate her—she's one of the most powerful Distorters we've ever seen." It was the man who killed Hayao.
"No!" She screeched, her voice cracking and reflecting her youth. In a wild attempt to escape, Chryseis began kicking and screaming, spewing fire from her entire body. One of the armored men quickly redirected her flames to protect himself and his companion before quickly grabbing hold of her wrist. The limb easily snapped in his firm grip, which only caused Chryseis to shriek louder. With her other arm, Chryseis sharply extended it with the intention of shooting fire into the other guard's chest. However, instead a burst of wind knocked him backwards.
Now, one arm was free and she began to tug violently against the other guard's grip. The guard threw his head forward, colliding with Chryseis's. This was enough to daze her for a short while for the other guard to grab a hold of her again. Unable to put up a fight any longer, the guards carried her away, with the mysterious murderous man behind.
Chryseis entered another room, this one empty save a few shackles. One wall was covered by a silver mirror, and all the other walls were bare. The guards set to work binding Chryseis again, chaining her broken wrist and other wrist as well as both her ankles. She became suspended in an upright position like this, and someone entered from a door behind her. This man did not speak, but Chryseis could see his reflection in the mirror. A short man garbed in a white lab coat, unshaven, with a matted mess of hair. He reached up and pressed a device against the base of Chryseis's neck; seeing her reflection and feeling the cool metal of the instrument against her skin, Chryseis' realized that they had shaved her head. A passing observation, but one which gently accompanied her as the world once more began to fade.
Pain filled her entire body. It would all end soon. Here, now, in this strange place. Her brain ceased to make sense, but it wasn't like with the drugs. No, it was more like her brain was failing her, like the electricity of the brain had just shut down. Chryseis's body was done with this torture, and all at once everything just...
- "Chryseis" is pronounced "cree say iss", and thus when her name is shortened to "Rys", it is just pronounced "rees" like the name "Reese" but I spell it cooler.
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