There I was, gasping for air, panting, wondering where I was. It all happened so quickly. Floating here felt like I floated in mid air.
I was in water.
I couldn’t move either, some glass tube contained me. It was gloomy, cold ... eerie. The feeling of a thousand daggers stabbed through my chest along with my wrists and ankles being shackled.
Why did they put me here? Did I do something wrong?
One moment I was eating in my room and the next, here I was.
I felt weak and ... gone. Like I wasn’t there, just waking up from something. I ached and numbness consumed my limbs.
Water contained me.
When I shifted, my legs barely moved. At least, I thought they did. They still felt like they weren’t there, but I knew they were.
My arms felt stiff, and my chest burned fiercely for some unknown reason. I also touched a cold surface beneath me, fully sunken in water.
The water stopped me from doing anything. But water was all I saw as this small glass capsule held me.
“LET ME OUT!” I screamed through my air breather, my throat scratching raw. I stopped short when water snuck its way in my mouth, causing me to almost choke.
I coughed, my throat burning due to inhaling water.
I tried the best I could to not drown, even though I was sure I was going to anyway. I moved my head to see properly, but water stained my eyes. Even though I couldn’t feel my head moving, I knew it was. My hair lashed my face to my movements which struck water in my eyes. So, I narrowed them to trickle the stinging water out, but it was no use.
Floating in the water, I tried to twist around to see my surroundings, but again, all I saw was water.
I squirmed uncomfortably, attempting to make sense of the situation. But my weak and limp body stopped me from doing anything more. Even when I started regaining strength, my body still felt like it was gone.
The darkness surrounded me and my mind.
All I could see was a light through that darkness.
Wait, a light.
Instantaneously, the light got more vivid and pierced my eyes, shining through the glass. I groaned as a weird intrusive sound bled my ears, water bubbling after. Ringing sounded and soon, I felt deaf. I closed my eyes.
I felt like I knew nothing. Everything that just happened disappeared so instantly.
Back to the beginning.
Where am I? What the hell is going on? Why am I here?
Before I could look at my surroundings, the shackles that bound me released me, and I instantly floated into the water. The mouthpiece came undone and instantly, I was already gasping for air.
I can’t breathe.
I CAN’T BREATHE!
“Ahh! Agh!” I screamed, kicking and banging my fist against the glass tube. I felt my dizziness consume me and my consciousness wear off as my breathing decreased, water holding inside of my throat and lungs. Water slowed my movements.
I groped the glass, feeling the cold, wet surface. I screamed and screamed, nothing but bubbles coming after. My eyesight got blurry and water stung everything. I felt my lungs giving out, my breathing getting harder, my confusion rising. All because I was in some strange glass tube with nothing but water surrounding me, almost causing me to drown.
Suddenly, I saw a blurry figure behind the glass, saying something to others that were behind it. I continued to kick and scream, yell and struggle.
With a few touches a keyboard clattering, a bright, red light shone on and off, making this horrible alarm.
I heard some man say something, like over a speaker but the water stopped me from hearing.
The water instantly drained and when the water was low enough, I swam up and took a huge gulp of air. I breathed heavily, taking in the satisfactory. Then, the water drained all the way down to the bottom and I fell, my back against the glass tube.
I felt like a little boy, although I knew I wasn’t one.
The alarm continued to go off and the light continued to flicker. It bled my ears so I covered them, closing my eyes as well.
Turn that dam alarm off!
I could hear what the man was saying now.
“Attention, protocol must be taken. Attention, protocol must be taken. Attention, protocol must be taken.” He kept saying that over and over again, but I had no clue what it meant.
With a whoosh, this weird, smelly and white gas surrounded me, causing me to go dizzy again. I felt drained of everything. Then, a green light when off, a ping coming after, the gas going away.
The glass before me opened and there I saw, a man, darkness loomed over, a white light surrounding his silhouette.
The alarm stopped, the red light stopped, the woman stopped.
I sat there, staring at him with water drenched me, dripping from my hair and clothes.
I couldn’t move, I was limp.
“Who the hell are you? Where am I? What are you doing with me?” I blindly asked, voice cracking. My voice scared me as it was so deep, but meek at the same time. I still gasped for air, struggling to drain the water out of my system. When he approached closer, I saw an abundance of medals and pins and patches on his navy blue uniform.
He shook his head, not saying anything. Then, two more people who wore military clothing approached me and reached inside the tube. The held me up, maintaining a firm grip on my arms. I squirmed, but they gripped me tighter. My fighting was no use as I was too weak and stiff to try. We walked through an open door, me closing my eyes to the vivid light.
When it died down, my mind woke up.
I looked to my left and saw another person being dragged like me. They didn’t notice though as they took a left turn and me a right turn.
I realized I was in some sort of lab. We walked down a lasting white hallway, their footsteps echoing after each step. It smelled of bleach and chlorine which burned my nostrils. The guy with medals escorted us. People in camouflage suits the hallway, wielding guns.
They looked exactly like the men holding me.
I jumped when I heard a sound, a door closing from behind me.
Looking around, I saw walls made from glass. On the glass, the number 2.2 were stamped on it. Behind it, people laid on tables with wires rising from their bodies, hooked to machines. One person I identified was a girl with black hair and comatose on a work table along with the others. I reduced my speed to look at her.
Why does she seem familiar to me?
One guy carrying me noticed I slowed down to look and jerked me to move forward. I looked down. The floor was extremely cold.
I felt faint.
I inclined my head, water still dripping from my hair. We approached the end of the hallway with what seemed like eternity and another guy awaited there, hands crossed behind his back. He wore a white coat and glasses. The guy escorting us walked up to him and said:
“Patient GZ-0018 has been wiped anew. Finalization complete, ready for-,” addressed the guy, delivering his response.
They all crossed their arms behind their backs except for the people clasping me. I didn’t hear him claim the rest as he said it very quietly.
Patient GZ-0018? Why that many numbers?
What’s going on?
“Are they … dysfunctional?” asked the guy at the door, looking at me.
What the hell does that mean?
“Affirmative,” finished the guy in front of us, nodding. The guy at the door nodded his head back.
The man who escorted us walked away, footsteps reverberating throughout the hallway. I just turned my head to look behind me, but I couldn’t as my neck ached in pain, stopping me from turning my head any further. The man at the door walked inside the room, nodding at the men holding before doing so. I looked around aimlessly.
Suddenly, they pulled me up and one of the men held my face. His grip hurt, but I did nothing. He turned my head and looked straight into my eyes. I looked around to his is awkward glare and actions. I tried to fight my wait out, but he wasn’t having it.
“Hold still!” he boomed, his voice sending shivers down my spine. I ignored him and continued to get out of his hold.
“Let me go!” I exclaimed.
“He’s a struggler. A fighter,” the other commented, staring at my face. I widened my eyes at his comment. Then, they looked at each other and nodded affirmatively.
They pushed me into the room, and I fell hopelessly, still wet from that weird, dark room. They closed the door with a slam.
I looked around, unable to see anything but little lighting and white walls. When I was about to get up, I looked down to see my wrist, a weird design etched on it. It was a triangle with a half-line bottom and line through the middle of it, along with the numbers 0018 under it.
What the hell is this?
My thoughts stopped when I heard a sound from in front of me, something banging against metal.
“Up here,” a man called. I looked up to see the same man who stood at the door standing at the end of the room, back faced me. He lowered his hand from the metal wall. The cramp room made me feel small and claustrophobic. I panted while questions filled my head.
What’s going on? What are they doing with me? Who are they? Why do I not recall anyone here or me? What is this weird triangle?
The windows before me whirred opened, revealing a snowy forest-like atmosphere behind fuzzy glass.
“Ready to survive ... Ethan?” I looked at him, then out the windows. I didn’t know why, but I was ready.