Adam wakes in the night a scream on his lips as he feels flesh brush against him. Something inside him snaps, the tenuous thread that had been holding his sanity.
‘I’m sorry, I will do it, look I can do it, don’t hurt me,’ he sobs out trying to get up pulling at his night clothes trying to remove them. As he babbles out apologies.
‘Adam shush it’s me,’ Strong hands push down on Adams shoulders pinning him down causing his terror to escalate. ‘Its okay its just me Aaron,’ pulling his brother into him holding him tight rubbing his back muttering soothing words. Aaron struggled to keep his anger in check. Adam trembles but eventually calms enough for Aaron to lay him back down wrapping around him making him feel safe.
It had quickly become apparent that Adam couldn’t cope with females near him. So, Aaron and Mathew had taken over his care instructed by Naomi.
‘Please don’t restrain me I will do whatever you want,’ Adam sobs out slowly drifting hardly noticing the scratch on his arm as Aaron administered the sedative.
‘Shush no one is going to hurt you I promise,’ Aaron whispers as he strokes his brothers head.
‘Don’t hurt him, please don’t hurt him,’ Adams anguished voice fills the room. ‘I can do it I can be good please,’ Adam sinks into the mattress as the drug floods his body.
Aaron carefully extracts himself from his brothers grip he stands watching Adam sleep his hands curled into fists. He doesn’t turn as the door opens and arms wrap around him.
‘How long will he be so broken?’ Aaron asks his voice quivers with anger.
‘Naomi says its hard to say, he is strong he will get through this,’
How? They tortured him, forced him,’ Aaron spits out. ‘I remember, he tried to save me, I couldn’t help him,’
‘Aaron it wasn’t your fault,’
‘I love you Adam, you sleep now, safe now,’ Aarons lips brush Adams cheek the drug saturates Adams body as he sleeps a dreamless sleep.
What has Gillian done with the girls?’ Aaron turns to look at Florence. ‘He can’t see them ever,’
‘Only one is pregnant the rest weren’t close enough, weren’t Echo’s. She is here on suicide watch as broken as him. What a mess,’ Florence sighs out. ‘Come on you need to rest. He will be out for at least forty-eight hours,’ Taking Aarons hand Florence leads him from the room.
Dappled shade and the gentle sound of running water smoothers the sound of people. To his right a guard stands silent, machine gun held across her chest. Ignoring her he carries on drawing the rose that is clinging to the wall some of its delicate yellow petals scattered on the paving reminding him of confetti and boyhood parties. That world he once belonged to long gone.
‘Hello Adam,’ he looks up from his drawing to see a young girl walk toward him, Adam instantly stiffens. ‘It’s okay I won’t touch you. Doctor Naomi said you were here, and I could sit with you,’ she smiles and bites her bottom lip unsure. She looks familiar but Adam can’t place her. She sits on the bench next to him. The smell of strawberry and antiseptic clings to her. She leans her head back, so the sun falls on her face,
Mmm, that is lovely,’ Adam watches her noticing the swell of her belly. Four months he had been here most of that sedated as he slowly climbed out the black hole, he had found himself in. Paranoia his close personal friend. Slowly crawling back to sanity and normal life. Building up his strength with the help of his brother.
His attention is pulled away as baby Ben starts to fuss in his basket. Adam likes looking after him, he doesn’t talk, doesn’t question. Picking him up he places him against his shoulder and rubs his back soothing him back to sleep. Reminding him of a life he once had with another baby, his baby, with effort he pushes that down.
‘May I?’ she holds her hands out to Ben. Her sleeves fall back Adams eyes drifting to the white lines that cover her lower arms. She sees his gaze and pulls the sleeves down and then crosses them over her distended belly. This makes Adam blush and look away.
‘You don’t remember me, do you?’ she holds his gaze as Adam shakes his head.
‘I was the girl they forced on you. The first girl,’ she says quietly, Adam feels cold as he remembers. ‘I am sorry for what they did to you, you were so kind to me,’ Adam doesn’t want to hear this he is trying to forget, that feeling of sadness and tears that creeps over him. Rising to his feet he holds Ben to his chest ready to leave deciding he can collect his things when she has gone.
‘Please don’t go…I am sorry, they told me to keep away from you, but I can’t,’ a sob escapes her throat.
‘I was forced the same as you, I am not trained like the other girls, I was just unlucky genetically,’ she gives a bitter laugh.
‘What do you mean?’ Adam whispers, something perverse in him wants to know. His posture still, as he stops what he was doing.
‘We are all tested at sixteen our code catalogued; they also check how contaminated we are. Unlucky me I am clean, immune,’ she laughs mirthlessly. ‘A true Echo child and a girl,’
‘They offered me money, my mum she was sick, in return I give them the baby, your baby,’ she rubs her stomach and smiles. ‘Stupid me, assumed it would be AI, like normal. I wanted to thank you for being so kind and gentle you didn’t have to do that,’ she looks away. ‘My mum died, it was all a lie, they just wanted the baby.’
‘Sorry about your mum,’ Adam gives her a glance. ‘I was an idiot, I had forgotten how this world really works,’ Adam says quietly. ‘I was arrogant back then.’
‘When I saw you a few days ago so broken…I,’ she shrugs as she smiles sadly. My eyes drift to her scars she notices and rubs them.
‘The whole house hears you screaming some nights…sorry,’ she shrugs, and they lapse into silence.
‘I didn’t want any of it and certainly not the baby that in my eyes was tainted so I tried to die,’ she gazes at him. Adam bows his head not shocked at her admission. That admission scares him on one level but another part of him accepts it.
‘It will be a boy,’ Adam gazes up at her.
‘Yeah, I know,’ she chuckles and then looks at him. ‘I am guarded almost as heavily as you,’ they both chuckle. She holds her hand out to Adam he gazes at it for what seems like an age then he grasps it and shake, ‘Friends?’
‘Friends,’ Adam answers, watching her disappear into the house. Leaning back, he lets his eyes drift shut his thoughts drifting to Sophie as he wonders where she is and why she hasn’t come for him. Maybe he was right she got what she wanted, and it was all just an act. That thought makes him sad beyond belief. Aaron comes out and sits next to Adam taking his son.
‘You okay Adam?’
‘Yes, I think I needed to meet her, a kind of closure,’