Does time speed up or slow down the more you remember it? My personal feeling is that it speeds up. Those first couple of days now seem like they lasted forever. I can vividly see them still entering my cell that first morning, the morning where I missed my porridge.
Now the days seem to take forever, and yet, by the next morning it seems like they sped by.
How long have they been here? I lost track. They are my routine now. Waking up with my own black hair and Lizzie’s brown hair in my face, spending a minute to think, as I am doing now, and eventually waking Lizzie.
I nudge her back with my arm. To fit all of us on the mattress, we have to sleep on our sides. The first couple of nights Nathan ended up sleeping on the floor, but we’ve all gotten better about not moving while sleeping.
I hear a soft snore from her, and I nudge her harder. “Lizzie, porridge soon.”
She jerks awake at the sound of my voice and rolls into her brother.
“MURGH. Must I always be woken by you rolling into me Lizzie?” He snarls. Morning grouchiness is the usual. He really must learn to control his temper.
“Control is required Nathan. We cannot all live together if we do not control emotions.”
“Emotionless bitch.” He mutters, but I let it pass.
I see Lizzie glaring at him, “I’m sorry, but she keeps waking me up by scaring the living daylights out of me.”
He turns toward me, redirecting his morning grouchiness on me, “Can’t you wake her up more gently!”
I shrug. Maybe I could. Maybe I could sit there gently nudging her till the morning porridge is cold, but then again she’s be likely to jump even if I did wake her up gently.
“Don’t blame me. It’s not like I’m punching her. She just startles out of her sleep.”
He opens his mouth as if to say more, and then turns away and goes to sit by the door. Living in the same cell with two other people for so long seems to be making everyone slightly grumpy.
Everyone that is, except me. Here and there I feel myself becoming mildly antsy, and I believe it is the beginning of the anger and frustration these two so often experience, so I quickly push it back behind my barrier.
If I wasn’t here to keep everyone calm, we would likely have all-out war on our hands.
War, it’s a term that so easily presented itself to my mind, but when I search for what the word could mean there is nothing there. It’s a concept that has nothing behind it. A sound that I know fits there. From my use of it, I think it must have somethings to do with people hitting each other. For a second, I think about asking the two, but then I decide against it.
You probably know what it means, but you’ve become even more silent than usual. Well, I guess you are always silent, but I don’t need you as much now that the two are here.
I’m sorry, I know that seems rude. I didn’t mean it to sound that way. I just – I don’t know what came over me. I will always need you. One day, they will take the two away, and it will be just you and I again. And, I probably won’t even remember them, but I can never forget you.
I crawl toward the door, morning porridge should be here any second now…
The door slams open, knocking Nathan back and almost hitting me. If I’d been any closer It would have slammed into me!
Lizzie bolts toward the door, but the black outline at the door grabs her. She screams and kicks, and tries to punch him, but she is so small compared to him. He laughs, and suddenly I feel cold, but also hot. I feel antsy, and there is a pressure building up behind my eyes.
“NO! You can’t take her! You can’t take her to the Xatron! It will kill her! She only thirteen you monsters! Leave her here! Take me in her stead. Damn you all!” I scream as the door closes in my face, and all I can hear the laugher of the guard ringing in my ears.
No. She was… She was my cell mate.
The pressure behind my eyes subsides, and I collapse to the floor exhausted.
Somewhere is the distance I can see Nathan banging on the door, screaming, and slowly his fists pound less, his body slumps toward the ground, and I see tears streaming out of his eyes.
“Lizzie…” He whispers toward the door.
I crawl toward him, and pull him against me, something in me telling me that this is right. This is how humans comfort each other, and he needs comforting now.
He grabs me close and leans into my shoulder for a second, in which I feel something twisting inside of me. Something strange that I should push away, back behind my mental block, but I don’t. I let it control me, and I lean into his shoulder. I feel water building up at the corner of my eye, and a strange itchiness.
He pushes me away, knocking me over. What was that for!
“What will they do to her?” He demands.
I shrug, I don’t know… “They will take her to the Xatron, and they will feed her to it. None survive for long after. They all starve themselves to death afterwards. I know. The last person here, he was an Xatron victim.”
How did I know all that? I can’t even remember this person I am talking about. A vague memory surfaces, or more of a knowledge that I tries to convince him to survive, to eat, but he starved to death in my cell.
I can’t even recall what he looked like though, or even what I did to try and save him! I push at the memory block, and suddenly I realize, I don’t want to remember. I shouldn’t even remember this small – knowledge – from before. I push the knowledge of what will happen to her, to my friend, behind the barrier. I push even the name Xatron behind the barrier.
Nathan is in front of me, shaking me. “What are you talking about? You’ve never talked about this before!”
“Wha… What are you talking about?” The last couple of moments are a little blurry for me. I remember waking up waiting or breakfast… and then, nothing till now.
“Lizzie! You just told me they would take her to the Xatron! That it’s some kind of machine that will kill her.” He’s screaming in my face. He really is extremely upset for some reason. That name does sound vaguely familiar though.
“Lizzie… She was our cell mate, I think. Didn’t the guards take her?” I can’t really remember though. It’s as if everything about her has become kind of fuzzy.
You know who she is don’t you? Won’t you tell me who she is and what happened to her? No. I guess you won’t. You never tell me anything.
Nathan falls back, away from me, and leans against the wall, “You’ve forgotten her, haven’t you? I guess that will be what happens when they take me, won’t it? That’s your strategy isn’t it? You just forget all the bad things and keep your body alive.”
He pauses, “THIS ISN’T LIVING, HOPE!” He screams at me. I have no clue why he’s so upset with me. He really does need to learn to control his emotions.
He slumps backward, his anger leaving him, and his lids close over his disturbingly blue eyes. I see water coming from his eyes, and trailing down his cheeks.
“I guess, this is surviving.” His total defeat pulls something in me.
I want… I don’t know what I want. I reach up to rub my eyes, and I realize my hand comes away wet. Why were my eyes watery? Must be the dust or something.