It’s a strange feeling here. Everyone is very cautious of me; nobody seems to want to get to close. Miri explained to me that until they know for sure I’m not a dark soul, I won’t be overly accepted. Apparently over the past year there has been more than one “incident”.
I got to choose a room for myself. Candace was right, there are much better rooms here you just have to go around looking for them. The room I found was down the center hallway from the cafeteria. It’s simple with a twin bed that can be considered to be decent. There’s a wooden vanity in it, though the mirror is cracked. I’ve learned over the past few days that the “bigger” rooms are the one that have bathrooms connected to them. Unfortunately, I didn’t pick one of those so I have to go down a complete other hallway to shower or relieve myself.
If I wanted, I could change rooms but I like mine.
I believe it’s only been three days since I got here but it’s hard to tell. We have no access to the outside world down here. The only thing we have to rely on is the few broken clocks scattered around and the lights that flicker on and off signaling day and night. I’ve never felt more disoriented then I do now.
“What are you doing?” a voice comes from the hallway.
I sit up startled from my leaned over position. I’m on the floor of my new room, currently trying to relieve the soreness from my limbs.
“Just stretching.” I say to the girl standing in my doorway. She has straight chestnut colored hair that travels down past her chest. Her hips are wide and she holds a curvy form. As my eyes travel to her face, I find myself getting jealous at how flawless her makeup is.
“Stretching? More like contorting, how do you spread your legs that wide?”
“Lots and lots of dedication.”
“Are you a dancer?” she asks, entering my room fully and sitting on my bed.
“Gymnast.” I pull my legs in front of me and start rubbing my calves.
“Sweet. Oh, um, I’m Nat by the way. I thought I would come introduce myself, I was the new one three months ago.”
“How often are there ‘new ones’?”
“Eh it’s pretty sporadic, I wouldn’t say there’s an exact- “
“So, who came just before me then, and how long ago?”
She’s silent for a second, she twirls the ends of her hair with her fingers.
“That would be Marcus, I think. He came maybe three weeks ago? I can’t quite remember, it’s hard to keep time down here.”
“Tell me about it.” I say and roll backwards, bringing my hands underneath me so I can bring my legs up into a hand stand and then land on my feet.
“That was cool.”
“Thanks, I’m trying to keep some skills up while I’m here. You know, so I don’t lose anything.”
“That makes sense, if I could do- “
“Nat, what are you doing in here.” Cala’s voice cuts her off as she enters my room. She’s holding a bucket and a mop in her hand, an annoyed expression plastered on her face.
“I just thought I’d come down and introduce- “Nat tries to defend but Cala cuts her off again.
“Well next time think a little more. We don’t know what she is yet, you should have at least brought a buddy or something. Jesus, Nat.” Cala reprimands her then turns her attention to me, or should I say glare. “Come on, Miri gave me some stuff for you to do.”
“What do you mean?” I ask, not really certain.
“What do I- everybody has to pull their own weight here, so might as well start you off somewhere. Since we haven’t decided if your dangerous yet or not, we’re gonna put you in a more secluded area. That means mopping the water storage room.” she sticks the mop out towards me.
I look from the mop to Cala to Nat, questioning everything.
“It’s true we all pull our own weight.” Nat says with a soft smile. “I’m sure once you’re deemed “safe” you’ll be able to choose your own job.”
With a sigh I take the mop from her hand -as well as the bucket- and follow her down the hallway to the water storage room. Giving a goodbye nod to Nat.
When we arrive, I find that it’s a medium sized room with shelves stacked in rows. On each shelf there are large water jugs. Some filled, some empty.
“There’s mold all over the floor, so just try to get as much of that as possible.” Cala says from behind me.
The bucket of water I’m holding starts to get heavy in my hand so I drop it to the floor. “Shouldn’t I be using some other chemicals then just water? I don’t think- “I turn around to find that I’m all alone. “I don’t think you really care.” I say to myself and start mopping.
It’s not too difficult of a job. The smell of mold isn’t something I particularly like but I’m trying to be positive. Things could be much worse…
I start at the back of the room and make my way towards the door. Just as I’m about to get to the entrance, a small sound catches my ear. Almost like a leak of air or something. I set the mop down in the bucket and stop moving so I can hear it better. It sounded sort of like a… gas leak of some kind.
Panic rises in me for a half second but I calm down quickly. All I have to do is find it then go and get someone to help.
First, I look up at the ceiling to see if there are any pipes or anything of that type. There’s only one across the middle and then the rest are along the wall near the floor. My clothes are already a mess so I get down on my hands and knees and start to look closely at the pipes. The ground is still wet from both my mopping and some of the mold spots I haven’t gotten to yet.
I don’t even travel half way around the room before my head bumps into something. Looking slightly up from the ground I find bloodied sketchers sitting right in front of me. They are torn and covered in a red substance. My heart races as I slowly stand to my feet, not daring to take my eyes away from the shoes. My gaze moves upwards, focusing in on the glass and debris sticking out of this -now I see- women’s body. She’s covered in dust and soaked in her own blood.
A familiar horrified face comes into my view. It’s the same women I saw the first day I turned. The large piece of glass is still sticking straight out of her head and her face is stuck in one terrified position.
My breathing quickens as she takes an agonizing step towards me. I yelp and nearly jump backwards but my feet slip out from underneath me. The slippery floor takes me down and I land flat on my back, slightly whacking my head against the ground. My breath is knocked out of me and I lay there gasping for air for a solid second. When I regain most of it, I sit up on my elbows, searching for the haunting woman.
She’s gone. Like she was never even there in the first place.
The sound of the gas leak is gone as well, disappearing along with her.
Just as I’m about to get up and go looking for the insane woman, a voice jolts out through an intercom. Causing me to jump once more.
“Code 1, I repeat, code 1. Report to cafeteria immediately.” A higher pitched male voice comes through, repeating the same words twice.
When the message finally ends, I look around the room one more time. Holding my chest to help stop the hammering within.