Chapter 78 - The Tour
Kale heard nervous whispers from nurses as he laid on a hospital bed. The room gave off a different feeling from that of any other doctor visits he had had previously. Bright colored paint was splashed across the wall, all in varying colors. He stared up at the ceiling as instructed by the nurses, and cheery cartoon faces smiled upon him.
“How are you feeling, Kale?” one of the nurses asked.
“I told you, I’ve been feeling fine this whole time. These nails are just side effects, right? That’s what Ms. Kanole said. So I should be fine! Why am I stuck in here?”
The nurse walked over towards Kale, turning her face from a monitor full of many numbers and symbols. “Your nails, you could hurt someone with them, you know.”
Kale’s face scrunched up in confusion and peeled up the bandage on his arm. “Oh, but they don’t hurt. I pressed them to my arm earlier, I didn’t feel a thing.”
“Right, you didn’t feel a thing, but not everyone is as strong as you.” She pat him on the back. “So you need to make sure to be careful.”
Why didn’t Kale feel a thing though? He had previously even been cut by paper and flinched to the point where he drew a tear, and he didn’t believe the nurse’s words. Surely she was only being nice about him being strong, he knew he was only a small child, although, he did just rush himself up a rope.
“How long do I have to stay in here then?” Kale wobbled impatiently under the thick blue blanket.
“It shouldn’t be too long, if you watch, you can see your nails are starting to go back to normal.”
Kale brought his hand close to his face, he couldn’t tell a thing. To him, it seemed like they were still the same.
“In another hour or so you should be free to go.” The nurse pulled up a tv on a stand and rolled it in front of the hospital bed.
“Sir, are you sure you want to perform the procedure on your son?” a man said, pushing his glasses to his face.
“Of course. It’s not like there will be too much of a risk, right? We’ve already defined which doses go well with my DNA. Jack is my son, it should work in a similar way.” Lar’s sat before a large desk.
“Well, yes sir, but we haven’t really tested this exact dose on children, remember.”
“Adults usually get the worst of the side effects though.” Lars knocked his fist against his desk a couple times, a hollow echo danced between the two men. “We have to defend the country, and that means going against our own feelings. There’s no doubt Jack would be better off being excluded from all this. But, why would I miss this chance? We already know how the drug reacts to my DNA. It’d be a waste not to include my son. He’ll be fine.”
The man nodded. “Yes sir, I will make sure all preparations carry forward.”
The steel door shut, and Lars sat alone reaching into an envelope.
“This is kind of neat isn’t it, Ambri?” Jack asked, as the two were being toured around the underground facility.
For once it appeared as if she was the one frightened. “I guess…”
They passed by an assortment of private rooms that they were told they couldn’t view, but the further down they walked, the more rooms opened up, allowing them access.
Each lab room they entered looked the same as the previous one, a few lab members working with equipment they couldn’t comprehend, or standing around with a pen and paper, jotting down notes. Cats were imprisoned behind bars in the research rooms, each seemed to have been experimented on differently.
The first one they saw, the only abnormality was its size. Somehow these people had made it grow past its normal limitations. The second one however, left both Jack and Ambri with a bit of a shock. It didn’t look any different, however, it obeyed every word that the lab members commanded it to do.
Ambri had tried prying for more information, but the tour guide wouldn’t give any details out to them. In fact, he barely spoke. At most, he replied to questions with a slight nod or shake of his head, his orange hair swishing back and forth.
The next room they visited was the same as the first, just an oversized cat, but it looked distressed. It moaned and groaned, trying to claw its way out of the barred cage.
“How awful…” Ambri muttered.
“It does look a bit sad, doesn’t it?”
“More than a bit!” She bit her lip. “Why does Lars allow this to happen?”
“I don’t know… but they get stronger. The cat will live happier once it is free, no one will dare mess with it! It can do anything it wants!”
Looking at the cat brought Jack pain, he knew the cat was upset, but it was much better off now. Soon it could fight for what it wanted and it was no longer weak to the point where it would be afraid of confrontation. It could live free, without fear holding it back.
“If they let it out…”
“Dad would never keep animals trapped in here! You know how much he loves the cats in Lyros!” Jack shouted.
Ambri ignored his outburst and stared at the large brown cat, white patches danced up on its fur from its feet. She took a step forward and began reaching her arm out.
“Stop! You are too close!” a woman in white gently pushed her backwards.
“Let’s get out of this room,” Ambri said, and the tour guide nodded.
“I think there is one more room they’ve arranged for us to view,” the guide said and motioned them down further in the steel hall, hues of blue encompassed the narrow passageway as they made their way to the door at the end.
“What do you think is in here?” Ambri said.
“I dunno, but it looks pretty important…” Jack said as they approached a door with multiple lights flashing nearing the doorknob.
“This one is supposed to be top secret, but your father had arranged for you two to witness it,” the guide said, his face flourished with unease. He took a deep breath. “I really don’t know why he thinks it will be a good idea, but…”
Was it really okay for them to go in there? Jack could feel his heart racing, what he had already witnessed had done a number on him. But, if this was what his dad did for a living, he had to know, he had to take the risk, even if it brought him fear.
Unknown things won’t scare me any longer! Jack thought.
The guide typed in a long code and the door clicked, and then it opened, slowly. A haze of greens, blues, and yellows escaped their way through the cracks of the door, becoming an outpour of visual sensation as the door opened fully.
Jack shielded his eyes from the brightness, as he reached for Ambri’s arm, but no, he didn’t need to rely on her. He could face everything on his own.
His eyes adjusted to the odd lighting and he recognized what laid behind these cages. Humans.