“What are you smiling about?” I asked.
“Well, this is the first time in the four months since I’ve been here that your body language doesn’t resemble that of someone being defensive or reserved.”
I looked down at myself then adjusted my posture and folded my arms which made her chuckle.
“I’m sure what you have been through makes you think as if there might be no one else out there who understands to help you, but that process can’t begin without you.”
No matter how endearing her words came across I already told myself that I would not falter, I could not and would not trust anyone here except myself. I trusted my mother and look what it got me?
“We can trust her.” The voice said. “Just give me some time with her, trust me.”
“I trust you, but it's her I don’t trust. No one here can be trusted!”
“Relax Alberto, take a minute to think about it. We’ve never seen her here at the hours the experiments begin nor does she leave this wing of the building. I understand and respect your suspicions but she doesn’t feel like the rest.”
I took a deep breath to relax as I allowed the other person to take over; it has been something we’ve been practicing ever since that night and it still felt weird putting myself in a box. It sort of felt like switching over to the passenger side of my body, my thoughts and sense of self were still present but I had no control over my body in terms of movement and speech.
“You’re different aren’t you?” The voice asked Olivia.
“Different in what sense exactly?” she asked.
“This isn’t just a job for you, isn’t it? You genuinely care about helping people.”
“I guess I wasn’t the only one doing the observing.” She joked.
“Then what are you doing here, at a place like this?”
“My best friend told me about the vacant spot to help the children, that was reason enough, but I can’t help but find it a little weird that you’re the only person I’ve been seeing.”
Her words solidified what we were thinking; she knew nothing of what truly goes on here but then again this could just be all staged to somehow test us. They always wanted to know if it was possible to permanently replace my consciousness with the new one due to him having a higher brain wave activity.
“What are you afraid of Dr. Shaw?”
She glanced down at her wedding ring. “I’m afraid of losing the man I love, but I’m even more terrified of being unable to assist someone before me who requires my help.”
The look of determination in her eyes told no lies, it did not resemble the lifeless look of everyone else here who sold their integrity.
“What are you scared of Alberto?”
“Something I’m scared of? Oh, I suppose, devils.”
“Interesting, I never pegged you as the religious type. That’s good though, to have an anchor.”
“I’m not religious.”
“So why believe the existence of devils?”
I leaned forward and looked her dead straight in the eyes, “ because I’ve met them before.”
“Really?” she asked scribbling down some notes, “what are they like?”
“There are many types of devils in this world, devils who live in our dreams and religions without showing themselves, devils used to scare children to become obedient to their parents but the devil I’m scared of the most is devils that lie. Lying devils are a real nuisance; they blend in with our society even though they have no intentions of being civil, they can preach about peace and human advancement without the slightest understanding of what the value of life means. They infiltrate our governments even though they lack the understanding of a human heart; they form bonds and even procreate even though they lack the understanding of love. As you can see Dr. lying devils are truly terrifying because they’re more cunning than other devils, their sick ideals shape their perception of this world while still being aware that they need to fit into reality to go unnoticed. These devils walk the earth unchecked posing as humans.”
“Who is this lying devil in your life?” She asked slightly nervous.
“No Dr. Shaw, the better question is, are you willing to help me stop these devils?”
Olivia sat in Joseph Heinz's office on edge after everything Alberto told her. She honestly did not know what to make of everything he said but deep down she knew he wasn’t lying but a part of her refused to accept the existence of such evil in this world. There was only one way to find out, she adjusted the voice recorder in her pocket as she watched him read over her notes intensely.
“Remarkable.” He said. “Absolutely remarkable”
He placed down the notes and looked at her as if he was inspecting her worth, Olivia felt repulsive with his eyes being on her for as long as they did but that was out of her control. With each passing minute it became harder to suppress the anger she was feeling looking at him.
“There is no denying just how valuable you have been to us in this short time, would you be interested in a promotion?”
His nonchalant demeanor made her sick that he categorized what he did as a mere promotion but Alberto and she agreed on a plan and she was going to see it through even if it meant she had to tango with the devil himself awhile longer.
“What kind of promotion?”
“The kind that could make your wildest of dreams come to fruition plus the added benefit of assisting mankind.” He got up and sat on the edge of his desk, “So I ask you this, what is it that you desire?”
Olivia didn’t desire anything in life because she didn’t lack anything. She had a loving husband, wonderful parents, and friends but what she was most excited about was how she was going to tell her husband that she’s pregnant but as she knew sometimes the simplest answers can yield the best results.
“Money is what I desire.” She said.
“Ah yes, the sin of greed, something I know all too well. We’ll get to the finer details tomorrow.”
“What would be the promotion though? Would I still be working with just that one child?”
He took a deep breath before answering me.” You’ll be working with a larger pool of children in an ongoing project we are doing.”
“What’s the project about?”
Joseph was silent while he played with his thoughts, he was a cautious man but at the same time, he was growing impatient with his work. He normally eased employees into his ideals but Project Anima was currently the closest it has ever been to completion and he wanted to witness its glory with his own eyes and he believed Alberto and Olivia could be the key to that.
“Are you satisfied with the current state of the world?” Joseph asked.
“It’s not all horrible but it could be better.”
“What if I told you it could indeed be better? Or dare I might say perfect? A world where simply surviving safely would not feel like a luxury but more like a birth-given right?”
“I would do anything in my power to achieve that.” She lied.
“What if the price for it was too high? Or the price goes against your morality?”
Olivia tried to suppress her true emotions while finding the right words. “That’s nothing but a small price to pay for the benefits it will bring to the future.” Joseph smiled in agreement.
“For centuries the Heinz family has been the shadow pillar of this world. My family has seen and endured pain to the lengths that have matured us to the point we are now, to put it simply we have evolved from mere humans to that of God, and with that everything became clearer to us once we evolved. Humans are weak and pitiful creatures who wander aimlessly on this planet awaiting their death; we prioritize trivial things like our emotions over things that are absolute facts. This world is immature, pain makes us grow up but as soon as peace comes around we repeat our same mistakes so it became clear. Humans do not require free will for we’ll only repeat this endless cycle of self-destruction, what the world need is the guidance of a God.”
His eyes didn’t show the slightest bit of doubt for anything that was coming out of his mouth; he genuinely believed that this was his family’s purpose, that this was what the world needed.
“Project Anima is our solution for this immature world. We have accumulated knowledge to help evolve this world and its inhabitants into something greater, something perfect. We shall reform this world into a utopia, a world where the concepts of human flaws cease to exist, and a world that would operate like a well-oiled machine. The eradication of our limitations and flaws is what Project Anima is.”
“H-how would this be achieved?”
“You have to tear something down to build it new don’t you? When the time is right all the governments that we have meticulously infiltrated and gained their support will start a world war. There’s a force within pain and suffering which oftentimes unite humans to finally see eye to eye, and from the ashes of that war humanity shall emerge again like a flawless phoenix.”
After the meeting with Joseph, Olivia went to her office and made the video just like Alberto said but for the rest of the plan she knew she couldn’t do it, she was supposed to go home as if she was okay with everything she just found out and continue to work here and gather information. She couldn’t do it, she couldn’t bear the thought of coming here every day after learning what she did. Olivia couldn’t stand it, even being here now made her wanted it all to just burn down and vanish, she wanted all these children to be freed but she felt powerless in the face of this devil.
The following day she had her sit down with Alberto again. This time he was purposely silent because he could see the bags under her eyes and the inner struggle she was dealing with. A struggle he knew all too well and endured on his own all this time but he was hopeful because Olivia was by his side, hopeful that they would tackle the devils together.
“You need to leave,” Olivia said.
She handed him a paper with an address and a pocket knife. “Remove your tracker and leave, go to that address and you should be safe there. I unlocked the door by the old stairwell, take it and leave.”
He was about to say something then the tears began to fall from Olivia’s eyes.” Please Alberto I can’t do this, this is too much to bear. Just please find a way to save them, all of them.”
It didn’t take that long for them to find out what happened afterward, Olivia was detained and brought to her vehicle in the parking lot that was surrounded by men with guns.
“I’m so disappointed in you Olivia,” Joseph said.
“Go to hell!” She said after spitting in his face.
They locked Olivia inside her vehicle which was now filled with carbon monoxide from the exhaust they blocked so it would exit through the air condition vents. As her consciousness began slipping away she held her stomach and whispered her final words.
“I’m sorry Matthew.”