PROJECT ANIMA

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Chapter 8

10 Years Ago

For the first time in a while, I was going home in high spirits, a lot of drivers allowed me to clean their windshield at the stop light today and some tipped me quite handsomely but the real joy I couldn’t wait for was the look on my mothers face. We were finally going to eat well today for the first time in over a month, I was so excited that not even the blistering heat bothered me. I counted the money once more to ensure that I wasn’t dreaming then stuffed it back into my pocket. The day went by in a blur after that and by nine pm I was running home with a big smile on my face, I knew my mother would be so happy.

“Mama!” I yelled bursting through the door, “we’re going to eat good tonight and tomorrow!”

My mother was standing in the kitchen with her back turned to me, even after what I said she refused to acknowledge my presence and I found that odd. Normally she would have embraced me tightly as soon as I got back but this time it felt different but I thought it was a case of her not wanting me to see her crying again.

“No need to cry,” I said entering the kitchen, “I know you’re hungry also but I cleaned a lot of cars today and they were nice people.”

I dug into my pocket to retrieve the money. “See! We can eat so much tonight! Just tell me what you want and I’ll go and buy it.”

She still stood there silently as if she couldn’t hear a word I was saying and I knew she could, but why? Why wouldn’t she answer me? Why wouldn’t she praise me for working so hard today? Maybe she was sick, yeah that’s it. She hadn’t had a proper meal in so long so maybe that’s why.

“This is all your fault.” She whispered.

“What was that?” I asked stepping closer.

“This is all your fault,” she repeated with a snarl, “my life wouldn’t be this hard if it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be this hungry if you were never born!”

Before I could really comprehend what she was saying to me two large men in suits came up from behind and grabbed me. In a daze of confusion and through the lens of my tear-stained eyes I watched my mother's back as I was being carried away. Not once did she glance over her shoulder to acknowledge my existence, I released the money from my palm so it could fall to the floor for her to use.

“Please eat something good tonight,” I whispered.


They say when you’re a child we must obey our parents; we should trust that their guidance and decisions were always filled with our best intentions at heart. Parents are supposed to be our protectors and providers but what should a child do when that isn’t the case? What am I to do when the person who brought me forth into this world doesn’t love me anymore?

I looked around at the other kids who were in the auditorium with me and even though our ages seem to differ a little we all shared that same perplexed look on our faces. Why were we here? As we struggled to comprehend what was going on the adults who seemed to have been guarding the exits didn’t offer much to help us remain calm.

As time went by an old man in a suit entered the auditorium, his eyes looked as if he had seen enough in this world and possessed a certain level of wisdom most would have been proud to have, but a certain chill went down my spine as he looked at us. Something about his gaze made me feel…inferior.

“Welcome young ones, my name is Joseph Heinz.” He finally spoke. “Amidst the confusion your young brains might be experiencing I implore you to rid it of fear for I have no intentions of hurting you, well not intentionally at least. You’re all about the age of fifteen I presume so thankfully there’s no reason to mince my words right now.”

The room was eerily silent as he took a sip of his water. “Any hopes of going home please suppress it because it was your parents who sold you to us for little to nothing.” His words evoked soft chatter among us. “Idle chatter annoys me so please remain quiet. Your existence in the world right now is equivalent to that of nothing but luckily for you, I can add value to your life. I can bestow a purpose to justify your existence.”

The chill I felt earlier intensified because I realized what I was dealing with now, this wasn’t a mere man but someone who was without a doubt convinced that we humans are beneath him. His voice held not even the slightest trace of humanity but instead, he spoke with a cold tone of annoyance as if just being in our presence sickened him.

“From this moment onwards your purpose in life will be human advancement; your lives shall serve as the soil to propel humanity to even greater heights. There is no greater service in life than being the catalyst for evolution.”

“This is madness!” I yelled. “What about what we want for our lives? This isn’t a decision for you to make! Who the hell do you think you are?”

I knew I should have kept my mouth shut but I was angry, angry enough that I didn’t care about the possible consequences. My life felt as if it was being shattered and his words felt like a topping of mockery. The old man focused his gaze on me and I instantly regretted it, I felt as if I was now in a stare-off with the devil himself. He motioned to one of the adults who looked like a male nurse to follow him as he walked towards me. His presence was almost intoxicating as he stood before me.

“Speak your name, boy.” He said coldly.

I clenched my fists and stood up defiantly. “Alberto.”

He looked me up and down as if I was mere merchandise. “Nurse Webb, please show this young man just who the fuck I am.”

After what felt like an eternity with Nurse Webb I was brought to my room and thrown in there like an old rag, as the iron door drew to a close it felt as if my fate was being sealed. My bravado instantly evaporated and I laid there weeping helplessly on the floor as I remembered how I was just brutally sodomized with a broomstick. The pain I was feeling felt unbearable as I looked around to see if there was anything I could do to end my life but there wasn’t, this hell is my home now.

Two years had passed and I was now seventeen, I’ve seen children come and go throughout the facility as if they were livestock. A lot of us were killed or labeled as failures if we didn’t meet the expected results of our tests. We were then divided into groups based on our test scores and that determined the “experiments” we would undergo.

I mainly felt sympathy for those who got selected to partake in the experiments of different viruses or existing illnesses. As for me I studied hard and always tried to pass the tests with the highest scores and so far I haven’t been selected for any experiments, I’ve been extremely obedient to their cause whatever that may be in hopes that I would be exempted from these experiments. The overall treatment was still horrible and the almost nightly routine of nurse Webb and others using one of the children as their playthings continued but I was surviving…until now.

My door was being opened at an unusual time but it wasn’t one of the predator nurses, instead, it was Joseph and his son Franc. I stood up immediately and adjusted my clothes. Although it had been two years his eyes still had that menacing glint in them, a look of complete and utter disgust for all he deemed to be unworthy before him.

“Come with me.” He said.

I followed them both until I realized that we were going on the experiment wing, my breathing began to get heavy as it dawned on me what was about to happen. Every child that came on this wing either didn’t return but if they did the psychological and emotional trauma they would come back with to again endure it all over again would make them wish they were dead. We entered the last room on the wing and it was not what I was expecting, It was a clean white lab with an array of machines but what caught my eye was the beautiful woman there that I recognized.

“Hey there, I’m Dr. Cynthia Wild but I guess you just knew me as the woman who read stories to you all at times. I’m the head neurosurgeon here and you’re the first person to have qualified for this experiment.”

I felt pathetic to think that all this time I was surviving the best way I thought I should when I was just grooming myself for them. It was almost laughable, to be honest with you, I viewed myself as the key exception but I’m no better than a sheep. When I woke up I was back in my room with a pounding headache, I inspected my body but nothing seemed to be out of place despite the bandage that was now around my head.

“Could you stop moving around so much?” A voice asked.

“Who said that?” I asked and looked around.

“Relax I’m in your head, well I guess that would be a cause for some concern.”

“No, no, no, this can’t be happening. I followed all the rules I was obedient.” I said.

“You’re not going crazy.”

“Then who the hell are you!?”

“That’s an odd question, I’m you.”

---

Cynthia sat before the screen in the lab staring at it in awe, she was having mixed emotions on how she was feeling about what she was looking at or better yet what she had created. Her role was to successfully crack the secret to the hidden potential of the brain to allow humans to access it to its complete capacity.

“What are the results?” Joseph asked impatiently.

“I-I created another consciousness.”

“How is that even possible?” Franc asked.

“I don’t, well I’m not sure right now but if you look here you see that there are now two separate brain wave activities in Alberto and one of them is significantly higher than the other.”

“So it was a success?” Joseph asked excitedly.

“Well yes but no. We’ll have to monitor him but to help to steer his progress into the direction we desire we need a psychologist, someone who’s good with people.”

“I’ll make some calls,” Franc said.

“No need Mr. Heinz, I already have someone in mind.”

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