Elias woke up to the bright lights of his room. He groaned as his head throbbed to the rhythm of this heartbeat.
“Rise and shine,” Peg said to him.
Elias saw she was standing at the table where a tray sat.
“You didn’t get a chance to make your choices for breakfast yesterday, so your breakfast is rather generic. The blame for that falls on you however.”
Elias got up, nearly stumbling once, and made his was over to the table, where he sat down.
“I took the liberty of bringing you some ibuprofen. I imagine you have quite the headache. The gas does that. In fact, it gets worse the more it gets used. So, if I were you, I’d try to be good.
Peg pulled the cover off the tray, revealing the contents underneath.
Elias saw that there was a sealed cup of cereal, some toast with butter and jelly on the side, and a bottle of both orange juice and milk. In a side slot there were a plastic spoon and a packet of sugar.
“Eat and then get cleaned up. Someone will be here in an hour to get you for some basic testing. She handed him a sealed pill and started for the door. Before she opened it, she said, “The guards don’t play around, remember that and do what they say. You don’t want to get hurt because you act out.”
Elias didn’t look at her as she left. He took the pill and ate some food before going to take a shower.
The warm water did wonders for his headache, and he stood under it as long as he dared. He dried off inside the shower as well as got dressed there. Prying eyes and all.
His wet towel went into the same little chute inside the shower that his dirty clothes went into. Peg had shown him the dirty laundry chute as well as the little bench seat inside the shower the day before.
Exiting the shower, he put on socks and went to the sink. He opened the cabinet, taking out the brush as well as the toothbrush and toothpaste. After closing it, he revealed the mirror and brushed his hair and teeth.
He finished just as the wall opened and a man in black, minus the mask this time, stood there and said, “Let’s go.”
Elias sighed but at last he was now feeling better. He walked to the opening and the man pointed down the corridor. As he walked past the room next door, he looked to see if the girl was in the room but was disappointed to see no sign of her.
They walked for several minutes, all the while the man behind him gave him instructions where to go.
Elias decided it was of no use to act up. It would get him nowhere, and more likely he would be the only one who was inconvenienced.
Finally, the man ordered him to stop, and enter a door to his right. He did and found it to be a small square room about ten feet on each side. There was a small desk in the middle of the room, along with a chair under it opposite the door. It was apparent it wasn’t meant for him.
Along the wall the door was on, there was a thin table two feet long and four feet wide, next to another chair that had a weird swivel arm rest.
The man in black indicated the chair and said, “Sit.”
Elias did and they waited. A minute later, another man entered. He had on slacks and a button up shirt, with a lab coat over it.
“My name is Cael and I’m a lab assistant here. Today we are going to run some tests. First, I’m going to take some blood,” he said.
From his lab coat pocket, he withdrew several plastic items, a bag with tubes in it, then some plastic tape and a ball of cotton.
“Hold out your arms,” he told Elias, who did. He looked at both arms and selected the left and adjusted the arm rest.
The man opened packages and setup the tubes, then pulled out a strip of blue elastic, which he pulled around Elias’ arm snugly and tied it. He then picked up an alcohol wipe and rubbed the inside of Elias’ elbow before taking a yellow, clear plastic tube with a needle attached. Another tube went into this, and the man found a vein ad easily slid the needle into it.
The smaller tube was then pushed into the yellow tube, and blood began to flow into it.
Elias watched as Cael filled four tubes before pulling the needle out and putting the cotton ball over the puncture wound.
“Push down,” Cael said and when Elias did, he let go and got the tape, pulling off a strip and placing it over the cotton. “All done with that. Have a seat at the other table and I’ll be right back.”
He picked up everything and left.
Elias moved to the other table and waited. Several minutes later Cael came back holding a stack of papers. He sat them down in front of Elias along with a pencil. “Standard intelligence test,” Cael told him. “You have one hour.”
He left and the guard followed him out of the room, closing the door. Elias waited a few seconds before getting up and going to the door. Slowly he tried to turn the knob. It turned but never stopped. He wasn’t getting out until they wanted him to.
Elias was sure there were cameras in the room, so he sat down and began looking at the test they gave him. They looked pretty basic, so he got to work. Not wanting to give into these people too much, so he decided to answer every other question wrong. Maybe then they would underestimate him.
While Elias hadn’t started high school yet, he was already studying for the SAT and the ACT both, and the test he was given was similar with some IQ test type questions thrown in. He felt he could have aced it if he really wanted. Not that he wanted to for them.
He started filling it out and finished with about twenty minutes left by his reckoning, but without a watch or clock, he could only guess.
Now bored, he laid his head down and went to sleep. Next thing he knew there was a knocking on the table his head was on.
Elias lifted his head and saw Cael. “You fell asleep,” he said with a sigh. “I take it you need more time.”
A statement, not a question Elias realized. “Um, no thanks,” he said sliding the papers across the table. “Unless I can use it to nap, then sure.”
Cael took the papers and flipped through them, seeing they were all answered. He eyed Elias questioningly. “Okay, now that you’re done, we will continue. Follow me.”
Cael walked to the open door and waited for Elias to follow.
Elias got up and followed, seeing the guard was waiting outside the door and followed Elias, who followed Cael.
This time, they only went a few doors down. Cael gestured for Elisa to enter, and he did.
This room was the same size as the last one but had a padded platform in one corner. It was three feet off the floor and six feet long by three feet wide.
Cael pointed to the platform and said, “Take your clothes off and lay down.”
“Stranger danger, stranger danger,” Elias said calmly.
Cael sighed. “Keep your underwear on and there is a hospital gown on the bed. I’ll be putting electrodes on you, so the clothes get in the way.”
“It’s okay if you want to see me undressed. Well, not okay, but I’d understand. I mean, who wouldn’t?” Elias said and Cael grimaced.
“Kid, I’m just doing my job. Try not to make it harder than necessary.”
Elias could have made a smart remark to that too but decided that Cael wasn’t too bad a guy. He was young and had been nice to Elias, so he did what the man asked of him.
He took off his top and pants, then put on the hospital gown, which was white of course. Elias put it on in traditional hospital fashion, which meant it closed in the back.
Cael had him reverse it, telling him, “Normally that’s the way, but seeing as I have to put electrodes all over your front, it’s more for privacy and warmth,” so Elias turned it around.
Cael had him lie down, then opened several spots in the wall. Elias could see there was a monitor of some kind and two looked like storage nooks. He watched as Cael pulled out what looked like a mile of wires, along with a sheet of something black and blue.
It was these he started placing all up and down Elias’ body – arms, legs, and all over his torso.
“It’s for an EKG,” the man told Elias. “An electrocardiogram. To make sure your heart is okay. It measures the electrical impulses of your heart.
Next, he attached little alligator clips that were attached to long wires to each tab. The other end of the bundle was attached to the wall.
After that, Cael attached small round pads all over Elias’ head. He explained that they were the same basic thing as what was attached to his body. These were for an EEG. An electroencephalogram, which measures the electrical impulses in the brain.
After all the pads were attached, wires were attached – were snaps, not clips – and the other end was plugged into the wall next to the first one.
“Okay, now just lay back and relax for a few minutes and we will be done,” Cael told him.
Elias laid still and closed his eyes.
Might as well nap.
Some time later, Cael woke him up and removed the wires, then the electrodes from Elias. This left him feeling sticky all over.
“Great,” he mumbled.
“We’re all done. You can return to your room,” Cael told him.
“In the gown?” Elias asked, and Cael chuckled.
“Only if you want to. Otherwise, you can change back.” Cael left the room, leaving the door open while Elias changed. It was a little late to try to preserve his dignity at this point. Not that it appeared that anyone saw him as he changed.
His guard stayed outside, and no one passed that he saw. Once he changed, he walked back out to the corridor where his escort was waiting for him.
They headed back to where they started, pausing only when Elias wasn’t sure which way to go, or just wanted to act like he didn’t.
Elias turned back into the corridor where his room was and looked into the room next to his.
The one with the dark-haired girl.
Unlike last time when she wasn’t there, this time she was. Elias’ eye widened when he saw her. She was in the middle of her room, dressed in stretch pants and a sports top, doing some sort of martial arts katas.
He stopped to watch. Her moves were graceful, but powerful.
She made eye contact but didn’t stop what she was doing.
He got shooed from behind but caught a glimpse of a smile before he moved ion to his own room.