The Result of a Change

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Chapter 20


I shift uncomfortably in my place trying to let my eyes shut down and my mind taste some sleep. It’s not working, the way it didn’t the past days. I wonder what’s going out there while we lie in this four walled cage. It has been a lot of days, maybe even weeks, I’m not really sure, since I got captured. I almost learned the names of all the robots who came in very often to either deliver food or pass on some rules, nothing more.

I stand up, giving up on my tries of falling into a deep slumber and press my now-barefoot on the cold cement. I have to get out, now. I can’t stay here whilst my home is getting invaded. The thought itself is unacceptable. But I need to have someone along the way.

My eyes roll over the room searching for two specific persons among the terrifying amount of humans that seem to be squeezed in a tuna box. At last, I find a brunette’s head leaning on the shoulder of a sturdy man and head towards them speeding up my pace a bit.

A wide smile spreads on her face when she sees me but the man still has the same blank expression on his face.

“Hey, Jimmy, do you need anything?” she asks me trying her best to sound cheerful as she always had been, but I could sense the tiredness and distress in her voice.

I take a seat across from her and the man who seems to be someone so close to her, maybe one of her relatives or something. After I settle down on the floor, I clear my throat and give her a sly smile.

“Yes, actually. But can I ask you something first?” I mutter out in a low voice but loud enough for the both of them to hear. She nods ushering me to inquire it.

“If I may know, who’s the gentleman beside you? I’ve never seen him before.”

Hearing this, she smiles widely while he glares at me and nods calmly. I’m not even sure why did he nod but I let it slip.

“He’s my husband, Gerald, Peter’s uncle.” My eyes widen at this and I remember how Peter once spoke of him. The problem here is, he’s supposed to be dead.

I notice something dancing before my eyes up and down. Not sure what is it, I bring my eyes back into focus and this is when I realize it’s a hand. I smile sheepishly at Mr. Gerald as he pulls his palm away and smiles back.

“Nice to meet you, Mr. Gerald.” I say stretching my hand out for a shake.

“Nice to meet you, too.” He replies accepting it and shaking it firmly.

I turn my gaze to Mrs. Emma whose smile is reaching her ears.

“How come you don’t look as ugly as the others?” I ask her.

“I’m half human, half alien,” She pauses, looking down at her feet, and I notice how her smile quickly faded away, “I was forced to leave my birth mother and live with my father and my stepmother. It was hard at the beginning but I got used to it. I wonder how she looks like now, that if she’s still alive. But, I doubt I’ll ever know, not after all these years.”

I could sense the sincerity in her voice and the nostalgia of a little girl who wishes to see her mother. It’s my first time to ever see her this way. What have I done? I shouldn’t have brought it up, but then again, I didn’t see this coming. The best thing to do at the moment is to change the topic. Suddenly, an idea crosses my mind and to be more specific, it’s the one I came looking for them to suggest in the first place.

“Oh! I almost forgot,” I exclaim gaining their attention once again, “I need to get out of here.” I murmur in a whisper.

“You can’t. I know how secure they can be.” She whispers back and Mr. Gerald nods in agreement.

“We can sneak out.” I suggest.

“How?” they ask in unison, pulling everyone else’s stares towards us.

I let out a sigh, “Simmer it down, it’s better to keep it a secret.” I warn them in a whisper glaring at the others, causing them to go back to their business.

“But how?” she repeats.

“A robot gets in every 10 minutes, well, 11 minutes, to be more accurate. Perhaps we can outrun it and may be even find the others.” I state the idea hopefully.

They exchange a troubled look and hesitate for a moment before turning their gazes back to me.

“I’m on with it.” She says making me grin.

“Great, get ready then. A robot might ste-” I get cut off by the sound of the lock keypad getting pressed. Soon after, the door opens and a robot floats in. I assume it’s name is AB-41. I glance at them giving them a sign to proceed with the plan.

We slowly get up from the now-warm concrete. AB-41 is still providing us with food. I wouldn’t call it food, though for they’re just protein pills and glasses of extra purified water. I decide to take this opportunity and in no time, I’m out of that prison along with Mrs. Emma and Peter’s uncle following right behind me.

As I run faster, the rusted corridors zoom in and the footsteps of the guards followed by a numerous beeps from robots, get louder and louder ringing in my ears and pounding my heart.

“Follow me!” I hear Mr. Gerald shout behind me. I slow down my pace and take the turn before speeding up again and catching up with him.

He walks into an elevator while I and Mrs. Emma follow him. He presses the button that has digit 2 on the panel and the door closes, letting us sigh in relief.

“Where to now?” she asks.

“I don’t know.” I reply shrugging, “Perhaps we can find the others?”

“Are they Poliners, lad?” he asks and I nod in response.

“I can detect them then.”

“You can? How?”

“I have a mini Poli-trace.”

“And what’s that?” I ask raising an eyebrow.

“It tracks Poliners.” He explains taking out a rectangular device from his pocket. It’s similar to a cell phone but a bit thicker.

He taps on the screen and a buzzing sound kills the silence between us.

“They’re here, in the Xoliners headquarters.”

“What? But how?” I ask in astonishment. Are they prisoners too? No, they’re much stronger than that bu-

“Let’s go.” He says cutting me off my thoughts and walking out of the elevator as its door opens before us. I take a breath and follow him.

We step out into the 2nd floor. We walk in silence on the shiny tiles, only listening to our own footsteps and following the instructions of the Poli-trace. Mrs. Emma stops mid-way staring at us in fear.

“Did you hear that?” she asks in a whisper.

We stop walking and try hearing any so-, I do now. Glancing back at them, I nod as a signal for us to run.

“Now!” Mr. Gerald shouts and we take off running. It wasn’t just the beeping of the robots or the loud footsteps of the guards, but the sound of guns fired and the screams of people close by.

“This way!” he shouts again taking a turn to the right. We quickly catch up to him.

Our feet bounce on the ground, echoing loudly in the hallway.

Before I even know it, I bump into Mr. Gerald who stopped suddenly, making me fall backwards. I stand on my feet stumbling as I regain my balance. And here we are, in front of the kitchen, our eyes connecting with theirs. The ceramic beneath me vibrates. Realizing what’s coming to us, I swallow the lump in my throat and turn around facing the guards.

“Surrender.” They order, “Now!” But none of us moves a muscle.

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