Everything, they control everything. But what exactly is everything? I’ve got no clue. The thought had been sweeping over me like a dark cloud since last night. I couldn’t sleep, at all, and this is the reason why I’m sipping my third cup of coffee in the kitchen at 5 AM. This is ridiculous, just ridiculous! How could she leave me hanging this way? With hundreds of dreadful possible answers to the same question popping in my mind, I couldn’t be more confused. I have to find her, and this time, I won’t leave her until I get what I want. I want answers, now.
I take one more sip and get up from my seat with the half filled cup of coffee in my hand. I head out of the kitchen and take a turn to Jonathan’s office. I wonder if he’s awake at this deadly hour. As I walk through the corridors, I see it again for the first time in a month. The bright yellow light of the sun peering from a hole in one of the walls, enlightening the path before me in a magically beautiful way. How much do I miss this peace of mind! I don’t remember the last time I got a chance for a walk in nature or to read a book under the star light. These moment are irreplaceable, and I’m ready to do anything to taste their pleasure one more time.
I shrug my thoughts off and knock on the door. Surprisingly, Jonathan shouts a “Come in!” from inside. I squeeze the door knob with my spare hand and step inside closing it behind. He looks up at me from his computer screen and furrows his eyebrows.
“Why are you up this early?” he inquires.
“I didn’t sleep in the first place.” I reply not missing a beat.
“Does it really concern you, Mr.? Anyways, I’m here to ask about Roxy.”
“Roxy? How come you know Roxy?”
“Well, we met yesterday, and I wanted to as-” I stop realizing it should be better kept a secret, even if it wasn’t intended to be. “Never mind. I’ll try finding her down stairs.” I continue turning back towards the exit.
Just as I’m heading out, I remember I should’ve at least checked up on the process. But, I don’t think it’s important at the moment, or maybe it is? I don-
“Stop hesitating to ask. The process is 65% so far.” I startle at his voice suddenly losing my grip on the cup. I stare at him wide eyed then glance back at the spilt coffee and broken glass.
How did he know? Did I think out loud?
“No, you didn’t.” He replies and, believe I can see the mischievous grin on his face from the corner of my eye.
“Enough!” I exclaim. “Does that mean you can read thoughts too?” I continue my cheeks warming up with anger as I face him.
“I told you we control everything, Zoey.” A voice hisses from the dark corner of the room before she walks closer to me, her long hair swaying delicately in all directions.
“Roxy?” I ask in disbelief. How is this possible?
“Care to elaborate?”
“No.” She answers without a second thought. That’s it. I won’t stay like a puppet hung with their strings anymore, so they can move me the way they want. No one controls me, no one has the right to and, I won’t allow it.
I take hold of her wrist and kick the door open with my foot, stepping on the shattered pieces of glass as I head out. She struggles under my grip but instead, I tighten it up, making her groan. I stop in the middle of the hallway, far enough from Jonathan’s office for him not to hear our conversation. I turn her around facing me.
Fumed with frustration, “What is the matter with you?” I snap at her.
“You’re going off limits, Zoey. Get a hold of yourself already.” She warns as she straightens her shirt.
I let out a nervous chuckle. “Get a hold of myself! How do you expect me to do so after I found out you control me!”
“We didn’t say this!” She shouts back.
“Really? Then what is everything?” I question her behind gritted teeth.
“I-.” She stops as if reconsidering whether she should tell me or not. “As I said it before, I’ll repeat it again. It doesn’t concern you, Zoey.” I lock my eyes with hers trying to understand anything from them, fear, hesitation, hatred. But there was nothing, just an empty cold glare.
“Fine.” I hiss gritting my teeth. I will know it, sooner or later, but I don’t want to press it at the moment.
“Great, then,” her expression softens and a warm smile is drawn over it, “Do you like books?”
“Yeah.” I mutter, letting her pass with her plan of changing the topic.
“Here, follow me.” She gestures taking a step forward. I take a breath and walk slowly to match her pace.
She walks through a dark corridor leading to spiral stairs. I admit they look beautiful with their wooden patterns and elegant way of letting us step into the upper floor. She goes up the stairs and I follow her, hearing the low creaks beneath us. Up there, is a wide room full of more than 50 sets of book shelves, each with a little couch beside it and a coffee table across from it. I look up at the sophisticated chandeliers that are filing the library with relaxing dim lights. This looks like book heaven.
“We have books of all kinds and genres. Each two of these 50 Booksters ar-“
“Booksters? What are Booksters?” I cut her off.
“That’s what we call book shelves here. Anyways, Each two Booksters are specified to a category or a genre. You have Science Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery, Action, Romance, humour, horror, vampire, and the list goes on. For the cup of coffee you spilt, I’ll be fetching you a new one, until you make a choice of what to read. How much sugar would you like?”
“None.” I state giving her a smile.
“Fine. I’ll be back in a moment.” She says heading down the stairs.
“Thank you!” I call out.
Without a second thought, I move towards the Science Fiction Booksters. Looking at the huge shelves towering over me, I know it’s going to take a while until I pick a book. I give quick glances at the synopses of random books as I take a round. And that’s when I see it, the HQ BOOKSTER. Below the name was a warning sentence in red linings. I move closer until I can make up what the words are.
For the Control Team members only. This part of the library should not be accessed by foreigners.
Instead of getting scared and backing away, curiosity hits me, and I move closer to it, paying more attention to the titles of the books. My eyes fall upon something that might answer every question that has been haunting me.
The Control Code.
I pull it off the shelf and hold it in my hands. All of a sudden, my brain feels like it’s twisted. Pumping blood faster and harder, making the world around me spin and the book drops from my shaking hands.
Not wanting it to happen again, I cub my head with my palms and hold on to it tightly to remove the pain. I didn’t start it, I can’t stop it either. I feel hands squeezing my arms and turning me around, only to see an anger filled Roxy standing before me folding her arms around her chest.
“What’s happening?” I manage to ask through the pinching pain in my head.
She ignores my question and closes her eyes. The pain increases and spreads to each vein in my body causing me to tremble. I don’t get anything, I can’t tolerate any more of it. I ca-
I collapse into the wooden floor as if suddenly waking up to reality. I see Roxy kneel down before me and sitting down through my blurry eyes.
“We aren’t incubated against you. We stop you from harming us by harming you on the inside.” She pauses after seeing the look of disbelief on my face. “There’s a chip inserted in your brain after your birth. Ms. Zendaya took control of this matter personally. We have screens that view your actions and thoughts. We stop you when you come near us, and end you when we decide we should.”
“A chip? You control our brains?”
“Yes, only Poliners though. Meeting you wasn’t a coincidence.”
“But you tripped.” I argue.
“I planned it all, Zoey, from head to toe.” She pauses, looking around her as if confirming no one else but us is there. “I had to do this, to meet you. Zoey, there’s something you should know. Th-.”
I get a sudden twitch from my troubled nerves, making her stop what’s she saying. I curse myself for nearly losing this chance.
“Sorry, I had to disconnect you from us.”
“Yes, Jonathan and I. It’s risky to tell you this while he can know it with a tap of his finger. I know you might think it strange for me to help, but I’m against what he’s intending to do.”
“What is it?”
“I’ll get to this, but first, I have to tell you something.” She takes a breath before starting again, “The Cure Serum works on everyone, kills the remaining alien cells in their blood, leaves them with no special abilities, and kills pancer tumours. In addition to this, it deactivates the chips in their brains for ever.”
“Is that all? I know most of it already.”
“I haven’t finished yet. Everyone, Zoey, but you.”
“What?” I inquire my eyes widening. How can this be true? I can not believe this!
“Don’t doubt what you heard. The serum doesn’t work on you.”
“But why? How?”
She looks at me with pitiful eyes and a trembling smile, “Your power is rare, more specifically, it wasn’t even among the side effects of the experiment. Still though, here you are, being able to sneak into others’ minds. This was caused by an error in the Experiment 1156 back there in 1961, to one of your ancestors, Gray Anderson, which passed onto you and Max, your twin. Besides this, you tried to break our connections with your chip multiple times, and surprisingly, you did succeed. The chip damaged some of the cells around it. These cells spread and multiplied in your blood vessels. No, you won’t have cancer, but the effect is worse. You’re no more half-blooded, Zoey. Your blood has turned completely alien, utterly inhuman.” She stops and clears her throat. “Zoey, you’re the result of a change.” She finishes.