Ideas, commonly known as 'Visions', are no gift.
Visions are dangerous.
Visions are only to be used under careful government supervision as decreed by our Commander and saviour.


9. Kathryn's Awakening

“Imagination has the power to bring everything down.”

Noises scrape along Kathryn’s skull. She feels like she’s a ghost, unattached to her body or anything around her.

Then, a sensation as if something is tenderly stroking each and every one of her nerves at once hits her.

She starts shaking. Her eyelids are so heavy to try and open.

“Don’t call them that!”

It’s Dad’s voice.

The recognition gives Kathryn strength in security. She knows she’s safe with her Father by her side. Even if she had no idea where she was right now.

“Visions, ideas, imagination, same thing… Alastair shh! She’s awake.”

The next touch on her body isn’t her Dad’s; it’s too delicate, matching the other voice she hears.

Trying to lift her head, the aches in her body force Kathryn to stay down. A damp hand comes down over her forehead, trailing down to her neck.

"She’ll be fine. The anaesthesia worked correctly but the serum didn’t reach the visual cortex serum where the reaction starts. Her imagination will remain intact. And I’m pretty sure they would’ve had to inject that serum way too many times for it to work.”

“So the procedure wouldn’t work on her?”

“Well yeah, the insane toxicity would have hit her first.”

“Right… great to here.” Alastair sighs, a mixture of frustration, fear and also relief from what could’ve been.

A mixture of grunts and garble come out of Kathryn mouth when she tries to speak.

“Honey, relax. The procedure puts your brain under a lot of trauma to try and stop the Visions. Open your eyes.” Her father speaks softly.

She lets out a deep breath and follows his instructions.

The scene becomes less blurred as she blinks. Three figures are slumped up against a wall at an awkward angle across the room. The pounding in her head slows and her eyes turn to whoever’s was standing above me.

“I bet you don’t remember me.” The voice from before comes from a lady, dressed in a lab coat, arms folded across her chest.

As soon as she smiles, a memory in the back of her mind stirs Kathryn.


“It must have been a good few years since I saw you last. You were a lot smaller back then. And a lot more chatty.”

“Well she wasn’t an experiment back then, was she?” Alastair snaps back at the woman, grabbing Kathryn’s hand so hard it stings.

“Oi, less of that attitude, thank you. I was your boss remember.”

“Was. Now you’re just an old friend.”

“Excuse me? Old?”

The hint of a smile on Alastair’s face fades as quick as it arose.

“We don’t have time for this. You need to get up. Now.” Alastair wrenches Kathryn up from the bed.

“Give me a sec...” She can’t even tell if her legs are still there let alone feel she could stand.

“I’ll run you through my escape idea quickly then.” Ryder turns her back and begins to fiddle with the window.

“I’ve got people waiting for us outside.”

A colossal bang on the door makes the lock on it scream and bend.  All heads snap in its direction. One of the bodies against the wall groans.

 “You go. I’ll hold them.” Alastair hisses.

“What?” The whole world still won’t stop spinning for Kathryn.

Alastair ignores Kathryn’s gobsmacked stare.

“You and I both know, Ryder, that they’ll be through that door in a second and without some sort of diversion they’ll shoot us down in our backs as we run. Take her and go.”

“Don’t be stupid... You’re not actually suggesting I leave you.”

“I’ve prepared for this.” Alastair murmurs, not daring to meet Kathryn’s pleading eyes.

“Well I haven’t! Don’t leave me. I won’t have anyone!”

Her heart is about to burst with the strength in her shouts.

“Oh, Kathryn. You’re so like her. I won’t let you die the same way she did.” He smiles, but it wavers.

Kathryn can’t ignore the tears at the corner of his eyes while her tears topple over. 

“But Dad.”

“There’s no time! We’re all going to get out. I managed to hold security back a little bit but evidently we gotta go as soon as possible so get your butts out that window before they get in-”

A red, sweaty figure bursts through the door. The Commander, gun in hand, rushes in. A stream of guards follow on, overflowing as they try to pile into the small room.

“You!” The Commander spits, his gun pointed at Ryder.

Alastair blocks Kathryn from his sight, throwing his body in front of hers.

“You’ve ruin everything I work for.”

“You work for everything wrong in the world. Maybe you should work on security checks for your employees more.” Ryder snaps in reply.

She takes a step back. Suddenly, a cool breeze brushes the back of Kathryn’s head.

I wanted peace! I wanted purity!”

His eyes lay on Kathryn as she quivers behind her father.

“You risk your lives for a little imagination and take people like her down with you.”

Arms shaking, the gun looks too large and heavy for the Commander to hold.

“I love you.” Squeezing her hand, Alastair gives one last smile to his daughter.

Kathryn opens her mouth to protest further. The air’s blown out of her as Alastair smacks two arms on her shoulders and throws her backwards. Ryder seizes her flailing hand. She’s yanked through the window and dragged into a run, her legs moving without her say so.

She snatches a look over her shoulder. Her Father’s outline keeps the guards from the window like a human blockade.

She turns her eyes forward. Her vision is blurred by tears.

Almost speeding into it, a large truck whizzes round in front of them, whisking up dust. Its doors are flung open and hands beckon them to run faster still; desperate faces encouraging them to jump into their arms.

Kathryn waits to hear the footsteps leap up into the back of the van behind her.

The door slams.

He doesn’t follow.

But a gunshot does.

The wheels screech and the ting of bullets ricocheting off the metal shower down. 

“She’s still got the remains of the serum inside her. She needs rest. Give her space.” Ryder’s voice feels like an echo far from Kathryn.

Her legs are taking her somewhere, or so she thinks. All these strangers are surrounded by a strange aura, almost like they’re just shadows in the dimness of the truck. She lets herself just swing with the jolting.

“Where’s Alastair?”

“Weren’t you supposed to get him to?”

“Is he OK?”

Kathryn loses all the different voices into a void. 

She doesn’t hear the answers as her head hits the floor.

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