They have told me of people who believe that governments are secretly trying to make, create, or genetically engineer humans. They tell me that they exist. I believe them. Out there, they are called conspiracy theorists. People call them that because they believe in something untrue or made up. And these theories are. Well… not all of it. I’ll tell you what. After I tell you my story, you can make up your own mind about these rumors. Just whatever you do, don’t go looking for us. You never know what you are going to find. Accidents happen. Or so people say.
I awaken to the sound of rubber soles slapping the concrete next to me. My eyes flutter open, momentarily blinded by the bright lights they had turned on. I look up from my makeshift bed to the towering figure standing above me. My vision is still blurred but I barely make out John, one of the lab assistants, standing next to the door.
“Project 107! Good Morning! Come this way please," slides through his cherry lips. Only a blank stare returns his greeting. I rise to my full height. I am quite a bit taller than him. John walks over to the door. I walk behind him and he leads me to an area with a section curtained off. He hands me a change of clothes and motions me to step through the curtain he is holding up. I set down the clothes on the one chair in the little room and strip off my medical gown. I pick up a purple shirt, a pair of jeans, a belt, and a pair of black flats. I slip into the clothes and look in the mirror. It is blurry. As always. I can’t see reflections. They made me that way. I walk out of the little room and John smiles at me.
“Well, Project 107, you look nice in that.” He says leaning his head to the side. I smile to thank him for noticing. They always tell the assistants to treat us like people so that if we pass our test we will not be different than the people outside. He nods before starting off again though the hallway. He shows me through many of the hallway’s twists and turns. My curiosity grows with each step we take. I’m usually never this far from my room or so close the outside. We eventually make it to a door I have only seen twice before. He opens the door to an extremely bright room. I stare into it even though the light almost bleaches my eyes. I step toward the door but hesitate.
“Well go ahead,” there is a bit of waver in his voice but I can’t tell why. It’s not like he cares what happens to me, plus they can’t let anything happen to me. I am the most expensive and successful project they have made so far. I step forward more cautiously this time my foot landing inside the room. After stepping inside I make out a shiny, silver desk and a matching chair with a different assistant, a female, standing near. I hear the door clang closed and then the lock click. The sound of the sound bounces around the room before coming to rest on the floor. The silence is not given any time to fill the air before the assistant speaks.
“Welcome Project 107. Have a seat please,” she said. This assistant is quite tall with fair skin and dark hair. Freckles dot her cheeks. I memorize her face before I sit in the chair. I can feel the chilled metal through my jeans. The assistant puts three packets of paper down in front of me and hands me a pen.
“Go ahead. Tell me when you are finished,” she says before stepping away and sitting in her own seat. I look down at the first question and quickly know the answer. This isn’t the part of the test that I am worried about. I can memorize facts very easily. However the other two parts I have failed three times before. This is the memory test. Next is the psychological then the physical. Question after question I answer. I try to keep my hand steady but I cannot seem to stop the anxiety from causing my hands to quiver. Usually I am great at keeping my emotions to a minimum. But this is a different situation. I set my pen down after the final question is answered and look over at the assistant. She stands and tells me to do the same. She leads me to another door and opens it for me. I look in to see a room almost identical to the one I am leaving. I nod to thank her and step inside. Again the closing door and brash lock follow my entrance. A voice comes from the speaker on the wall.
“Project 107, please sit in the chair,” I do as it says and sit in the slightly reclined chair and place my hands on the sensors.
“Now just relax,” it says as the sides of the chair slowly start to collapse and fold around my head. It squeezes me hard and I feel the same cold rush as last time just as my vision blurs and eventually fall into an almost hypnotic sleep. My eyes snap back open. What just happened? I don’t remember. I never remember it. Did I pass?
“Thank you, Project 107. You have completed stage 2 of your test. Now please step through the door to your right.” I look to my right and indeed see a door. I stand from the chair, open the door, and walk inside. The darkness of the room pours around me and seeps into the winkles and folds of my clothes and face. It seems menacing as though it is mocking me yet it seems to also tease me in a playful way, telling me I cannot see. A glow comes from in front of me and a voice rings in my ears.
“Project 107, welcome to stage 3 of your test. Preparing simulation,” it says before the darkness gives way to small streaks of light that pour through the breaks in the leaves. I almost lose my balance as the floor sprouts inconsistencies: grass, dirt, and roots. Different sounds fall into my ears: water, birds, rustling leaves. A cool wind fills the air around me. The whole scene is pleasant. I stand idle for a few moments taking in the landscape. My moments end, as my breath leaves me and the cold dirt fills the creases of my hands and knees. My mind starts to race. I can tell a bruise is swelling on the back of my head. I feel a strong pressure on my neck. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. My mind started to go blank from the lack of oxygen. This is all can think about. I squeeze my eyes shut and try to filter all emotion from my head. Once this is removed, my instincts come back to me. I push one of my arms back to stab him in the stomach. His loud exhale is hot on my neck. I then jerk my head back and knock his head with mine. His grip around my air pipe loosens so I rip his arm from around me. As I stand he slides from my back to his knees. I give him a last kick to the nose before his figure dissolves into small cubes. A small paper takes his place. I pick up the note. All it says is, “Run.” I don’t pause to shove the note into my pocket before I take off in a direction. I keep running. Tree limbs and shrubs tear and grab at my limbs leaving small lines of red on any exposed skin. The landscape is blurred as my feet struggle to continue to find solid ground to land on. However, for just a moment I can almost forget the pain and the heart full of fear to relish the sensation of no boundaries, of being free. But the winds of fear return to cloud my heart and the pain demands to be felt and I push my legs to go faster and faster and faster and faster. My lungs burn of emptiness as they battle to pull air in and push it out at the same time. You have enough air. You have enough air. A tree branch grabs my hair and I stumble over my feet. They finally fail to find the ground and my lungs finally give in. My body trembles on the ground as my vision shifts back and forth. I pull my hand in front of my face to see how bad my vision is. My hand is covered in a deep, crimson red. My head feels dizzy so I hold myself up on my arms. The trees swirl around my head and the moon looms above me in an eerie fashion. My heart quickens as a long shadow slides over me. I squint trying to force my eyes into focus. A deep chuckle like a low, content purr echoes from the black mass. They caught me again.I feel the coldness of foreign fluid rushing through my veins. I know I can no longer stop it from spreading. I don’t have much time till the liquid takes its hold on me with its cold slender fingers. The figure dissolves before me like the previous one. I start counting down in my head; 15, 14, 13… I lie down on the floor and rest my head and eyes and wait till the liquid inhabits all of my blood. I feel the chilled fingers taunting me as I rest, waiting for the right time to strike. The timer in my head finishes its dismal job. 3, 2, 1. Darkness surrounds me. I failed the test again. I failed the test for the third time. I failed the test for the last time.