I follow closely behind Liam as we walk down the corridor and into the common room then through the cafeteria. We grab trays and serve ourselves from the services stands before the brunette walks to Zayn and Harry’s isolated table at the far end of the room. Zayn is very clearly talking to the curly-haired boy.
“Before you two say anything, I’m all in,” Zayn states as we take a seat, me as far away from the dark boy as possible.
“Is this even safe enough to talk?” Liam enquires, looking around.
“Yeah. They want nothing to do with us; I made sure of it,” Zayn nods. “Relationships and feelings is my stuff,” he explains, winking in my direction. I shiver and Liam scoots closer to me. “But like I said, I’m all in for your plan of overthrowing of Samson,” the black-haired boy precises lowly.
“We’re not certain of doing that yet,” Liam shakes his head, planting his fork into his lasagna.
“Harry filled me in. Whatever it is you two have, it’s powerful and useful.”
“We don’t even know what we have yet,” I deny, irritated. “Maybe what happened was a onetime thing. Maybe it’ll end up killing us in the end,” I reason.
“That’s why we need to try-out some things,” Liam persists. “Make some personal research.”
“So you want me to hide a part of your mind to make experiments?” Harry enquires. “How are you planning on experimenting something like this? It’s unheard of.”
“Might have to head back to Discipline a few times,” Liam shrugs. “It’s not like I’d mind punching Derek again.”
“But what if whatever you two have doesn’t work? You’ll end up where Louis is right now, in severe, long-lasting pain, isolated in your room,” Harry counters.
“How do you even know that? Not once did you set foot in Discipline.”
“We observe things, mate,” Zayn points out to a frowning Liam. “Being rowdy and acting like a godamn rebel superhero all the time does nothing but get the supervisors on you. Harry and I, we had the chance to notice things from our corner.”
“And what did you notice?”
“That, Meridelle, is information that comes with a price,” he taunts. His words spark arousal within me. Liam stiffens beside me as a moan rises up to my throat unwillingly. His hand grips mine. To my great surprise, the spell breaks as his skin makes contact with mine with a small sizzling sound.
“There will be none of that Malik, without her consent,” he warns dangerously.
“You broke it,” Zayn frowns; also realising he couldn’t play with my arousal.
“I’m unable to have power over her when you’re touching her,” he continues in awe. “Harry do you still have access to their intentions?”
“No...They’ve disappeared. They’re grey,” the British boy, shakes his head, looking at us. I remove my hand from Liam’s. “And they’re white again,” he declares, eyeing us up and down. “So something really does happen when you two touch,” he mutters to himself.
“Yeah well that something gave me frostbite a few minutes ago and almost killed me when I touched his heart in his room. I’m done with all of this,” I huff, standing up in annoyance.
“No don’t force her Liam. Or she really won’t help us,” I hear Harry say behind me. I roll my eyes. Pfft. Of course I’m not going to help them. There’s nothing for me if I do get out anyways. Better rot in here where my powers are controlled.
I head back to my room and lock myself in.
“Did you find who you were looking for?” Conscience enquires robotically.
“Yes. No thanks to you,” I roll my eyes, grabbing Alice in Wonderland before sitting on my bed.
“Your heart rate is high,” she remarks. “Are you on drugs? Should I call Samson?”
“No!” I sigh angrily. “Liam Payne does that to me alright? Now stop questioning me.”
“Liam Payne gives you drugs?”
“No! His presence makes me uneasy!” I declare, annoyed. “It’s only my body telling me we’re not made to be near one another. That’s it,” I explain. The computer doesn’t add anything. As finally get the chance to open my book, there’s a knock at the door. Exhaling loudly, I stand up and go answer the door.
“Wh―” I stop in mid-phrase. There’s nobody. The odor of food fills my nostrils, making my head tip downwards to notice the plate of lasagna with a note at its side.
If you’re really planning on staying here forever, food is going to be essential, love. Your body and brain won’t be able to function properly without it.
Please, eat, Harry.
I gaze at the plate longly before my stomach growls and I decide to pick it up and bring it inside my room. Setting it on my bedside table, I lie back on my bed, cross my heels and open my book.
“Alice felt a little irritated at the Caterpillar's making such VERY short remarks, and she drew herself up and said, very gravely, `I think, you out to tell me who YOU are, first.'
`Why?' said the Caterpillar.
Here was another puzzling question; and as Alice could not think of any good reason, and as the Caterpillar seemed to be in a VERY unpleasant state of mind, she turned away.
`Come back!' the Caterpillar called after her. `I've something important to say!'
This sounded promising, certainly: Alice turned and came back again.
`Keep your temper,' said the Caterpillar.
`Is that all?' said Alice, swallowing down her anger as well as she could.
`No,' said the Caterpillar.
Alice thought she might as well wait, as she had nothing else to do, and perhaps after all it might tell her something worth hearing. For some minutes it puffed away without speaking, but at last it unfolded its arms, took the hookah out of its mouth again, and said, `So you think you're changed, do you?'
`I'm afraid I am, sir,' said Alice.”
“I’m afraid your food is turning cold,” Conscience remarks. Still focused on the book, I reach over beside me and take a forkful of lasagna, shoving it in my mouth.
“`I can't remember things as I used--and I don't keep the same size for ten minutes together!'
`Can't remember WHAT things?' said the Caterpillar.
`Well, I've tried to say "HOW DOTH THE LITTLE BUSY BEE," but it all came different!' Alice replied in a very melancholy voice.
`Repeat, "YOU ARE OLD, FATHER WILLIAM,"' said the Caterpillar.
Alice folded her hands, and began reciting.
`That is not said right,' said the Caterpillar once she was done.
`Not QUITE right, I'm afraid,' said Alice, timidly; some of the words have got altered.'
`It is wrong from beginning to end,' said the Caterpillar decidedly, and there was silence for some minutes.
The Caterpillar was the first to speak.
`What size do you want to be?' it asked.
`Oh, I'm not particular as to size;' Alice hastily replied; `only one doesn't like changing so often, you know.'
`I DON'T know,' said the Caterpillar.
Alice said nothing: she had never been so much contradicted in her life before, and she felt that she was losing her temper.
`Are you content now?' said the Caterpillar.
`Well, I should like to be a LITTLE larger, sir, if you wouldn't mind,' said Alice: `three inches is such a wretched height to be.'
`It is a very good height indeed!' said the Caterpillar angrily, rearing itself upright as it spoke (it was exactly three inches high).
`But I'm not used to it!' pleaded poor Alice in a piteous tone. And she thought of herself, `I wish the creatures wouldn't be so easily offended!'
`You'll get used to it in time,' said the Caterpillar; and it put the hookah into its mouth and began smoking again.
This time Alice waited patiently until it chose to speak again. In a minute or two the Caterpillar took the hookah out of its mouth and yawned once or twice, and shook itself. Then it got down off the mushroom, and crawled away in the grass, merely remarking as it went, `One side will make you grow taller, and the other side will make you grow shorter.'
`One side of WHAT? The other side of WHAT?' thought Alice to herself.
`Of the mushroom,' said the Caterpillar, just as if she had asked it aloud; and in another moment it was out of sight.
Alice remained looking thoughtfully at the mushroom for a minute, trying to make out which were the two sides of it; and as it was perfectly round, she found this a very difficult question. However, at last she stretched her arms round it as far as they would go, and broke off a bit of the edge with each hand.
`And now which is which?' she said to herself, and nibbled a little of the right-hand bit to try the effect: the next moment she felt a violent blow underneath her chin: it had struck her foot!
She was a good deal frightened by this very sudden change, but she felt that there was no time to be lost, as she was shrinking rapidly; so she set to work at once to eat some of the other bit. Her chin was pressed so closely against her foot, that there was hardly room to open her mouth; but she did it at last, and managed to swallow a morsel of the left hand bit.”
I place the book down and grab the plate, hungrier than I initially thought. I eat keenly, practically licking my fingers off when I’m done. As soon as my stomach is filled, I find myself advancing deeper into the book. Pages are flipped rapidly as I enter Wonderland as if it’s my own world. I’m so deeply in it; I end up at the last page within a few hours.
`Wake up, Alice dear!' said her sister; `Why, what a long sleep you've had!'
`Oh, I've had such a curious dream!' said Alice, and she told her sister, as well as she could remember them, all these strange Adventures of hers that you have just been reading about; and when she had finished, her sister kissed her, and said, `It WAS a curious dream, dear, certainly: but now run in to your tea; it's getting late.' So Alice got up and ran off, thinking while she ran, as well she might, what a wonderful dream it had been.
But her sister sat still just as she left her, leaning her head on her hand, watching the setting sun, and thinking of little Alice and all her wonderful Adventures, till she too began dreaming after a fashion, and this was her dream:--
First, she dreamed of little Alice herself, and once again the tiny hands were clasped upon her knee, and the bright eager eyes were looking up into hers--she could hear the very tones of her voice, and see that queer little toss of her head to keep back the wandering hair that WOULD always get into her eyes--and still as she listened, or seemed to listen, the whole place around her became alive the strange creatures of her little sister's dream.
The long grass rustled at her feet as the White Rabbit hurried by--the frightened Mouse splashed his way through the neighbouring pool--she could hear the rattle of the teacups as the March Hare and his friends shared their never-ending meal, and the shrill voice of the Queen ordering off her unfortunate guests to execution--once more the pig-baby was sneezing on the Duchess's knee, while plates and dishes crashed around it--once more the shriek of the Gryphon, the squeaking of the Lizard's slate-pencil, and the choking of the suppressed guinea-pigs, filled the air, mixed up with the distant sobs of the miserable Mock Turtle.
So she sat on, with closed eyes, and half believed herself in Wonderland, though she knew she had but to open them again, and all would change to dull reality--the grass would be only rustling in the wind, and the pool rippling to the waving of the reeds--the rattling teacups would change to tinkling sheep- bells, and the Queen's shrill cries to the voice of the shepherd boy--and the sneeze of the baby, the shriek of the Gryphon, and all thy other queer noises, would change (she knew) to the confused clamour of the busy farm-yard--while the lowing of the cattle in the distance would take the place of the Mock Turtle's heavy sobs.
Lastly, she pictured to herself how this same little sister of hers would, in the after-time, be herself a grown woman; and how she would keep, through all her riper years, the simple and loving heart of her childhood: and how she would gather about her other little children, and make THEIR eyes bright and eager with many a strange tale, perhaps even with the dream of Wonderland of long ago: and how she would feel with all their simple sorrows, and find a pleasure in all their simple joys, remembering her own child-life, and the happy summer days.
I shut the book with a sigh.
“Well that was a waste of time,” I mutter.
“Is your book finished?” enquires Conscience.
“Yeah why?” I huff.
“I’ve been instructed to warn Samson Strife as soon as you were finished. I’ll do that right this instant.”
“Whatever,” I mumble, flipping the book once or twice in my hands before setting it on the small bedside table. “Anyway all this nonsense about Wonderland has got me in the mood for a little nocturnal expedition,” I decide, standing up and walking to the door. As I pull on the handle, I’m met with resistance. I pull again, only to realise it’s locked. “What?”
“Must I remind you that the doors shut at 10 o’clock every night?” the intercom provides. “It’s currently eleven thirty PM. It’s late. You should go to sleep.”
“Yes, mom,” I say sarcastically, rolling my eyes.
“It’s Conscience. I thought we made that clear earlier,” the voice replies. “You need to go to sleep. You’re tired.”
“I’m not,” I shake my head, but a wave of fatigue suddenly hits me and I yawn. I shake my head once, trying to shake the weariness out of my body. As my gaze drifts, I notice some vents at the bottom of the walls are open, a small filet of grey gas escaping them.
“Conscience what’s that?!” I question, blinking rapidly.
“Sleeping gas. Samson’s orders. Subject 013 needs to head to bed.” Sleeping gas?!
The voice is different. It lacks the somewhat warmth Conscience has when responding.
“This is getting ridiculous,” I snarl. “I can put myself to bed alone, thank you very much,” I continue, anger brusquely surging through me. I mechanically hold a hand out towards the leaking vent, and push my anger out with my mind. A jet of ice escapes my palms and latches itself on the open vent, stopping the gas. “There.”
“Starting immediate heating of the room,” the intercom declares.
A strong wave of heat hits the room, making the ice melt in a matter of seconds. I’m starting to believe Liam is right when he says it isn’t going to be a vacation here.
My eyelids are heavy as I drag myself to the bed before dropping face first in it.
“There’s no way I’m staying here if I’m forced to sleep when he wants me too,” I decide under my breath. Wearily, I manage to slip under the sheets. I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow.