Experiments. That's a weird idea to get your head around when you've basically been part of an experiment for all of your life. The world is an experiment: no one is sure what is going to happen, they can only wait and see. People are experiments since they have their own minds and their own rules that they play the game of life by. It's even weirder when you see an experiment that everyone knows exactly how it'll turn out.
All of the Stolen children who were no use to the demons any more became the Experiments. They were either injured or could resist the demons possessing their minds so Sam and the man and woman I saw decided to give them a better life.
Sam showed me how the useless Stolen children were all laid on beds, just like a hospital ward. There were wires and sensors attached to every possible part of their body and screens above their heads that showed what they were seeing. They were under a drug that made them believe that they were someone else. If they woke up and had to be re-drugged, they would only think that it was a dream in their other life. Any actions they did in their drugged states (eat, drink, sleep, take medication, be injured) impacted their real bodies. It was too complicated to get my head round and I couldn't decide if making children think they were someone else was good or bad.
There was one Experiment that stuck out to me. The clipboard that recorded her details told me that her name was Maria Stallon, fourteen years old with the same birth date as I did: 25, May, 2100. Even with her eyes closed and her body covered with wires, I could tell that she looked exactly like me, including the bright red scar.
I sat on the floor at the foot of Maria's bed, flicking through all of the information on her clipboard. The reports were only updated once a month, sometimes not even that, after November 2113.
Four-day, 21, November, 2113
Although drugged, shows signs of only being unconscious, not dreaming.
Six-day, 23, November, 2113
Is dreaming, nothing more. Is seeing through the eyes of someone else but not believing who she is.
Three-day, 18, December, 2113
Still knows her identity, not believing the dreams.
One-day, 25, February, 2114
Woke up from drugged state. Resisted the drugs for three hours, twenty-seven minutes.
Seven-day, 30, March, 2114
Is in stable drugged condition to begin transportation.
Two-day, 1, April, 2114
Is having dreams that she is Laurali Grigori. Valuable report for Sam.
The girl that looked like me and was the exact same age as me, basically a clone of myself, had dreams that she was me? Could she get into my mind, like Sam, to see through my eyes as my brother spoke to my mind? This girl was a weapon for the Stolen and a danger to me, unless she could only see through my eyes under the drug...
I kept thinking about Maria Stallon as I reluctantly joined Sam to finish the tour and pester him about the voices within me.
“So... how do you do it then? The whole talking-in-Laure's-mind thing?”
Sam smiled, either because he was glad that he had me back under his thumb again or he was still laughing about how stupid I looked with the gauze on my face.
“You're special, Laurali. The voices telling you what to do, such as turn around, run, slam her head against the floor harder, that's me. It was to see if you could follow commands or if you went against the commands to follow your own instinct. All of the other voices are the voices of demons. You have a special mind that's easy to access.”
I sat in silence, absorbing that information. Could anyone besides Sam and the demons talk to me? Were my actions really my own or the ones of someone controlling me? Could I talk back to anyone or get into their minds? Instead of being shocked that demons were in my head, I was still boiling over with unanswered questions that I decided not to ask.
Naturally, I began thinking about Sam's first deal.
“Let me give you a tour of this place, show you my plans, maybe get a little contribution...”
He still owed me a few glimpses of his plans.
There was a map spread out across the table in what I presumed used to be a conference room. It was a roughly drawn map of the world, the continents colored in with different shades of black and white and gray.
That was when I noticed that the colors were changing.
When I first saw the map, New Zealand was light gray and Australia was white. Now, Australia was dark gray and New Zealand was completely black. A group of people stood around the map, recording how the colors changed.
Sam stood beside me and placed a hand on my shoulder. “This, Laurali, is how we see how in control we are.”
The army Stolen were set lose all over the world, rounding up people until they were in one place: South Africa. Anyone who resisted would be joining the army. Sam didn't tell me what he planned to do with all of the Safe people. Turn them into Stolen? Experiments? Slaves? I didn't know but I was expecting that he was building a kingdom and that he would be the one on top with the crown.
“You've seen enough for now, Laurali.”
“You haven't told me the outcome of your plans!”
He smiled that dangerous half smile. “I don't want the result of my plans to cloud your judgment, Laurali. Tell me, would you rather rule in Hell with your brother or just be another servant in Heaven?”
I didn't reply, only stared him stonily in the eyes.
He's behind you, Laure.
A voice. The first one I had heard in days. It was the voice of a girl, so similar to my own that it made me wonder if Maria Stallon sounded like me too. There was always a chance.
Instead of the white skin, dark eyes and red lips that I expected to see on a Stolen child, this one had eyes like silver and pale pink lips. They were still pale but not as much as the other Stolen.
“Soldiers that look like this are the ones that would've been turned into experiments but we still had a use for,” Sam informed me. “They are more like our... personal assistants instead of our actual soldiers. They have weak minds so they are extremely easy to control.”
He nodded at the Stolen assistant who tore his gaze away from me to look at his leader. “This one is Karis. He'll show you to your room and bring you anything you need.”
Before I went to leave the room, Sam grabbed my arm again. “By the way, your friend... Lukas. His execution is scheduled to be three days from now.”
Screaming, I tried to claw at his face as Karis effortlessly put my over his shoulder and carried my out of the room.