I am Kira. I am 1.


9. Chapter Eight



I never quite understood how long minutes could stretch out until I was laying in that white hospital bed for hours; scared, anxious, and confused. And fear. Reoccurring. Fear. Fear. Fear. It was all around me, in the air, like I could almost reach out and scoop it up with my hand. It kept getting stronger, stronger and stronger. I had been scared the minute I woke up a few days ago and I could feel the fear as soon as I was conscious every single time. It was the same thing, the same vibe, surrounding me from others to, they were scared... and it was getting worse. More and more fear. From Asha, from me... Everywhere.

I kept trying not to look at my wrist, holding back the numerous questions I wanted answers too. Every time I thought too much a dull ache would pound in my temple and I was clouded by the series of numbers I just couldn't forget. It was almost as though my brain was warning me not to think about anything... but not thinking about anything was like boredom. Seconds would slowly creep by, dragging and dragging along. It almost made the pain seem a better option. I just wanted to think. I wanted to know more. Feel more. Be more...

I couldn't.

It was like standing on one side of an obstacle course.

1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. Like soldiers keeping me back, littering my way with their force.

And then a great canyon lay after them. A gap in my brain where there was nothing... but there was something... some kind of energy. A void of energy. If I could just push through, I could maybe get across. But I couldn't get across. I tried and tried, seeing my memories, the people I knew, I could almost feel the thing which made me feel really like me, standing on the other side.

But, I couldn't grasp it all.

I could almost feel it as I reached out, but my arms weren't long enough to stretch the canyons width.

Sometimes I was stronger, I could almost get it all back, holding on tight. Then it was gone. I couldn't get over the canyon, losing my grip and slipping. Flung back into the 1's. Again. And again. And again.

1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1.

I couldn't win. It wouldn't let me.

I rolled over onto my side, casting my eyes around the room. I needed some solid reality. I needed to get out of my own head, it was only dangerous.

Another distraction. "Do you feel as scared as I do?" Asha's voice spoke out to me and I focused my eyes on her. I contemplated what to answer. She looked as frightened as I felt, I wanted to say yes but something told me I needed to be stronger than this.

I still nodded, adding, "but we need to be strong."

Before she made any form of reply something changed in her face. She suddenly looked pained, holding her head in her hands. I wanted to ask what was going on, but somehow I knew already. Her voice was weak and pained, "I can't stop it. It's getting stronger."

I didn't know what to say. I felt it to but somehow, I could still hold it back. Some unknown strength was keeping me more stable. It was just like the situation that I could get snippets of memory and she couldn't. Clearly something was stronger in my brain than it was in hers. I could fight it better.

"Asha," I said gently and she looked up, still holding her head. "Is there anything else? In your mind, anything at all? Can you focus on that instead?"

Her eyes closed shut and she kept shaking her head, she tried to speak but her voice broke and wouldn't come out. She was squeezing her head harder with her hands. I felt helpless. How could I help? Was this what happened when I become too overwhelmed by the 1's?

"Asha!" I called but she wouldn't open her eyes. I trembled nervously as she started muttering to herself. 313. Her number. 313.


1... 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. No. I shook my head. Not me too. I had to be strong.

I pulled my eyes open, not even aware I had closed then. "Asha," I tried to be sterner, tried to break through what I knew was going on in her head. "Listen to me." I got up, taking hold of her arms. "It's okay. You can fight it off." I paused, taking in a shaky breath. "Asha, that's your name. You are Asha. Asha Ryder."

Her murmuring had slowed down, her shaking slightly less intense. Maybe I was doing some good.

"I'm here. I'm Kira. I'm here, I won't hurt you. Open your eyes." I continued to speak to her, hoping she could hear me.

Slowly very slowly she lifted her head, her murmuring lulled to a stop. "Asha." She nodded at me. "Open your eyes." And she did. Her hazy eyes made her look stunned, still a little out of it but she was still there. I could sense her consciousness.

I'd helped her fight back.

She didn't say anything for a while, shaking still. Then she looked at me more directly, her eyes taking on a less hazy quality. Her voice was hoarse though but she managed to speak out, "thank you." I tried to smile at her, thought maybe it would be encouraging, but the whole experience had rather shaken me too much to be anything but more intently scared. I could only stare in fear. 

What was it that was making this happen to us?

It was like suddenly a surge went through our brains, strongly trying to take over.

The doctors told me amnesia but this, this whole thing, it felt different. It had to be. It was like something... or maybe someone, was trying to take over our brains. Something was trying to fill it up with the numbers, like codes, so that we could no longer feel ourselves. And the numbers on our wrists, they told us what was taking over us.

1. It was trying to win. 1. 1. 1. But it's only a number, how could a number take over someone? How?

There had to be someone behind this or something more. I just didn't know what yet.

"Kira, it's time for your tests."

I hadn't even heard him come in. His voice filled me with even more dread.

I looked back to Asha and sensed she was scared still. More fear, growing and growing.

She caught my eye and whispered very quietly, so she was barely speaking: "Don't tell them. Don't tell them anything."

I nodded slightly, remembering our promise, hoping Doctor Stevens hadn't noticed our exchange.

"Kira," Doctor Stevens said my name again, louder this time. I didn't like his voice and the way my name sounded so bitter when he said it.

I slowly turned, looking anywhere but at his face; I didn't want to make eye contact. 

He pointed to the door. "This way."

Whatever was going to happen next, I didn't feel as though it would be anything good... but would it give me any answers to the mess I was in?

It was time to find out. 


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