Unaltered

Jaz is a young Unaltered girl, living in a world ruled by rich Modified and controlled by vicious Mechanics. She embarks on a interfallacting journey to raise enough money to undergo the process that will turn her into a Modified, but she ends up in a desperate fight for her life where she finds out more about herself than she'd ever thought possible.

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8. Chapter VII

Chapter VII

Jaz

 

 

He stares at me with his cold robotic gaze, and I glare at him with my hateful one. 

The chores have started, and I work hard from 'daybreak' to 'nightfall.'

As we are lost in the inky nothingness of outer space, there is no down or dusk. No sunrises nor sunsets. Instead we go by time. 

Our day starts at 6h. It ends at 18h. Twelve hours of work, of labour. From 18h to 22h we have free time, when most people just sleep or relax. From 22h to 6h we are forced to sleep, restarting the hours at 24, the same time as they would restart back on earth. 

A day passes. Two. Three. A week. My hair begins to grow out, my natural hair colour showing at the root. 

The same guard is by my door for every second of every hour, and sometimes he tries to talk to me, but all that comes out are stuttered words and harsh sounds. 

I resent him. 

On the thirteenth day, the quiet calmness is shatters. 

Sirens blare. Alarms sound. I panic, running aimlessly out of my room, wincing at the harsh red lighting that floods the hallways. 

"What's going on?" I ask the guard. He is none responsive, gone into some sort of daze. As I look down the hallway, the other guards are in the same state. 

I bolt down the hallway, crashing into someone. A brick wall of a guy. He is about my age, and as I gaze at him, I realize that he is unaltered. And not all that brick-wall-ish. 

He is actually fairly slender, and only about a little over half a head taller than me. His hair is golden blond and falls into his face in slightly curled strands. 

"What's going on?" I gasp. 

"I don't know!" He shouts over the wailing sirens. "Run!" 

He breaks into a sprint, and I follow. We weave through the hallway, and I try to keep track of which way we turn, but my sense of direction was never good, and is even worse now, with the distraction of mind-numbing terror and the scream of the alarms, drilling into my skull. 

We arrive at a hatch, leading into the depths of space. And it is open, air gushing out. The nameless guy is sucked out, and not even thinking, I reach out and grab onto him. 

My feet slip. I am slowly being dragged towards the open hatch, pulled out into space. I grit my teeth, grab onto the nearest fixated object—a pole randomly jutting up from the metal floor, presumably to attach ropes to for space walks—and pull. 

I drag him in from the inky depths of space, and he collapses into my arms. I slam the hatch shut. The alarms abruptly cut off, red lights fading away to normal, and I stand there panting for a moment, the guy still limp in my arms.

"What is your name?" He asks.

"Jaz."

"Luek." 

He raises up onto the his feet a little but, still held in place by my arms. Our faces are inches apart, and I feel his breath tickling my nose. 

"Don't get the wrong idea, Luek." I say, then abruptly let go, dropping him on the floor. 

I stride away, leaving a dumbstruck boy with a wounded pride in my wake. 

---

It turns out, one of the Unaltered, a young girl name Fara, was lost during the panic, presumably through the open hatch. At first it is assumed an accident, but upon inspection of the door and the hinges, it is revealed that the door, sealed shut, had been pried open. Who had done it, was yet to be discovered. 

Days pass. Then a meeting is called, for all workers and passengers alike. 

It is announced that another worker has gone missing, this time without setting off alarms. Whispers pass through the assembled crowd. 

It is announced that fowl play was involved, and that it is presumed that a Modified passenger is to be suspected, or even a crew member. No one knows for certain. For a while, nothing happens. Then another worker goes missing, and another. Soon it's all anyone is talking about, and I make a vow to myself to get to the bottom of it. 

But what could one Unaltered girl possibly do?

 
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