Ideas, commonly known as 'Visions', are no gift.
Visions are dangerous.
Visions are only to be used under careful government supervision as decreed by our Commander and saviour.


3. Alastair's Head

“Doctor and Miss Anders,”

A voice booms around, making Alastair’s head wobble. His head was already spinning from the finger prick for his blood to be taken for identification.

I hate blood. Why couldn’t my fingerprint be enough?

No, stop. Thinking was bad. Thinking brought fear.

 “Welcome to the College.”

Alastair concentrates as hard as he can on the voice above him instead of his nausea. It’s robotic, circling the inside of his skull. It’s like it was right beside him, whispering in his ear. Though his hand is on Kathryn’s to comfort her, it’s probably steadying him more.

“You have been brought to the Commander’s attention for using Visions without permission. You must be helped to remove these from your mind.” The robot starts again.

Kathryn opens her mouth at the wrong time again. Alastair shoots a frown down at her.

He would normally laugh at the childish pout she gives back to him, but he daren’t now.

Fiddling with his sleeve, the guards break down their human prison and leave the two in the room alone. The dark is suffocating. This wasn’t the court room like Alastair was expecting, like Alastair got last time he was here. The walls are cold. The air is cold. Everything screams “get out now!”, but the voice seems so relaxed, so enticing.

 “There is nothing to fear. You have been escorted here for your own safety. We are here to cleanse you.”

The harder Alastair focuses on the voice, the steadier the world becomes. He liked that.

The voice sounds too tempting. It feels as though it’s attempting to be a breath of fresh air washing over them, trying to turn them to change their ways.

Should I let it?

“Visions, previously known as ideas, have haunted our society since time began. They enter minds and make a nest, producing thoughts of a... nasty nature.”

Kathryn rolls her eyes but Alastair takes no notice. He gives her a sharp squeeze of the hand. She scowls once more but he is blind to it. He had to get them out alive. There was no room for defiance. No room for mistakes.

Maybe this voice speaks hope for us two.Maybe Kathryn could listen to this voice. It’d be better than listening to my bright ideas that got us here in the first place...

“People believed they could improve their own reality, causing chaos. Many were lost to these parasites, too distorted by Visions to be cleansed, but we also saved many lives. Our Commander thankfully stepped in at the right moment, defeating those too overcome to see sense and restoring peace and perfection to our world. The Visions were not all destroyed, but we continue to work to free our people from the Visions’ torment. At The College, we are here to save you.

“Miss Anders.”

Kathryn jumps out her skin as the speaker sounds her name. It continues on,

“You have not been responding to our school scheme. You are frequently pulled aside for further, extensive exercises from our specialist teachers due to being at a high risk of being afflicted by Visions. The drawing in your textbook presented to us yesterday proves our suspicions and, with simple treatments, you can re-enter society free.”

Folding her arms across her chest, Kathryn blurts out a raspberry. She shakes her head and lets out a sneering snigger that makes her snort.

She grins at Alastair, but he tries his best to ignore it.

Her arms drop to her sides. Alastair just hangs his head.

I’ve got to get her out of this mess.

“Doctor Anders, you shall also be re-tested for Visions due to your genetic impurities.”

Alastair closes his eyes and lets out a silent sigh.

I should’ve known better. All this time, it was my fault that my little baby was under the Commander’s radar. Just because of my own stupid mistake when I was young.

Why hadn’t I understood this before?

Why did I involve her in a cause that we had no reason to fight for?

 “Now, please follow the guards that will appear behind the door in front of you. You have been specially selected to meet our Commander who will prepare you for the process. We will save society from the Visions' grip. We will cleanse you.”


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