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This story is set in present time. Not future.
Millie was dressed in her soft blue swimsuit and overalls, sitting in her mother’s car while she put gas in the tank. She was looking in her lap at the party invitation she received just after school from her friend Miles.
It was going to be at his lake house; she knew it was private and calm since she’d been there before. School had ended that day so he was holding his usual end-of-the-year party.
Her mother came back in the car and started the engine, glancing at her watch to the car’s clock, and then the invitation.
“Oh my God, we’re going to be late!”
“Mom, don’t sweat it, everyone’s going to be late.” Like she’s going to listen, Millie thought.
“Well hey there Millie!”
“We’re early aren’t we?”
“Yeah, but that’s okay you can help me with a few things.”
Millie and her mother had driven around the dusty roads, which her mother was angry about it, since she'd just had the car washed and it was jet black. Millie told her not to worry, that the sprinklers would take care of it for sure.
They went to the back of the house, the lake house itself like a huge wooden mansion. The fence was high and it blocked out anything and everything for miles long. Millie walked through the high fence’s door, waving goodbye to her mother. The lake was pretty much their entire backyard, and a gorgeous site at that. There was a dock, boats, things to float with, party favors, and a long table full of food and drinks on the lawn.
“What do you need help with Miles? Looks as if you’ve got everything set up.”
“I need help dancing!” Miles took both her hands and started spinning her around. Miles was a good-looking boy of about fourteen. He had sandy blonde hair and bright green eyes that shone with total mischief, broad shoulders, but a lean frame.
“You’re not very good at waltzing… especially to this kind of music.”
“But that’s what makes it so exciting!” Miles held his arms out and spun around in circles. He acts so young for fourteen, she thought, joining him in the spin.
Later on, when the sun was high, the music blaring, and all the guests had arrived everyone seemed to be having a good time. Some people were splashing in the lake, peddling out into it, or dancing or lounging. Most of them stayed near the stereo, where all the food and music was. There seemed to be an endless supply of food at Miles's party.
“Miles, where’s the bathroom?” Millie asked.
“In the house,” came the reply.
“Miles c’mon! I really gotta go!” Millie jumped around, feeling like she was about to explode.
“That’s what the lake is for, Piddow.” “Piddow” was a childhood nickname Miles had given Millie when they were younger.
“Don’t make me use your nickname...” She grinned wickedly.
“It’s the third door to the right,” he squeaked, hiding behind one of the kids at the party.
Millie took a deep breath and ran into the house, then slowed down to a walk. She didn't want to slip; she'd just gotten out of the lake and the floors were wooden.
Miles's father worked somewhere 'top secret', and even though she’d known Miles for such a long time she still wasn’t quite clear at what he did. As a matter of fact, she thought, Miles doesn’t really know either…
All she knew was that he went to work early, and sometimes didn’t come home for weeks. He worked with prodigy children, where there weren’t many adults, and security was tight. He always sent the weekly paycheck to his wife though. They love each other so much, and she’s always faithful no matter what. Millie sighed, looking at a family portrait hanging in the hallway. Miles was in the front, his older sister beside him. They had sandy blonde hair, inherited from their dad. Their mother had long brown hair and the same dark green eyes Miles had. They were almost the perfect family. Everyone was beautiful and they lived in rich houses, and they were those nice people at the end of the road anyone could go to. The only fault was that the father was rarely home, only sending gifts and paychecks most of the time.
“I still wish I was apart of this family…” She snapped out of her daze, hearing something in the back room.
“Is someone there?” she called out walking down a small flight of stairs and into a room. There was a slight rustling sound behind her. She spun around but saw nothing. She was in a small dark room. There was a cabinet near the wall behind her, next to the door and a closet in front of her. The only light in the room was from the very small window, which had thick red curtains over it and shed an eerie orange-red light.
“Miles stop joking around. Just come out,” she said, a little scared, hoping it was just Miles playing a trick on her.
She was looking at the closet, standing far from it with her arms crossed. She was getting goose bumps and didn’t want to get any closer to the door. Her imagination was running wild with ideas. A monster? Wait, monsters don’t exist! Okay, maybe they do…
“Okay, I know you’re in there, so just come out!” she cried.
Slowly the door creaked open; Millie’s eyes widen to know it wasn’t Miles. It wasn’t Miles at all.
It was just some guy.
She sighed exasperatedly, “You scared me half to death. How the heck did you get down here?” He didn’t say anything. She was studying him. He was tall with glasses and had dark skin with khaki pants and a red V-neck shirt. He’s well dressed but it’s not a kind of wardrobe you’d wear to a pool party, she observed.
She glanced around her and noticed three other kids. She turned to look at one. He was tall as well, and a little scrawny. He had straight black hair and Philippine look. He wore a cream white shirt and black pants. There was a girl beside him. She looked similar to him, but you could tell by her bone structure she was probably from Japan. She was wearing a sundress, with long black hair. And the last one was another boy who looked very well fit in. He had the droopy tan shorts with a lot of pockets, the blue Hawaiian kind of shirt, the brown highlighted spiked up hair, and pale slightly sunburned skin.
“Who are you all?” They stood around her like they were soaking her looks in. “Listen, I was just trying to find the bathroom and I heard something! I wasn’t snooping.” They seemed to calm down after she said that. They glanced at each other, smiling and nodding. The African-American boy nodded his head to each person, pronouncing their names. The Philippine one was named Grajo, the girl was Kairoku, the well fit in one was Josh, and he himself was Aaron.
“What’s your name?” He had a deep voice.
“My name? It’s Millie. Okay, I really have got to find a bathroom, or there’s going to be a serious accident that no one wants to see,” she warned. They glanced at each other and gathered closer around her. Josh grabbed her arm with a strong grip and literally dragged her to the nearest restroom.
When she got out, they were still there, just standing around.
“Don’t you guys ever talk?”
Aaron shook his head. “We hardly ever do.”
“What about you, Josh?”
He only shook his head.
“You guys are some real conversation starters. What’s wrong? Cat got your tongue?”
“No, actually. They just don’t have the ability to talk as I do. They’re voice boxes haven’t yet been completed by Mr. Anero. Since they have to be personalized and re-wired. The last time they were fried.” Everyone but Millie nodded. She laughed.
“What are you getting at? Are you robots or something?” She laughed harder at the notion, her legs becoming weak.
“No, we’re not robots.” They had walked to the stairs, where Millie was relieved to see the sliding door. All of them were sitting on the stairs, except for Aaron who was standing in front of Millie, blocking her way to go outside.
“Okay, never mind. You’re all just those science geeks right? I mean look at what you’re wearing to a pool party!” she laughed.
“We used to be children, although we had mental and physical disabilities, but thanks to Mr. Anero, we don’t. Even though it took years of work, and now we’re not fully human anymore. Most of our brains, guts, and features are robotic.”
“Why are you telling me this?”
Aaron looked at her, squinting his eyes. “You found us downstairs. You at least have the right to know why we were down there, and our pasts. ”
“I was about to ask that. But let me guess.”
Millie took a dramatic sigh, and in a melodramatic voice, she said, “Mr. Areno brought you back from his lab to work on you some more while he was at home, since he hardly ever gets any breaks, and he has some sort of lab down there to work on you with, and while he’s finishing your…" she stumbled for a moment, then continued, "voice boxes he’s letting you roam around in that creepy den,” she laughed, trying to restrain herself.
Aaron nodded. “You’re almost wholly correct.”
Millie's laughter stopped, and she gazed at Aaron with disbelief. “What?”
She heard the door slide open. She looked back at Aaron, warning him, “Don’t you tell anyone what you just told me, understand?”
“Do not tell anyone!”
“Millie, you’re missing all the good stuff!” Miles called from the doorway.
“Yeah, I’m coming Miles. I just ran into some people on the way to the bathroom,” she yelled back. She glanced at them as she walked away. They were staring at her; it was like they were asking for help. She sighed and smiled at Miles. He’d come to the top of the stairs and hugged her.
“… Who are they?”
“Those kids down there, who are they?” He pointed.
“That’s Grajo, Kairoku, Aaron, and Josh.”
“I don’t know them, what are they doing here?”
“I brought them,” she said quickly.
“Millie works in mysterious ways,” she grinned. He laughed, peeking back at them.
“Okay then… are they going to come up and party?”
“Uh… no, I think they like the dark. But whatever, let’s go, c’mon.” She grabbed his hand and dragged him outside where the music was blaring and everyone was splashing around in the lake. She felt calmer, and just wanted to forget those freaks in the basement, whoever they were.
But Miles didn’t even know who they were, so he couldn’t have invited them. Aaron could be telling the truth for all I know.
Mr. Areno was at home that night, sitting at the kitchen table with Miles, Millie, and his wife. Miles’s older sister was away at college so Millie had her seat at the table.
“So you’re spending the night Millie?” asked Miles's mother.
“Yeah, sadly.” Millie nudged Miles, grinning.
“It’s terrible, I don’t think I can put up with her anymore, Dad!” He nudged her back. Mr. Areno and his lovely wife Nita laughed together.
“Well, we set Millie up in the downstairs living room. You can sleep down there with her if you want to. We have the video games and all down there as well,” Nita said. She hardly ever spoke above a whisper.
“Thanks Nita! Now I can whoop your butt at Mortal Combat, Mr. Pudding-Pants.”
“Yeah right, Piddow!”
Millie looked around the table at the smiling parents. She grinned back at them, “May we be excused?”
“I’ll clean up tomorrow, Mom!”
“Go, go, go!” Nita swatted them away downstairs, their footsteps rocking the house as they raced to the living room. It wasn’t far from the stairs, just a few hallways down.
“This place is like a mansion!”
“It can be pretty scary when you’re the only kid.” He was searching for a light. The moon was shining in through the fairly large window. Suddenly Millie felt hands on her waist, Miles was trying to scare her and, obviously, tickle her as well. She squeaked and ran to the other side of the room laughing, the lights flipping on. There was a bar with stools in one corner of the room, and a big-screen television set on the other. A soft white couch was in front of the TV with a matching chair on the left side. In front of the couch was a coffee table, covered completely in video games, with game consoles heaped in front of the entertainment center.
“I’m in Heaven…” Millie whispered, gazing wide-eyed.
“Ah this is nothing! You ought to see the arcade room,” Miles grinned.
“That is so not fair!”
“Yeah, I know.”
When they started getting sleepy, after playing what seemed like a hundred video games, they crashed out on the couch. Sometime in the wee hours of the morning Mr. Areno came downstairs and put a blanket over them. Millie had woken up just barely to see it, but fell back asleep. When she was awoken the next time, it was by the strange kids. Miles could sleep through anything, so he didn’t wake when she jumped up, but snorted and turned over on his side, mumbling something about chocolate.
“What are you doing here?” she exclaimed quietly.
Aaron said, “We just came to get you.”
“Get me for what?” she nearly yelled. She was tired and cranky.
“You know for what; you found us.”
“I told you, it was an accident!” They glanced at each other.
“But you know about us. Mr. Areno told us to come and get you.”
“You told Mr. Areno what happened?” she shrieked.
Aaron nodded, “Of course! We don’t tell lies, so when he asked us if anything exciting happened we told him that.”
“But you’re kids, you’re supposed to lie,” she whined to them. She was holding onto the arm of the couch, her knees bent slightly from the surprise.
“If you don’t come with us, we’ll make you,” Aaron said gently. He wasn’t fully robotic; he had feelings. He put his hand on her shoulder, the first physical contact they had. She took his hand and removed it from her shoulder. It’s just like any other kid’s hand, she thought.
“Listen, just come okay? We’re not going to hurt you or kill you.” He sounded like a teenager, not so old. It made her trust him more.
She nodded, “Okay. No funny business.”
“No, none. ”
They lead her to Mr. Areno, through the hallways and doorways. Mr. Areno was sitting at a desk in a maple kind of room. There were scientific instruments, books, papers, blueprints, and four computers. He looked up and smiled meekly at Millie.
“Thanks KAGJ*. Hello Millie. We have something important to talk about.”
“As long as it’s weird, you have my attention.”
Mr. Areno smiled sympathetically, chuckled, and said, “Please, sit.”
She sat. She was still in her clothes, now wrinkled and dirty. He was in a pressed, dry-cleaned suit probably getting ready to leave for work.
“We might as well get right down to it. Please do excuse my bluntness.
“I was going to have someone from my work come over with his daughter and look over the KAGJ team. I had told KAGJ that I was bringing a girl about your size and age downstairs to observe, so that lead to you. You were looking for the bathroom, correct?”
“Yeah, and I got lost and found these guys. I thought they were kids from the party but when they told me about… them, and Miles claimed to not know them, I thought something was up. And Josh was really the only one who could pass for being here party wise, the other’s look too… goody-goody.”
He chuckled. He was wiping his glasses, looking down at a piece of paper and back up to Millie. The KAGJ team was standing in the back of the room among themselves, apparently doing sign language.
“Ah, I see. Well, Millie, I have some bad news for you.”
“You can’t stay here.”
“No, I mean… you can’t stay in this city. You’ll have to come with me to my work area.”
Millie sat and blinked. She was sitting up with a straight back, her hair slightly tussled, her clothes wrinkled badly. She was looking at Mr. Areno as if he'd gone crazy, but she didn't fully understand him either.
“B-but what about my family? What about Miles?”
“You will come back.”
“I was afraid of that. But I don’t know. Not for a long time.”
“Where and why do I have to go?”
“I can’t tell you where. But I can tell you why.”
“I told you that a friend at my work was bringing his daughter over. Well, the reason why is because we’re doing experiments on regular children. I work with prodigies, and I work with children who have disabilities. And about fifteen or sixteen years ago, the people at my work developed a way to let them become… normal. It’s not such a thing as them being born with tumors because public doctors do those things. But instead, we’ve found a way to electronically help them. For those who have incurable diseases, and incurable ways of looks, we can help through electronics!
“Take Josh for an example. When he came to us fifteen years ago, he had very bad physical features, malignant tumors on his lips that couldn’t be removed; he had embarrassing birthmarks as well, but now look at him! We used microchips and synthetic parts to reform his face, and it was all painless. He’s part machine, and part human. We can’t build machines to look like humans just yet, but we can put machine parts into humans. If there’s anything wrong with them that they don’t like, they won’t have to go through all that painful plastic surgery. All they’ll have to do is rebuild them selves with machine parts! And if they didn’t like their voice, that could be fixed as well. Smokers who are addicted to nicotine can be helped through this program. Drug addicts, alcoholics, and workaholics even! We can change them for them to be what they want. Do you understand?”
Millie sat in silence, soaking it all in. She was visibly shaking.
“But that’s what willpower is for.”
“But most people these days don’t even try! They don’t have confidence; they don’t have the self-esteem. Today’s role models are people who are supposedly perfect. They have those slim bodies, the perfect hair, and the perfect bone structure. But now, regular unknown people can be like that too, and get attention for it! And it costs less than plastic surgery. Millie, I’ve known you for a long time, and I wish you hadn’t been dragged into this. You’re a normal, healthy, fourteen year-old girl, and that’s just what I needed for this experiment.”
Her eyes filled with tears. “Do you want to rebuild me or something?”
“No, no of course not.” He stood up and knelt besides her, taking her hand. “Millie, I just want to test on you. They know about you, you know everything, and, it’s a little cliché, but you’ve got to fill in for that girl. You fit the criteria! You’re perfect for it. You’ll probably change a little in the process, but we can bring you back. Millie, if you do this, you’ll be legend to the science world.”
“What about my family? My friends?”
“I thought about that. And what I’ve come up with is that you ran away. You ran away while you were at your friend’s house. It will be on the news, missing posters will come up, your parents will be worried, but at least you won’t be dead. They won’t know anything.”
“Isn’t that a little drastic?” Her throat was dry and she felt like kneeling over and crying. What’ve I gotten myself into? Why does it have to be me? She kept thinking.
“Millie, they can’t know. If they know, then I’ll be fired and then this whole project will go down in the drains. That’s why I need you. I need you to be there for me, and for science. You will see your parents again, I promise you that.”
“Mr. Areno, I’ve known you for as long as I can remember. I trust your word, but you have to trust mine and you have to let me do one thing in order for me to agree to do this assignment.”
“What is it?”
“You have to let me send letters. I won’t say where I am or what I’m doing, but while I can, you have to let me send letters from there to my parents and to Miles. Do you promise?”
Mr. Areno looked as though he was thinking hard.
“Yes, alright. I’ll let you send letters to your folks and Miles. But I can’t promise that you’ll have the ability to write.”
“These experiments have consequences. You may lose some of your natural traits and have to re-learn some things, but in no time assured, you’ll be back to normal.”
“Okay, okay I’ll do it.” She exhaled heavily, her eyes and body tired.
When dawn was breaking, KAGJ, Millie, and Mr. Areno got into his van. Something happened to Kairoku, so she was put into this very large, silvery box.
“Is she lying in that thing? What about air?”
“There are little air holes on the side of the box. Something broke down so I had to let her sleep, or turn her off.”
“You can turn these things off?” She glanced into the back seat at the three others, whom were all gazing out he window into the dawn. Mr. Areno smiled at her.
“It’s not like switching a switch to make them turn off. Part of her brain is an older model, so when you let her sleep you have to go through some procedures to make her sleepy, allowing her to have a good rest instead of being bothered by circuiting wires.”
“That makes it clear. But why put her in a box?”
“When she sleeps, nothing can wake her up and her body does just as the regular human body does; it goes limp. So if we were riding in a large truck, she would loll around and probably damage herself, the box is simply to keep her body in one place and not disturb her.”
“Thanks for telling me in English. Is that going to happen to me?”
“No, you’re going to have the newest technology, advanced and all. You're going to be able to do things you’ve never done before.”
“Mr. Areno, do they remember anything of their past at all?”
He was silent for a while.
“We don’t know, really. We don’t touch the memory part of the brain; we simply add on, like we did to Grajo. He remembers things fantastically and his past was one of them. But we took these children when they were so young, that they can’t remember much. That’s also something you’ll be of use for, you’re going to be a very popular girl with everyone, Millie. You’re probably even going to be able to remember things you never thought you knew. Past dreams, your birth, and maybe even having the memory of being in the uterus of your mother! It’s going to be great if you do.”
“I’ll try hard,” she whispered. She looked back at Aaron.
“Aaron, how old are you?”
“I’m sixteen in 4 months, 9 days, and approximately 15 hours 6 minutes, 10 seconds.”
Millie turned back around in the seat and looked at Mr. Areno.
“He’s a math whiz alright.”
Millie felt herself stir and jump slightly, waking up under a hot sun. She was still sitting in the car but her face was a little sunburned from falling asleep by the window. She looked behind her and noticed that the KAGJ team was more relaxed; they looked a little dozy even.
“Are we there yet?” she mumbled, nestling back into her sleeping position.
“It’s an all day drive.” was her reply from Mr. Areno.
“Ah, thought so,” she said while looking at their location. It looked like they were in the desert in Arizona, but she didn’t bother asking because her eyelids decided to droop and close again.
The next time she awoke it was nighttime and Josh was shaking her shoulder to get her up. The car had stopped and her door was wide open, all the kids clouded around her. Even Kairoku was there.
“Here we are, Millie,” said Mr. Areno, closing the trunk door and hauling the case that Kairoku had been resting in. They were in what seemed like a small deserted town. There were houses and large concrete buildings. The houses were old and falling apart, looking like no one had lived in them for ages. Most of the buildings were cracked or peeling, with remains of burned wood, trucks, and old company logos hanging off the ends of their roofs.
They had parked in what seemed like a secluded area or garage. It looked newly built; the ground was clean sand and dirt unlike the rest of the town.
Mr. Areno lead Millie out of the small empty garage, taking her to the front.
“Millie, welcome to The Home.”
Millie gazed up at the huge concrete dome. It hit against the sky, few windows were on the building but those that were there were lit. Though you couldn’t see people walking inside the windows; it was like a big empty museum. Millie stood there gazing before Mr. Areno snapped her out of her gaze and walked her through the sliding glass doors.
They guided her to the elevator. Inside the building was quiet and had professional air, but once the elevator doors opened to their floor, it was like a day care center.
The walls were bright with color, there was paper everywhere; carts in the middle of the large hallway filled with arts and crafts. There were young children running in the hallways with adults, playing tag. It looked as if every child had an adult to accompany them.
“Mr. Areno, do all these children have supervisors?”
“Of course. A different person to each child, but that stops once they get into the two-digit ages.” He smiled. “You won’t be needing one. Come now.”
He strode her through the colored filled rooms, to the end of the hallway where older kids where. None looked older than sixteen.
She had glimpsed in almost every room, noticing the brightly colored bunk beds and doorways, the messy rooms, and the most up-to-date computers she’d ever seen.
“Millie, this is where you’ll stay for the time being.” Mr. Areno opened a brightly painted yellow door, showing her a clean, empty room with little space. A black bunk bed was in the far right corner and it had a small office set up for the lower bunk that had a computer on the small desk, and the upper bunk a plain bed. There was a small table, a chair, a window, and a dresser.
“I don’t have any clothes.”
“You won’t need to worry about that, Millie.”
She wondered why, but made nothing of it. Mr. Areno left with the KAGJ team so she could be alone in her room.
“Welcome home,” she whispered, stepping onto the ladder to sleep on the bunk in her clothes.
That night, she woke up by a sudden dream.
“Miles? Miles?” It was dark and the only sound was a whirring noise down below her. When she tried to get off what she thought was a couch she fell onto the ground with a loud wumph!
“Urgh…” She sat up and looked around. She saw the cerulean glare of the computer, which showed off the rest of the room. No lights were on; everything was silent.
She wasn’t in her regular clothes anymore. Instead she was in plain white pajama pants, and a tank top.
“That’s odd,” she thought. She looked by the bed poll and saw a pair of white slippers. She shrugged and slipped them on, opening her door quietly.
She peered out into the dark hallway. There were a few lights down the corridor but she figured those were for the little kids. She’d have to be quiet.
“Where’s the bathroom in this place?”
She looked to her right, which was a wall with a picture. She walked to her left, slowly and cautiously down the corridor. It wasn’t as messy as it was when she first got there. The floor was shiny and sleek, but her slippers had grip on them to keep her from slipping. When she reached the end of the hallway, she silently opened the door, not even a squeak escaped. She slipped through, looking both ways. One way was total darkness; the other had a green luminous light.
She took the way where the light was.
Watchfully Millie walked down, trying not to breath too loudly. When she came up to where the light was appearing from, she didn’t know what to think.
There was a window, and inside the window two men and a woman stood around a child. His chest was open; that was where the light was coming from. He was fully functional, with little gadgets droning, he was looking at the female who wore a mask; in fact they all wore masks as if they were surgeons. He was talking to the woman who was writing in a notebook. The two males were checking his hair, and one was looking inside of him.
Millie didn’t feel very scared, but slightly excited. That’s going to happen to me, I’m going to be something like that… She wanted to run in there and say that she was ready to be operated on.
“Millie?” Two voices spoke in unison.
She spun around, her hair blocking her view for a second.
“Uh… M-Mr. Areno… I was… I was… I was looking for the bathroom…” How come I always get into something when I’m looking for a bathroom?!
Josh was with him.
“Well, I was about to get you anyway, so you might as well come with me.”
She nodded and followed him. He guided her and Josh to another sort of operating room like the one before. He laid Josh down on a doctor’s table, which lifted him up till he was almost standing.
“The bathroom is just there,” Mr. Areno said.
After her restroom break, he set her on a table as well.
“You were asleep for a long time, Millie. We had a bit of trouble with you.” He put an oxygen mask on her, and injected her with a yellow liquid.
“What do you mean?” Josh was besides her gazing out the large window in front of them, his chest and stomach opened. He had blood, and only some things were machine. Mr. Areno had put a plastic sheet around him, to probably keep the bacteria away.
“Well, you wouldn’t stop dreaming. You were calling for Miles, your mom, dad, and your brother even.
“We had to give you something to calm you down so we could look you over and change you into some clean clothes.”
Millie felt an empty pit in her stomach.
“Someone dressed me? And you looked me over?” She looked at him.
“It was Lilly, not myself.”
Millie sighed, “Thanks for clearing that one up.”
“We respect your privacy, so don’t worry Millie.”
She smiled meekly at him.
“What, uh… what’re you doing?”
“Millie, while you were sleeping, we had given you a new kind of medicine we’ve been working on. And I’m happy to report that the test results were most excellent. The ‘medicine’ we gave you was a numbing kind for the brain that stopped dreams from coming for a certain amount of time. It blocked the subconscious mind, making it safe to operate on a person. So after we discovered that little finding, we gave you more and we put something into your brain. Every new person here has one, and it’s simply to keep track and make sure everything is flowing fine. It doesn’t have any affect on your personality, thinking patterns, or anything of that matter.”
“… How long was I asleep?”
“We kept you asleep for about 48 hours. We were expecting you to wake up around this hour of the night, but you woke a little earlier than expected.” He chuckled, taking the oxygen mask off. He put in more yellow liquid.
“It’s going to make you sleepy, and I’m giving you little by little so it doesn’t hurt you. I’m going to start some tests with your mind, no operations for awhile.”
“Oh, darn. I’m looking so forward to it.”
Mr. Areno smiled and patted her head.
“Now, just relax a little and get to sleep.”
“But I’ve been sleeping for two days!”
“Right! And a little more won’t kill you.”
Again, she woke up.
“Hmm…” She was in the same operating room before only she was alone, dressed in one of those hospital nightgowns. The lights were on in the hallway and the room. There were kids and doctors walking all around, smiling, talking, and seeming to be enjoying themselves.
She looked at her arms full of tubes and IV’s. She started to take them out, being careless. She felt drowsy and lightheaded, her vision blurring and spinning when she sat up.
Then a doctor came in.
“Ah, I see you’re awake Millie. Right on time.” He smiled through his mask.
“How long have I…?”
“Not very long, a few days maybe but that’s very normal. Are you ready for your first operation?”
“You’re scheduled to have some brain surgery. We’re going to start making you part machine, remember?” he smiled and used expressive facial and hand gestures, as if speaking to Millie like she was a child.
She shook her head.
“Good, you shouldn’t remember talking about it, it’s normal to not remember.”
“Who are you?”
“I’ll tell you after the surgical treatment. But right now you need to lie down and just empty your mind.”
He put her onto the bed again and put the IV’s back into her arm, rolling her away down the brightly lit hallway.
I’m going to be part machine… Oh joy, Millie thought before she fell back into a forced sleep.
* KAGJ team - Kairoku, Aaron, Grajo, and Josh; a nickname for the four people. Pronounced like “cage.”
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