Sunday, September 25, 2318
I do not like the new tests. My shoulder burns where they extracted a dermal sample. “All for the best.” Grifkin answers me, “To be sure.” He replies. But for what they will not answer no matter how I try and threaten or how ever angry I become. And I am angry.
I slump back to my cell each day, has it really only been three days? Exhaustion weighs heavy on me, the long days filled with physical tests; running, lifting. There is a room somewhere where tiny vials filled with all parts of me lay, megabites of data float inside computers each with my name. It is unsettling.
The guards have returned, my modicum of freedom has ended. They escort me where I need to go, the door no longer opens for me. My eyes are already closed when my body crashed to the bed at the end of each day. I don’t have time to miss the Library, or his books. I don’t have time to even realize that I still feel safe in this room and to question the sanity in that.
But tonight, as I lay already deep in sleep I was awoken.
“Come, Faylinn.” He whispered. And I went.
We took a door I had never noticed before, to the far left of my own hallway. The guards were gone, everything dark and silent though I felt that it must be nearing morning. We entered an elevator and Tybal pressed a series of buttons, inserted a card and the backlit numbers changed from red to green, the door closed with a ding. It was as if I were flying, we zoomed so high so quickly my ears popped. I had no idea the place was this large.
The room was bright and it took my eyes a long moment to adjust and when they did it took me more minutes to catch my breath. My body tingled. It was a huge room, washed in white lights that hung from the tall ceiling. The air here was thick, hot, scented with a million thousand flowers that were blooming all around us. Every color I had ever imagined spotted brilliantly over lush fields of green, hung from enormous pots, trailed up support beams and threatened the lights, overtaking the room. I had never seen anything so… alive.
“Do you like it?” At those words I remembered Tybal. I rushed back over to him, throwing my arms around his neck.
“I love it.” He hugged me back and for a moment I forgot about the room.
“Let me show you something else.” He took my hand and led me through a semi-clear path towards the far wall. I saw it instantly. It sat, alone, inside a little clay pot on a ledge. “It’s yours.” The flower had already gone to seed, a white puff delicately held together on the stem head. I mourned the loss of the yellow, remembering how desperately I had wanted it. How much it had meant to me then.
“Did you put it there? That night? So I would leave?” I cradled the little pot in my hands.
“No, Faylinn. This is yours, you found this one.”
“Then how did you know?” He looked pained as though there was a fight going on inside of him. I waited as he started, stopped and started again.
“We were monitoring the entire perimiter, as soon as you left I felt it, I knew where you were going.”
“And the note? What was the reason for that?” He pulled something white from his pocket. Why did he still have that scrap of paper? He turned, brushing away a thick leaf on the wall to reveal a display. Music sounded, filling the room, an orchestral piece not frequently heard in the City. So different from their penchant for eletronic mixes.
“Dance with me. Please.” He took the pot from my hands, placing it back on it’s home on the ledge and wrapped my arms around his neck. We swayed to the music before I felt the hush of his breath on my ear. “We must be careful. They listen everywhere, follow our movements. Faylinn, please listen to me. Right now they are pushing you around, telling you where to go and what to do. They keep you like a prisoner, like a pet. But you have to realize that dosen’t have to be the way.”
“I don’t understand.” I whispered, finding his ear.
“And they don’t want you to. Not until they have what they want, not until their tests confirm what they already know. You are Chosen. It will be you they all turn to but they are too blind to see it that way right now. All they want is to control you, they don’t understand that they need to be accepted by you.”
“You’re not making any sense.”
“We don’t have a lot of time. There is so much more I want to tell you but I just can’t right now. I’m not important, Faylinn, I’m no one. Not yet, anyway. If they know I’m telling you these things you’ll wake up one day with a different Consort. One that is on their side, one that won’t look at you and see the things I see. You have to accept me. I know I’ve made mistakes, like with the note but it was the only thing I could think of. The only way to get you to make the choice to go to the Domes. We couldn’t extract you from the Private Sector. The City is too heavily guarded, it’s why your father never left.”
“Did you have to use his words? Did you have to use them against me like that?” I wasn’t nearly as angry as I should have been. To use the dying words of my father to manipulate me had been wrong. And he knew it. But I still couldn’t be mad, not now, not as I swayed in his arms listening to his desperate words. I didn’t even need the apology he gave over and over again.
“What do I need to do?” Before he could answer the music was drowned out by a harsh whir of machinery. I broke away from Tybal, turning to the large outer walls. Slowly, the whitewashed walls rose exposing thick black glass. Higher and higher, until enormous panes reflected the room back to us. We stood silently as I watched my first sunrise. Pinks and orange shot up from behind the black masses of nearby mountains. We were up so high I couldn’t see the ground below. The colors shifted into red, yellow as the sun ascended, aided it seemed by the lure of the music still playing. My entire body vibrated with the sun, the plants, the thick air, the colors. I felt connected to them all. As if I could reach out and tell the plants to grow bigger, force the sun to rise higher, make the air hold more moisture. I felt Tybal next to me, I could feel his warmth, his solidity but where I felt power over these other things I felt none of that with him. Though looking back there was something there, some connection not made, a break in circuit, something I couldn’t quite place my finger on but it was dim and overpowered by the sensation of everything else.
The spell was broken as the door to my room closed behind me. When I realized he had never answered my question, I rushed back to the door only to find it locked once again. I took off my night clothes to get ready for the day. My reflection caught in the mirror. I turned, fingertips feeling their way to the place on the back of my shoulder where they had removed the square inch of skin.
It had already healed.