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When I wake up, I find myself in the same room, dark and cold. Lonely. Nausea hits me almost instantly, so I remain tucked in bed for a longer while, wondering, thinking. My head cannot think too clearly but I know what I saw and, thankfully, I remember all of it. Max is not Max and my dad isn't who he was before The End. Images of past events over the last 24 hours run through my mind as if they were a marathon, trying to see which one would ingrain itself better inside my confused and disturbed head. I hear a soft knock and I don't answer. I'd rather stay sound asleep. It doesn't work. A guard comes in my room probably to check that I am still there. He sounds astounded that the rebellious teenager hasn't escaped or attempted to and that she's peacefully sleeping, unaware of her surroundings. He doesn't try to do much else other than check the cubicle, to ensure himself that it's not a trap. They are scared. The guards are beginning to fear me. I feel mighty all of a sudden. I have become a bigger threat than they or even I expected. I could use a bit of that power to my advantage. He leaves and closes the door. That's how I know he's a man. The way he locks my room, banging the door, without caring whether the patient is in need of rest. His walking manner is rather violent, his feet stepping on the ground noisily. I get out of bed and search for my bag. I can't find it. They must have taken it. I need to figure out a way to escape but the switch won't turn on, leaving me in darkness. I sit down on the cold tiled floor, waiting for an idea to hit my brain, but I'm so weak at the moment I can barely think straight. Silence is all that accompanies me. And suddenly, a dim light bulb appears over my head. I hear wind, a gentle passing of air from someplace above me. I look up and I see an air duct, almost indistinguishable in this pitch black room yet still standing out thanks to its metallic tones. Determined, I push my bed above it and try to figure out how to open it. Is it toxic to go through it? I don't know. I'm not one to try to sneak through air ducts during my free time, but there is always a first time for everything. It's too tight for me to break it, and so a rather strange idea comes to mind. I barely have any strength but I'm lucky exercise was something that was pushed for in this ship. Even though my body is exhausted, it somehow finds the strength to lift up the metal bed and push one of its legs into the entrance to the duct. The lid falls off, a metallic "bang" is heard, and I start worrying that a noise like that can alert unwanted visitors. I speed up the process, carefully dropping the bed back on the floor and bouncing lightly on the mattress, willing to escape this cell of a room once and for all. My feeble arms are able to push one last time and get me inside, my thin frame able to fit into the small hole that I hope won't allow for guards to pass given that they are much more muscular than me.
Crawling through the tunnel is even more claustrophobic than the dark and unfurnished room I was in. Voices from underneath crawl up like some form of hiss, like a snake crawling with secrets behind me. I feel sick. I reach some part of the aircraft that must be close to the front. It's been a while since I've been inside, so I'm hoping I'm somewhere safer. It won't be much longer until they realise that I've gone missing. Something suddenly makes me stop. A conversation. I know I shouldn't be listening but my ears can't help themselves. I look down through a small crack and see two guards. One of them is a woman, the other a strong, muscular man, although the woman isn't weak either.
"The subjects are all in the room, now. We had to get rid of that one with the bruises. He was too problematic."
"It, you mean it was problematic."
I swallow some saliva. I know they're referring to Max.
"True," she says, letting out a laugh, as if we're nothing but waste. An anecdotic purchase you once made for some stupid reason and so you laugh once you depose yourself of it. A sort of like "it was a waste, really... I don't know why I got that." We aren't human to them. We aren't even teenagers. We are just waste. Unneeded. Unwanted. Uninvited.
"Ok. So, what's next?"
"I don't really know. They told us to put them in the room, sedate them, and have ourselves a bit of free time before tomorrow."
"Huh. I heard something big is gonna happen."
"I don't know about that," she says, "but I kinda want some food. You in?"
"Yeah." He seems dubious, however, as though a thought has crossed his mind and won't leave him.
"What's up?" she says, taking off her helmet. "God, it's hot in this thing." She is actually quite pretty. Full lips, brown eyes, and gorgeous light brown hair with some darker bits in some hidden areas. Her skin is also a little bit tanned, like an olive colour. She is pretty.
"I don't know. The girl... she seems to be... different. She's one of a kind."
She drops her helmet on the ground and kicks it somewhere in the back, her head following the motion until it hits the wall.
"She is just resistant. But in no time she'll be replaced. She can't last long in that room, I tell you. Her mind might be stronger than the rest, but her body is the same as everyone else's. You don't feed 'em and you make 'em sick, they will betray you." She winks an eye and leaves. "You comin'? I'm starving."
All of a sudden, something makes sense. Those syringes contained some poison to make me the way I am now. Useless, unneeded, unwanted. The perfect recipe for human waste. Before I can sob, the alarm goes off. The door has closed behind them already and I doubt they'll come inside the room again and so I let myself fall off the tunnel and run toward some corridor before I go inside the file room. And there, a thousand eyes are staring at me.