Lucy’s Diary, May 27th

May 27th, Night, Library

Dear Diary,

Something is going on with R. I’m getting worried. He was supposed to be getting better, but when I visited him today I found him trying to claw his way across the floor. He was sweaty and feverish and I’m positive he was delirious at the time. The doctors aren’t telling me much, because they don’t have proof that I’m a relative.

Diary, I’m scared. I’m terrified, in fact. I feel like every flicker of a light or creak in the floor is someone coming to… to something – kill me, poison me, force me to tell them about R or about how far my parents spread their research on the Parazelli.

Forgive me, my thoughts are completely scattered tonight. I feel a knot in my stomach, and I’m pretty certain that if I try to get up now my whole body will cramp up due to my muscles being so tense.

I don’t know who to ask for help – I don’t know how to help R. But I have to help him. I have to find out what’s

Oh no. Oh no. This is too much. This is just TOO much. My phone just rang, and I answered it, thinking it was R calling me for reassurance that I’ll be there tomorrow morning. Instead, it was his doctor. He said he found my number on a note next to R’s phone and called me. R’s being poisoned. The doctor said that the police are coming in first thing in the morning to interview people at the hospital, because he was being poisoned with snake venom, which is not something that could accidentally have gotten into R’s food by a negligent nurse.

The doctor says R is going to be fine, they’re pumping antidotes into his system. But that’s not what I’m worried about anymore. The Parazelli must be very close, and they’re obviously sending us a message. It’s not like they thought R would die of poison while he’s IN A HOSPITAL. No, this is a warning.

Ok, I have a plan. Not a very elaborate plan, but a plan nonetheless. Something to get me through the night. The plan is this: talk to R tomorrow and figure this out. Yes. Good plan.

I think I better go to my room, Diary, and try to catch some sleep. And tomorrow I shall set my brilliant plan in motion.

Yup.

Lucy

Move [Part VIII]

Marianne was afraid for the first time in days. That is to say, she was consciously afraid – her muscles, whether she knew it or not, had been clenched in a sort of animal fear ever since she had first woken up in that cold steel room. But this was different. Marianne had gotten used to the routine of this place, these facilities in which she acted as lab-rat. Her mind was constantly ticking away and her plan was slowly forming during those short spans of time when she knew she wasn’t monitored as closely.

She was unprepared, therefore, for what was currently taking place. She had come to think of Miss Flanders as a scientist; pure, precise and utterly ruthless when it came to her experiments, one of which was Marianne, Adept [for she had been promoted from Novice apparently] #824. Marianne wasn’t ready for Miss Flanders to come into her room, sit down, and try to chat with her.

When Miss Flanders had entered, Marianne froze in what she had been doing. A panic that she had been discovered rose in her, for she had just been making her usual rounds of the room, jogging, trying to see if she could detect any more cameras in there. She jogged so as to have excuse in case she was asked what she was doing, taking rounds and rounds of the room as she did – exercise, she would reply. She promptly forgot this excuse, however, as the fear of Miss Flanders’ entrance erupted in her mind.

Miss Flanders didn’t ask a thing about what Marianne was doing. She didn’t speak for several minutes, but just sat down on the vacant bed in the room and stared politely at Marianne. Marianne couldn’t help noticing that Miss Flanders’ pupils were very wide, so her eyes looked blacker than ever. She also detected a strange smell about the woman, though she couldn’t explain what it was.

When Miss Flanders opened her mouth and asked Marianne the question, in a false, bubbly voice, Marianne knew that things were only going to get worse from now on, and she had to sit down on her bed to stop her legs from buckling completely.

“So, Marianne, what’s your mom like?” Miss Flanders asked.

“Wh-why? Why are you asking that?” Marianne was thinking furiously, trying to figure out what was happening here. She guessed by now how the Set worked, and she was chilled to her very bone at the thought of what they might do to her mother.

“Oh, I just want to know what you think of her. I mean, dear, all our other volunteer subjects talk about their families all the time,” Miss Flanders’ cheery voice was somehow much scarier than her normal, deep, musical and threatening voice. “You, however, seem rather quiet on the subject. You haven’t, for instance, asked to go home since those first few days.”

“Your OTHER volunteer subject? Meaning you think I’ve volunteered for this?” Marianne tried to take the subject away from her mother, but wasn’t sure whether or not Miss Flanders would see through this.

“Yes, you did. You applied, you got accepted, you signed the papers. Now, what about your mother?”

Marianne gulped. She knew that what was coming wouldn’t be a pleasant interview. She’d lie as well as she could, tell Miss Flanders that she absolutely loathed her mother, tell her whatever it took to try and convince her of that. She knew the truth though. She knew that they were planning something to do with her mother. As she lied fluidly to Miss Flanders, Marianne was speed-thinking, trying to figure out her plan and how she could carry it out quicker than she had intended. She resolved, as Miss Flanders raised her eyebrows in disbelief at Marianne’s lies, to begin practicing.

I’ll practice every night if I have to, she thought to herself. We’ll see how they like a taste of defiance soon enough.

Move [Part IV]


Hannah, a forty-three year old woman, sat in her kitchen on a cold winter day and tried to read the paper. She wasn’t very successful, as her thoughts kept straying from the latest accidents and political upheavals and wandering off towards the letter lying open next to her.

She sighed and shoved the newspaper away from her, picking up the letter instead. She read it through once more, and sighed again. This was the sixth week that her Annie hadn’t come home. She had promised she’d be back every week – she’d promised! – but instead, every week without fail, Hannah received a letter from her. This week was no different. The letter read:

Dear Mom,

Hey! How are you? I’m so sorry, but I can’t come home this weekend either. I know, I know I promised, and I WILL be seeing you soon, it’s just that there’s so much to do here that I really can’t miss out on a weekend because I’ll fall dreadfully behind. OK, I know what you’re thinking, Mom, and NO, there isn’t some boy who’s keeping me busy. It’s seriously my studies.

The Set have us working super hard, but it’s all so interesting! I know I nattered on about this last week, but seriously, the internet connection is just so fast that I can’t even imagine how impatient I’ll be with the one at home when I come visit! They don’t let us access any E-mail sites though, which is why I have to write you in the old fashioned way. Anyway, I really do love my classes and all the things they’re teaching us here – my favorite teacher is Miss Flanders, she’s got this really amazing way of keeping us all in line by being totally charming – no one ever wants to interrupt her, she’s got such an amazing presence!

Anyway Mom, I really hope you’re not mad at me – you know that I hate that… I’ll try to call next week if I have time and maybe even come visit. Hope you’re doing OK, I miss you!

Much love,

Marianne

Hannah absentmindedly wiped the tears from her eyes as she looked at the printed page. She knew Marianne always typed when she could, as her handwriting was really quite messy. Still, Hannah was still of the generation that liked signed letters. She also wondered about this whole “Marianne” business. She only called her daughter that when she was angry – most of the time she was Annie for her, and Marianne hardly ever used her full name anywhere. It was only the name on her birth certificate and passport. Other than that, everyone, not only Hannah, called her Annie. How odd, Hannah thought to herself once more. She folded the letter back into it’s envelope with an air of resignation. Maybe Annie will really call next week – she thought to herself – I hope so.

Move [Part III]

Marianne was awakened, as always, by the rattling of the dumbwaiter as it clattered to a halt at the level of this room. She stretched her aching limbs, which were sore both from lack of movement and from the constant clenching they underwent when Marianne tried to move objects with her mind.

She got up off the thin mattress and went into the tiny steel-covered bathroom that was connected to the room by a sliding, metal door. There was no mirror in there of course, and Marianne wondered, for the hundredth time, what she looked like. She wondered if she looked gaunt and pale from lack of sunlight or just haggard from lack of sleep. In truth, she looked neither gaunt, nor pale, nor haggard. She didn’t know this, but the lights in the steel room were special – they imitated the light that the sun gave off and filled her skin with vitamin D. The food she ate every day was also altered, and was full of strengthening nutrients. Marianne didn’t know this either, but she was allowed to sleep more than eight hours every night, and so she actually got quite enough sleep. She was being cared for more carefully than she could ever imagine – but even if she knew this, she wouldn’t have been any less resentful towards her situation.

Marianne closed the steel bathroom door behind her and headed for the dumbwaiter, eager for her food. She quickly ate the eggs and toast and butter with the plastic utensils, and put the tray back in the dumbwaiter. She then turned and walked to the middle of the room and waited for the voice to come. She knew the routine – after breakfast every morning, a new day would start and she’d need to begin concentrating on moving things once more.

Sure enough, the dumbwaiter, which had clattered up and then back down again, came to a halt and opened automatically. Inside was a block of lead as large as a crate. This was heavier than anything Marianne had moved for days. The voice in the loudspeaker told her to concentrate and begin.

Marianne shut her eyes and imagined her mother’s face once more. She decided today to think about her memories of her mother when she was small. She then opened her eyes, the vision of her mother pushing her on the swings fixed in her mind, and then began to concentrate on moving the heavy thing.

In a room far above her, were a man and a woman, both staring at a large TV screen. They could see the girl, subject number 824, begin to move the lead block out of the dumbwaiter with her mind. They looked at each other with a rough determination in their eyes.

“How the HELL is she doing that?” The man asked.

“I think,” The woman replied slowly. “That next week we should take her out. It’s time to put on the electrodes. It’s time to see what that damned girl is thinking.”