By distraughthallelujah All Rights Reserved ©

Adventure / Romance

The Great Escape

I felt as though I was a cloud on a day when the sky was crying. I felt heavy, dark; as if I had been floating for so long and then dissipated, letting myself fall into mist to surround the people at the ground. Dragging my feet, though I had none. Heavy eyelids, though I had no eyes.

But I was not a cloud. I had feet, had eyes. My eyelids were heavy with sleep, laced among every nerve in my body. Today I was fatigued, perhaps from so much thought since things had changed. Then again, perhaps it was the new fire. The new fire did not burn as fire, but burned as ice. It was heavy in my arms, weighing me down, making my eyelids heavy. Yes; the new fire was to blame. I took it with the other fire now, one right after the other. Sedatives. They wanted to control me. But why, I wondered? Why would they need to control me? I didn’t fight.
Did I? Or did they know about Jeffrey?

I could not think clearly. I still remembered a Jeffrey, though faintly. He was important. I remembered some other things, too, if I focused, but my mind was blurry and my thoughts were slow in coming. My head rested against the side of the chair, and my eyes half-closed…


A voice. It was a voice. I was too sleepy to answer… just come back later… I was moderately sure I wouldn’t be going anywhere anytime soon, so it would be okay to wait just a little longer…

“Miley? Hey, Miley?”

The voice was persistent. I was annoyed, I think. It was hard to say, since annoyance requires some level of self-awareness and in that manner I was not suited to annoyance at this moment. I shivered a bit. There was something about the voice that made me feel I should answer, but I couldn’t seem to get enough strength. My tongue was nearly as heavy as my eyelids; clumsy in my mouth. I heard a sound like breathing out.

“What did they do to you, Miley?” The voice was soft. Worried for me.

I wanted to answer, I thought. My tongue was just so heavy.

“I’m going to get you out.” What?! No! I knew that was bad. Something about it, although I couldn’t place just why. Why did I not want him to help me? “Once I find out what’s happening, somehow…” he was hesitant. “Somehow I’m going to get you out. I promise, okay, Miley? You’re one floor below me, but the room is sealed off. I know I can get an entry card from one of the scientists, and I don’t think your chair has any lock or anything. It shouldn’t be too difficult, and we’re not that far from an exit. I have a plan.”

I shouldn’t let him. But I was too tired to tell him not to try.

“Well, I’ll be back.” He was awkward now. My awkward angel. “See you later.” Click.

Yes… my angel. I remembered now.

“Jeffrey, no!” I screamed, my tongue suddenly seeming as light as a feather. My scream was hoarse, quiet; barely any louder than a stage whisper. He was already gone; he couldn’t hear me.

But I spoke with emotion. For a moment, that made me proud.

Minutes turned to hours. I dozed, half awake, for the better part of a day. In that day, Jeffrey did not return. I worried for him. What if he had been caught? I didn’t want that. I didn’t want that very, very much. He deserved to be free, to see the sky, to taste chocolate. He deserved it. Maybe I didn’t, but he did. I knew he did.

I wanted to fight when the words of comfort came again, but I simply didn’t have the strength. I stared into the blackness before my eyes as I felt the ice pierce my skin, the ice and then the fire spread. It hurt, making my arm numb. I couldn’t fight even as they left methodically, shutting the door behind them. A click as the door locked automatically.

And another click following, the sound of the microphone.

“Hello, 1677-192.” This voice was new. This difference intrigued me. Cold emotions, mild emotions, under words and sentences. He spoke my number with a mild eagerness, happy to meet me. I wondered if he expected a reply or not, but he answered my unspoken question.

“I don’t expect a reply at the moment, since you are heavily sedated,” the voice continued. “I am sorry about that, as well. As for your dear doctor, I’m afraid he’s been moved. Botched enough projects, as the case may be. I, Miss 1677-192, am your benefactor. Allow me to introduce myself. You may call me by whatever name you like, although most people call me ‘sir’.”

I didn’t like his voice either, I decided. Emotions, yes; but they were like fake emotions, forged emotions, even though they were real. It was hard to explain… almost like he held compassion like a normal being, but chose not to use it. He was still cold, but in a different way. Gray, monotone; as I imagined my skin. So close to the real thing, but not. The Gray Sir.

“I am sorry for the rough treatment you’ve had thus far. I’m afraid we’ve had to deduce who you’ve been talking to that lent you such an astounding change, and ‘astounding’ perhaps falls a bit short of your brilliance, my dear. Your friend… has been detained, for the time being. We simply have some questions to ask him and that will be all. He will be released shortly and sent home.”

Jeffrey? Of course; what other friend had I? They had caught him. I knew they would. If I had been able to think properly, perhaps I would have cried. As the case was, my eyelids simply grew heavier. I thought I could hear the Gray Sir smirk.

“Of course, I cannot guarantee he will be sent home as he arrived. There is a good chance he will make it back home, but this is New York, so there is a chance of him being hit by a car. He may not be in quite his right mind, you see. People babbling on about aliens abducting them, probing their insides… what nonsense. What on the inside could possibly be more interesting than human thought? Yes; your mind works in a particularly interesting way. Only to be expected, I suppose. You are quite a rare bird.”

A rare bird. I was not a bird, I knew that much. I know there was a threat in what he said. My mind wove through his words, dove into his emotions. Yes… I could hear the threat. They were going to hurt Jeffrey. They could not hurt Jeffrey. Never for me.

I don’t know what happened. There was a warm sort of heat in my hands, blazing through my veins almost like the sedative being destroyed in my bloodstream. My eyes opened. The footsteps came all at once, like a million marching soldiers, their combined footfalls echoing in my mind and rumbling under my hands. I heard distant laughter, the gray man’s laughter.

“That’s it,” he said. “Excellent. Yes, I can see what the doctor said. Incredible, my dear. Perfectly wondrous. Ah, but words cannot explain it. You are a fine specimen… fine, indeed…”

I took a deep breath. The footsteps stopped. I would not allow myself to become angry, not when it would impair my thought, not when Jeffrey was in danger.

“Well, well, well. Not a beast after all. Thank you for the show, my dear. You can be sure that this is not the last time you will hear my voice.” A soft click. The door shutting.

And I cried harder than I had before, tears streaming down my face, for Jeffrey, my angel, whose life I had stolen in a foolish attempt to see the sky.

I was feeling quite sorry for myself when, out of nowhere, I heard Jeffrey’s voice. I didn’t know why I heard it, and all I could think was that perhaps I had finally gone insane. Without being able to hear his voice anymore, now my mind created it for me. He said my name, repeated it, in a carefully-controlled sort of voice. I was sad that I could not at least have imagined it with more emotion, his emotion, or have heard his whistling once more.

“Miley, we’re leaving now, okay?”

Yes. I didn’t know why I imagined that. It was such a strange thing to say. I smiled a bit at my foolishness. Is that what I wanted to hear in his voice the most? Such a strange subconscious I harbored. I still felt the need to reply, even if he was simply a figment of my imagination.

“I’m sorry, Jeffrey,” I said to the room. I was sorry; truly, truly sorry. My imagination, so kind and so cold at the same time, replied in Jeffrey’s voice:

“What for? If we don’t make it out, Miley, I’ll to be the one saying ‘sorry’. I promised I’d get you out, remember? I’ll be down in a minute; wait for me.” And then I imagined the click and the door shutting, as usual. I turned my head as much as I could to look upwards. Somewhere there, above my head, was the sky. How much I had wanted to see it, so much that I had ruined my angel. I had torn his wings off, taken the life I had sworn would not be given for mine. Did that make me selfish? Maybe it did.

Jeffrey. I pray that you will experience death before they take the sky away from you. Death is so much better, kinder; that if at all something must be taken, it could be your life and not chocolate, not the sky, something you’ll miss too much if you aren’t gone. Your family will miss you. I will miss you. Yes; I will touch my heart. I will think of you. I will never forget.

Footsteps beat softly in the hallway outside. Oh, the fire again. But what did I care? This time, I would die. I would die, and maybe I could say I was sorry to the real Jeffrey, not my own. The free Jeffrey, the Jeffrey with a sky, and a family, and chocolate…

The door opened. I noted that there was no sound of wheels. Instead, rushing footsteps crossed the room in a few short strides, and then I felt the hand on my forearm. There were no words of comfort, but as I felt the flesh against mine, my heart skipped a beat. I could feel him… but no, it was impossible. My mind told me there he was. I could feel his presence and almost see his face; even behind the visor. I felt a hand on the side of my head.

And then my head was pushed to one side, and the visor torn off of my eyes.

“There.” His voice was weighted with satisfaction. The light was too much for my eyes to take, and I closed them tightly, dropping my head with a cry of pain.

“Oh, I’m sorry!” He fumbled with the visor, going to put it back on and steal my vision from me once more, for my comfort.

“No!” I said quickly, turning. It was bright, and so painful, but I blinked anyway, my eyes watering and tears spilling down my cheeks from the joyful, unfamiliar searing pain that felt so indescribably good. I turned to the sound of his voice, and I blinked and blinked. Slowly, the bright blurs became a form. Details fell into place. Yes… it was my angel. A new bout of tears filled my eyes. I could see the surprise on his face, as I imagined it being, so beautiful and alive. I didn’t want him to die, I realized. Not even if they took the sky from him.

“Your eyes are purple,” he said in wonder. I didn’t know what he meant, but I didn’t care. I could see, and it was so… right. I looked up. There were the speakers, the glass window letting me see into the office. Ah! I could see! Oh, sight; the most wondrous of senses. But my eyes turned to Jeffrey’s face once more. Yes, I knew what he looked like. This was exactly how I had imagined him to be, as I had known in my heart. His eyes were brown and gold and warm, so warm. His hair was almost orange, a shade of red and brown combined like the supposed color of a sunset.

I laughed. I laughed and I cried as Jeffrey began to tear the restraints off of my arms and feet. I sobered up, quickly realizing that I could see myself, and I looked down at myself. I was a sorry sight to be sure. My body was too thin, too bony. My skin was white and my hair was gray and came barely past my chin. I was wearing nothing more than an old dress, far too small for me now, with one sleeve worn completely through and the other threadbare. Once upon a time, I was sure it had been a beautiful dress. Made with care by a mother, perhaps.

Jeffrey put a warm hand on my arm, causing a shiver to thrum under my skin.

“Can you stand?” he asked. I knew before I even tried that I could not. I tried anyway, and I toppled forward. If my angel had not been there to snatch me from the air, I would have hit the ground. I was in his arms, his warmth filling me. I could not see his face, since I was facing away from him, but somehow I knew that this was the perfect place. It was better than the sky, almost; in my angel’s arms. My hands grasped his, holding tightly as if it was an apparition I could not bear to let disappear. He supported me, all my weight on just his arms, and I was worried for being a burden, but he was smiling too. I could see his smile even behind me. I wondered at that, but it was a trivial matter. I could see. I was no longer dead.

It was time to run.

“You’re really light,” Jeffrey said. I tried to get to my feet, but it was no use. Not surprisingly, I wasn’t used to standing. Surprisingly, however, I still had muscles in my legs; they hadn’t faded away completely. I still could not support myself on my own no matter how hard I tried. Jeffrey slung one of my arms over his shoulder and hefted me up. I was blushing.

But one look at Jeffrey’s face, and I was suddenly worried. His smile had disappeared, replaced by a frightening determination, his jaw set. I reached out with a frail hand, my arm trembling, to brush my fingers against his firm jaw. He glanced at me in surprise.

“Why?” I asked, my eyebrows furrowing. He put on a smile once more. Even I, with the barest knowledge of emotions, could tell it was forced.

“Let’s get you out. Now,” he said. “Come on.” He pulled me toward the door. I had no choice but to go with him, walking as best I could with what little strength I had. He was perhaps a head taller than me, and his arm was two times the width of mine. My arm was so small beside his, like a child’s. So small, so weak… so helpless…

It was then that I heard it, seeming to me before they had started. Alarms began to blare. Under my arm, Jeffrey cursed and sped up down the hallway. I could not keep up with him, and he basically dragged me. My eyes widened in fright as I heard them.

“Footsteps,” I whispered. Jeffrey’s eyebrows furrowed, but it was a few moments later that he heard them too. Footsteps marched down the hall behind us, whether an army of robots or an army of scientists, I could only guess. My feet suddenly fell into step with Jeffrey’s, and he must have felt it. He glanced toward me and I could only nod.

“Go.” We rushed down the hallway together, even though I could only stumble along on my own. He guided me, pulled me by my hand. We ran, and my heart pounded furiously in my chest. I was not short of breath yet, but I had no doubt that in moments I would be, like a strap suddenly pulled taut over my chest.

Suddenly Jeffrey stopped, and he yanked me back to stop my helpless momentum and pulled me against himself protectively. For a moment I was confused and curious, but then I saw why he had stopped. Before us, there was a row of men. White coats, black gloves. Weapons.

In the front was a man. Not the Gray Sir, I knew intuitively… for some reason, the answer supplied to me mentally was the new doctor. Somehow I felt that was right. When he spoke, I had never heard his voice before. I remember thinking that he was very handsome.

His hair was longer than mine even but tied behind his head neatly. He wore glasses, and his expression was dutiful, proving that he was only carrying out orders. He stood at ease with his hands behind him and his legs apart, but it was obvious that he was in charge. His white coat was open, revealing a plaid cotton shirt and a ghastly tie. Even I had nothing good to say about that tie; I, who so loved colors. All I could think was that it was utterly hideous, until I realized I was missing his words. I backtracked quickly, caught up, and repeated in my head what he had said.

“Return the subject and perhaps your life can be spared,” he had said. He was speaking to Jeffrey, not me. ‘The subject’, I heard. I was simply a subject? “That belongs to us and you have no right to take it. It is the result of years of work.”

“She,” Jeffrey spat, holding me protectively, “is a human being.” I looked up at his face in surprise, so strong and fearless. I didn’t want him to be taken for me… never for me…

“Turn it over without further opposition or we will resort to force,” the new doctor warned. Jeffrey’s hand tightened on my forearm. My blood could barely run between his fingers.

“Jeffrey,” I whispered. “I don’t want them to take the sky from you.”

“Stay out of this, Miley,” Jeffrey said. “This is between me and him.”

“No,” I replied firmly. “I am a human being, after all. Aren’t I?”

Jeffrey’s jaw set. I looked at the scientist.

I wasn’t sure what happened. I saw him, only him, through a tunnel of my vision. I didn’t care about anyone else. For a moment he looked surprised—and then he moved suddenly, lifted into the air and pushed backward with as much force as if he had been hit by a jet plane. He hit the wall and continued through the wall, leaving a vaguely human-shaped hole. I saw his face as he hit the wall as if in slow motion, and he was frightened and pained. I was sorry before he hit the second wall, behind the first, with a sound like a heavy sack of flour being dropped onto a bag of corn chips. He slid to the ground, blood spilling from his open mouth, and moved no more.

My hands flew to my mouth in shock.

“I kill—” I began, but it was not the time for remorse. My mouth could only form a surprised ‘O’ as Jeffrey slid his arms under my thin legs, took advantage of the white coats’ momentary shock, and dove through their defenses. He was fast, I noted; and I was light. He moved quickly down the hallway. I sure hoped he knew where he was going.

“The exit’s this way,” he panted. I half-heard him. My mind was fuzzy with new feelings.

Jeffrey ran into elevators in front of him. He stopped uncertainly, darting halfway between the stairs and the elevator. I could almost see what he was thinking: the elevator was slow, but we’re thirty floors underground and he is carrying my weight.

“Put your arms around my neck,” Jeffrey ordered. Confused, I did so, and he shifted me around so that I was riding him piggyback. Then he headed for the stairs. I wasn’t sure if he could make it up all thirty flights of stairs with me on his back, and I considered telling him to leave me. Somehow I knew he wouldn’t, even if I asked him to. Instead, I shut my eyes and simply hoped we’d make it. If a god could hear us, I sent a silent prayer.

As he threw open the door to the stairs and started on the first flight, I almost imagined that he was faster, lighter. He flew up the first, second, third, and fourth. I noticed his heavy breathing by the fifth, but he made it all the way up to the eleventh before I noted his speed failing him. He staggered up the twelfth flight and paused for a moment on the landing to catch his breath. He let me off his back and I sunk onto a stair, clutching the banister. My eyes were wide.

“I killed him,” I said in a tone that could only be described as a bad kind of wonderingly. Jeffrey looked down at me almost sorrowfully. The warmth from his heavy breathing caused my skin to break out in goose bumps. I was sensitive and not used to even this slightest of warmth.

“If you hadn’t, he could’ve killed you,” he pointed out. “I’m sure no one would blame you for killing such an awful person in self-defense.”

“No.” I shut my eyes. “He was helpless. I was just angry.”

“How… did you do that, anyway?” I could sense Jeffrey’s concern and fear, although he tried to hide it. I was frightened too; frightened because Jeffrey was. If he was scared of me, maybe he wouldn’t want to show me the sky anymore. I reached out, took his hand. He looked down at my hand in his with surprise on his flushed face.

“I don’t know,” I answered honestly, my voice more than a whisper. “But I am so sorry, Jeffrey. I am so sorry.” I shook my head. I didn’t know how he had escaped from the new doctor and the Gray Sir, to come and get me, but somehow he must have managed it.

“You said that before.” There was interest in Jeffrey’s voice. “What have you to be sorry about? You haven’t done anything.”

“He said…” my hand shook. “That… that they took you, too.”

“Is that what you’re worried about?” Jeffrey’s voice was gentle. “Miley, I was poking around the whole time. No one so much as suspected me. I got all the information…” he bit his lip suddenly. My eyes flashed to his face.

“What?” I asked breathlessly. “Did you find something?”

“No, it’s nothing,” he said unconvincingly. He had that same look on his face; the look of fierce determination. Like he was determined not to tell me, or determined to stop something from happening? Tell me what? What did he need to stop from happening? My eyes scanned his face. I could almost see the words reflected in the thoughts behind his eyes…

“Come on,” Jeffrey said quickly, lifting me up once more. I let out a short exclamation of surprise as he swung me onto his back, and I automatically locked my arms around his neck. He launched himself up the stairs once more. I tried to think light thoughts once more, but he was panting again before he had reached the eighteenth flight. His jaw was set, though. Somehow, I knew he could manage it. I put my chin on his shoulder and closed my eyes.

How it felt to fly…

He sped up. The next three flights disappeared under his feet. The 22nd flight was a breeze, and the 23rd wasn’t all that difficult. The prospect of nearing the top gave him wings, although I was sure that the voices snapping orders from far below had a key in that as well. Jeffrey was an angel, so of course he could fly. I trusted in that, at least.

Then I saw a number. 30, the last flight. Already? So fast!

He burst through the stair door, and bright sunlight immediately assailed my eyes. I buried my face into his shoulder, gritting my teeth against the pain of my burning eyes. We passed through the lobby of the building, which looked surprisingly like some sort of hi-tech hardware store, and he reached the great glass door. It swung outward and we were out into the streets, just like that.

But instead of allowing my mind to linger with concern on how easy our escape seemed, suddenly my mind set on the flood of new sounds and colors that burst without restraint across my senses, splattered like paint across paper. The first thing I heard was footsteps, followed closely by loud, chattering voices. Next were the cars. Though my eyes were shut tightly against the light, I could bear the pain to see, I thought, so I lifted my head as Jeffrey dashed down the street.

It was… so beautiful. I watched the blurs of color pass by as daily commuters walked to or from buildings. Some chatted on cell phones, some talked with a companion. Cars rushed by, commonly a dash of bright yellow from some cars. Trembling with wonder, I turned my eyes slowly upward, following the trail of silver mirror skyscrapers to the sky.

Time seemed to stop. Jeffrey felt my arms relax on his neck as I stared up at the calm blue expanse above my head, better than I could ever have imagined it. Tears came to my eyes, but they were tears of pure joy. It was blue, a shade unmatched by any other. It was… the sight to behold. I sighed a bit, softly, and rested my cheek against Jeffrey’s shoulder, just watching the blue. It was dappled with fluffy white, but only here and there. A mostly cloudless day. Oh, to see it.

Jeffrey must have felt my elation, because he had a smile on his face as he turned the corner and headed down another street. I had lost track of where we were going, but I was sure he knew. I didn’t mind. I had the sky to gaze at, so I was perfectly happy.

“Whew,” Jeffrey said, slowing to a stop. “I guess we’re far enough now… they wouldn’t chase us into the streets. Can you walk now?”

I tentatively reached out a foot to touch the ground. It was hard and rough on my bare feet, almost painful to walk on, but I was thankful to Jeffrey for carrying me thus far. Though it was harsh on the barely-used soles of my feet, I slid off of Jeffrey’s back and swayed on the sidewalk, one arm on Jeffrey’s shoulder. I wiggled my toes in wonder.

“People are giving you weird looks,” Jeffrey said with an awkward laugh. I looked around. Though it wasn’t incredible to find an odd one in the bunch, I think perhaps it was my appearance that attracted some strange looks. I blushed slightly as Jeffrey led me through the crowd down the street. “My apartment is this way,” he said. I followed him up some stairs to a door and watched as he turned the doorknob. The door opened, and Jeffrey led me into the dark building.

I couldn’t help but feel that it was not a very colorful environment. Everything seemed neutral colors or dull. Inside was a wooden staircase leading up to a landing with two doors, one on each side. He headed towards the door on the left. The carpet that ran up the stairs, a darker shade of red, felt strange under my feet and sent shivers up my legs for some reason. It tickled my toes. I had a little smile on my face as Jeffrey unlocked the door to the apartment and showed me inside.

It was a small apartment with a kitchenette, a living room complete with a couch and a TV, and a small study, all connected together. There was another door to my right down a short hallway across from one more door; I assumed the bathroom and the bedroom. There was a window straight across from me, but all it showed was the brick wall of the building beside it. Jeffrey headed further inside and took off his jacket, laying it on a chair.

“It’s not much,” he said modestly, “but what’s mine is yours. I figure we have a day or two before they figure out where I live, so we can plan where we’ll go next. I can pack some stuff… hm. You’ll need some clothes. There’s an Abercrombie & Fitch a block from here, so I can take you shopping tomorrow morning and we can leave right after that.”

“Yes,” I said absently. My eyes were on the shelves above the desk in the small study, where pictures of Jeffrey’s family sat as if waiting. The smiling woman—his mother, I assumed—had lovely brown hair that shined in the sunlight. His father was a kind-looking man with glasses and laugh lines around his eyes. There was a little boy that sat between them, seeming to smile shyly at the camera… a young Jeffrey? He was so cute.

I moved closer. Jeffrey noticed, and he watched my face as I stared at the pictures almost sorrowfully. I reached out to touch the one of a baby girl; his little sister, I assumed. She was in the arms of her mother, who was giving her a big kiss on the forehead. The baby was laughing. The mother was smiling so happily. My eyes began to grow wet with tears once more.

“Oh,” Jeffrey said in surprise. I dragged my arm across my eyes and glanced at him. He looked embarrassed. “Gosh, I didn’t think about where you’d sleep… guess I really didn’t think very far at all, did I? I was in such a hurry to get you out of that place…”

I shivered at the memory. Yes; that place. Only minutes behind me, and already I was so glad to be out of it. It seemed like a bad dream now… so surprising.

But there were more wonders to be seen. Those sorrowful memories of what was now the past would have to wait while new ones were made.

“Clothes shopping?” I said in surprise, quite suddenly, as his words came to mind. I had rudely ignored what he had been saying. Jeffrey glanced at me, and I could tell what he was thinking. Perhaps I had a delayed reaction. I nearly smiled at the childish thought.

“Yeah. I mean, you can’t go walking around in that forever, can you?” Jeffrey replied. I knew he was joking. I really couldn’t; I’d be far too suspicious.

“But…” How could I say that he’d done enough already for me? To spend money… buy me clothes… I was sure he could barely afford this life alone.

“It’s okay; I have a debit card, and some cash,” Jeffrey said, laughing as he read my expression. “I’ve got quite a bit left from when I left home. Mom was upset, but dad thought it was a great idea; embrace the world, travel and all that. He left me with money to start off my journey with. You’ll basically need to start from scratch… yeah, you’ve got nothing, huh?” he had a distant look on his face. I couldn’t tell what he was thinking, and it unnerved me.

“Jeffrey…” I was curious. I spoke his name. He looked at me, and I had to ask. “What did you see that made you want to get me out so quickly?”

Jeffrey’s eyes widened slightly.

“What do you mean?” he asked. I didn’t believe his innocence.

“There was a look on your face…” I remembered it. That look of grim determination that he had, like mine when I had sworn not to take his life for mine. I still shivered at the memory, but even now I could see his thoughts swirling in turmoil, and my eyebrows furrowed. I could see pieces of text, something I knew I had never seen before through his eyes, behind his eyes.

For nearly 200 years…

Over a hundred test subjects, yielding no results…

Porter, Joseph: deceased. Van Gogh, Vincent: psychotic; released early due to complications. Nikolaevna, Anastasia: deceased. Nikolaevich, Alexei: deceased. Kowalski, Madeleine: unfortunate regression; released back into society. Earhart, Amelia: deceased due to complications during procedure. James…

I blinked as Jeffrey heaved a sigh. He waved me over and took a seat on the couch. I tentatively sat on the edge of the other seat. A shiver went up my spine as my bare skin brushed against the fabrics; a strange sensation to my sleeping skin.

“There were… files.” Jeffrey said in a quiet voice. “People who had been there before, records of past patients. It wasn’t anything impressive, but you know, there had been some bad results, so… I didn’t want you to stay there any longer.”

My eyes met his. I cocked my head questioningly.

“It was nothing, really.” Jeffrey shrugged. I didn’t believe him for some reason.

“What now?” I asked softly. In reply, Jeffrey shrugged once more.

“Now…” he answered, looking at me with an expression of sorrow, “we run.”

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