In the Society, we were one. We did not say “I”, we did not utter the word “me”, but instead we said “we”, as if one person had hundreds of others inside of their head, inside their body. The only reason why, in these letters, I will be saying “I”, is because “I” am no longer part of the “we”. I am an individual and this was my journey.
My eyes fluttered open, the florescent lights above me beating down on my frame. It had been nine months since I last opened them. The tubes attached in my arms and placed all over my body were being removed one by one by a machine called a Waker. It was filled with three types of liquid: yellow, clear, and blue. The difference in them had always been unclear, but it never mattered to me, nor occurred that they each might have done something different, something maybe damaging to our bodies.
The bed holding my body lifted and sat me up, making my torso rise like the sun in the morning.
“Welcome back,” the soft metallic voice of the Waker cooed. “How was our Hibernation?”
“Rejuvenating,” I said, my body still as it ached.
The government, the only ones who weren’t the same and weren’t incorporated in the “we”, would tell us it’s because of laying so still for such a long time. They reassured us it’s because of the Hibernation.
“Our clothes are beside us,” the machine said again, plugging itself into the wall to charge. “Put them on and go out into the world. We will see us again in three months.”
I nodded and stood slowly, everything in pain. The soreness would soon disappear, but only right before my three months were up.
I changed into the loose gray T-shirt that fell to my knees and the baggy black pants that dragged beneath my heels. The bland, white shoes slipped over my feet easily, fitting snugly. I ran my hand over my scalp. Cleanly shaven to match everyone else’s.
I moved to the door, a final goodbye uttered from the machine as I opened the slab of wood and stepped out into the brightly lit hallway. Many others did the same. A familiar face walked up to me and smiled. This person lived next door to me in or little complexes, where we spent the three months we would be awake. We didn’t talk as much as we could have, but we did consider each other ‘friends’.
“How are we?” It spoke.
“We are sore,” I smiled back. Keep in mind that I am only expressing the selfish words of “me” and “I”, as well as “it” to express inner and outer happenings without confusion for you who reads this note in the remains of the Society.
“Yes, we are,” it smiled again, and we fell into line with the rest of the bodies crowding the hallways of the Hibernation Complex.
Once we reached the large entrance of the Complex, we were stopped at the front doors, the air mixing with the smells of bleach and lotion. I always wondered why those smells were the ones that were the most prominent after waking, but I never asked the people of the government. We weren’t allowed to question anything, considering all that could be asked. Some questions weren’t meant to be answered.
Sometimes I wish I wouldn’t have gone looking.
“Welcome back,” a robotic voice echoed out over the audience. A hologram, glowing blue-green, hovered above the doors. The words being spoken show brightly against the blackness of its surface.
“We are glad to have us back,” the words changed out slowly for everyone to read. “In three months, we will return, and we will Hibernate again. We may exit.”
The crowd began to push through the doors, a calm eagerness washing over us. It was always a strange thing to see the subtle differences outside. When we woke, everything would be in full bloom and the weather would be perfect. Sometimes buildings were moved or altered, as if the world shifted without us living in it, or as if it was playing games with us.
I finally made my way through the doors, the headache from the harsh smell of lotion and bleach finally gone as the sweet scent of flowers took over the airways. Little kids ran around happily, playing in the fields of flowers. They weren’t old enough to Hibernate yet. Once they would hit their thirteenth year, most would officially join the Society and Hibernate with us, leaving school behind. I, myself, was eighteen. It became hard to keep track of your age as you Hibernated, but you began to make notes on anything you could find. I counted the years on my hand, for instance. We had permanent markers that lasted for about a year on skin if you avoided washing them multiple times a day. I still washed them, only using the marker when needed to redo what little was washed away each time.
What I did was I make a line for every year. They weren’t necessarily tallies as much as designs, but I would do one mark each time I woke. It had grown into sort of a broken glass pattern that made its way from my thumb to the middle of my palm.
Little things like that, we were allowed to get away with. We could be different, to a short extent. The inside of my left hand was something no one saw since I was right-handed like everyone else.
I made my way out into the field, walking up the hill that was tall enough to see over the colored trees filled with blossoms and lush, green leaves. I looked out over them, crystal blue lake water shining back at me as the wind picked up. The world was perfect. It was paradise until I went to Hibernate again.
Paradise, until I woke up to something screaming.