from the OTHER archives: Socks, Part 3, Chapters 14-16

When we last left off, Algeria attempted to an hero jumped into a portal and found herself inside of the laboratory she saw in a totally not drug induced flashback. Her old friend Yesterday showed up and teased Algeria’s backstory in a contrived attempt at exposition.

The room darkened as Tomorrow entered and the loudspeaker became dormant again. It was suddenly foggy in the room as the door closed, leaving me with Tomorrow.

“Dammit, Carl!” Tomorrow’s feet swept the floor as she turned around, glaring at the open door. “Dial the fog machine back!”

“What do you have to do with this?” I found myself saying. I had suspected that Tomorrow was connected in some way with the freaks that had forced me out of Dreamland, but this was the first time that my suspicions had been proved. “Why are you here?”

“Because this is the only way that I can get a paycheck. This book needed a crappy antagonist, and I fit the description, so I took the contract.”

“Didn’t you know that you spent the first 8 years of your life here?”

And every single one of them was angst-filled torture, because no protagonist can ever have a normal childhood.

“What!?” I was in disbelief. Tomorrow was on this, and everything had crashed together all at once… What other secrets did Tomorrow know about me?

It’s interesting how you automatically believe her, Algeria. And no, everything did not crash together all at once- you were drip-fed information and then decided to take things into your own hands instead of maybe waiting it out or getting into contact with the authorities.

I didn’t remember any of the 8 years that I had supposedly spent here, and yet- everything felt familiar at the same time.

Don’t worry. The memories will all come back in one single weary chapter, and then the reader will put down this book and let you deal with your problems yourself.

“I’ll break it to you now, because you don’t have much time left.

The fall of a drug trip and the subsequent return to reality is always harder than the rise.

You were the subject of an experiment to see if a human-fairy hybrid would survive better in the real world. I was the one who told the ‘freaks’-” At this Tomorrow made air quotes- “to come and kidnap you.

Well, that’s kind of a shitty thing for a friend to do. I’m almost expecting one of those YouTube pranksters to start filming and then use the “EPIC PRANK GONE SEXUAL” clickbait.

And I was the one who activated the trigger that caused you to have the dream about the fairies that made you. You know now who was on that gurney?”

My will to live?

Me. It was me.

Well, there goes the fifteen bucks that I had bet.

“The fairies that made you wanted you to turn out the way they wanted you to,” Tomorrow continued. “They will stop at nothing to make sure that you turn out RIGHT. I want to see you turn out right.”

“Can you clarify?” Algeria’s eyebrows wrinkled. “I’m just fine the way I am- physically, at least. Why do I need to conform to your expectations?”

“Because…” Tomorrow twiddled her fingers, searching for a full minute for a reason. “Because I’m the antagonist, and you’re the protagonist, and you need to conform to the standards of the System in order to create angst.”

And this was the part that made it fall into place.
“You are scheduled to be in the operating room in a half-hour. They are going to take you and make you perfect.”

“So I’m going to be a supermodel?” Algeria’s eyes shone with tears of joy, and she shot forward and wrapped her arms around Tomorrow. “And with no cost?”

“Please get off of me.” Tomorrow grimaced as she pushed the trembling Algeria away from her. “You’re supposed to be devastated that I would dare mess with your body.”

She lashed out another tranquilizer dart, aiming it at me, but I rolled under a table and it missed.

damn 💯💯 need me a freak like that 💯 don’t hit me up unless you’re a gymnast 💯

She pulled out another one, but I moved too quickly for her and the dart missed. She tried again 5 times and she missed every time. “You are going down, whether you like it or not!”

“You know, for a homophobic as hell world, that was awfully… suggestive.”

“Shut up, Algeria!”

Algeria wiggled her eyebrows. “Are you sure there isn’t a second meaning to ‘under the knife’?”

But the dart made its mark this time. I went down, and Tomorrow was screaming, “Yes! Yes! I did it! I did it!”

“Tomorrow…” Algeria’s eyes fluttered closed as she struggled to keep hold of the last scraps of her consciousness. “At least use protection.”

“Yeah, protection from your attitude.”

I lay on the operating table. Everything was muffled and hazy here, and a green towel was strewn over my face. My arms and legs were strapped to the table, my wings splayed out like I was a butterfly on display.

Chapter 15 starts out with a reenactment of something out of Fifty Shades of Grey an operating room, I presume. It’s a bit awkward that there would be a towel over her have, though. Is it to keep her from immediately freaking out? Because I highly doubt that’s going to play out well.

I couldn’t speak, but I could at least make out some of what they were saying.
“And this is Subject 3, Tomorrow?”
“She prefers to be called Algeria.”

And I prefer to be called Vane, but we all know that the closet is a horrible place.

Then a pause while some feet scuffled around, and a new voice spoke.
“Ready the anesthesia.”
I instinctively struggled against the straps. There was no way I would let them turn me ‘perfect’! Besides, there’s no such thing as ‘perfect’ on earth, and even if there was, how would these deranged lunatics know what perfect meant?

You know, Algeria, normally I’m all for bodily autonomy… but I would take the opportunity to lose a few pounds around my middle without having to get up off my lazy ass.

Cool hands held me down as I felt a pinprick in my right arm. And Tomorrow said, “Don’t worry, Algeria. You’re going to be perfect, and you’re going to like it. And we have a new subject to be in the cage next to you.”

I have a feeling that it’s the Teenage Heartthrob Love Interest. Maybe this will turn into one of those cliched books where the only real conflict is the two gay people being kept from having a relationship, just with more… you know what, never mind.

And while I slipped away into oblivion, I thought I heard her say, “And you’re going to stay here, whether you like it or not.”

That’s not very consensual of you.

I was in a field of flowers.
Wait- a field of flowers? Aren’t I supposed to be in a laboratory, supposedly becoming perfect?
Oh, wait, this is a dream. Great. Just great.

What exactly did they put into that anesthetic, may I ask?

Tomorrow was there. And she said, “I did it, Algeria.”

High score!

“Did what?” I asked. “Turned me into whatever you fools wanted? You’ve done enough damage.”

damn-thats-edgy

“Have I ever explained how I know you?” Tomorrow asked. I said no.

Weren’t you two in the flying school place with the apple cider? Why is she being treated like a stranger now? Where has your plot continuity gone, G?

“I’m part fairy too,” she said. And get this- she unfurled her wings, and they were at least a foot longer than mine.
And they were mint green.

#allwingsarebeautiful

“I was experimented on, too,” Tomorrow went on. “Except that my parents wanted me to be here. They wanted me to become better.” She blinked. “But when they tried to give me better eyesight, they accidentally made it blurrier, so now I have to wear glasses. But they fixed the procedure just for you, so you should turn out right.”

Shouldn’t they have tested the revised version first?

“What else are they are going to change?” I asked, feeling myself getting warmer and warmer. “Everything?”
Tomorrow slowly nodded. Then the world slowly faded into darkness.

I could feel that I was waking up, and I felt like the world was on fire.

I love feeling things! Especially the feeling of finally being done with this part of the book! Choo choo, here comes the angst train!

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