from the OTHER archives: Socks, Part 3, Chapters 27-29

As I am typing this, there are asinine children’s shows playing on an iPad somewhere in the background, and my headphones are trapped downstairs as I can’t get them right now, so I’m going to make this as quick as possible so that I don’t strangle myself. Although, I mean, Algeria and her friends make me want to strangle myself already…

I couldn’t stop staring as Tomorrow and a bunch of  those freaks from way earlier settled onto the ground. Tomorrow was furious, from what I could see of her face; the freaks were standing in her way.
“Stand down, Algeria,” one of the freaks droned in their monotonous fashion- loud and boring. “We outnumber you. We have direct orders from Tomorrow to capture you, using force if necessary.”

“droned in their monotonous fashion” is a bit redundant, don’t you think?

Wow. Looks like they had a slightly bigger vocabulary this time.
“You aren’t getting me, freaks!” A shriek from behind, and Luna sprinted from her hiding place behind my back into the pack of freaks and was soon kickboxing like a madman. Excuse me, a madwoman, because, you know, Luna is a girl. And a good kickboxer considering that she was only 5 years old and had so far disabled about half of the freaks.

1- how did Luna get such good fighting skills? Who trained her? How is her small body able to accommodate such fighting power? And 2- why use the word “madwoman” when she’s only five?

She fell after those, though, and the remaining freaks scooped her up and locked her in a cage. We were too shocked to do anything except fight. But they overcame us, and we were in cages too. Luna was sobbing as our cages were dumped into the back of a truck.
We were being shipped back to the laboratory.

Given how much you’ve overused the anesthesia plot device, G, I’m quite surprised not to find it here.

Luna and Tim were alive. As long as they were alive, I could deal with anything else.
I knew that they were alive because I could see them in the cages next to me. I was in the middle, and if we pushed our fingers as far as they would go through the cages, we were just an inch from touching each other.

If you have so much space, then why don’t you wiggle around in your cages until you can unlock each other’s locks?

During the day, Luna was pulled out from her cage and taken to another room. The first chance that I could, I looked out of my cage and saw the plaque that was on the door to that room. It read EXPERIMENTATION ROOM #1.

That’s some nice transitions ya got there, G. You should lend me some. I seem to have a problem with that.

They were experimenting on her, and we weren’t there to protect her.

It’s not your job to protect her, Algeria. And besides, you already did a piss poor job at that. That’s why you’re in the Laboratory now instead of wasting mixtures of water, gelatin, and various other chemicals.

Everything was falling into place, according to Tomorrow’s plan. In a couple of days, Algeria would be gone forever.

That’s a bit drastic solution to your problems. Maybe a handwritten solicitation of an apology might work out better. She’d probably be much more likely to say sorry if you prostrate yourself as well.

She was planning on having a big stadium built, and Algeria’s death would be the opening event.

Jeezum cristo… go big or go home, I guess?

She would fall like a stone, and Tomorrow would be the #1 subject. They would love her.

Here’s a deep question for all you readers: is it better to be in a crappy neighborhood with a low income and have bodily autonomy or to be considered property of a pseudoscientific institution and be forced to have your body altered at their will but receive food, heat, and shelter in return?

I was lightly sleeping in my cage. It was night, and nobody was in the room. Tim was being tested, and Luna was having a physical.

To be fair, I probably wouldn’t sleep well in a cage either.

Silence filled the room, until a door opened and a person walked in. After she closed the door, the room returned to silence. Using my night vision and the shards of light in the room. I could tell that the person was a woman, and a young one too.

Well, that didn’t sound predatory at all.

She looked about the room in desperation, then she saw me and hurried over to my cage. She hastily unlocked it, then led me out to the room that Luna was in.

How far did they have to run? Was it a few hallways over, or did they have to run the distance of the building? Why won’t you give me any details, G?

“There isn’t much time, Algeria,” the woman said. “Long things short, I’m Abbey.”

“Abbey who?” Algeria squinted her eyes, taking a good long look at the woman’s face. She’d definitely need it at the police station if anything even remotely shady happened.

Flashbacks then flooded my head: Abbey feeding me, holding me, comforting me. Abbey quickly locking me back in my cage as the pseudoscientists and the freaks approached. She knew that she would be executed if she was caught messing with Subject 3. That’s what they had called me back then, before I named myself.

Why would you name yourself after an African country? I know that obscure and bizarre names are almost essential for a Mary Sue, but come on… and why would Abbey be executed? Have I accidentally stumbled onto an authoritarian dystopia in which any kind of compassion has been outlawed? What can of worms have you opened, G?

I remember! I now remember all the torturous moments of my years there. They were forgotten before.

Well, isn’t that convenient.

“I knew your mother,” Abbey continued. “Momta Radine. She was a nice one, at least until she turned drunken partygoer. At least all the extra alcohol in her bloodstream didn’t damage you at all.”

Funny how the immune systems of Mary Sues work. I want that kind of unstoppability!

Abbey paused to take a breath; this stuff had been coming fast. “If it did, whatever the scientists did when they were injecting you with fairy genes removed any damage you had.”

Even with my limited knowledge of biology and genetics, I don’t think that’s how gene editing works.

Shock. Oh my gosh. My mom really WAS a drunken partygoer! I thought the scientists who had been compiling my data sheet had been making that up.

How do you know that Abbey isn’t making it up? Maybe she’s not your aunt but a stranger who has taken on her face and mannerisms! I’m sure that’s possible in your universe.

“She was a great sister when she was young. She did many of the caring things for me that I in turn did to you.”

I’m not sure if this is genuine or if I’m actually getting Lena Dunham vibes.

“But that means-” Abbey cut me off.
“Momta was my sister. I’m your aunt.” Then she reached out to me liked she wanted me to shake her hand. “Abbey Radine, at your service.”

G, you’ve failed to make me care at all about these characters in any significant way. I understand that this was supposed to be a dramatic reveal, but… see, we literally just met Abbey. We haven’t gotten the time to get used to her and form a attachment.

I could only stare at her and shiver as she realized that I wouldn’t be taking her hand. She pulled it back and began talking again.

Well, aren’t you rude? She exposed herself, and you stiffed her.

“Tomorrow has plans to kill you. But I know how to keep you alive. Luna, come here.”

Do you need pure angel blood? Because judging on her unrealistic fighting skills, you’re not going to get that.

Luna stepped over and Abbey gave her a nod of approval. She then placed her right pointer finger on my arm, along a vein, and the area she was touching began to tingle and burn a little bit.

I thought that the Laboratory wouldn’t have given you sensitive skin? I thought you were perfect, Algeria. Don’t lie to me.

“Watch it, Luna!” I almost yelled, then tried to brush her off. She backed up a couple of steps, then let me see what she had done to me. The vein that she had touched had turned pale green.

Free tattoo! Although not in a color that I would like.

“You know what that other 1% is?” Abbey asked. “About half of that is mariposa lily. Calochortus elegans. They’re very pretty flowers, and no doubt contributed to your own, well, beauty.”

You’re an adult commenting on a teenager’s “beauty”… besides, Algeria’s “perfect”, so you wouldn’t know whether or not a flower’s genes had any effect on a human’s appearance. (Hint: it doesn’t work that way.)

I blushed. Abbey really thought I was beautiful? At least Tim wasn’t here to comment.

“As you probably don’t know because you never really went to school, plants can do photosynthesis.” Abbey left a moment for me to look at the spot at my arm and think for a moment. Then she started up again.

If Algeria didn’t know that plants could photosynthesize, then do you really expect her to know what photosynthesis even is? Use your head, you profound idiot.

“Your heart has stopped and started up again, and I know that you can hold your breath for long periods of time.

How do you know this knowledge? Is there a tracker inside Algeria that we don’t now about? I bet that it’s going to be a major point later in the series.

What I am saying is that you could stop your heartbeat and hold your breath and you could play dead, and the veins in your arm, where the mariposa lily cells are, would take over and keep you alive.”

Wait, what?

My reaction exactly. I’m going to cleanse myself now so that I can suffer in style on the English test tomorrow.

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