from the OTHER archives: Socks, Part 3, Chapters 30-32

I’m feeling serene this evening- well, it was evening when I wrote this. I’ve been messing up on the timestamps when I schedule these in the queue, so hopefully you’ll be seeing this in the morning. Good morning! Let’s jump right in!

Luna grabbed my arm again with a hidden strength and starting touching the veins again, this time the tingly feeling less strong than before. Wherever she touched, the veins there slowly turned green until I had green veins running over my arms.

Man, those must be some really strong drugs if Luna’s touch is leaving marks in your vision. But then again, I’m not really a good judge of anything drug-related as Eddie came into biology class proclaiming that he’d been vaping in the bathroom and he was just as off as usual. I don’t have a fancy for him anymore.

“So, Abbey, you’re saying that I play dead when Tomorrow comes back?” I said. I had never done this before in my whole life and I was truly scared. Abbey nodded her head and slumped down into a chair.

“What kind of an aunt are you?” Algeria strode towards the door, placing one palm on the handle. “I thought family was supposed to love and protect their members unconditionally, but you’re letting them feed me to the metaphorical dogs. Instead of trying to prepare me to survive an assault, why don’t you just stop Tomorrow? Or take me and Luna and hightail it out of here?”

“I love you, Algeria,” Abbey said. “As far as I know, I’m the only living relative you have. I’m sorry that you had to go through this.” She put her hands over her face and took a ragged breath. “I will tell you when it is safe again. Be strong.” She started sobbing.

Like hell you love her, Abbey. What kind of family member is that negligent?

I hugged her. And when she left the room, she turned to me and said, “Be strong. I know you can.” She closed the door, so Luna and I were alone in the room.

“Glad that’s over.” Luna rubbed her eyes. “Being that you and I are genetically modified to be faster and stronger than any of the doofuses here, do you want to run out before it gets dark? We could stop at McDonald’s on the way to the cities to start a new life.”

Algeria stared long and hard at Luna, unsure if she was part of the drug’s effect as well.

All of a sudden, my ears overheard a sharp bark from the room over: “Now!”
There was a hissing in the room, then I was overcome with a sudden wish to fall asleep, to sink into the ground and stay there for an eternity…

If you could hear them then, Algeria, what was keeping you from hearing anything before that? Was your aunt masking the room too hard and forgot that the effect was only supposed to be one-way?

“Algeria!” Luna spat out. She was panting and trying hard to stay awake from what I could tell from the fog in my head. “It’s knockout gas! Try to stay awake!”

No wonder we wanted to fall asleep so suddenly, but we weren’t able to stay awake much longer because they increased the dosage. I fell to the floor with a thunk and closed my eyes, exhausted.

Increasing dosages, especially in such an uncontrolled setting as an entire room, can be extremely dangerous for any organism’s health. What would be needed to knock out Luna would be far lower than what Algeria would need because Luna’s body mass is lower. Basic science, you uncertified psychos.

Tomorrow rubbed her hands together in menial pride and released a laugh that sent the very walls of the laboratory shaking in terror. “And Algeria is in the room? Please tell me she is not dead- I want to do that myself!”

Judging on the incredibly imprecise method you used, I wouldn’t be surprised if she was dead.

“She is not dead,” a freak standing guard at the entrance of the knockout gas room said. “Just unconscious. We will leave the actual decommissioning to you.”

Well, isn’t that dehumanizing.

“Decommissioning, my butt! I will KILL her, and all of Soona Bris will see me do it!”
“But what will you use? Poison? Sheer force? Knives? Don’t you have a plan?”

“Sheer force. I’m just as strong as Algeria and you know it. In fact, I’m even stronger because she doesn’t have the stomach for killing at all, and I do.” Tomorrow stood a little straighter, but she was still a short girl, just like they had made her. “I know that Algeria won’t try to kill me because she was brought up not to, whereas I grew up in a cage and was exposed to death every day.”

I don’t think that subjects being euthanized behind closed doors counts as being exposed to death every day, Tomorrow. And if you’re talking about subjects dying in the cages in your general proximity, I would think that they would be moved to an observation room before it got to that point. But obviously I’m an ignorant plebeian who needs to be educated in the art of the edge.

Tomorrow looked down in retrospection, being quiet in respect for all of the experiments that had burnt out shortly after being altered.

I guess I called it. What’s my prize? Virtually undetectable scientific advancements?

Then she looked back up and said, “Tonight. I want the stadium done tonight. I simply cannot wait any longer. Let’s get this over with.”

I don’t think that the minimum wage illegal immigrants you hired to build it will appreciate you telling them to work three times as fast. Enough of the workers have died from accidents, Tomorrow. Let them mourn.

I woke up feeling really groggy, like you do after a long nap or a great night’s sleep. I was in a dimly lit room, and my hands were bound behind my back. My feet were tied together tightly. I had the feeling that much time had passed, like when you wake up from a long nap, only much larger. Like many days had passed.

It was only a few hours, you drama queen. Get a grip.

The guard in front of me poked me in the back with his staff. “Wake up,” he said. “It is almost time for the games.”
“What games?” I replied.

“The Hunger Games. Your stupidity has gone over such high levels that you accidentally slipped yourself into a completely different fictional universe. Good luck, and may the odds be- you know what, I don’t want a copyright strike today.”

“The ones where you die,” the guard said. I gave him a look, and he ignored it.
I leaned back and ended up crashing onto the floor with a loud thunk. I landed with my ear to the floor, and I could hear what was going on in the room below me.

Good ears or no, I don’t think you can hear through half a foot of solid concrete.

“Tomorrow is a sadistic, horrible person,” Abbey sobbed. “Tim, you know that you won’t be allowed to be there in the stadium when this happens, right?”
“Right,” Tim reluctantly replied. “But where will I be, then?”
“You and Luna will hide in a special place I’ve prepared for you.”

Why wouldn’t you put Algeria there as well? You complete idiot! You had a safe space, and you completely wasted the perfect opportunity to use it…

The guard tugged me off of the ground and dropped me onto a stretcher, which he then strapped to me so that I couldn’t fall off of it while he was rolling it to wherever he was going.

Wouldn’t he strap you to it instead of the other way around? Also, why is a stretcher necessary? I prefer a sacrificial platter big enough for a body wheeled in and circled by seventeen candles. But the big ones, not the tiny tea lights. Nobody can see those mini ones from the crowds.

 It was a roaring stadium, filled to the brim with indistinct people with their indistinct signs they were profusely waving around. When we pushed through the end of the tunnel, a voice came on the loudspeaker.
It was Tomorrow.
“And here comes my quarry!”

And here comes my pizza! But instead of bringing validation to my singular and sad life as an antagonist, it will make me feel bad about myself since apparently I can’t burn calories faster than I can eat them. But at least I’ve passed the 200 pound mark. Only thirty more to go…

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