The time was 1:52. It was definitely 1:52. 1:52 was flashing in red next to Adonis’ head. 1:52 was an odd time for it to be considering he did not remember eating lunch. And he definitely couldn’t remember going to his seminar. Also he was strapped to a long white table. There was definitely something off about that.
With effort Adonis turned his head to the left. He was in a very white room. The ceiling was white and the walls were white, even the floor was a gleaming white. The only objects in the room other than the table Adonis was strapped to were temporary as they resided on wheeled metal trolleys. The one nearest him, besides housing the digital clock, held what seemed to be medical instruments all lined up neatly on the tray. In fact the whole room was exact — perfected, spotless and scentless. Standing in the doorway, looking at him with a dull expression, was the tall suited man. His arms hung limply by his side and Adonis stared at him for a good few minutes; he did not blink.
“Excuse me?” But the man continued to stare dully back.
“Oh don’t talk to him, Adonis. He won’t react to anything you say!” Robyn came before him. She was dressed in a rather macabre black apron and red gloves.
“You’re wearing an apron,” Adonis muttered.
“What?” She glanced down. “Oh this? Don’t worry about that, Adonis. It’s just for blood splash-back.”
She looked down at him and tightened the straps around his wrists. “You weren’t a thrasher. I wasn’t expecting you to be of course but some of them get awfully panicked.” She moved to a table and held up a large sharp needle. “Duncan, for instance, punched me in the face during. Purely a reflex I imagine,” she said, her lip curling.
“Martin’s pen,” Adonis said suddenly.
“I forgot to give him his pen back. It’s in my pocket,” he muttered. “I can feel it digging in my side.”
Robyn fingered the needle, twirling it between her gloved fingers. “I’m sorry to break it to you, Adonis Wells. But that is not a pen. That is rather, my handiwork.”
The syringe shattered in Robyn’s hand. “Aren’t you bothered at all by what I’ve done to you — you dull, dull boy?!” she yelled, but then immediately straightened up and coughed. “Number Two, can you believe this boy? A one of a kind find indeed!”
“I’m late for lunch,” Adonis murmured then went to stand, forgetting the straps which pinned him down.
“What’s that Number Two?” Robyn turned to face the man who had neither moved nor spoken. “Yes. Yes you’re right! I suppose it’s time I tell you of your fate, Adonis Wells!” She said his name with the same kind of forced emphasis as she had the first time.
She sighed, then began to pace the room. “I have been watching you, Adonis Wells, for a great deal of time.” She placed her short arms behind her back, grinning inwardly. “I know more about you and your life than you could ever dream to. Because it’s true, isn’t it, Mr. Wells, that you haven’t really been living at all?”
“Hey! Wait a second!”
Robyn swung to face him, smiling darkly. “Oh? You protest?”
“You’re calling me Mr. Wells now?”
“It’s just… before you were using my full name… but then you switched…”
Robyn stared at him incredulously before falling back into her paced steps. “I’ve been watching you for a long time, Adonis Wells, and every single day has been the same. Many people would find this strange, but not you, Adonis Wells, you were quite happy living that same repetitive life... Ah — my mistake, ‘happy’ is the wrong word. Accepting — now that is more appropriate,” she laughed dryly. “It is lucky for me, Adonis Wells, that you were living this life, because what those years of unquestioning and accepting have done to you is something very remarkable indeed.” She stopped and looked down, then flicked her head back dramatically. “Adonis Wells! Your monotonous life has created a person who does not reject anything! Your brain is so relenting that it does not oppose any foreign force! Do you understand what that means?!” She was breathless as she turned to him, her tiny body trembling with anticipation.
Adonis stared blankly back. “That makes… no sense.”
“Your mind and body is like an unripened fruit! They’re like a car without a driver, Adonis Wells! And I can be the driver! The seat is empty so I slid inside!”
“You did what?”
“I have the keys in my hand!” She threw back her head and laughed dramatically, her hands clasped to the sides of her head. The sound faded into silence, a great silence broken only by her heavy breathing. “Well…?” She gasped. “Does it not traumatise you? Does it not strike terror to your very core?!”
Adonis glanced from left to right. “Are you okay? Maybe you should sit down?” She groaned and her entire body drooped. “I mean that sounded like some half-baked attempt at science which in reality makes no sense at all.”
“It doesn’t matter if it makes sense or not!” she grunted, then walked towards him. “You don’t see anything unless it’s forced into your face do you?” She scoffed. “I’ve linked our bodies, Adonis Wells — our substances — our very essences! This can never be undone. Adonis Wells, what I have done is irreversible!”
“Wait. Wait… hold it,” Adonis went to scratch his head before realising he was still strapped to the table. “You…You operated on yourself? That’s not possible at all.”
She rolled her eyes and batted his words away. “This is a one-way system, Adonis Wells. My mind, unlike yours, is flourishing, it is constantly moving, thinking, creating. There is no space in my — admittedly vast — mind for you. However…” She grinned darkly, then marched to the operating cart. Without turning she reached back and picked up what appeared to be a pair of black headphones. “These help to focus my mental energy. They direct it down the pathway which I have created between mine and yours. They’re like… training wheels.” She placed them over her ears, clipping them into place. She touched the back and there was a soft buzzing, a green light flashed atop the headset. She closed her eyes and grimaced. “Sweet Jesus, Adonis Wells, you really need to have a clear out,” she muttered. “It’s filthy in here.”
Adonis shrugged. “I’m a student.”
“I despise students,” she spat, then opened her eyes slowly, focusing on Adonis with a fanatical intensity.
“Do I have something on my fa—?” Adonis stopped suddenly. Ironically, his face did feel weird, hot and itchy and prickly. He wondered if it was at all possible to get pins and needles in one’s face while lying down. That’s when he glanced upwards. Upwards into the huge circular lamp which hovered above his head, and he caught his face in the reflection. He looked as bored and tired as ever… but there was one difference, his nose was twitching from side to side, his face muscles contracting and moving against his will. “I think I need to sneeze,” he muttered as he stared at his reflection unblinkingly.
“It’s not a sneeze, Adonis Wells.” Robyn spoke slowly as Adonis’ nose rolled about his face. “That — that is the sign of success — sweet success for me! Not that I expected anything different, of course!” She squealed and bounced on the spot, then cleared her throat and straightened up seriously. As she did Adonis’ nose stopped moving. “Number Two!” she barked. “Fetch the fool!” The tall man turned sharply and left the room. “You are my newest weapon, Adonis Wells, the new addition to my team.”
“W-What? No! Not like foot—”
“Because I’m not very good at sports.”
“You’ll be good at what I tell you to be good at,” she snarled.
“You’re not my mother. You’re not even close,” Adonis said slowly. “You’re about twelve, for a start.”
“Fourteen!” She pouted as the metal door swung open. Number Two stepped into the room, dragging behind him a figure. His trousers were around his ankles, exposing pale hairy legs. But what was most striking of all was his hair — a shocking silver shade, slicked back into horns atop his forehead. He had a squashed nose and an awkward face.
“Yo! Dude! Wat!” he barked in protest as the suited man lifted him clean off his feet and plonked him before Robyn. “You could have just asked for me, man!” He groaned and he staggered to his feet. “Why’d you make Zombie-dude get me? I was busy!”
“Pull your trousers up, fool.” Robyn rolled her eyes.
He did so then glanced at Adonis. “What’s this? Want me to dump a body?”
“I’m not dead,” Adonis muttered, still staring blankly upwards at the reflective light.
The boy jumped and spun to face him, his body bent double. “Christ! You sure?” He waved a hand in front of his face. “Yo got those steely eyes going on, no lights are on and all that, kinda like him.” He motioned to Number Two with his thumb.
“And yet Number Two is able to succeed in even the simple tasks which you fail,” Robyn muttered, watching him with contempt.
“I hope this isn’t heaven,” Adonis mumbled.
“Dude, what happened?” The silver haired boy gasped, staring at the belts which still bound Adonis’ limbs to the table.
“I was in my lecture… I borrowed a pen… then I was abducted by that crazy girl.”
The boy winced massively and said, “Oh. Dude. You’re gonna regret that one.” He moved to the side, as if Adonis was suddenly giving off a very bad smell. Adonis glanced across the room to Robyn, she was staring at Adonis, her right eye twitching unnaturally, her body frozen.
Then she uttered in a deep, breathless voice. “What… did… you… just… say…?”
She shook her head slowly, her whole face seemed to be twitching, Adonis wondered if she had pins and needles in it too.
She threw back her head and screamed. She made a rabid lunge for Adonis, but halfway through her legs failed and she crumpled to her knees. “I HATE YOU, ADONIS WELLS!” she wailed and tore at her face with her clawed hands. She fell on all fours and began to crawl towards him. “Girl?! GIRL?! DO I LOOK LIKE A FUCKING GIRL TO YOU?!”
“Well…” Adonis watched as she dragged her convulsing body towards him, her face red with fury. “Yes. Yes you do.”
He heard the silver haired boy draw in a sharp breath and mutter under his breath, “Dude are you a freakin’ dumbass? Don’t provoke it!”
But ‘it’ was provoked. The rage seemed to be consuming Robyn’s body so violently that she could no longer move towards Adonis so instead stared at him with venom, breathing heavily and baring teeth.
“I… hate… you… Adonis… Wells…”
“What did I do?” He blinked. The silver boy brought his palm to his own face heavily.
“NUMBER TWO! NUMBER TWO!” Robyn screamed and pointed one shaking hand to the poker-faced man by the door. “SUSTENANCE!” The man reached deep into his pocket, and when he withdrew it, grasped in his hand was a small carton of full-fat milk and a straw. Robyn snatched it from him and sucked it determinedly. The room fell into silence as Robyn sucked and sucked on the straw with deep concentration. As she finished she threw it down and jumped to her feet with a flourish.
“I didn’t do anything,” Adonis said dully, then turned to the silver-haired boy. “Is this what you call a ‘female issue’?”
The boy opened his mouth slowly but Robyn was screaming again, “I hate you, Adonis Wells! You’re so dull! Do you know that?! Of course not, you’re too dull to know that!” She crushed the milk carton beneath her foot. “Why should I listen to you?! You don’t have the right to speak here! I’m the brilliant one! Do you understand that?! I am brilliant! I AM BRILLIANT. I AM INSPIRED. I AM A MARVEL. I AM SO MUCH MORE THAN YOU COULD EVER HOPE TO BE!” she cried, throwing over carts and sending medical objects clattering to the floor. But they were not the only thing to receive a violent jolt. The straps around Adonis’ wrists suddenly sprang open and the metal clasps clanged against the table. At least that’s what he had thought had happened. But the force which was being exerted upon the straps, and what had caused them to break, was Adonis’ body itself. He was flung through the air, propelled by his own legs from wall to wall. He slammed into tables and his face was smacked repeatedly into the glass of the door. But Robyn was still in the midst of her rampage, tearing the room apart and screaming, “DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE ME, I AM MAGNIFICENT. I AM ASTONISHING. I AM A PHENOMENON!” And as Adonis’ limp body crashed into the walls the silver-haired boy stared with his mouth hanging open and the suited man simply stared. “I. HATE. YOU. ADONIS. WELLS!” Robyn screamed then sank to her knees, her body hugging the wall, leaning against it breathlessly. Adonis’ body dropped to the ground in a crumpled heap.
“…Duuuuude…” The silver haired boy let out a low whistle. “That was badass.”
“Get him out of here,” Robyn snarled, still pressed against the wall.
“Get. Him. Out. Of. Here. Now.”
He looked from Robyn’s shaking back to Adonis’ dazed, spread-eagled form. “Can he walk?” He walked over to him gingerly, then stood over him. “Man that is a lot of blood.”
“Can you walk?” He reached down and offered his hand.
Adonis gripped it and staggered to his feet. “My limbs are in pain. I think my organs actually hurt.”
“Yeah. That’ll happen,” he snorted and dragged him through the room. “Better get out of here before he starts up again,” he smirked and gestured to Robyn who was staring at them with red eyes, clawing at the wall.
“He?” Adonis murmured. “But I thought…”
“I am a man,” Robyn muttered, pressing his head against the wall and sobbing. “I am a manly man. I am a manly man. Say I’m a manly man, Number Two! I’m a manly man! Say it.”
“You’re a manly man,” Number Two repeated emotionlessly as Adonis was forcefully dragged from the room.