Tuesday, April 14

This Is How The World Ends #2

(first line by Katey, and stolen from Katsuhiro Otomo)

"Damn," she said, rubbing her temple. There would be a mark.  There always was.  When she exerted herself that much, the veins in her head and neck pulsed and swelled.  Capillaries burst, leaving small star patterns of bruises.  They always ended up hurting a bit, but she also thought they were pretty.  Sometimes she drew them with crayons.  

She surveyed the room.  All of the medical equipment in the lab had been pushed out from her and was in heaps along the walls.  The bulbs in the overhead lights had all exploded and the room was dark except from the light from the all coming through the small windows in the double doors.  The wall of glass that surround the upper section of the lab, separating it from the observation room, was white with spider cracks.  Apparently it had been reinforced class, the observers wanting some protection from the observed.  She could see what happened to the observers now.

Like Felicia.

She wiped her little hands on her hospital gown.  She grown up with almost daily blood tests so the sight of the red stuff didn't bother her.  She was aware that other six year old girls might cry at having their hands slick with blood, but not her.  

If there had been bodies, it might have bothered her, but the bodies had all gone away.  Perhaps there were still parts on the heaps along the walls, but in the dark she couldn't make them out.  There was blood beyond the few splatters that hit her hands and face.  Blood on the walls and glass.  Large smears and fine mist sprays.  Abstractly she knew that this was what was left of the staff.  Dr. Swanson, who had always encouraged Felicia to think of as "mom," had been standing right in front of her when Felicia had exerted.  So that particularly large splotch on the wall directly opposite Felicia was probably Dr. Swanson.  

Felicia had liked Dr. Swanson well enough.  But she had had enough this morning.  She didn't want another of those big needles stuck into her brain.  She hated that.  It didn't really hurt, but it made it hard to think and left her nauseous.  If there was one thing that Felicia hated it was throwing up.  So she had just pushed her brain harder then she had before.  She couldn't remember a time when she couldn't push her thoughts out and touch objects and stuff with them.  She understood that the doctors and the observers (who would come and watch her during test and never speak to her directly) couldn't do it.  She assumed that when you became big and grew up that you couldn't do it anymore.  But that couldn't explain why all the adults in her life, the only people in her life, only seemed to care about this ability.

One of the computer like things that they always attached to her head lay on its side, its screen scattered, and it was blocking the doors.  She climbed over it, being careful not to step on glass or get her flimsy gown caught on anything, and pushed out into the hall.   The lights were on here but flickering irregularly.  There was very little noise.   No sounds of people.  No people.

Then she saw it. One of the men who wore the dark uniforms and the guns at their hips and were always talking into walkitalkies, lay slumped against the wall.  Behind his head was painted red with blood.  Felicia stared for a bit.  She knew that this should be upsetting.  But it wasn't.  It was just a body.  Bodies can't hurt you.

She walked through the halls and saw more bodies and more blood.  Soon she stopped even thinking it was odd.  She passed the little room that she had grown up in.  Felicia considered going in and getting one or two of her favorite toys, the few things in her world that had not, in some way, been cold and distant.  But she decided she didn't need them any more. Her head was feeling better.  Better than it had ever before.  She moved on.

Felicia didn't stop at "Testing Rooms."  She had spent too much of her short life in those rooms, being run through test after test.  "Felicia, can you make the ball roll?"  "Felicia, can you lift the block in the air?"  "Felicia, can you make the water a bit warmer?"  And she could.  But it would go on for hours.  She also learned quickly that if she did it with ease, it just meant they pushed her harder.  And it meant more needles in her head.  So she had been holding back, making it look more difficult than it was.   If it looked like it was making her tired they often let her go back to her room.

But today she had walked into the room, still sleepy.  They had asked her to move a chair across the floor.  She hadn't been thinking, wasn't even really listening to them, and was cranky about being woken up from a dream where she was playing with other little girls.  Without any effort she lifted the chair up in the air, spun it around and slammed it into the wall.  The doctors had been so excited.  Dr. Swanson had hugged her and said, "I love you so much!"  And then taken her directly to the lab and started preparing the needles.

It felt like she was walking for hours and was just thinking she'd would be lost in the halls forever when she pushed through a door and into daylight.  Felicia shielded her eyes from the morning sun and felt its warmth through her gown and on her bare backside.  After her eyes adjusted, she saw that she was in a parking lot.  A car had crashed into a lamp post, its driver limp over the steering wheel.

Felicia walked up to the car and look at her face in the side mirror.  The star bruises were really big a purple. And pretty.  She liked them and hoped they'd never go away.  They didn't hurt this time.

Walking out of the lot and into the street, she wondered that the city was a lot quieter than they were on the television shows.  Somewhere distant an alarm was screeching.  She didn't like the noise, so she shut her eyes and pushed and somewhere there was an explosion and the noise stopped.

There were more bodies but that was just how the world was now.

Felicia began to walk gingery down the street.  "Damn," she thought.  "I should have gotten my shoes."  But she figured she could find some new ones.  That and some other little girls to play with.