The Truth- posted on 4/20/13
March 9, 2010
Considering that was the second time today I'd been knocked out, I wasn't too incredibly happy.
I shook my tired head, and felt the warm cloth on my temple slide off my face as I woke. I jumped up, only to see the odd reality, that I was in my room, clutching my blanket with stiff, white knuckles; my head beat like drum and I grabbed my forehead with my free hand to make sure I wasn’t just hallucinating. Was this all a dream? I thought. I then felt the band aid from the door incident and quickly realized it wasn't.
My mother came in, her voice calm and caring, she smiled, "Well, you're much better it looks like?"
"What happened?" I groaned, trying to be as serious as possible.
"Some idiot hit you with a door, and they called us to come get you." My mother seemed surprisingly calm and joyous, all things considered---that wasn’t normal. She was hiding something, or maybe she didn’t know about anything that was worth hiding. I have to get some answers; I need to get out of here! Play it cool, Kitty, just act like you’re sick and confused and Mom can do the rest.
"What about the science trip?" I asked, my headache coming back as soon as my body fully woke up.
"I'm sorry honey, you missed the trip. You've been out since we brought you home yesterday. You can stay home from school today if you want---" she explained.
"NO!" I shouted; my outburst startling her, so I quickly changed my tone, “I mean...I just wanted to hear about the trip, from my friends."
Clutching my throbbing head set her off, and she clapped surprisingly cheery, and asked, "Got a headache? I’ll go get you an ADVIL be back in one second. You just get ready to go, and I’ll drive you."
I shot out of bed and got dressed faster than my mother had time to come back with pain killers. There was something weird going on here, and I intended to find out what it was by any means necessary.
By the time I got to school, everyone was acting the way they normally would. Normal... When I saw Mikaela and Morgan by that usual spot near the lockers, I ran over to them as quickly as I could until people started staring and I slowed back down to a hasty walk.
"Kitty lives!" Mikaela joked towards me.
"Did something weird happen yesterday?" I asked them very bluntly, right off the bat.
"No?" they both replied.
"You got hit by a door, but---"
"NO!" I interrupted harshly, "On the trip!"
"It was pretty boring at least my group was," Morgan yawned.
"LIKE I SAID KITTY!" Mikaela pronounced debatably.
This was weird! It was as if nothing had happened, but no...I had the bruises all over my face to prove it. It wasn’t just a door; some guy knocked me out, and my leg---my leg! I can’t believe after all morning, I just now remembered the glass shard. I lifted up my jeans leg as Morgan and Mikaela starred confused. It wasn’t there, but in its place was a huge scabbed gash smiling at me from my ankle to my kneecap.
"Holy crap! What the **** did you do Kitty!?" Mikaela gagged.
"Why do you keep calling me that?" I wondered accusingly.
"What? That's your name," she scoffed with a nervous grin.
"No...you call me “Kandy” and you've called me Kandy every morning since the first day of basketball season!"
She merely starred at me blankly, Morgan did too.
"K-Kandy?" Mikaela blinked a couple times, then she spoke wearily as if coming out of a trance, "Gah, my hands are burning---my head is like throbbing! What the **** freaking happened yesterday---last thing I remember, I was getting hit in the head---and the smoke---that God-awful smell---"
"Don’t say anything to anyone!" I whispered apprehensively, pulling her closer to me. Everything looked suspicious now, the cameras, students, my mother's attitude---it all had the same conspiracy edge to it. I looked at her and spoke in a hushed tone, "We have got get our lab group back together, and go see that Barkley guy, I think he did something to us!"
"Oh my God!" she gasped, meanwhile, Morgan was still in a confused state, watching the two of us mumbling like we were mental nut-cases.
"Morgan!" I yelled with a wide, suspicious smile, as I separated from Mikaela and turned back to face her swiftly.
"What the heck are you two talking about?" she asked.
"Something from TV, you wouldn't understand!" Mikaela lied, "And we're not going to lunch with you today---I uh, just remembered we were going with uh---with Shane!"
"Well, okay?" she shrugged uncomfortably, walking off in the opposite direction to escape from our odd behavior. Wally was also walking with her, so I was completely oblivious to the fact he was most-likely standing right next to us this whole entire time. Hopefully he hadn't heard anything about our situation.
"That was too close!" Mikaela whispered. "What happened to me yesterday, Kandy?"
"I think we were brain washed," I continued, "but I think we can snap a few of the others out of it like I did with you and the scars did with me."
"How are we going to do that though?" she wondered, "It's not like we have as big of a friendly bond with the rest of them as you and I have---what would we even say to them to jog loose a few memories?"
"Just trust me!" I stated, "The glass shards, they might have hit one of the others---I don't know I couldn't see through the fog---they were standing right beside me, I’ll bet it did get to them and where there was glass, there should now be a scar! If we ask them where their cuts came from, they maybe might just snap out of it!"I exclaimed, "I have classes with Peter, Thei and Jane, so I'll take care of them..."
"And, I have one with Thei and Shane," Mikaela stated.
"Good, I guess it’s up to us to figure out what happened yesterd---"
The bell rang and cut me off. In equally determined stares, Mikaela and I ran hurriedly to our classes to confront the others; all the while, I was hoping that we hadn’t gone completely insane in the process. For some reason, as I thought over what I might say to Jane Cross, I didn’t personally feel all too convinced that we weren’t crazy.
When dealing with Jane, the first thing that I noticed, was that she did indeed have a large slit on her arm that wasn't there yesterday---if I can remember right, that is. I was tackling ideas on how to do this, maybe a slow and steady conversation leading up to the inevitable...or maybe I could just do the band aid technique and get it all out in the open really, painfully fast.
She was just sitting in her third row seat, smiling her sweet smile and messing with her books; how do I break this to her without completely breaking her? I don’t think I could stand to see Jane cry. Oh well, here goes nothing?
"Ahem! Hi Jane," I greeted with a high, nervous squeak.
"Hello?" she smiled kindly. As usual, Jane was never one to act mean to anyone, no matter how weird they were acting to her. Still, I decided to get strait to the point before Mr. Howard told me to go sit down with the other Altos.
"So...uh, that’s a pretty nasty scar, what'd you do to your arm?" I asked knowingly.
"Oh this? I woke up with it,” She shrugged, “My mother told me that I fell off of the top of the pyramid during cheer practice; it’s just like me, I’m such a klutz---but, is it really that noticeable, I thought I covered it up pretty well? Oh man..." She started rearranging her sleeves.
"You know what, call me crazy, but it looks kind of like a glass cut," I stated ever so bluntly. The only thing on my mind being those horrific flashbacks of that lab attack brought out the more immediate side of my nature. I hated reliving that moment in my head, but if it was what it took to get people to know the truth, sure I could deal with my own fears long enough to help out the conspiracy---sure?
Jane stared blankly at me, before repeatedly blinking and looking all around her, lost as if she woke out of a nightmare. Jane started to gasp as her face lost all of its color, and I had to grab onto her shoulder before she got so loud that the rest of the class would start to stare. She had just remembered what had happened to her yesterday, and like Mikaela, she was completely freaked out.
"Jane?" I asked.
"W-what?" Her frightened voice stammered, her green eyes jerked back towards me and she even jumped from the touch of my hand before regaining her composure.
"Jane, you have to come with us to lunch, we’re going to figure this out, it’s going to be okay."
"I don't think---"
"You just have to trust me!" I assured firmly.
"Al-alright," she agreed reluctantly.
By this time, Mr. Howard came in and told us all to sit down and begin class. Jane stared at me as we took our seats and began singing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." She was shaking terribly, but by the calm expression I was trying to pull off to the world, Jane soon slapped on a fake smile and sang her loudest, just as she did every day. Jane did always want to be and actress, and by the way she held back her frightened tears and screams now, I really do think she could become a great one.
By this point, I’m sure even I could become an actress, but honestly thinking about my future---one that I might not even have---ugh! If I didn’t stop thinking about it, I would choke up, but keeping the thought to the side of my mind made me feel so terrible! What if this was killing us? What if those scientists did something, or were going to do something to us? Then, why didn’t they, and how did we get home without anybody realizing we were all attacked? With our eyes locked worriedly on one another, I was sure that Jane was thinking the same, but we continued singing without another word.
In biology, Thei was missing, so I searched and searched for a cut on Peter, but could find it anywhere. I almost gave up, when, there! It was barely visible, but faintly hiding on his back, beneath his thin, white T-shirt. If he didn’t have so much muscle pressing against his clothes, I never would have seen it in the first place. Obviously, Peter must have ducked or turned to avoid getting cut directly, but still, his scar was pretty deep and didn’t seem in comparison to mine at all...why was it so different? No matter, I still have to confront him about it---and he’s going to hate me, plus he’s most likely going to freak out, but this just has to be done. Well here goes nothing…again?
"Pst! Peter," I whispered, interrupting the conversation he was having with Tom Jones in front of us. Poor unsuspecting Peter...I wish that I didn't have to do this to him.
"Da?" he laughed, as he turned behind to face me; then, seeing me actually brought a frown to his face, and shocked him that we were even in the same class, "Oh, Katya? Listen, I am truly sorry about the other day. I was upset, and I did not know you were standing there---da, izvinite. You are alright?"
I touched the gauze square on my head and blushed, "Oh, yeah, don't even worry about it---but, hey, not to be a creeper or anything, um, I was just wondering about that big cut on your back, what on earth happened?"
"What cut?" he wondered sternly. I reached a finger and traced alongside it, carefully trying not to touch it directly. I felt like a total creep, but Peter didn’t seem to care, he actually flashed me a tiny smile.
"Oh," he chuckled, "Not so sure about this myself? It came after a bizarre dream that I was attacked in some lab, but, that is just a dream, da? I’m sure one of Thei’s pranks has just misfired and he has not told me, in fact he has been acting strange all of the morning?"
"But Peter, it wasn't Thei, it wasn’t a dream," I whispered---not wasting any time on subtlety here, are you Kitty? I thought to myself.
Peter turned his full-attention to me, and starred right down at my face with his confused blue eyes; after a moment, he asked, "What do you mean, Katya?"
What do I mean? Oh, we were all attacked at a lab yesterday Peter. Should I say that---It could totally freak him out? No…no, we’re going to be direct here; he has to know the full truth if I can convince him before class is over.
"That green smoke, the beaker shattering, being knocking out, it was all real, that really did happen yesterday on the field trip."
"How did you know all of that?" he demanded to know suspiciously arching his brows at me, "I never said of any---"
"Peter!" I whispered louder, "It was real! I was there too, remember---just try to remember---it was real!" He was speechless…baffled! By the look on his face and the lost expression in his eyes, I knew he was on board and that weird mind-trance spell we all had was broken. Calmly now, I added, "Please, just come to lunch with us; we're going to get answers from that scientist, Todd Barkley, and we’ll figure all of this mess out. We’ll get some answers, okay?"
"You---you really believe we should go back there," he finally blurted, his face not moving an inch as he spoke, "It is not safe, they----they did tests---experiments on me; I think, Katya...that I was experimented on?"
Now I was breathless, and placed one had over my gaping mouth, forcing myself not to tear up as I tried to block images of them injecting poor Peter with chemicals. That was why his scars were so different than mine. Why did they do that!? I tried to remember if anyone was doing the same sorts of experiments on me, but no such memory came up; though, if I had one, I’m sure I never wanted to remember it again.
"Rasputin! Pryde! Turn around and pay attention!" Coach interrupted sorely.
Peter turned his back to me slowly, and I closed my eyes so tight, I felt the hot tears well up behind my eye lids, but I didn't cry; I couldn't---not until I learned the truth. By the end of class, Pete was on board. I have Jane and Pete, meaning Mikaela would have gotten through to Shane, and if by some miracle she could get a sentence out to Thei, it meant we were all set for lunch. Possibly the last lunch we’ll ever get?
I met Mikaela and Shane at his truck and waited impatiently as Peter and Jane appeared, walking towards us even though each step was bringing on a lot more doubt. It was weird that they actually believed me enough not to question whether or not I was telling the truth or just plain crazy; and in reality, that was exactly the way I felt---I would have never believed myself if I were in their shoes!
"Thei didn't get cut, and he didn't believe me," Mikaela informed in a scoff, "He went home before first period was even over, all psyched out."
"Let’s just go and get this over with!" Shane ordered.
We piled into his giant blue truck, and drove a very long way down to the edge of the city where the lab sat innocently in the middle of nowhere. We parked right in front of the doors and entered the science building; strangely, right as our group paced through the lobby, every scientist and staff worker stopped whatever they were working on, and looked straight at us with terror on their faces. We went to the service desk and asked the woman immediately for Barkley---actually, we kind of demanded him; nevertheless, her shaking fingers pressed a noisy button, and he came out faster than I could have imagined. Of course at the mere sight of us, he became confused, not-to-mention struck frozen where he stood while we all surrounded him, yelling our lungs out until we each grew red in the face.
This went on for a couple uncountable minutes, until his low voice thundered at us all to take it easy, and he scoffed in a more polite tone, "What on earth is going on here?"
"What have your people done to us?" Peter growled, as I noticed the other workers ducking behind their desks at his question.
"What are you talking about---" he started, but stopped suddenly, and stared blankly at us with his glazed over, ice eyes.
"That does it!"
Peter was about to knock Todd’s head clear off its shoulders, but I swiftly grabbed him by the arm, taking all of my strength, both of my arms, and practically me jumping on him to get him not to swing, but I succeeded and yelled, "NO WAIT! He's been brainwashed, he's got that blank look that you all had before you could remember anything from yesterday?"
"Carter!" Barkley screamed, as he turned and marched down the hallways. We all followed after him, until Todd stopped and hastily jiggled the silver handle of one random door in the hallway. Impatiently, Barkley kicked it in after no reply, and inside, a tiny man (Carter apparently) lunged under his desk in a futile attempt to hide from us. Then Barkley bellowed, "CARTER! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE!?"
"N-n-nothing Todd," he lied, stuttering, as sweat rolled off his face in waves, "W-what makes you think I---"
"SHUT UP CARTER!" Barkley boomed.
I jumped at Todd’s powerful tone, and stood wide-eyed in the hallway like the others. We just watched the yelling, until Carter eventually broke down…"It wasn’t supposed to happen," he quivered; meanwhile, Barkley grabbed him by the collar of his lab coat and raised him high above the ground. I didn't know a nerdy scientist could be so strong? Although, Barkley wasn't your normal geneticist I guess?
"The kids weren't supposed to be there, not that day!" he sobbed.
"It was the green neocloriphic-ozide gas that was in that beaker," he admitted softly.
"WHAT DOES IT DO!?" Barkley spat through angry clenched teeth.
"I---I was jealous of you---Professor choosing your invention over mine---so, I---I'm so sorry Todd---I’m so sorry…" Barkley shoved Carter against the plastered wall; I saw it crack beneath his back, and heard Carter yelp, before choking out his next words, "The gas was supposed to kill you Todd, but it didn't, the experiment failed!"
"YOU MORON, THERE WERE KIDS IN THERE!" Barkley roared enflamed with rage.
"I didn't know!"
Todd Barkley took the professor away from the wall, only to shove him roughly back into it. I heard his shoulder blades cracking from the shear muscle in Todd’s force, but he said no more, now it was Todd’s turn to talk…"I have a wife at home! And these kids; you've ruined these kids’ lives, you stupid imbecile!"
"I'm sorry Todd...for everything, really I am."
It was then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw Carter pulling out a silver object from his lab coat pocket. It wasn't a gun, or a knife, but I knew it wasn't something good, and he was about to jab Todd Barkley! Before I could get to it, Jane had already rushed towards them, and grabbed the professor’s arm.
"Todd!" I screamed to attract his attention. He looked down at Jane keeping Carter’s arm from killing him, and grew extremely angry, pulling back now, to punch Carter's face in! Surprisingly, he didn't? He and Jane simply stood frozen in place, as a faint buzzing erupted in the background that made my teeth sting. They both fell harshly to the ground, as blue, popping veins visibly surfaced across their startled white faces.
"What did you do!?" Shane bellowed breathlessly, as we rushed into the room towards Jane and Todd’s lifeless bodies.
"It's a small electromagnetic device," Carter cackled, "One that triggers the nervous center and shuts down all feeling, just by emitting a tiny ringing tune at a close distance. Don't worry, a small dose isn't fatal, but you children know far too much, and seeing as thought the mind swipe didn’t work properly, you must be properly disposed of."
He walked calmly over, and clicked the door lock. The four of us were frightened beyond belief, but when we saw Barkley and Jane on the ground unconscious, almost lifeless, it was finally becoming clear to us that this was no longer some silly child's-game. This was real-life, our childhood was officially over, and now it’s time to take a stand. I'm dead meat if I don't grow up now and stop Professor Carter! The others must have been thinking the same because when I looked at our huddled line, I saw we were all in a fighting stance, and all wore equally angry, intimidating faces.
"This time I'm going to make sure that when you forget this place, you forget it permanently!" he snarled.
"Bring it *****!"
"Mikaela!" I mumbled scornfully.
"Not even to a bad guy!? Ugh…fine sorry Kandy..." she scoffed.
Then, almost immediately, we were ganging up on this former scientist Carter. I swiped his device as Shane and Peter simultaneously beat the crap out of him, then they held him down and let Mikaela have a go. Meanwhile, I went to check on Jane and Todd, their veins were going down and they were both breathing slowly---alive---just barely. When Carter was defeated, I was amazed at how easy it was! That literally took three minutes, and now it was all over? Pete went over and grabbed Barkley, Shane did the same with Jane and they left the room without a word.
I walked over to Mikaela, still kicking at Carter, and instructed her to get back. Vengefully, I pressed the button on the device and held it to Carter’s ear for five-seconds (figuring, Taser time and this-thing would be about the same accuracy?) Putting it in my pocket, we sneakily left the room, and ran for the truck outside, before the two of us bumped heads-first into an old man standing in the middle of the vacant hallway.
"You might want to get out of here children," he said, pointing us towards the entrance.
"Wh-what for?" I asked, both guiltily to the fact we just ganged up on some nerdy villain, but also confused from this man’s calmness to seeing us do so and then leave right in front of him. Did he call the police or what?
"Well, you see, I have just “rigged” this place with twenty-thousand pounds of lit nitroglycerin and gelignite, plus a special chemical of my own brilliant design---” he trailed off impressively to himself, but snapped back to us and shooed Mikaela and me away saying, “Right, right…you have about two minutes to evacuate."
"CRAP!" I grabbed Mikaela and we jumped into the back of Shane's truck outside… "GO! GO! GO!" I shouted as loudly as I possibly could, and Shane floored it away from the labs without question.
"What’s nitro-gelatin and glisterene do?!" Mikaela shouted sarcastically over the wind that was rushing harshly into our faces in the truck-bed. Through heavy breaths I was trying to catch, I replied, "Nitroglycerin and gelignite are things used in explosives! Twenty-thousand pounds of it---well, it’s enough to blow off a new zip code!"
All I got in reply was a weak, little, "Oh..."
As Mikaela replied, the explosion of the lab was heard vividly from three miles down the road. We looked back and saw the atomic mushroom-cloud of smoke and ash that used to be the science lab smoldering into one big ball of fire. The aftershock reached the truck in a blink, and sent the back end strait up towards the skies. Somehow, the front two wheels were still mysteriously attached to the ground, and balancing between explosion breeze, and earth-shaking roads. Mikaela and I held onto the back of the trunk door, screaming for dear life, while through the chaos, Shane hit reverse and the truck bed fell back on the ground with a mind-boggling THUD!
The wind cleared and the car stopped, then I noticed Mikaela and myself laughing hysterically through wet, relieved tears of joy as black ashes rained down from the gray, unforgiving sky, and Shane floored it back to the high school. Riding in silence now, we all agreed never to speak of this lunch day again.
Mikaela volunteered to skip the rest of school, and drive Barkley and Jane to her apartment nearby. She said her mom was gone until tomorrow, so they would all be safe there until we could sort this whole ordeal out. I tried to tell her that this was illegal, her driving home alone---and you would think that all things considered, I wouldn’t care, but Mikaela merely replied, "Hey, he's a licensed driver over the age of twenty-one, and you goody-two-shoes don't wanna skip class!"
"Just bring my truck back in one piece," Shane sighed while reluctantly handing over the keys. I watched him as he shifted a frown from Mikaela to the unconscious Jane. There was an odd tone in his stare that made me feel depressed and worried. It was as if---he cared about her---more than just a friend would, I mean?
Mikaela soon sped out of the parking lot, eventually leaving Peter, Shane, and I in the dust. We all went in separate directions, all avoiding eye contact with one another. As far as I was concerned, as well as God, and the state, and the law, as far as anybody was concerned, we were all murderers! Lousy, gangster beating, lab rat reject, murderers! Only one thing kept repeating in my mind, though not the most helpful of phrases, it seemed to calm me down long enough to keep my tears quiet for three more hours… “What are we going to do?”