As my senses roused, I tried to force them back to the beautiful dreams I was enjoying a moment before.
I felt my skin tighten as my ears adjusted themselves on my head. That sound...
Giving my head a shake, I stretched my arms over my head and swayed my back as I pointed my toes. Energy flowed into me from either end of my body with the motion. No more pinging sounds assaulted my senses, and I lay there with my eyes closed for another moment.
I took a deep breath, letting the air flow in and out of my nose; cleansing me, and leaving me prepared to take on the world one more time.
One eye popped open.
Blue liquid filled my vision, and I could see a faint, distorted reflection of myself in what seemed like glass. Another round of oxygen passed through my lungs, and my other eye opened. I slammed my eyelids down against the harsh light emanating from the cerulean.
I flattened out my hands and ran them down my throat, over my torso, and around my thighs.
My skin was softer than I remembered.
Damn that sound. I knew what it was but couldn't place it. Where had I heard it before?
Again, I pushed it away, concentrating on the feel of my fingers on my belly. I traced small circles, sending chills down my arms. My toes curled until cramps began in my calves. Slowly, I forced my body to relax.
Mondays always felt like the beginning of the end of the world. I thought of Garfield—the fat, orange, loveable cat from the comic strip—and identified with his loathing. Yes, Mondays were bad news.
"What's she doing?" A man's voice interrupted my procrastination.
Smooth as silk on freshly shaven skin, a woman's tone met my ears in response to his question. "She always does this. Ever since we activated her. Dim her light."
Who were those people?
What did she mean by "activated"?
My eyes popped open once again, the vivid color surrounding me causing me to blink rapidly while my pupils adjusted.
I moved my hands to cover my nakedness. Why were there people in my room?
And what the hell was that noise?
Once my eyes and the light adjusted, allowing me a full view of my room, I felt my jaw fall open and gagged on the warm water that swirled into my mouth.
Computer monitors winked back at me from every inch of the space. A low hum vibrated the viscous liquid surrounding me, causing miniscule waves to pass through my field of vision. Oatmeal with blueberries was the flavor on my tongue when the liquid poured in. There was no odor, only the blue gel filling my nose.
Brown hair pulled back into a ponytail, blue eyes, and the diminutive features of a doll appeared before me.
"Good morning, Layla. I hope you had a nice weekend. We gave you some beach dreams to keep you calm. Did you sleep well?"
Like a jackhammer pounding information into my head, memories returned full force.
The Cliffs of Insanity.
A million knives stabbed into my heart and sent pain all the way to my toes.
I remembered why I was there.
Inhaling, I stared back at Sherry. "I slept well, thank you. So well, I forgot where I was."
Her laughter filled my ears over the roar of anguish for my loss. "Monday's are a bitch, aren't they?"
"Yes, they are." My words echoed around the room from the speakers outside my box.
"Would you mind turning off my alarm clock?"
She smiled and waved a hand in that direction; her assistant running to do her bidding. "How are you feeling today?"
I wanted so badly to smile back, but the corners of my mouth refused to cooperate. Looking through Sherry at my reflection on the far wall, I felt and saw my traitorous lips turn down. My black hair swirled around my face, blending with the wires attached to my head. A sob caught in my throat—what was left of it, anyway—and I closed my eyes again. "I'm great. Thank you for asking." I pulled my eyes away from the mirror. "What's on our agenda for today?"
Her yellow legal pad snapped to attention in her hand, and she peered down at it. "It looks like we'll be hooking you up to another person. He should be here momentarily."
I wanted to scream at her and punch the glass. They shouldn't be allowed to do this to people. But, what the government wants, it gets. That doesn't make it humane.
"Ah! Here they are now." Shelly's heels sounded like tennis balls in a tournament of champions as she ran to the door and punched in her code.
My breath caught in my throat, and my eyes strained to see what the newcomers were bringing in.
Over the threshold came the most beautiful man I'd ever seen. His hair was short, his eyes were a brilliant sea-blue, and his wires were the perfect compliment of orange.
He stared, and we shared something for a stolen moment. Finally, his lips turned up and parted to reveal perfectly white, straight teeth.
Unable to contain my excitement, I felt my mouth copy his.
This was my eternal partner. Suddenly, being in my box didn't seem so bad.
My only regret was that I would never be able to touch him.
~ The End
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