November 29, 2006 § Leave a comment
I ended up with 2700 words for Nano this year. I stopped writing after the first week when I had exams coming up, and never managed to get started again. I liked the idea, but I couldn’t see how I could make it a novel. There’s always next year, and hopefully I’ll have more time to devote to it (although I’ll still be in school full time, so I’m not expecting much).
Next year I’ll come up with more of an outline, which will hopefully keep me going. I need to take a whack at my inner editor that tells me my work is crap and I shouldn’t bother…
So until next year, this will just be a random writing journal.
November 6, 2006 § Leave a comment
I was staring at a man covered in green goo. I wasn’t sure what to make of this. He was staring back at me, although his calm, almost bored expression was quite a contrast from my wide-eyed, open-mouthed one.
“Don’t touch him, his pH is off so you might lose a limb. Here are some gloves.” Michael tossed me a pair of what looked like plain blue nitrile gloves. These were supposed to protect me from acidic green goo? He was crazy. This whole place was a nuthouse. “Okay, Jerry, I want you to hold out your hands for me, just like yesterday.” The gooey man raised his arms, and several drops of the liquid dripped onto the floor, emitting an angry hiss. “Are you sure you didn’t eat any shellfish? Don’t lie to me if you did.” It looked as though the man was answering him, but all that came out was a gurgle.
I didn’t want to seem rude, so I looked around the room, trying to avoid the eyesore in the middle of it. It looked like any normal exam room, with the slightly off-white walls and posters warning of the hazards of STDs and the latest strain of flu.
November 6, 2006 § Leave a comment
At that moment, another man walked in the room. The recruitment guy seemed relieved, mumbled some excuses, and left. I wasn’t sorry to see him go. The new guy was talking at me, but I hadn’t heard a thing he said up to this point. As he was talking, he had managed to make a complete circle of the room, checking things on the machines. His hands fidgeted with everything: his coat, his watch, even his hair. He was constantly picking things up only to put them right back down again. I winced every time his hands flew near a glass test tube or the jars of reagents. I was so busy watching his hands that the only thing I picked up from his monologue was his name.
“Michael, is it? Maybe you can help me here. The last guy didn’t tell me anything. What is this place?”
“Really? He’s new, you can’t really blame him. I think you’re the first new recruit he’s processed. Come with me, I’ll give you the real tour. You like coffee? We can go get coffee.” He left no room for argument, and practically bounced back out the door he came from. I had a hard time keeping up, even though he was a good few inches shorter than me. His twitching hands made me wonder just how many cups he’d had today already.
“Tell me about yourself,” he said as we walked down the maze of corridors. I hoped I wouldn’t have to remember my way back.
“I can’t remember anything. They erased it.” It felt strange to say, as though I was a character in some kind of science fiction movie.
“Start with your name. It’ll start coming back. They only take some stuff, but it feels like everything to begin with.” Somehow that wasn’t a comfort.
“My name’s Alexa.”
“Nice to meet you. Oh, here we are!” The room we entered was only marginally larger than the lab we had left. Several coffee machines gurgled contentedly in a corner, and Michael motioned for me to sit in one of the worn chairs surrounding an equally worn table. His agitated hands were a blur as he poured the coffee into mugs of questionable cleanliness while simultaneously groping for sugar packets. I expected him to drop something, but somehow he managed to juggle the coffee over and set it down in front of me. “I didn’t ask what you wanted because I know you’ll like it this way.” I liked my coffee black, but it didn’t seem worth it to argue the point. I took a polite sip to humor him. “So you were saying?”
“About me? Well, like I said, all I can remember…” But suddenly there was something; a memory that seemed almost foreign. Breaking my arm while climbing on the jungle gym in the fourth grade. I couldn’t remember the sensations, but it was a vague feeling that it had happened.
“Where did you go to school?” he was asking me. I looked up at him sharply; it was almost as though he knew what I was thinking. It was a ridiculous thought, but then again I hadn’t thought people could erase your memory either. He seemed confused at the look.
November 4, 2006 § Leave a comment
“No, miss, it’s common to experience some disorientation. You don’t feel sick, do you?”
“Not really.” I was getting irritated though. This guy was one of the most unhelpful people I’d ever met. What was it he said he did? Recruitment? It didn’t surprise me. Human resources personnel had a habit of being incompetent. “Look, I just want to know what I’m doing here, where here is, and when I can go home.” I thought for a moment. “I’d also like to know where my house is. What did you do, erase my memory?” Drops of sweat glistened on his brow, and he tugged at his tie nervously. I was making him uncomfortable. Good.
“Why don’t you come and sit down…”
“No, I’m sock of sitting. What is going on here?” He cleared his throat nervously, and began a speech which sounded rehearsed.
“On behalf of XTI, we would like to welcome you as a new employee. In your new employee packet, you will find your badge and signed contracts detailing your position in our facility.” He looked at me expectantly, then seemed to realize I was empty handed, reached into his briefcase and withdrew a manila envelope. “Included you will find a signed consent form for the removal of select past memories, to make your transition easier.”
I had consented to have memories removed? I didn’t remember that. I tore open the packet and withdrew the ID. It was a terrible picture, but that didn’t surprise me. My name was printed, just the first name, along with the initials XTI. Next came an employee handbook, and several official looking documents that had my signature on them. I heard a soft cough, which reminded me that the man was still standing next to me.
“I will escort you to where you’ll be working. You may ask questions on the way.” Hadn’t I been doing this all along? “For security purposes, some of your questions may be unanswerable at this time.” Wasn’t that convenient? I had a hard time believing I would voluntarily sign up for this kind of thing, but my signatures were right in front of me, black on white.
“Okay, what is my job?” He should be able to answer that. We began moving towards the black door at the end of the hall. Suddenly it didn’t seem like a way out, but a portal to something darker. I wasn’t afraid, but I didn’t like secrecy, or security, as they would likely call it. As we pushed through the door, the hallway looked more normal and less blinding. And there were people. They didn’t look at us or speak to us, but they moved quickly across the hall from room to room in white lab coats with notebooks and clipboards piled high in their arms.
He came to a stop outside a door. I wondered how he knew it was the right one, since none of the doors seemed to be marked in any way except for the station at the side where one inserted their ID to unlock it. In a smooth motion, he swiped his and entered a code on the keypad below. There was a click and a rush of air hit both of us as the door opened. The quiet hum of machines greeted our entry, but no people were here. I recognized the noise, though. I was familiar with it.
“This is where you’ll be working,” he told me with a flourish. The room was small, but full of machines for testing. Did I really know how to use all those? “Your assistant is not in at the moment, but he’ll show you around and help you acclimate.” He seemed nervous and uncomfortable in this room. He kept tugging on his tie and collar. He was making me nervous just watching him.
November 2, 2006 § Leave a comment
I waited for the door to open, but the feet moved past, and the noise faded. I shifted in my seat, agitated. What had I done to get myself in a white room with no windows and only one chair?
My legs had been asleep, and I was just realizing this now as the pins stabbed my calves. Stretching them, I sucked in my breath. I was always a weakling when it came to discomfort. And this chair was damned uncomfortable.
I tried to remember where I had last been. Was it at work? A store? Where did I work, anyway? The more I was thinking, the more I realized how little I knew. What about my name? Did I remember that?
Alexa. Ok, this is progress. Maybe if I left the room I could recognize something out there. My shoes squeaked as I made my way over to the shadow on the wall. I pulled, and for one horrible instant nothing happened. Then I looked down and saw the small lettered sign reading “Push”. Today was not my day.
The hallway was just as painfully bright, but at least it seemed to go somewhere. I could see indentations where other doors stood on either side. My eyes were drawn to the door at the very end of the hall, because most doors at the ends of halls lead somewhere interesting. And it was painted black. This had to be some kind of practical joke. I was sure I had friends, and I was sure they would be the type to pull a stunt like this. Someone was going to jump out of that door at any minute and start laughing.
I saw no sign of the clicking shoes, so I proceeded cautiously. So far nothing was jogging my memory, but on the other hand, there wasn’t much to see. More white walls and white doors. Then a door opened. I had been expecting it, and I jumped and let out an undignified yelp. The man facing me was tall, dark, and imposing in his gray suit, a sleek briefcase tucked under one arm. He smiled at me.
“I apologize for leaving you alone for so long in there. Those rooms can be terribly uncomfortable.” He opened the case with a sharp snap and withdrew several documents from inside. “It looks like your paperwork is all in order, and now that everything is finished, we can get you started.” He started to continue, but must have noticed my blank stare. “Alexa? Are you feeling all right?”
“This is going to sound rude, but I have no idea who you are, or where this is,” I hoped he wasn’t going to laugh at me, because that just sounded a little crazy.
“Oh! I’m so sorry! I’m new at recruitment, so I’m not accustomed to this. How much do you remember?”
“Pretty much just my name. Am I sick or something?”
November 1, 2006 § Leave a comment
I woke up in a room that wasn’t mine, but looked strangely familiar. The walls and floors were impossibly bright; it was probably meant to make the area seem larger, but the light boxed everything in, creating a kind of pressure on the room. The only furniture was the chair I was sitting on, although I couldn’t remember sitting down.
A single door cast the only shadow in the room; it was closed. The only sound was a faint hum of air whispering through vents. As I glanced around, I realized my neck felt stiff and sore. I tried to remember how it had gotten that way, but I was getting nothing.
Before I could dwell on this, the click of shoes on tile sounded, a sharp contrast to the white nose that sourrounded me.