I sat outside the testing area shivering, it was a cold day and I was nervous, I was always nervous whenever needles were involved. I grasped my locket and looked down at it; it was a silver locket in the shape of a heart. Written on it was the word ‘Felicity’ and inside it read ‘Happiness will be yours forever.’ I shut the locket and let it fall loosely onto my neck; Happiness was not a word I had ever encountered in this place. This horrible place, this wretched place, this place of torture.
“Come in Felicity,” said the doctor. I stood up slowly, the thing was, I wasn’t ill. I went in and sat on the chair which I had been sat on about a thousand times before. He didn’t portray any emotion as he prepared the syringe, goosebumps raised on my skin and a thin layer of sweat covered my forehead. They all knew I hated injections, they continued to test me. I usually fainted or collapsed as soon as the needle penetrated my skin, although that only gave them more things to test me on whilst I was out. He turned to me,
“Side affects of this have been temporary muscle failure and coughing up blood,” I swallowed,
“Please doctor,” I cried my voice hoarse with fear,
“Must be done, roll up your sleeve,” he commanded. I knew the repercussions of resistance were bad, I was faced with the fading bruising and scars on my torso each day , I pulled away my over-worn T-shirt and looked away. I took deep breaths, although it was best to have a relaxed arm I couldn’t let the tension in my body stop the muscles contracting. I felt the needle enter my skin, he pushed it further, I felt my head swim and next thing I knew I was facing the ceiling.
“You were only out for a few seconds Felicity, an improvement,” he said still no emotion in his tone or face. “Off you go now, this was a particularly bad test you have a recovery period tomorrow,” he told me. I smiled this was the best news I’d heard all month; I walked on wobbly legs outside. I knew I couldn’t make it back to the common room; I sat back down on the chair and took deep breaths again. My mind wandered to Kian, my best friend of all time, I told him everything, apart from this. I had never admitted to him that I couldn’t stand injections, that I fainted and had panic attacks almost everyday, I was told I’d get over it, but three years later I wasn’t buying it. I knew Kian worried about me anyway, he was in the physically fit group and only got tested every other day, I on the other hand had genetics which meant my muscles would never grow to the wanted size. Therefore I got tested on everyday, I had terrible side effects, vomiting, muscle ache, diarrhoea, head aches, stomach aches, cramps, dizziness, doziness, fainting, mood swings and hallucinations. However bad I felt, Kian was always there to look after me, and that’s why he was my best friend.
Once my head had cleared and my muscles stopped being jelly I made it back to the common room, it wasn’t a nice place; this was where all the tested patients went. People sat there in a daze, some were sick, some had no side effects and they were lucky enough to be able to play cards. I took a seat on the floor and rested my head on the stone floor, of course heating was only switched on in December and January, therefore I couldn’t remember the last time I had been warm. Clothes were a novelty which were received yearly on your birthday, although they were only hand-me-downs from passed orphans.
AHHTDP was not a humane place, and no one knew what went on behind the closed doors. Child abuse and exploitation was what took place, it was a private orphanage meaning the government did not take annual inspections and the social workers were merely people who recorded your side effects. You’d think by now an 18 year old would have reported the horrific undertakings, none of us knew why they didn’t. We believed it was something they got told before they left, however we all stayed in hope that one day some brave person would leave and tell the world. I sat up as the night bell went off, time for bed. I went to the dormitory 3B and walked to my tube. A few moments later new children were brought in, and people were made to move down, I poked my head into the tube which was purposefully near Kian’s.
“We got lucky didn’t we?” I smiled, every moment in this place was hell, every moment but the few spent with Kian.
“Yes we certainly did,” he replied, I climbed in and he quickly hugged me. There was something about Kian which made me connect with him, and he made my life complete, he made my life liveable. The test today had been a bad one, and as soon as my eyes closed, I fell asleep.