Test day today, I thought as I walked down the hall to the assignment hall with Liss; yes Liss was my nickname for Felicity. “I have a rest period today!” she told me excitedly. I grinned, that meant she would definitely be in one of the groups for music testing or something. That made me very happy,

Suddenly Liss went limp again, and started to fall. I caught her before she hit the floor and held her until she was again able to stand. I sighed heavily and hugged her close. No wonder she had been assigned a rest period. I kept one arm around her as we walked the rest of the way to the assignment hall. As we entered I couldn’t help but wrinkle my nose. We only got baths about once a week…if that. And all that was, was a thin stream of water coming out of a spigot onto our heads. Not to mention the general smell of sickness that was always around from the experimentation. I led Liss to an emptier part of the room and we both sat down on the floor.

The announcer came up to the stand and called out names for each job. The first names that were read were for the medical lab. I held my breath as the man called out each name. I sighed happily when my name wasn’t called. Next came community lab, that was the place where people tested music and other things that weren’t so bad…it was where everyone wanted to hear their names called. I listened to each name. Liss’s was the fifteenth name called. Mine wasn’t. I watched her make her way outside to where that would take place today. After that came the call for the enhancements lab. My name was on the top of the list. I grimaced and got up to go to the front. Enhancement lab was where they did all kinds of surgery and injections that usually improved something about you. Anything from eye color, to vision, to strength, to skin-tone, to bone structure. I picked through the crowd of people still waiting to have their names called and walked out the door.

When I got to the lab one of the doctors came up to me with a needle and I sighed. A needle was better than a surgery…and I’ve certainly had enough of those. “This stuff should increase your strength without increasing your muscle size,” the man in the lab coat told me. “I am giving you enough so that you should increase your strength by about fifty percent.” My eyes widened; fifty percent! I was already the most feared among the physically fit group for my strength; this would make me stronger than even most of the professional weight lifters who spend their whole lives lifting weights! I looked away as the “doctor” unceremoniously jabbed a needle into me and pushed the chemicals into my bloodstream. When he was done he sent me out to the outdoor weight training area in order to make sure that the chemicals would reach all my muscles evenly. They would test my strength increase tomorrow at the fitness lab.

I was just about as happy as you could get in this place as I walked outside to the weight training. Liss was out there too in the same place actually, because the weight training area was the only pace with a sound system outside. I walked over and rubbed Liss on the back as I passed. She smiled at me then went back to concentrating on the music. I let her, if she was caught not paying attention then there would be consequences, and I really didn’t want that.

I began doing a myriad of different excursuses under the watchful eye of a director. About half an hour later I started to feel the effects of the drugs. I usually bench about 80 kilos (160 pounds), but I found that to be very easy and gradually added more and more until I could bench a whopping 120 kilo (240 pounds). I also improved in every other exercise by seemingly about the same ratio. I grinned, now maybe I could stop anyone from hurting Liss!

There was a crash and a scream sounded from where the music group was listening to music. I looked around and saw that Liss had gone limp again, and the whips were congregating around her. I watched as the first electric baton rose and fell. I heard Liss’s scream of pain and immediately sprung to help her. I crashed through the circle of whips and punched one of them in the face. He fell over backwards and didn’t try to get up again. I quickly seized his baton and faces off with the rest of the whips. “Who’s next?” I growled angrily. No one stepped forward but I saw one of them speak on the radio.

A few minutes later I was still facing off with the guards. Several had made attempts at coming at me and Liss. They both were out cold with electrical burns on their faces. Suddenly I felt a little sting on my neck, I lifted my hand to fell it but found it was limp. I couldn’t move it! I swayed and fell over as the rest of the whips advance.

“No!” It was Liss; she had regained control of her muscles. I clenched my teeth as I waited for the sting of the batons. It came. They beat me for a good ten minutes with their electrical batons leaving me bruised and jerky from the electricity. That however, was not the worst part. The worst part was that I could hear Liss’s cries of pain as she endured the same thing, and I had to lie there helplessly and listen. I hate being helpless

Liss’s screams slowly died away and blackness began to encroach on my vision before the beating finally ended. Then they just left us there. The others were sent back to the common room for lunch. We were left there to come back when we finally were able to work up enough strength to stand.

I crawled over to Liss’s prone form and managed to sit up next to her. I put her head in my lap as silent tears began to run down my face. “I’m so sorry Liss. I’m so sorry.” I whispered over and over again. Liss was the only person in the world that I cared about. Yet here she was, beaten up and burnt. Again. I would have given anything to be able to know that Liss could be safe and happy somewhere. I would endure this hell-hole for the rest of my life if I could only rest assured that Liss would get out now, and find happiness. I clenched my jaw as I began to feel control of my legs be gradually restored. The pain I could deal with, I always dealt with it. It was the helplessness that I couldn’t endure.

I looked around. We were completely alone. Outside. An idea popped into my head, if no one was around to stop us…and we were outside…this was the perfect escape situation! I couldn’t believe our luck! I quickly scooped Liss (she was still out cold) and began to run as fast as I could away from the horrible place they called an orphanage. Soon I was completely lost in the city, but I kept on going, I had to get as far away as I could from the dreaded place. Liss woke up in eventually with a groan and started to cry quietly. “It’s ok Liss! We’ve escaped! We’re free!”

It took her a little bit to process that piece of information. We were actually free! No more tests, no more needles, and no more surgery! Liss smiled as it dawned on her and she pressed her head against my chest as she hugged me. Abruptly though, she pulled away and coughed into her hands. When she pulled away there was blood on her hands. I freaked out. “Liss!” I almost shouted, “What’s wrong? Was it the beating?”

I had several other questions on the tip of my tongue but Liss cut me short and showed me her arm. There was a needle mark there and it had swollen slightly. I grimaced and clutched her tightly I really hated that horrific orphanage. The helpless feeling was already back.

The End

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