Chapter 1 – Boxes
A small, delicate drop of blood dripped from a small, less delicate finger. “Ouch” Tammy gasped as she plunged her finger into her mouth to discontinue the bleeding. She could feel the sharp irony taste sticking to the back of her throat, she wiped the damaged digit on her uniform, blood red didn’t really go with orange but it was the only thing she was allowed to wear. The uniform she wore had been her issued clothes ever since she got transferred to the institute, from the moment she had changed into that orange hand-me-down she knew she’d have to sacrifice her life to blend in (though it wasn’t much of a life to begin with). Never the less, Tammy fit right in, 6 years ago tomorrow she’d arrived. 6 years. She was 11 at the time; a small girl, of mouse brown hair and the darkest gray eyes you’ve ever seen in a child, but nobody expected her to end up there. 6 years. No one knew who she was or why she was there. Nobody knew her name, nobody cared. Friends were a rare thing because you never know who you can trust, say the wrong word or give the wrong person a funny look and you’re looking at the hospital ceiling for a good few weeks. When Tammy first arrived she kept her head down, but not now. Now she was in charge, everyone knew her name and new comers didn’t get long before being told that she wasn’t to be crossed. Her mouse brown hair had stayed intact because there wasn’t a sun to make it darker, but that comforting vibe that mousey colour might give off was quickly shot away with the darkness of her eyes.
She continued her work with a stern look on her face; her eyes looked harshly at the floor, not letting anyone know of her pain. “Three O’clock, Test centre 6, Coral Hall.” Tammy whispered quieter than a pin drop just to make sure no one heard her, she had been waiting for this visitation right for a long time now and wasn’t going to let anyone take it away from her. You see, even though people thought they knew Tammy, they didn’t. She never let anyone close to her, she had people she sat with, people she chatted with and people she joked with, but she’d never call them her friends, “Friends don’t exist here, they don’t stay long and when they’re gone you never see them again and that’s that. Don’t make friends, it only leads to misery and misery shows weakness, weakness is bad” had been drilled into her since she got here, and to be honest she had done her fair bit of drilling herself. She repeated her mantra in inaudible tones “Three O’clock, Test centre 6, Coral Hall.”. She needed to remember, it was two O’ clock now, just one more hours work and she’d be excused, nobody would ask why, they wouldn’t dare. Nevertheless, she still had an hour to kill, doing the regular, you see the institute was connected to an industry that made the clothes and other products for supermarkets. The work was easy, lifting one box from one truck to one room, repeat, do not ask what is in the box, do not look in the box, do not shake the box, just move it from one place to another. Simple. Until the drivers came out and ‘gave you a hand’, literally, another way to put it would be they got out for a quick grope with the girls who they knew to be less dangerous. Tammy was not one of these girls.
20 minutes, 10 blisters and 30 boxes later, a new truck arrived and the guards shouted the name of the people who were to unload it, this time Tammy was one of the girls, so she lugged her huge boots (which also showed her power, very few people got to wear their own things) over to the new truck in the separate room, the other girl who was with her looked terrified of her, Tammy sighed and remarked “Don’t worry I don’t bite. Much” the short, stubby girl smiled at the comment when a strange noise came from the lorry, quickly Tammy announced, “Do me a favour? Go over to the room where I just was and finish up for me?” Fat Girl – the girl’s new founded nickname – nodded and waddled over to the other truck. Tammy decided to try and get rid of the driver before her curiosity took over her and she found out the origin of the strange noise, she walked over to the front of the gas guzzler, heaved herself up the steps and poked her head through the driver’s door, “Eh, what’ve I got here? One of the girlies looking through my window? How lucky of me, and such a pretty one too.” Tammy grinned an evil grin as she launched her hand in and hit him, “Shut up Bob!” (She called all the drivers Bob, even though most of the time that wasn’t their name) “basically, this is going t’ take quite a while and there’s a cup of coffee waiting for anyone who’s willing to go for it in the stop-station room if ya don’t mind. You can put the clamps on yer wheels if you don’t trust me mate, just thought I’d let ya know” The man in the seat replied with “Cuppa coffee eh? Wouldn’t mind one-a them. Alright love, where’d you say them clamps were? Not that I don’t trust ya an’all but you are ‘ere and this lot aren’t exactly known for their trust and charity.” He laughed at his joke and his many chins wobbled with the hoarse laughter. Tammy jumped off the vehicle and pointed to a bunch of clamps the workmen use when they want to leave the truck. She waited until he’d shuffled his large body through the door to the stop-station to march to the back again. The doors were on a special lock that only opened with a code, like most of these new-age trucks were and all of these were set to the same one so the tension building up in Tammy’s stomach was threatening to launch out of her unless she got it open fast. Just as she was typing in the numbers another noise came from inside, sounded like the boxes had fallen, the stupid lump had probably let a stray dog or something crawl in behind the merchandise and it was rolling about all over the place. The final number was punched in and she held her hands on the door handles, her palms sore from the day’s work but she managed to get a firm grip on them. She ripped open the doors but a split second after she did, she noticed a figure sprinting towards her, it was obviously just about to try to bash through the doors, within a second the two met and a huge force hit Tammy directly in her chest and sent her flying half way across the room, the shock of the strength of whatever had just launched itself at her made it hard for Tammy to get a good look at it. But then she did, and I can tell you now, it was no dog.