Chapter 1.2

Even though I've never seen the layout of the Institute, the walk from the hospital tower to my quarters is a simple journey, down one elevator to the bottom and a narrow hallway into A Wing. Nonetheless, I leave the department through sweeping glass doors with a sanitised guard at my side, never unescorted in case something "happens" to me. I've had to get used to the literal definition of smothering being here, but at least I can do what I wish for now. I'm told to be at BloodWork in exactly one hour, but they don't need to tell me twice. I've had long enough to adjust to how check-up works - this one marks my twenty-third appointment, and it's always the same. I go back and forth to be scanned, poked and prodded all day long until I'm too tired to function and am left alone for a couple of days. It's the price to pay when you're the most important scientific discovery of the century. I guess it's not that bad a title.

I always have my options when it comes to mealtimes, when it comes to food I get a surprising amount of freedom. I can choose where I eat - in this case I choose to eat in my room - and I can choose what I eat, provided, of course, that's it's been injected with the pinpoint perfect amount of nutrients to keep me going. It's a good thing I'm not vegetarian or the doctors would have hell's work getting my iron levels up - pills are an absolute no for me.

My room is my other place of freedom, I never thought I'd condone bribery until it got me everything I wanted. Between my rack of limited edition Marvel comics and stacks of computer games before they're released, Lisa tells me it's nerdy girl heaven. Of course, if this is Heaven, I would never have thought it would smell so much like lemon floor scrub. My walls are varnished white and heavily reinforced, whilst my floor is cold and tiled. I can't put any holes in the walls for posters or shelves because the air concentration is perfectly adapted to me and they don't want it contaminated. I've filled my personal space with whatever helps me survive the boredom, mounds of books about children who go on fantastic adventures, photocopies of Sophie's drawings and report papers, and every toy they could fit in from my old home. All the other patients have single rooms in B, C, D and E wing, whereas I have all of A wing to roam around. I have my own bathroom and my own television, which is a plus, but I know there are one-way panels all around me, most of which I have no idea about. Like I said, privacy doesn't exist for me.

I choose the casserole which takes less than five minutes to arrive, brought in by Alex, my personal bodyguard who has openly admitted to watching me change through said one-way panels. At least he showers me with compliments, even though we both know it's just down to the enhancement vitamins shoved into things like the casserole. I can't deny that it's delicious, as is the fudge cake and the fizzy drink (like I said, enchantment vitamins - ergo no need to watch my weight.) Once I've eaten, I do as I've been instructed plenty of times to do before BloodWork: exercise.

Apart from Alex's interruptions over the intercom during my squats - "work it, girl" - I'm alone, the low hum of Phil Collins from my iPod 7X drowning out the silence. I look around at the emptiness of my unmade bed and my half-finished paintings, alongside all the other hobbies I started and lost interest in. I want to see Lisa, I want Dr. Seymour to tell me more about his grandchildren, so for the sake of the check-up quarantine being lifted, I want this day to be over with fast.

The End

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