Chapter 2.0

June 3rd 2045

I'm given a few days to recuperate from the experiments before I have to return to "work". Most of it, I spend in the facility garden, a place that I'd never liked going before because the electric fences remind me of exactly how trapped I am. But ever since Lisa told me she would ask Seymour to let me outside, I've craved fresh air and just the feeling of outdoors. Not a lot of places are safe outside any more after the nuclear attacks, thus why I think I'm in Scotland. All of Wales and most of London were completely wiped out, but somewhere as remote as the North remains safe and uncontaminated, but desolate. The garden gives me just a glimpse of what's beyond the Institute, rolling misty hillocks disappearing over the horizon, not a civilisation in sight. I imagine placing the facility was thought out precisely so questions wouldn't be asked, though in the abandoned landscape, I'm sure the place sticks out from the air.

As I've said, I don't know much about what the facility looks like. The garden is circular around the three hospital spires, what we call the Stamen, since we were told that the building was made to look like a lily flower with five wings like petals and the hospital towers twisting like melted glass. Everything shimmers silver and new, except the garden which looks like something Renaissance with clipped brushes and statues of Greek medicine gods. I look up at one of these statues, called Asclepius, a man with a snake twined around his body, but missing one side of his face.

          "I still remember the day you threw a rock and disfigured him." I know the voice, and I debate whether to even look at her. I feel her presence behind me and it chills me, and I meet the face of Dr. Vanbrughn. "You were very angry that day, weren't you?" Her voice is eerily soft and mannered, her long blonde hair pulled tightly from her scalp. "It was your birthday then, wasn't it?"

I eye her acerbically, but my mouth quirks up remembering the moment it had happened. I'd yelled to everybody that I was going to escape and I was fed up of being trapped for so long, and Dr. Vanbrughn had been standing right next to the statue. I don't think she knows to this day that when I disfigured poor Asclepius, I'd actually missed.

The End

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