I wake up to the creaking of my mattress. When I open my eyes there is little difference between the darkness of my dreams and real life.
Real life. What a concept.
"Peter," I mutter and jump to the floor. I crawl along the floorboards until my finger hooks in the hole joining our rooms. "I'm here," I whisper.
"I know." I almost jump when I feel something touch my finger, which is still half in the hole. I realize it's his own finger, and I smile a little. "How are you?"
I'm not sure how to answer, so I stay quiet. I'm scared and I'm tired. I don't know what's happening and I just want some answers. I'm confused.
So I say "Okay" and let him continue.
"I was surprised they came for you today."
"Well," he says, "usually they only come once every three days. But I guess since you're new, they are taking advantage of your vitality and youthfulness. I know with Roger, the guy in your room before you came, they only came for him once a week. He wasn't strong enough to take their tests more than that."
"Tests? What tests?"
"The tests they run on us while we're unconscious."
Unconscious. "What kind of tests are they running?"
"I'm not sure," he admits. "But I think they have something to do with our blood. I woke up once, right after they were finished, and the IV bag next to the table was full of my blood." The sight that forms in my mind is disturbing. Peter, or my mental picture of Peter, lying pale and motionless on the table, watching his own blood filter into a plastic bag. What could they possibly need our blood for? The question is far too broad to think of a definite answer for.
"That would explain why I feel so tired afterwards," I say.
"Yeah, but it doesn't explain the rest of it."
"The rest of what?" I ask. He doesn't answer me. "Peter?"
"I have to go," he whispers, and he is gone. I can't feel his finger through our crack anymore, and I can't hear his shallow breaths. Feeling disappointed, and even more confused, I go back to my own bed.