- Unravel Me
“No.” I’m shaking my head. “I mean I don’t think I …” I gasp, as the memory of Warner and his torture chamber rushes to the forefront of my mind; I have to close my eyes against the influx of images. The barest recollection of that event is enough to make me feel unbearably nauseous; I can already feel my skin break into a cold sweat. Warner was testing me, trying to put me in a position where I’d be forced to use my power on a toddler. I was so horrified, so enraged that I crashed through the concrete barrier to get to Warner, who was waiting on the other side. I’d pinned him against the wall, too. Only I didn’t realize he was cowed by my strength. I thought he was afraid to move because I’d gotten too close to touching him.
I guess I was wrong.
“Yeah,” Kenji says, nodding at something he must see on my face. “Well. That’s what I thought. We’ll have to remember this juicy tidbit when we get around to our real training sessions.” He throws me a loaded look. “Whenever that actually happens.”
I’m nodding, not really paying attention. “Sure. Fine. But first, take me to the research rooms.”
Kenji sighs. Waves his hand with a bow and a flourish. “After you, princess.”
We’re trailing down a series of corridors I’ve never seen before.
We’re passing all of the regular halls and wings, past the training room I normally occupy, and for the first time since I’ve been here, I’m really paying attention to my surroundings. All of a sudden my senses feel sharper, clearer; my entire being feels like it’s humming with a renewed kind of energy.
I am electric.
This entire hideout has been dug out of the ground—it’s nothing but cavernous tunnels and interconnected passageways, all powered by supplies and electricity stolen from secret storage units belonging to The Reestablishment. This space is invaluable. Castle told us once that it took him at least a decade to design it, and a decade more to get the work done. By then he’d also managed to recruit all of the other members of this underground world. I can understand why he’s so relentless about security down here, why he’s not willing to let anything happen to it. I don’t think I would either.
We reach what looks like a dead end—what could be the very end of Omega Point.
Kenji pulls out a key card I didn’t know he was hiding, and his hand fumbles for a panel buried in the stone. He slides the panel open. Does something I can’t see. Swipes the key card. Hits a switch.
The entire wall rumbles to life.
The pieces are coming apart, shifting out of place until they reveal a hole big enough for our bodies to clamber through. Kenji motions for me to follow his lead and I scramble through the entryway, glancing back to watch the wall close up behind me.
My feet hit the ground on the other side.
It’s like a cave. Massive, wide, separated into 3 longitudinal sections. The middle section is the most narrow and serves as a walkway; square glass rooms fit with slim glass doors make up the left and right sections. Each clear wall acts as a partition to rooms on either side—everything is see-through. There’s an electric aura engulfing the entire space; each cube is bright with white light and blinking machinery; sharp and dull hums of energy pulse through the vast dimensions.
There are at least 20 rooms down here.
10 on either side, all of them unobstructed from view. I recognize a number of faces from the dining hall down here, some of them strapped to machines, needles stuck in their bodies, monitors beeping about some kind of information I can’t understand. Doors slide open and closed open and closed open and closed; words and whispers and footsteps, hand gestures and half-formed thoughts collect in the air.
This is where everything happens.
Castle told me 2 weeks ago—the day after I arrived—that he had a pretty good idea why we are the way we are. He said that they’d been doing research for years.
I see figures running, gasping on what resemble inordinately fast treadmills. I see a woman reloading a gun in a room bursting with weapons and I see a man holding something that emits a bright blue flame. I see a person standing in a chamber full of nothing but water and there are ropes stacked high and strung across the ceiling and all kinds of liquids, chemicals, contraptions I can’t name and my brain won’t stop screaming and my lungs keep catching fire and it’s too much too much too much too much
Too many machines, too many lights, too many people in too many rooms taking notes, talking amongst themselves, glancing at the clocks every few seconds and I’m stumbling forward, looking too closely and not closely enough and then I hear it. I try so hard not to but it’s barely contained behind these thick glass walls and there it is again.
The low, guttural sound of human agony.
It hits me right in the face. Punches me right in the stomach. Realization jumps on my back and explodes in my skin and rakes its fingernails down my neck and I’m choking on impossibility.
I see him. He’s already here, in one of the glass rooms. Shirtless. Strapped down to a gurney, arms and legs clamped in place, wires from a nearby machine taped to his temples, his forehead, just below his collarbone. His eyes are pressed shut, his fists are clenched, his jaw is tight, his face too taut from the effort not to scream.
I don’t understand what they’re doing to him.
I don’t know what’s happening I don’t understand why it’s happening or why he needs a machine or why it keeps blinking or beeping and I can’t seem to move or breathe and I’m trying to remember my voice, my hands, my head, and my feet and then he
He convulses against the stays, strains against the pain until his fists are pounding the padding of the gurney and I hear him cry out in anguish and for a moment the world stops, everything slows down, sounds are strangled, colors look smeared and the floor seems set on its side and I think wow, I think I’m actually going to die. I’m going to drop dead or
I’m going to kill the person responsible for this.
It’s one or the other.
That’s when I see Castle. Castle, standing in the corner of Adam’s room, watching in silence as this 18-year-old boy rages in agony while he does nothing. Nothing except watch, except to take notes in his little book, to purse his lips as he tilts his head to the side. To glance at the monitor on the beeping machine.
And the thought is so simple when it slips into my head. So calm. So easy.
So, so easy.
I’m going to kill him.
Kenji grabs me by the waist, arms like bands of iron around me and I think I’m screaming, I think I’m saying things I’ve never heard myself say before and Kenji is telling me to calm down, he’s saying, “This is exactly why I didn’t want to bring you in here—you don’t understand—it’s not what it looks like—”
And I decide I should probably kill Kenji, too. Just for being an idiot.
“LET GO OF ME—”
“Stop kicking me—”
“I’m going to murder him—”
“Yeah, you should really stop saying that out loud, okay? You’re not doing yourself any favors—”
“LET GO OF ME, KENJI, I SWEAR TO GOD—”
Castle is standing at the end of the walkway, a few feet from Adam’s glass room. The door is open. Adam isn’t jerking anymore, but he doesn’t appear to be conscious, either.
White, hot rage.
It’s all I know right now. The world looks so black-and-white from here, so easy to demolish and conquer. This is anger like nothing I’ve known before. It’s an anger so raw, so potent it’s actually calming, like a feeling that’s finally found its place, a feeling that finally sits comfortably as it settles into my bones.
I’ve become a mold for liquid metal; thick, searing heat distributes itself throughout my body and the excess coats my hands, forging my fists with a strength so breathtaking, an energy so intense I think it might engulf me. I’m light-headed from the rush of it.
I could do anything.
Kenji’s arms drop away from me. I don’t have to look at him to know that he’s stumbling back. Afraid. Confused. Probably disturbed.
I don’t care.
“So this is where you’ve been,” I say to Castle, and I’m surprised by the cool, fluid tone of my voice. “This is what you’ve been doing.”
Castle steps closer and appears to regret it. He looks startled, surprised by something he sees on my face. He tries to speak and I cut him off.
“What have you done to him?” I demand. “What have you been doing to him—”
“Ms. Ferrars, please—”
“He is not your experiment!” I explode, and the composure is gone, the steadiness in my voice is gone and I’m suddenly so unstable again I can hardly keep my hands from shaking. “You think you can just use him for your research—”
“Ms. Ferrars, please, you must calm yourself—”
“Don’t tell me to calm down!” I can’t imagine what they must have done to him down here, testing him, treating him like some kind of specimen.
They’re torturing him.
“I would not have expected you to have such an adverse reaction to this room,” Castle says. He’s trying to be conversational. Reasonable. Charismatic, even. It makes me wonder what I must look like right now. I wonder if he’s afraid of me. “I thought you understood the importance of the research we do at Omega Point,” he says. “Without it, how could we possibly hope to understand our origins?”
“You’re hurting him—you’re killing him! What have you done—”
“Nothing he hasn’t asked to be a part of.” Castle’s voice is tight and his lips are tight and I can see his patience is starting to wear thin. “Ms. Ferrars, if you are insinuating that I’ve used him for my own personal experimentation, I would recommend you take a closer look at the situation.” He says the last few syllables with a little too much emphasis, a little too much fire, and I realize I’ve never seen him angry before.
“I know that you’ve been struggling here,” Castle continues. “I know you are unaccustomed to seeing yourself as part of a group, and I’ve made an effort to understand where you might be coming from—I’ve tried to help you adjust. But you must look around!” He gestures toward the glass walls and the people behind them. “We are all the same. We are working on the same team! I have subjected Adam to nothing I have not undergone myself. We are simply running tests to see where his supernatural abilities lie. We cannot know for certain what he is capable of if we do not test him first.” His voice drops an octave or 2. “And we do not have the luxury of waiting several years until he accidentally discovers something that might be useful to our cause right now.”
And it’s strange.
Because it’s like a real thing, this anger.
I feel it wrapping itself around my fingers like I could fling it at his face. I feel it coiling itself around my spine, planting itself in my stomach and shooting branches down my legs, up my arms, through my neck. It’s choking me. Choking me because it needs release, needs relief. Needs it now.