Clarity

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 1 (v.1) - Chapter 1

Submitted: June 12, 2019

Reads: 65

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Submitted: June 12, 2019

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Clarity

Chapter 1

"Jonathan Wake."

A soft and melodious female voice calls out the name like a warm dream. The man who claims that name as his own is sitting comfortable and warm on a couch off to the side of a cozy room.

That room is in fact perfect.

Beyond clean and spotless, not a single flaw disrupts it's elegance. Polished brown wooden floors with unchipped cream-colored paint that coats the walls keeps the place easy on the eyes. The furniture is dark leather and contrasts with the room in color, perfectly crafted and kept. Dazzling light is shining through the thin, stainless white drapes at the windows. Pictures cover the walls with the same two people smiling together in every frame: a nervous, plain looking man with dull brown eyes matching his loose brown hair tucked behind his ears . Next to him is a woman far out his league. The epitome of beauty.

That very same woman walks from behind the couch, rounding it's edge and stepping into his view. She stops and tilts her head to the side, causing her midnight-black hair to fall down her back and on either side of her shoulders as she gazes at him up through her lashes with dark, deep blue eyes. She runs a delicate finger along the arm of the black leather couch, gently biting her glossy, pink lips with neatly aligned pearl-white teeth. A consummate sleeveless, black lace evening gown that accentuates her thin, yet curvy frame falls down to her mid-thigh, revealing her long legs and more of her flawlessly tan skin. Her other hand also engages in nervous action as she plays with the hem of her gown.

Jonathan just stares as his heart skips a beat.

"Well," she says with a meek smile. "How do I look?"

It doesn't matter how many times he looks upon her beauty, every time he feels as if it is the first. As if this was the first time she had ever graced him with her presence and he didn't have the slightest clue that she was in fact the most gorgeous woman to exist. His heart doesn't know the difference between the first time and the next; it still races and hammers at his chest, trying to burst free to give itself to her.

All he can say as his breath escapes him in a gasp is, "I love you."

His ears are then filled with the most pure, irreproachable sound to be created from human lungs. The laughter that emanates is that of an angel and it immediately warms his soul. A slight reddening colors her cheeks as she lowers her eyes down to the ground and digs her toes into the rug, nails painted her favorite shade of blue to match her eyes.

She looks back up while attempting to suppress her smile and tilts her head yet again with a cute giggle. "Is that good?"

With his breath caught in his throat and a useless mouth hanging agape, his hand presses against his pounding chest and all he can do is stare; not at anything specific, but just her in general. Her entirety. For everything about her is perfect.

She is, in fact, perfect.

The light filling the room from the window behind her begins to brighten, making her glow with an otherworldly and divine light, yet it doesn't stop and it doesn't dim. It grows until she turns to blackness, a silhouette in the light.

"No..." Jonathan whispers.

The light consumes the room and all he can see is white. He closes his eyes as the warmth leaves his body and a buzzing he doesn't realize is there is quieted. Ever so slowly, he opened them back up, and was met with the white fading into an overhead light. It was rectangular, running the entire length of the corridor he stood in.

Jonathan blinked and looked around. Everything was grey: the marble ground, the marble walls, and the ceiling around the LED lights that ran along it. He stood in the center of a hallway, wearing the mandatory uniform of everyone that lived inside this facility: a form fitting t-shirt and pants made with elastic material, all the same color of white.

That feeling of warmth sparked inside of his chest. Ever so small it rested, tugging at him to turn around; to go back, because regardless of what was right, it is what he wanted. The pull grew stronger and a lump in his throat formed with a swirling in his stomach that invited him to feel whole.

Sluggardly, he turned around to face his perfect wooden door that pulsated with positive energy. Not a single scratch, chip, or discoloration polluted the purity of it. His eyes fell to the door handle and on instinct his hand floated away from him, trembling ever so slightly. As soon as his fingertips pressed against the warm metal a pleasant shock ran up his arm, causing a little gasp to escape from his smile forming lips. Jonathan blinked the water away that caused his vision to blur, placed his other hand softly against the wood, and faintly leaned into it. The thumping in his chest increased in speed, his breath grew heavy and ragged while a buzz filled his head as the euphoria of want encased his being.

"I love you."

A small breath hissed out from his parted lips as the angelic laughter echoed on the other side. Open the door.

Yet he held himself back.

All that he could feel and all that he could think; his entire person was enamored with the thought of going inside that room and having the life he had always dreamed of. His hand drew back, shaking with disapproval while he swallowed the lump in his throat and looked over his shoulder, down the long corridor. Turning away from the door he began to walk. His eyes remained plastered at wall opposite him, across the entire hallway, and he wasn't even aware of his legs moving. Only the ever-so-pleasurable shocks and waves of warmth taking their time to drain out of him. Soon enough, he wasn't alive to anything other than a single thought in his head spoken in a voice that was not his own.

You have to do this. At any cost.

Jonathan didn't remember closing his eyes, he didn't remember being subjected to the bright illumination once again, but he regained his cognizance as he reopened them. He searched the object before him in a daze before his mind registered that he was staring at the computer in his office, yet his eyes had to continuously run themselves back and forth over the screen before he realized what he was looking at.

A labyrinth of white lines and levels covered the black background accompanied by numerous labels. Jonathan was looking at the entire layout of the underground facility he was currently in: Clarity. It was a facility funded privately by someone he didn't know, headed by the love of his life. Officially, it's descent ended at three floors. Two floors of corridors and stations dedicated to numerous biological engineering sciences; all except the last floor. The last floor served as his own fraction of Clarity, given to him to commandeer by his one and only love.

That third floor was practically empty, with a single entrance via stairway, and a single corridor split two ways. That corridor was entirely empty right of the stairway exit, all until the very end in which his faultless wooden door awaited his return in the wall. To the left of the stairway was his office built into the wall just before the corner of a left turn. Taking that left led to another office built into the wall, where the only other inhabitant of that floor resided: the head bio-engineer Aliza Myrick. One last door beyond her office was built into the right wall. It led into a guarded hallway that in turn led to the stairs providing entry to the un-official fourth floor.

Jonathan came to a slow realization that he wasn't just looking at the layout of the facility, he had gained access to every electronically controlled device built into the structure. His phone was connected to the computer off to the side on the desk, it's screen flashed awake with the same images as the computer. Every door besides his cherished wooden entrance, every system, all of it was at his fingertips and none of it was supposed to be.

He took a half step back while chewing the inside of his lip. The only person he knew that could infiltrate the systems of this high-tech facility was himself, yet he couldn't remember doing it. The entire second floor, excluding the stairway, and the left section of the first floor was highlighted and paired with a button. Nothing on screen gave any hints as to what that button did, but he knew it would temporarily lock down those portions of the facility. The second floor was where most of all the workforce resided and the top left section of the first floor was home to his love.

A second button blinked dormant on screen just below the first. It corresponded to the entrance to the unfinished fourth floor: a twelve-inch thick steel vault door.

With his heart accelerating, Jonathan clicked the top button and then hesitated hovering over the second. A shaky breath emerged as he blinked away the welling of water in his eye, clicked the button, and then immediately staggered backwards as if doing so took an immense physical toll on him. Mouth parted to allow his ragged breathing to obtain more oxygen, his body seemed to work on his own as he continued on to swipe the phone from the cord and then pull a drawer from his desk.

The facility's alarm system then went off, yet Jonathan knew he was safe for now. The only resistance he would have to deal with would be the security that would soon investigate from the fourth floor entrance and the security guarding the exit in the right section of the first floor.

His eyes settled on two objects laying in the drawer: a small square device with several dials and a fully loaded handgun. Both were a familiar sight despite him never having seen either them in this facility to his immediate knowledge. He picked up the square device and slipped it into his pocket before scooping up the handgun and flicking off the safety. He stared at it for several moments as it shook in his hand, cold and heavy, before he faced the exit and the light and stepped out into the corridor.

"Jonathan?"

His eyes snapped open once more as he let out an extended breath, slow and painfully loud to his ears as his eyes frantically searched his new surroundings. They snapped on an object suspended in the air by his outstretched arm: the handgun, with his finger sensitive against the trigger. His other hand was shoved into his pocket with his fingers turning the dials on the device he had placed inside. He followed the direction in which the weapon pointed to find a wide-eyed woman frozen in place.

Dr. Aliza Myrick was a genius bio-mechanic, still fairly young, but blessed with incredible mind. She was short, with her dark brown hair accentuated by blonde highlights all dangling from the right side of her head, and her grey eyes opened wide. She was dressed in the same clothes as himself, with an added long coat of the same color that hung down to her calves. Being the lead of the whole project meant that she was integral in completing it.

Jonathan wasn't letting that happen.

"What did you do?"

His eyes darted back and forth between her own. "Come with me."

"No, what are you thinking–" He took a step forward, his gun only a couple centimeters from her forehead, but swaying all around her face. Her eyes closed as she trembled and released an unsteady breath, reopening them to reveal the enlarging fear in her irises.

"I need you," he said. "You have to come with me."

Aliza broke from the glue that held her sight on the gun and she searched his own. She swallowed and then set her eyes downcast as if she realized she had made a terrible mistake. The doctor gave a slight nod.

Spinning on his heel, Jonathan now pointed the gun at the doorway. The temperature throughout Clarity was always a constant, yet as he approached the doorway he could feel a chill emerging from it. A knot began forming in his throat as he reached the door frame and lowered the gun. As he peeked around to his left he furrowed his brow after finding the end empty and the last door shut. A little amount of steam hissed from a very narrow opening at the bottom of the automated door.

Jonathan nearly flinched back as it slid apart, the hairs on his arms shooting up in an instant. An icy breeze emerged from the opening, followed by an endless cloud of steam as it gushed out, filling the corridor and obscuring his sight. Two men staggered out of the doorway, silhouetted in the steam, an echoing sound trailing behind them.

He listened closely, hearing clattering and commotion accompanied by agonizing cries of pain. Jonathan turned away and took a deep breath, quickly wiping his sweaty palms on his pants before adjusting his grip on the gun. Quickly glancing at Aliza to find her pressed against the wall, eyes locked onto him, he concluded that she was too afraid to try anything courageous. He closed his eyes while tilting his head back, sucked in a cold deep breath, and settled his breathing as he opened them to the artificial sun above them.

Until it went away. All of his light went away.

The corridor darkened and the room to his side did as well. Only the very faint red strobe flashing every second gave light to their surroundings. Jonathan peeked one eye past the corner to see the silhouettes hardly visible amongst the lingering steam and very little light. Aliza's trembles transferred from her to him through their slight touch as she huddled close, as if he was some form of safety.

Jonathan knew that his love was attempting to regain control of her own facility, subverting remaining sources of power to the doors of her own office so that they would open. He also knew that she was just as smart as him, if not smarter, and would succeed soon. That meant he had to get out before those doors opened. Someone beside herself would come out and he would be impassable.

A higher pitched scream escaped from just beyond the steam coated door. Another silhouette escaped from the doorway. It moved inhumanly quick towards the closest of the original shadows and a sharp inhalation was heard before it was cut off with a loud snap.

Jonathan struggled to steady his breathing to no avail, he attempted to blink away the water surfacing at his left eye, but it none of it would stop. A single tear rolled down his cheek. He stepped out of the doorway unsteady, gun extended into the steam that began overtaking all of his vision.

What have you done? His angel's voice lingered in his head; sounded hurt.

The new silhouette overtook the remainder, who let out a wimpy wail before also being cut off, this time with a gurgle and the sound of liquid splashing on the hard cold floor. That silhouette crumpled in a pile just as Jonathan finished his movement of slipping his free arm to his side and his hand into his pocket.

With his gun wildly shaking and aimed at the silhouette who now stood still amongst the steam, he clenched his teeth and shook his entire head in an attempt to remove the salty water from his eyes. Jonathan couldn't tell if it was the icy cold air or the man in his presence, but the chills that ran down his spine forced his hairs to stand up on his neck. He opened his mouth to speak, but only a small grunt escaped. The knot lodged in his throat began to hurt.

A standing shadow is what faced Jonathan; a monument to the mistakes of his past. A ghost that may very well do more than just haunt him.

With a slight tilt of the head, the darkened figure lunged forward.


© Copyright 2019 Bran Jones. All rights reserved.

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