I opened my eyes and stared at the unfamiliar, white ceiling, momentarily dazed. The ceiling in my bedroom was painted to look like a cloudy sky and had glow in the dark stars scattered across it,
which I'd added back in high school.
It only took a few seconds for reality to come crashing back and for me to remember that I'd been drugged and kidnapped.
I shot up on the bed and quickly scanned the room for my abductors.
I relaxed minimally when I realized I was alone in the unfamiliar room. Locating what had to be the door, I threw my legs over the side of the bed and dashed for the exit.
Or at least, I tried to. A second after I'd stood up and tried to take a step, my legs gave out and I landed flat on my face.
"Ow," I grumbled as I pushed myself up with unsteady arms. Apparently whatever I'd been drugged with hadn't completely worn off yet.
It took quite a bit of effort to pull myself back up onto the bed while the phrase 'this is not good' repeated in my head. A monumental understatement, of course.
I tested my arms and legs a few times before realizing that I'd have to wait a little while for them to be of any use to me. I was, for all practical purposes, paralyzed at the moment.
Instead, I assessed the room I was in. It was like a mix between a bedroom and a hospital room. There was nothing typically 'hospital' about it. It had all the normal bedroom furniture - bed, dresser, book shelf, even a television and a computer. But it had a very institutional feel to it.
Maybe it was the fact that the room was in desperate need of some color. Everything was white and silver.
Not what I would have expected.
If I'd had time to give it much thought, I would have expected to be in some dark holding cell or a basement or something. Probably headed for Mexico or somewhere beyond to be sold on the black market.
I suppose the room I found myself in was, at least, better than being a victim of human trafficking.
Unless, of course, they'd kept me drugged for days and all of that had already taken place and I actually was a victim of human trafficking...
But this seemed to be something else. It was too organized to just have been a random thing where one girl was as good as another. They targeted me for whatever reason.
Even if this wasn't about trafficking, a kidnap victim wasn't that much better, really. But I guess I could be glad that I, at least, woke up. So I guess the killing me idea wasn't the objective. Or not yet anyway...
I sat there for a few minutes before the door opened. And not like a regular door. It was like something off of Star Trek. It swooshed open and tucked itself into the wall, leaving an open doorway. Very high tech.
I watched warily as an older man in a white lab coat entered the room. The door swooshed closed, behind him.
"Oh good, you're awake," he said pleasantly, like he knew me and thought it was totally normal that I was here.
I didn't say anything as he walked over to sit in the chair a few feet away from me. I really wished my arms and legs didn't feel as much like jello as they did. I was starting to feel a little stronger, though.
"You must have some questions," he prompted, after watching me for a minute, in silence.
I looked at him, incredulous. Was he kidding? Questions? I had monologues running through my head!
"How about these questions," I said when he didn't say anything more. "Who the hell do you think you are? And where the hell am I?"
"Now, now," he tisked. "You are really much too intelligent for such language."
He was scolding me for my choice of words after kidnapping me?
"I am doctor Raymond Wescott and we are in a secluded laboratory in New Jersey."
Ok, so not exactly a hospital, but the same idea. And at least I knew I hadn't left the state.
"And do you routinely abduct women and bring them to your lab?" I asked.
He actually had the nerve to smile. "Not generally, no."
"So I guess I'm just lucky, then?"
"You, my dear, are very special, yes," he said.
"You don't know anything about me," I said defensively, even though I knew he had to have known at least a few things about me beforehand.
"I think you know that's inaccurate," he said. "I know quite a bit about you, actually."
"Really?" I asked acidly. "Like what?"
"I know that your name was Samantha Joy Corsini and that you went by Sam. I know that you lived with your mother, Rosemary, at 43 Washington Place, the home that you grew up in. I know that she and your late father, William, adopted you as an infant, nearly twenty-seven years ago. I know that you attended Princeton University on a full academic scholarship, graduated with a double major and a perfect 4.0, and that you have yet to live up to almost any potential you possess. I know that you've jumped from job to job since you graduated college and to and from various hobbies for much longer than that."
I just stared, thoroughly freaked out. It wasn't impossible for someone to know so much about me, just improbable. Unless they'd studied me - followed me for a long time.
I also wasn't comfortable with how he said all of that in the past tense. Like that wasn't all true any longer.
Who was this person and why was he so interested in me?
Before I could say anything, he continued.
"I also know that you do not actually exist," he said. "At least not according to the U.S. government."
I attempted to say something several times before I spit out, "You're crazy." Not the most intelligent thing I could have said, maybe, but true.
"So you know things about me," I said, recovering a little. "So what? That just proves you're a stalker, not to mention a lunatic. I've seen my birth certificate. I certainly do exist. How long do you think you can keep me here? My mother is going to miss me. People are going to be looking for me."
"I do not doubt that you've seen your birth certificate," he said. "But it did not come from the government. It came from me. There is no record of your birth because you were never born. And I'm sure your mother will miss you, however no one will be looking for you."
I just looked at him, not knowing what insane idea to address first.
"We've seen to it that, to the world, it appears as if you lost control of your car and drove off the bridge, into the river. Your body won't be found, of course, but that will be explainable by any number of things. I expect it will be a big story on the news."
Dead? I was supposed to be dead and not just missing? He was planning on keeping me here forever? Or however long I was to be allowed to live.
I stared at the floor, dazed. Mom was going to be crushed.
"You can't just keep me here," I said, still stunned. "I'm a person! You can't just-"
"You will learn that I can and I will," he said, cutting me off. "You belong to me. I created you and I control what happens to you."
"What are you talking about?" I asked, putting together some of what he said. That I didn't exist to the government. That I was never born. That he created me. Not that it made any sense.
"As I said, you are very special," he said.
"That's a very broad question," he said. "You are not the average person. I'm sure you're well aware of your many abilities. It is unlikely that one person should be gifted with so much, don't you think?"
I just watched him, growing more uneasy by the second. I had, in fact, thought that, many times.
"You are...well, I suppose the closest idea would be to say that you're a clone. Although, you're really so much more than that."
"A clone?" I asked skeptically. "So you're telling me I have a twin walking around somewhere?"
"You are not merely a copy of another person, my dear. That's a rather unambitious goal. I strived for more than xeroxing what was already there. I assure you, you are not quite like anyone else. You are only a clone as far as the barest, most essential genetic construction is concerned. You are significantly enhanced and as near perfect as, I believe, is possible. You are my masterpiece."
"You're insane," I said. "I'm not some stupid science experiment-"
"That's exactly what you are," he cut me off. "Although, not stupid," he amended.
I looked at him and tested my arms again. They felt stronger. Soon they would be strong enough to fight my way out of this place. For now I was at the lunatic's mercy.
"I know you aren't quite convinced. I designed you to be extremely logical." He smiled and I continued to scowl at him.
"I'm sure you must have thought how odd it was that you should be the best at everything. That anything you attempt to learn, becomes second nature. You've always been able to learn things in a fraction of the time it should take a normal person. You have unparalleled reflexes, a perfect memory, perfect coordination, and a nearly impenetrable immune system. You have the potential to do anything, to become anything and, whatever that may be, would be as effortless as breathing."
"Your rightful name is Abi," he finished.
"What no fancy scientific name for your masterpiece?" I asked sarcastically. "It's just 'Abi'?"
"Well that's really just an abbreviation," he said. "It's short for abiogenetic enhanced replication via somatic cell nuclear transfer."
I blinked at him for a second before I said. "You screwed up then, didn't you?"
"How so?" He raised an eyebrow.
"I'm not exactly perfect."
"Shouldn't I be the pinnacle of beauty if I were perfect?" I'd always been completely average, looks-wise. "Shouldn't I be able to utilize my brain's full potential and therefore be able to do some super-human ability?"
"I did not aim to create a super model or a super hero," he said. "I designed you to be perfect and you are. Your looks are perfect - perfectly average. Beauty means different things to different people. Some prefer being tall to short, dark to fair, freckles to none, etcetera. You are precisely in the middle. You are the average height, build, skin tone, and hair color."
"And my eyes?" I asked, extremely uncomfortable. "They're not exactly average." They were not quite blue but not quite green. More of a turquoise with an almost gold ring around the outside and flecks of purple around the center. They were anything but average. I'd been asked, countless times, if I wore contacts.
"No, they certainly aren't." He smiled. "That was my little personal touch. I was showing off a bit, I suppose. Demonstrating the kind of thing I was capable of doing. They are rather striking, aren't they?"
Apparently, he had an answer for everything, which really bothered me. He couldn't just be making things up as he went along. There was too much. If it wasn't true, it had to have been extremely well thought out.
"So what do you want with me, anyway?" I asked. "If what you're saying is true, it worked. What do you need me for?"
He watched me for a second before he answered. "I'm quite certain you could figure that out on your own. However, I know you've had a rather difficult day and that this is quite alot to take in, all at once. I'll humor you."
"You are, as you put it, my science experiment, Abi. A vastly untested science experiment. There was only so much I could do with you as an infant, but now...Now I'll be able to test just about everything. I'll be able to improve upon you, if that is at all possible. You were not just created on a whim, nor were you meant to be one of a kind forever. You are the tip of the iceberg of a very profitable and sophisticated field."
"Profitable?" I narrowed my eyes.
"What do you suppose you were created for? My own personal goal?" He smiled. "Although that is certainly part of it, your purpose was to be the starting point. The sample of the things I am capable of doing. Once we have enough research and answers, we will be able to market the idea."
"You mean sell," I said, flatly. "You're going to sell people."
"Don't be so negatively narrow minded," he chided. "If I merely wanted to do things so crudely, I could simply pull subjects off the street. I certainly have the means to do so, without much hassle."
Sure. What was a few more apparent traffic accidents?
"I'm giving people the opportunity to get exactly what they want - the perfect child."
Or sex slave, or organ donor. The disgusting possibilities were endless.
"For rich people, of course," I added.
"Naturally, it will be rather costly," he agreed. "What I will provide, will not be available at the mall."
"You're sick," I said. "You can't just play God. You're talking about people's lives." My life.
"As far as you are concerned, Abi, I am God," he said. "Come now, has your life been so terrible? Has it been an enormous burden on you to be able to achieve anything you put your mind to? To be able to recall with perfect clarity everything you've attempted to remember?"
It has if having all of that has lead me to being imprisoned and used as a guinea pig.
"My name is Sam," I said, ignoring his questions. "I don't care where you say I came from or what you say I am. I'll never be part of your twisted research."
"You don't have a choice," he calmly said. "You are here and you are not leaving. I suggest you get used to it."
My eyes flitted to the door and I noticed my arms and legs were starting to feel much better.
"The door will not open for you, Abi," he said, realizing what I was thinking. "Even if you were to somehow get through it, there are many safeguards in place to ensure that you do not escape."
I looked at him and stood up, determined to try for myself.
Dr. Wescott only sighed and watched me as I made my way over to the exit.
I glanced back at him to ensure that he wasn't about to come up behind me. He was still sitting in the chair, completely relaxed.
I looked back to examine the door. No door knob, of course. I ran my hands along it to try to figure out if there was some panel or a button. Anything. But there was nothing. It was just a big, probably thick and strong, piece of metal.
Not able to think of anything better at the moment, I hit it hard with both hands before I backed up and gave it a good kick.
Nothing. There wasn't even a scuff mark on the surface.
Frustrated, I kicked it again and again, feeling my newly recovered strength, waning. I guess I wasn't quite back at 100% yet.
I stopped and turned to glare at Dr. Wescott who sat, calm as anything, observing me like a rat in a maze.
"I don't want to hurt you," I warned. "Let me out." Sure, he was basically pure evil, but I still didn't relish, inflicting pain on anyone. Especially not someone who looked like the old, nerdy scientist, he was.
"Sit down, Abi," he said, unperturbed by my threat.
"Open the door," I ordered, taking a step that I hoped came across as threatening. My hands balled into fists automatically.
"I have ways to subdue you," he said, still perfectly calm. "Do not make me employ them."
"I think you're bluffing," I said. "I think you're lying about everything. Let me out."
I honestly had no idea what to believe. It was impossible. Or at least highly improbable. I wasn't some freaky bride of Frankenstein! I was a person with a mind and will of my own. But it scared me how much he seemed to know about me. Even the things I'd never been able to completely express to anyone.
"No you don't," he sighed. "Abi, this would be so much easier if you would just comply. But then, I suppose you are not designed that way," he mused.
I'd had enough of his stupid mind games. One hit, I told myself. After that he would know I meant business. I lunged, aiming for his face.
A second later, I was curled in a ball on the floor, not even realizing how I got there. I was unable to focus on anything but the ear piercing noise that made me feel as if my brain were exploding. My hands were clamped over my ears, desperately trying to block out the painfully shrill, unfamiliar sound.
All at once, it stopped.
I opened my eyes and hesitantly peeled my hands off my ears, not sure if whatever had just happened was really finished.
It didn't seem to be starting up again, so I risked dropping my hands to the floor to push myself up.
What in the world was that?!
I got up, panting, and got an idea of what must have happened when I saw Dr. Wescott still sitting calmly in the chair, watching me interestedly.
That must be one of his 'ways to subdue me'.
"What was that?" I demanded, still trying to normalize my breathing as I stood up.
"I did warn you, Abi," he said. "If you insist on becoming violent, I will be forced to stop you." He indicated the tiny black remote in his hand.
"What-?" I tried.
"It's my own little invention," he said, obviously quite pleased with himself. "I couldn't be sure of it's effects, of course, until I tested it, but it seems to work perfectly as intended."
"It works like...a dog whistle," he said. "You are the only person it will affect because your hearing is altered. I don't even think it would affect a dog, come to think of it," he said.
I stared, horrified. I couldn't deny that was actual proof to at least some of what he was telling me. No wonder he'd been so calm when I was threatening him.
"Every person who has direct access to you, will of course have one of these." Again he indicated the remote. "They have strict orders not to use them unless absolutely necessary. Please don't make it necessary, Abi."
"My name is Sam," I said stubbornly. "I don't care what you do to me, I won't help you. If you know so much about me, you know that I will have realized that you'll be needing my cooperation for your experiments. You can't document my reflexes and thought patterns if I don't comply. And what good is all your research if your results are faulty?"
He raised an eyebrow.
"You should also know how stubborn I can be," I said. "You may as well let me go because I'll never help you with this."
"I said I had ways, Abi," he said refusing to acknowledge my actual name. "That was only one. I hope you will soon understand that I mean what I say. I do not wish to threaten you further." He stood up. "Don't make me."
I crossed my arms and glared at him, wondering if I could take him by surprise before he had a chance to use that remote.
"Don't try it," he said, apparently one step ahead of me. "I don't want to do that again."
"But you will," I said bitterly.
"If I have to." He nodded.
"Aren't you worried you might damage your precious masterpiece?" I asked sarcastically.
"Not at all," he said. "It is quite painful, I gather, but essentially harmless."
I just scowled as he walked over to the door.
"Adrian," he said before the door swooshed open again.
I eagerly looked at the now open doorway, knowing I'd never make it passed Dr. Frankenstein with his little remote.
He raised his eyebrow, not bothering to warn me again. He knew I wasn't that stupid.
"Ah, here's your dinner," he said as a girl in white scrubs carried a covered tray into the room and looked anxiously at me.
"It's alright, Bridget," he assured her. "Just put that on the table."
I watched disdainfully as little Bridget scurried to the table and then back out the door.
"Have your dinner and relax for a while," he said. "The bathroom is through that door, and you'll find fresh clothes in the dresser."
Relax. Sure. No problem there.
"I'll return later for your first few tests," he said before disappearing out the door.
I ran after him just in time to have the door close in my face. Angry, I pounded on the door, even though I knew it would be useless.
I went over to the table and uncovered the tray. It was a perfectly fine meal, I supposed. I mean, if it wasn't laced with a sedative or something. Too disgusted to even think of eating, I picked up the tray and threw it as hard as I could at the door.
I smiled tightly at the mess it'd made. They couldn't force me to eat. Maybe I'd go on a hunger strike until they let me go, I thought unrealistically.
I knew they weren't letting me go. Ever. But that didn't mean I'd give up trying to escape. And I could make things difficult for them while I was stuck here.
I walked over to the bathroom and took a peek inside. All white, of course, and no lock.
I sighed and turned, noticing the window.
The window! Why hadn't I thought of that yet? It didn't open, obviously, but it was glass, wasn't it?
I looked around for something to smash against it. There wasn't much in the room besides furniture. I doubted the tv would do much without at least a crack first.
Realizing my best option was probably the desk chair, I ran over to grab it before I ran back at the window and, with a running start, threw the chair. It crashed loudly to the floor with no visible damage to the window.
I got closer to examine it, to see if there was even a small chip.
Nothing. It was probably double layered. Well, that didn't matter. I'd beat it all day if I had to.
I picked up the chair and started wailing it against the window again and again.
All I accomplished was bending the crappy chair and putting a few shallow scratches in the glass of the window.
For a minute, I just stared at the worthless piece of metal - well, probably aluminum judging by how easily it bent - in my hands and it finally began to sink in.
I was trapped. A prisoner.
Unless I could somehow get past the crazies in this place, with some miraculous escape, I was never leaving. I would die in this prison after being subjected to who knows what kind and how many tests like some lab rat.
And then, there would be more people like me. Some would be trapped here to be experimented on like I was apparently going to be, and some would be sold off to whoever wanted to pay for them. To do with, whatever they wanted.
It was just plain sick.
With another burst of energy, I began beating at the window again. I knew it wasn't going to do any good, but it made me feel like I was doing something. Like I was, if nothing else, showing them that I'd never give up. I'd never accept this and be their good, cooperative little guinea pig. I would fight every step of the way.
I might be helpless as far as getting myself out of here, but I wouldn't be at all helpful, either.
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