Chimera

Hui-yung shuffled around her cage in a catatonic manner. Her vision was blurred by the radiation induced cataract that clouded the lens of her left eye. She ran her hands through her hair over the pore sized scars where her parents had forced the pins through her skull and turned to focus with her dominant eye on the other kids in cages. They were unloved, unwanted. She hoped sometimes against reason that they understood, but she was not able to communicate with them. She was only able to read them.







Their thoughts crowded her mind with their lesser burdens and otherwise unheard pleas into a muddled chorus of terror. The voices had worn away at her sanity for a good decade before she had learned to hone her focus on only certain voices, like she had learned to focus with only her right eye. She still did not understand why the scientists had picked her for human experimentation, but she figured it was because she had been abandoned. When they found her sweating and sobbing by the riverside next to her twin sister, already dead with pins still protruding from her scalp, they knew nobody would care.

One of the laboratory technicians opened her cage to feed her. Hui-yung curled up against the corner of her cage and let her hair fall in front of her face, so she did not have to make eye contact. She did not attack the tech because she would be overpowered. Sharp pains stabbed at her stomach and she cried out. She did not look at the food for fear that she would become overcome with hunger, and instead brushed the hair out of her eyes to watch another kid in the cage across the floor as he devoured a sandwich. It was hard for Hui-yung to imagine what nuclear substances or dementia-inducing pathogens were hidden between the lettuce and tomato, but when the kid’s brain remained functioning normally twenty hours later she gave in and resolved to eat. She was not going to die, not when she had finally finished formulating her plan for escape.






They would not be fed for another three hours and the lab techs were occupied by a radiation leak in testing Sector A. She forced a pin into the key hole of her lock from outside the closely spaced bars and was able to push all of the lock cylinders into the correct position.

When the lock clicked open, Hui-yung climbed adeptly to the top of the cage and caught sight of the opening in the ventilation system she had been looking for. She grabbed hold of the vent and pulled herself up. The hole that led to the ventilation system was no larger than a square foot and the jagged metal angles cut into her middle, leaving red stains behind as she pulled herself through.






After she squeezed through the air ducts towards the room that resembled a crematorium, Hui-yung paused as she felt wind lash at her face and whip at her hair. Directly in front of her was a fan, and she was seconds away from being hacked to a bloody animal carcass. Angry voices from outside of her mind were amplified as her pursuers gained distance. Somebody had realized she had gone missing.






She frantically ripped at the sheet metal, compressing it as much as she could until she hurtled it into the fan and dove in between two blades. The hunk of metal lasted less than a second under the furious pressure of the motor and one of the blades caught Hui-yung in the side with a fleshy thud. What was once hard now felt soft and broken. A spatter of blood shot across the wall. The pain was so intense that her thoughts and emotions became impaired. Her vision came and went with her pulse and her thoughts became blurred, but she was still conscious of the shots being fired against her, leaving smoking holes in the floor. She blindly crawled towards the crematorium, and barely noticed as the air duct she was crawling through began to detach from the ceiling.

She barely noticed the chimney opening that would be her escape. Heavy shoes beat across the floor. Hui-yung pressed her body against the blackened brick cavity and tried to push out through the hole. Below her the furnace blasted, smoke smothered her and flames peeled away the layers of her skin, but she kept pushing until she reached the top of the chimney.




Hui-yung was finally free and as good as dead. It made no difference to anybody what had become of her, really. She was stick thin and her cheeks were hollow, further accenting her eyes which bulged from their sockets. It wasn’t until she reached the roof of the human experimentation lab that she realized how large Beijing Biotech was. It was a visual representation of just how far they had come. Despite their malicious practice, they produced results. What’s more was that their humanitarian disguise was beyond effective. Their genetically engineered viruses could be used as gene therapy treatment for almost every variation of cancer and specific cases of heart failure. Hui-yung wondered if because she was in the minority, the tiniest sliver of the population that did not benefit, what they had been doing to her was justified.





It seemed to her that with their vast database of DNA sequences and the class of technology BB had at its disposal that they would be capable of so much more than cancer or heart disease. She wondered if there was anybody else in the world, anyone with her sense, who would understand.





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