All Light Casts a Shadow

January 16, 2018
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My eyes snapped open. Immediately, they snapped shut again, after burning from the blazing brightness of this planets star. The “sun”, as they call it, is closer to their planet than our star is to our planet. Mr. Gabriel's voice echoed, replaying the same message that I used to scoff at and say I would never need. Oh, the ignorance of a Seventh Orbit, I thought.


Aware that I would not be able to do anything without my sight, I slowly cracked open one of my eyes until it was fully open, before repeating the process with the other. Despite having both eyes open, the glare from the star was so bad that my vision was significantly impaired. Yet I still scrambled to find the button to open the pod. I swear I tried every switch, dial, knob, and button in that pod, but nothing was working. This is it. The last of my race and I’m going to die in an escape pod. I layed back, knowing that I was already in my grave. I let my arms fall roughly at my side. That’s when it happened.


The hiss of air was music to my ears, until I realized what this planet felt like. The atmosphere is different there. It has an abundance of nitrogen in the atmosphere, so you will feel anywhere slightly ill to extremely ailed, the symptoms really vary from person to person. At the same time this is happening, the heat from the close proximity of the “sun” will be burning at your skin. We may be similar to humans, but the few differences are truly drastic. Well, you were right there Mr. Gabriel, I thought bitterly as blisters rapidly formed across the surface of my skin. It didn’t feel as painful as I thought it should though. I felt only a slight tingling sensation. Though that might be related to the vertigo...and the dizziness… and the nausea...and the strange taste in my mouth... and the blurring vision...and the...Wait, what’s going on?


The next thing I knew, I came to in a room, with bright, white walls, a matching door in one corner, rows of artificial lighting on the ceiling, and a blistering, humid climate. I was lying on a table when I regained consciousness. I moved to sit up only to realize that I was bound at my wrists, ankles and torso. “HELP! SOMEBODY HELP ME!” I bellowed, pulling at the restraints. “HELP ME!” I screamed myself hoarse. It was becoming more obvious by the minute that nobody was going to help me, it was just me and these four walls.

That was, until finally I heard a series of clicks. Then, there was a series of mechanical sounds followed by a hiss air. Footfalls pounded on the pearly tile floor as a figure cast a shadow over my eyes. Finally! Someone was here! Someone was going to help me! Finally, there was hope … or so I thought. “Welcome, foreigner, to Area 51. You will be held at this facility for experimentation and scientific discovery for the betterment of the human race. Play your cards right and may live a long a beneficial life, play them wrong and you will find that examinations don’t necessarily require a living specimen.” His voice had an unwavering coolness, that made me quite sure he was not joking, “Your designation will be 24601, you will not speak unless spoken to, you will not fight back, you will answer any and all questions you are asked. Breach of any of these rules will result in your immediate termination.”

“Sir, if I may?” He glared before nodding his head to continue, “Why are you doing this to me? I may not be a human, but I am a person. I have a heart, a brain, a soul. I have a life. I have a family. I have friends. I hav-” but in that moment the crashing realization struck. I don’t have any of that. They’re all gone. I have nothing. I couldn’t help my race, so I had to help their “Do what you want.” It wasn’t even a whisper, more like a silent exhale.

After that all the days seemed to meld together. I remember vials of my blood. I remember needles. I remember various fluids in various bags. I remember tubes in various parts of my being. Most of all I remember pain. I remember lightheadedness as they sucked me dry. I remember stinging as poked and prodded. I remember a strange feeling of foreign liquids entering my body. I remember being forced to stare at the lights each time they “tested” me.

I don’t know how long I had been in that room, but I do know that every moment had been torture. In those days, weeks, months, years maybe, I was nothing but a plaything for those fiends. The only thought that kept me going was that maybe I could help these people, help this race like I couldn’t help my own. The only memories that motivated me to survive all that...all that time, all pain were the memories of watching my city burn. I watched as all of it, everything, my friends, my people, my city, my husband, my son, I watched as all of it turned to ash. My only hope is that I can save someone else the misery of knowing that they’re the only one who wasn’t incinerated. No one should be subject to knowing that no one will ever understand. I understand that feeling. I’ve lived with it all this time. It’s the only thing that’s kept me going.

Then one day, it couldn’t keep me going anymore. It was no longer in my hands when he came in and said “The only tests left to run we need you dead for.” Before I could react I saw bright flash and felt a sharp, burning pain in my neck. The brightness of this room, filled with torturous memories, started fading, and in the growing shadows I saw faces. My husband and son were smiling down at me. Greeting me along with the rest of my race. Finally, I was free from my pain. Finally, I was where I belonged.

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