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“Wake up. It is time to wake up.”
Xavier’s eyes opened, his mind calculating. But there was nothing to calculate. There was nothing in his mind to process. Just a bunch of empty space.
He sat there a moment before they told him what to do. His mind was blank and for the life of him, he couldn’t come up with a single memory. Nor could he come up with any idea to where he was.
He wasn’t sure if he should cry or shout out of anger. Was he angry person? Or was he a wimp?
“Get ready for school. It is time for school.”
His legs started sulking across the floor, but his mind was still back on the bed. He took in his surroundings.
A small room. Twin bed in the middle of a wooden floor. Desk next to a small door on the left side of the room. Dresser in front of the bed. TV on dresser. And the bathroom where his legs were taking him.
His arms pushed the door closed, but he had no intention of doing it in the first place. And before he knew it, he was already in the shower, soap covering his body.
Where was the mind controlling his body? Or was there something inside him that made him follow instructions blindly?
He walked into the small room once more before pulling on a black pair of sneakers.
“Follow the blue line to class. It is time for class.”
And off he went, dragging his mind helplessly behind him.
“Good morning, class. Are you ready for the test today?”
Strong, burly man. Wrinkled face. Brown eyes. Callused hands. He didn’t belong there as a teacher. He knew that. He had known it before. He just didn’t remember. And that was the problem, wasn’t it?
“Take the test. It is time for the test.”
Xavier clenched his fists, refusing to take the test, but his body fought against him. His left hand opened, taking the test against his will.
He forced himself to look around the room, taking in everything he could. All the other students were flipping the pages, answering the questions in record time.
What had happened to them? This couldn’t have been their lives. There had to be more to than that.
“Take the test. It is time for the test.”
There was that command again. And his body’s urge to do whatever it wanted.
He picked up the pencil to the left of him and began zooming through the test. Amazingly, he knew all of it. He didn’t remember learning a single thing, but he somehow had it stored in his brain. It was muscle memory.
“Pass the test forward. It is time to hand the test forward.”
His mind was tired, exhausted even. But he hadn’t done anything all day. Except for possibly the test. But even then he hadn’t tried to. It was all…in his head.
“Okay, everyone. Good job, but now it’s time to return to your rooms. You all need a recharging after that.” The burly man said.
“…It’s time to return to your rooms…”
Something clicked inside him, an awareness he hadn’t had before rose to the surface.
The urge to smother the man in front of him, boiled inside him. But he couldn’t do that. Even if he had tried, he needed to figure out more things before he acted on the feeling. Somehow, though, he doubted that he’d find good things there.
“Return to your room. It is time to return to your room.”
His legs took him once again, but his glare never left the man. And the man seemed to realize this. He had a feeling that he had come into some trouble. When, he had no idea.
There was something different about the room. An aire that seemed to fill the air. And there was some sort of mechanism lying on his bed. Almost like a helmet.
“Go to bed. It is time for bed.”
Fear filled him whole as he gazed at it through his squinting eyes. Memories tried resurfacing, but whatever they had done to him was keeping them from him. He could feel it like it was on the tip of his tongue. But there was nothing he could do to bring it back.
He would try to focus on it. He would try to force himself to stop doing whatever they wanted him to do, but it would be no use. He knew this already. And maybe that was why he had no problem letting himself be overtaken by the machine beside his bed.
Peace washed over him as soon as it was placed on his head by imaginary hands. It was like he was coming to peace with his own death. And in a way, he knew that it would be his death.
The people in charge destroyed character every time they sucked away their memories. And with the undying loyalty their bodies had, the inhabitants had no choice but to follow orders. It was a perfect system. Unless somehow people were to wake up.
And for a fleeting moment, Xavier remembered something. A useless detail about a dog. An old dying lab. Her left eye hung from its socket.
His eyes closed, relieving his mind of duty.
“Shh! It’s all right, Xavier. Don’t make a sound.”
Xavier’s heart thumped against his chest, threatening to break through those interior brick walls.
Two women stood over him, cloaked in shadows. His room was dark and the helmet was gone. But where had it gone to?
He tried to gaze around the room, but the woman forcing her hand over his mouth held him in place.
“He can’t be trusted, Neveah. They’ve turned him into one of them.” The other woman hissed.
Xavier gulped. What were they doing?
“Stand up, Xavier. And don’t let me catch you trying to call for help.” The woman said.
Xavier stood up, but with great difficulty. His body was still under orders from earlier. And he felt that he had no energy.
Neveah backed away, and for a second, he could see her. Olive colored. Short black hair. Brown eyes. Black robes.
“What are you people doing here? And…why can I talk? Why can I move?” He asked, surprising himself.
Neveah looked back at the other woman and nodded.
“We’ve come back for you, Xavier. The resistance is here.” The woman said.
Pain erupted on the back of his neck and he dropped to the floor, biting his tongue to keep from screaming.
He clutched onto the back of his neck and exhaustion washed over him. He gazed up in alarm. The women stepped out from the shadows.
“Welcome back, sir.” A male’s voice came from behind him. His head throbbed as he watched the man meet the others in the middle of the room. What the ---- was going on?
“Wha…what did you do to me?” Xavier gasped.
“We’ve taken out the device that controls your every move. Your memories should be coming back in any moment now, too.” The man said.
Sir? Resistance? Device? What was happening to him?
“I know that this doesn’t make any sense right now, but I’ll try to explain some of it. You were captured a year ago by people we call the Mind Stealers. It was the ultimate blow to the resistance, taking out the leader and symbol like that, but now we’ve come for you. We’ll get you back to safety.” Neveah said.
The man pursed his lips, “One minute. We may not have time to explain, Neveah.”
Fog filled Xavier’s mind. And then there was a surging like blood returning to his brain. Flickers of the past raced over him. Faces with names. Deformed creatures. Fires. Giant beings. Fear.
He squirmed around on the floor, heat crashing down on him. His name, Xavier Ramirez. The eighteen year old prodigy. His parents were slaughtered in the attempt to get to him. And they did. They captured him and forced him through that awful procedure. The procedure that took his memories away and replaced everything good about him.
“We’re almost there, Xavier. It’ll all be okay. There will be no more suffering.” The man hollered over him.
He opened his eyes. They were out of the room now and the man was carrying him. The women stood ahead, guns pointing around the corner.
“It’s good to see you again, Noah. I’ve missed you.” Xavier muttered. The man glanced down at him with a slight smirk.
“It’s good to have you back, boss. The resistance needs you now more than ever. The Mind Stealers are so close to taking over headquarters.” The man said.
Noah slowed before he rammed into the man from class. His brows arched into a glare.
“Simon.” He growled.
The man, Simon, grinned, “You didn’t think that you could truly walk out of here with our most prized possession, did you?”
Noah scanned the area. They were surrounded and both women were nowhere to be seen. Two giant beings stood beside Simon.
“It’s too late, Simon. His memories are restored. It’s only a matter of time before he figures out how to reverse their mind tricks.” Noah spat, setting Xavier down on his feet.
Xavier’s heart sped up. Why did he believe so much in him? He didn’t remember as near as much as he was making it sound! But maybe that was what he was going for.
“Why do you think I’ve brought them along, then?” Simon said, pointing to the giants.
Their green eyes found Xavier, and their skin changed from brown to orange. They were working to snatch him from reality again.
Xavier looked away before they succeeded and everything was lost. He was beginning to think that he may actually be able to do whatever Noah was talking about.
“Xavier, run!” Noah shouted, breaking through his sound barrier.
Xavier never got the chance to. Men jumped him from behind and held him in place. His gut was wrenching, burning his insides. He squirmed in their grips, hoping by some miracle he could be saved. But the giants were already coming. And Noah was distracted by Simon.
“Let me go!” he shrieked. The man on his left squeezed his shoulder, stopping his writhing and dropped him to his knees.
“Don’t make me go back! Don’t!” He cried before the giant jammed the device back in place.
Fear laced his every inside. And then it was gone as he felt his memories disappearing and his mind rendered useless.
The men let go of him as he dropped to the ground, his body lifeless. A man crouched over him. A burly man.
“So much for that. Take him back to his room. And make sure that Noah and Neveah don’t come back for him.” he said.
“Wake up. It’s time to wake up.”
Xavier opened his eyes, calculating.