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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2321674-Vivisection
Rated: 13+ · Fiction · Other · #2321674
A tale of a girl who is locked in a hospital, with only one person to talk to.
Vivisection



         "Why must he leave him behind rather than stay with him?" I pondered aloud, "Or even try to negotiate with God about his sentence?"

         Raphael was looking at me, in a way I presumed to be wide-eyed. He was what my parents viewed as an intelligent man, one who wore those round glasses authors would write of when describing the tropey "smart guy" in books. His hair an evening brown with his eyes being a deep green. I've profiled him as quite the talker that somehow enchants people unknowingly. The one man whom both my mother and father collectively trust the most, a reasonable thought, as he offered both financial and medical aid regarding my siblings and myself.

         As the eldest in my family, it was expected of me to continue my learning regardless of my condition and was set to take over the family business if I came to be cured of the disease ravaging my body like a dog. Thus, the tropey doctor was placed in charge of my education. Those two trust his judgment more than their own, and by some logic, he thought it best I learn about the classics and study them before anything else. As of this moment, he has been reading me passages from various classics as bedtime stories for many nights in place of singing songs and fairytales.

         "Hah," He sighed, looking away, "Let me think of how to put it into words,"
         Classics such as these never made much sense to me, I could never understand why those who were lucky enough to gain friends left them with not even a hint of remorse. Throughout the story, Virgil and Dante seemed to be very good friends. With Virgil assisting him on various occasions, guiding him through and out of hell. Although I understand the whole "once a person has been to hell, they cannot return," rule, I still cannot wrap my head around it.

         "A life for a life, Taliah," Raphael approached my bed from the corner he was originally seated, "You're still young, so I will have to tell you another time soon,"

         "And when would that be?" I sat up to meet his eyes, noting him sitting at the foot of my bed,

         "Soon," he responded, "I have to leave now, or I'll get an earful from the nurses,"

He sighed and moved to get up.

         "But could you please give me an answer I can comprehend a little?" I pleaded, "I don't think my mind would allow me rest otherwise,"
         His hand moved to meet his chin, eyes wandering in thought.

         "Alright, let's think about it this way," Raphael began, "Dante desperately wished to see his lover again, so he left Virgil to achieve that. Virgil's friendship, for his lovers love, a life for a life Taliah,"

         I wanted to say more, to ask more. But with the words hanging on the edge of my tongue, he left, closing the door behind him.
         
_____________________________



         It was my birthday today, a day that I have stopped looking forward to a long while ago. My parents slowly lessened their visits over the course of my long stay, and when I try to text them I receive no response. However, my siblings do come by when they can. During each visit, my stomach twists in envy and happiness, as they provide me with company for hours at a time. Telling me the countless stories with friends from school, and more. Regardless of how I feel, it is always pleasing and comforting to find that they are doing well. Though it is quite unfortunate this birthday had to be on a weekday, for everyone is always too busy on weekdays.

         Raphael came in earlier than usual, while the sun was still sleeping, with a little girl at his side. She was in a wheelchair just as I am, her legs covered with a burgundy blanket. The clothes she wore was a patient's gown that revealed her arms that were concerningly thin. It was as though I were looking at a former self, a ghost amongst the living.

         "Why hello there," I smiled, meeting her gray lit eyes. She gazed at me, the same way I saw in those who glanced at me in public. Sympathetic, pitiful, and most times a mix of the two.

         "And who might you be?"

         "This is Asa," Raphael answered, "She and you will be neighbors from here on out, and since it is your birthday I thought it best to have you meet,"

         She rolled out from his side, Raphael lifting her to sit on the edge of my bed.

         "Raphael has been telling me a lot about you, and says you are around my age," She returned my smile, "I haven't spoken to anyone since forever,"

         She dramatized the forever at the end, I'd forgotten that most kids my age do that.

         "Happy birthday!" Asa squealed, handing me a little cake, "Here, blow and make a wish,"

         Raphael gave me a simple smile, turning off the lights with a click. A candle was lit, illuminating the room with a golden glow, temporarily replacing the sun. A cake was brought out, a chocolate mousse one to be precise.

         "How did you know?" My voice came out happy and cheerful,

         She grinned, one that is used when a prank is successful, "Because, this guy over here said that you haven't had anyone to celebrate with for a while, so I decided you should celebrate with me!"

         A smile spread on my face. I was relieved to say the least, I hadn't had cake in a while. As the day grew on, Asa chatted while I listened. She reminded me of my siblings, bright eyes, comments between sentences such as "I didn't even know why she did it, it was her fault for it,", and waving her hands around to dramatize the story just as my siblings would. It made me feel as if my family was really there, to where not once did I answer or check my phone expecting to see messages from friends and family either forgetting or saying they couldn't make it. I guess I came to forget them back then.


         
_______________________________





         The memories Asa and I shared slowly accumulated over time, with her being the instigator more often than not. From the date of my birthday, it became routine for her to invade my room an hour before lunch. Initially, I was not very open during the beginning of our blooming friendship, continuing to keep the projection of friendly, outgoing, and sympathetic ingrained into my body from a young age. In fact, I found her to be quite the nuisance, always disturbing my studies, writing, reading, drawing, as well as every other aspect of my life.

         "Tal! Tal! Tal!" she would cheer, rolling in,

         "Morning Asa," I would often respond, lifting my eyes from my current activity of the time,

         "Question, why do the writers in this book become quite descriptive once two characters begin either hugging or touching each other for long periods of time?"

         "I beg your pardon?" I stammered out, with zero sense of what she said,

         "Here on this page," pushing the tale forward, forcing it into my field of vision,

I took a glance at a few words and realized just what she wished for me to explain to her.

         "Uh-" I began, meeting her eyes from behind the cover, I imagine that I appeared a tad flustered or unnerved, for her mouth twitched at the corners as if to restrain a giggle or grin filled with mischief.

         "Hurry and explain! My friends are dying to know," She was persistent this time, very. "Come on! Come on!"

Her eyes appeared as a puppy's when attempting to coax their owner into playing with them, innocent, and pure. Too innocent and pure.
         "Well-" the automated sliding of the door rang the room,

         "Asa, why are you here?" Raphael walked in, clipboard in hand.

         "You always praise Taliah's skill in literature and taste in books," She met him, "So, I asked her about this book she lent me,"

         Raphael tilted his head, giving me a look. He most definitely found it unusual for me to provide any book from my shelf, regardless if it was one I enjoyed or not, as he experienced firsthand my protective tendencies over them.

          Asa grasped the story she intended to show him, moving to the same page she revealed to me. Therefore, in a feeble attempt to save myself the embarrassment and stain upon my reputation, I stole it from her hands, unknowingly yelling "no!" in the process.

         The two of them looked at me in silence, Raphael in surprise, and Asa with a smile clearly restricting a laugh.

         Although she did permanently ruin my reputation that day regardless of my courageous attempt to save it, her visits (both welcomed and unwelcomed) slowly became something I looked forward to at the beginning of every day. From the time I woke up to before the time I slept.
Raphael would often be at her side to escort her at my door, plopping her at the edge of my bed, always being careful not to crush or even touch my legs.

         Her presence brought me quite a bit of comfort and healing to my increasing homesickness and depleting mental state, since from the beginning of my stay at the hospital, my contact with the outside world has been continuously limited by quite a margin. Certain patients such as myself, have their electronics confiscated until the end of their stay, being told that it was to assist in our recovery process. According to the nurses and Raphael, the radioactive rays emitted by any electronic device close to our eyes is damaging and can worsen our condition across lengthened periods of time. I was well versed in the basic sciences surrounding electronics and understood quite well what they were implying. So accepted the terms, and have only been able to contact family and friends once a week, on birthdays, and holidays.

          Consequently, people began drifting from me. My parents had warned me that I was to not speak or even mention my condition to a single soul outside of them, the hospital, and those within the hospital. I was to simply state I had contracted a disease, and could not leave the hospital until my treatment was complete.

         I understood their intentions and their wishes. If word spread that the eldest of a highly influential family was diagnosed with a terminal illness, someone else would come in and finish the job before it could. Securing themself or their family a permanent position in the world, unrivaled, and challenged by none.

         Many of my friends, including the close ones, were descendants from families with a history as rich as mine. I had never fully trusted them because of this common fact, for the difference in power between my parents and theirs is night and day.

         When reminiscing about my past relations, I am always left stunned by how each began. With each memory I replayed, it felt as if I had been watching the same story unfold. The other party would consistently engage in idle chat with me, poking at my interests and new obsessions until they had received vital information (my contact info). I almost pitied each one, observing them running toward their parents like a pet to their owner, always mouthing "Mom! Dad! I got it! I made a friend!". Appearing so clueless to the truth of their actions.

          Power is one of the few things in this world that could never fill a person's glass, no matter how much of it one receives. It is cursed to bind all those who gain it, a fate that not even the wicked desire. Napoleon, The Romans, Adolf Hitler, as well as every other crucial historical figure we know of today has drowned in the pursuit of true power. Even when we, the spectators who studied their tales could tell as clear as day that they had all they ever desired and more. An unachievable delusion crafted by man's destructive desire to feel superiority to another, and if not, the whole world.

         
______________________________________



         When the days began moving faster, and the sun grew shorter. Raphael came into my room by himself for the first time in what felt to be a long time.

         "You're on your own?" I inquired, I had grown accustomed to Asa always being in close proximity with Raphael when visiting me. Anytime he would arrive to teach his lessons or record my condition, I came to expect Asa to be with him.

         "Yes," He smiled, "I take it you have grown fond of the little one over the course of these months?"

         "Naturally, besides it is highly unusual for you to arrive without her glued to your side," I had responded, "Regardless she has not even visited me today,"

         "Is that so?" He stepped close to the screen attached to my bed, scribbling on his clipboard,

         "Yes, and it's out of character for her,"

         He moved to the other side of the bed, "I believe she is currently on a call with her parents, and therefore may visit you afterwards,"

         "Alright then," I ended, listening to the beep of a few buttons.

         "Strange," He murmured to the screen, "Very strange indeed,"

         "What is it?" My first thought was panic, "Is it something bad?"

         "No," He echoed, "Quite the opposite,"

         I saw his fingers move to tap a few more keys, and decided to allow him to do his business for a few moments more.

         "Taliah," His voice came out surprised or at least stunned from behind me, "May I see your legs?"

         "They are the same as you saw them last week I suppose," I claimed, not bothering to look back,

         My legs were the first part of my body to be taken by my illness, rendering me unable to move or walk. My old doctors had diagnosed it as something similar to cancer, where my body turned against itself. However, unbeknownst to me, this disease was far more active and fast-moving. If I hadn't been forced into this hospital, my life would have been stripped from this world within a year.

         It was once a bad habit of mine to raise the blanket and check my legs each day, my hope of being able to resume my life as it was prior to all this dying with every glance. No matter how many times I checked, it remained a purple leprotic mess only seeming to get worse. Making me stop altogether.

         "Show me again," He was demanding this time, his eyes determined to see something I had no knowledge of,

         "Fine, if you're being so insistent," I snapped, beginning to lift the blanket from the bed, "Don't be surprised if it looks the-"

         It wasn't the same as I was about to say, it was far from the same. There were no deformities on my legs, no purple lumps that would make a person cower back in disgust, only skin. My own, pale untouched ghostly skin. There was nothing to be said. No squeals of excitement, no tears of joy, just pure shock at my recovery.

         I slid my feet to the edge of my bed, allowing them to touch the ground for the first time in a long time. The feeling shot through me as lightning to a tree, it was cold, smooth, and refreshing.

         "Raphael," I felt as if I were to cry, "Hold my arm as I attempt to walk,"

         Without a word he ran over, grasping my arm. I analyzed his face for a moment, there was something unnerving about it. Although it was filled with pride and joy, there was a small hint of sadness that I was unable to discern in that moment.

         "Go on," He said, soft with his words,

         I stood, almost collapsing at the first step.

         "Be careful!" Raphael warned, " The muscles in your legs have weakened over the course of your stay, you haven't used them in nearly a year!"

         "Please calm down, I understand," I reassured him, "Just catch me in the case I fall, alright?"

         "Alright," He was filled with anticipation, seeming unable to contain it,

         Cautiously I took my first few steps, heeding Raphael's warning of being careful. I had been bedridden for so long that I felt as if I were a newborn child, re-exploring and learning the world all over again. Being restored with the life that was lost to me, and the relief that I am now able to rebuild what my illness had cost me.

         "Raphael," I said, as he assisted in bringing me to my bed, "Don't tell Asa about this okay? I'd like to walk up to her myself once I am able to,"

         Asa had always been supportive of my interests and dreams, and I want to surprise with my recovery as she has grown to be one of my closest friends.

         "Okay," He answered, "Now I need to go report this to the other nurses, they are going to be so excited,"

         And with that, he left. I still find how he ended our interaction strangely abrupt, as well as our time together seeming awkwardly tense. However, I was far too happy with my highly improbable recovery to care.

         From that day, I asked the nurses to arrange daily physiotherapy for myself in private, intending to greatly advance my recovery. When the day was dark, and all were asleep, I would quietly step round my room. At first, I needed to grasp the walls for dear life, clinging to them like a child to their mother. The sudden pressure placed on my legs being far too great for them to withstand on their own, crumbling beneath it.

         As time progressed, my muscles regained a small percentage of its former strength. Enough that allowed me to walk without the need for assistance from walls, but came to the realization that I would not make proper recovery if I were to simply walk as a normal person would.

         I wished to fulfill my desire to run, jump, and be able to perform all athletic motions. Pushing me to follow the idea of training my legs and core using workouts that were gentle on a frail body. This would permit me to walk, run, and jump over the course of a few months rather than travel using a wheelchair for the rest of my life.

         __________________________________________________


         During this period of my life, Asa grew a strange air that surrounded her, supposedly affecting the moods of those who came into close proximity with her. At least, that is what I am led to believe. After the day she phoned her father, her visits to me felt uneasy. Her actions were the same as her face, and her voice hadn't wavered. Only that something in her eyes changed when she saw me, and I could not tell what.

         "And then as I was about to walk away," Asa was retelling an event that occurred at school, "the little one nudged my leg to get my attention,"

         "Asa, that's adorable," I said, "Did the nurse let you keep the dog?"

         "No," She dazed off, "She uh-"

         "She what?" I asked,

         "She uh-" She was stuttering now, "g-grabbed-,"

         "Asa," Softening my tone, my hand reached for hers, "Have you been doing well?"

         She wasn't responding.

         "Asa," I clasped my hand around hers, "hello?"

         "Oh yes," Her face finally met mine, "A lot has been on my mind lately,"

         "I understand," I said, and in attempting to provide closure, "So please tell me what's wrong,"

         We have known each other for quite some time, and have most likely been each other's only sort of company. So I do hope there has been some form of trust built between the two of us (although I had said nothing about my personal and home life prior to my confinement compared to her).

         "I wish I could," She solemnly responded, pressing the call button for a nurse, "But I can't, not yet at least,"

         The door opened and one of the younger nurses stepped in, I assume that she must have been a trainee considering how cautious her eyes were whilst heading toward us.

         "Then tell me when you are comfortable, I can wait," I let her know, watching her be lifted from the waist to her chair,
         "Hm," with that, she left in a weirdly abrupt manner,

         "Oh, and Taliah," My head perked at the name, it was the trainee, "Raphael will be with you in a bit, he needs to discuss with you some changes to your schedule,"

         "I will keep that in mind, thank you," She smiled, wheeling my friend out the door leaving me in silence,

         On that night I felt uneasy, to this day I remain unsure of why. It could have been because of thoughts about Asa, or my changing medication. Possibly even concerns of the outside world, but no matter how I rack my brain, I cannot find a satisfying conclusion as to why.


_______________________________________________________



"Taliah, wake up," Raphael poked at my shoulder,

         The sun dawned, and my eyes sulked. It was far too early for me to be awake, and I have been sore from my daily physiotherapy. Each appointment I make exceptional progress, with my muscles relearning and growing more used to walking with every passing day. I planned to show what I'd achieved to Asa soon, for it was almost her birthday.

         "Did Ms.Flors tell you?" He asked once I gained some form of consciousness,

         "Tell me what?" I asked, voice still raspy from fatigue,

         "Of the changes made to your schedule," He responded,

         "She mentioned it yesterday," I said, "Although she never elaborated, claiming that you would do it instead,"

         "And right she was," He moved to the seat next to me, one that my sibling used to use,

         Once seated, he opened, "I hear you've been participating in physiotherapy on a daily basis,"

         "Yes, I have," I sighed, "The nurses tell you?"

         "Of course," He joked, " All it took was a little smile and chatter, then their words slipped one by one,"

         I laughed and smiled. I should have foreseen this outcome a mile away, the most threatening trait about him
is his charisma after all.

         "Anyhow," His tone returned to being a professional, "I had originally planned to schedule you for physio, but you read my mind,"

         I chuckled, taking a glance at his clipboard noticing it angled towards me. On each visit of his, he makes sure to hug it close to him like a child. Forbidding me to peek at it, naturally, I respected his privacy and never touched it even when on its own. This time, I observed writing that appeared as scribbled. At the top right was my name, and with a number next to it. In books with a theme set in a hospital, pages such as this one would always have the patient number written next to the name. Mine however had an experiment number.

         "Liah?" Raphael's voice echoed, "Taliah??"

         "Yes, sorry," I perked up, excusing myself, "Was thinking about my new schedule,"

         "Right," He responded, "Before we get to that, I'd like to run a test,"

He moved to the other side of the room, his feet soft against the tiles.
         "Walk to me," He sounded strangely demanding,

         "What?" I responded,

         "Walk," He repeated, "I know you can,"

         The aura around the two of us changed, becoming uncomfortably sinister and eager as if stone was weighing my lungs. Cautiously, I opened my blanket, revealing my healed legs. Swerving them to the edge of the bed, letting them hang like vines.

         Raphael's eyes widened, clearly not expecting me to make such progress. He had not seen my legs since we first discovered the recovery, back then I was a stick, no muscle, no fat.

         "Now, walk over," He demanded it, seemingly rushing with a sense of excitement,

         I swung my legs to the edge of the bed, letting them fall to the ground. The cold of the floor shivering through my body, waking a side of me that was asleep. Raphael was watching, intently, his gaze unmoving from my figure. With each step, his eyes left his face. Growing wider the more I lessened space.

         "You happy now?" I stood in front of him, using no walls or any form of assistance,

         "Yes, and very impressed," He smiled, "Seems like you have far surpassed my expectations,"

         I chuckled as he continued, "I think we shall decrease the amount of physiotherapy, and make it 2 times a week solely for checkups,"

         "That's wonderful," I stretched my back, heading to the door, "Have you been in contact with Asa as of late? Or know where she may be?"

         "Go right and take 15 doors down," Raphael lead, joining me as I stepped into the hallway,

         As we walked, I took in all I could about my surroundings. All I had known from the beginning of my stay was my room, my own little world. The hallways were that same mixture of gray and white seen in movies, and people were running up and down screaming emergencies or profanities depending on their circumstances. The nurses were smiling all giddy when they saw me, waving as I passed whether I knew them or not. (although I'm quite sure that those smiles were aimed at Raphael rather than me), and at times I would take notice of other children who appeared in similar or worse condition than me. Each child we passed had this look of defeat as if they were simply existing rather than living. Forcing back memories of me prior to my meeting with Asa.

         "Before we see Asa," I tugged at Raphael's sleeve, "Could we pop by a few other rooms along the way?"

         He peered down to look at me, "Why? Asa may be waiting,"

         "She isn't expecting me anytime soon, and I simply wish to chat with a few kids," I responded,

         "Alright," He agreed, "Let's begin with this room then,"

Time began to slow as we traversed the halls, visiting each room with kids diagnosed with similar conditions to mine. I smiled the whole time, never wavering in the slightest. As I was chatting and laughing with another patient. I heard Asa call for me in the doorway, with a nurse assisting her.

         "Tal? What are you doing here?" She looked at me, then the one next to me, "How are you here?"

         "Asa!" I jumped from the bed,          dashing toward her, "I was heading for your room, but decided to make a few visits,"

         "Really?" She was staring at my legs, her seemingly annoyed by something,

         "Oh and I can do this now," I exclaimed, jumping around, "Isn't it great?"

         "Yes, it sure is," Now she was angry, "If you would excuse me, I have errands to run,"

         With that she left, rolling away down the hall. I moved to chase her down and confront her about her strange behavior towards me. However, by that time she had vanished into another room.


         
_____________________________________________          



         Raphael walked me back to my room, hearing my feet drag behind me. I'd forgotten how much effort it takes to socialize with so many people at a time, and how draining it is.

         "That was fun," I crashed unto my bed,

         "It was quite interesting to see you interact in such ways," Raphael smiled next to me, "I never took you to be a sweet talker,"
         "Sweet talker?" I joked, "I'm not you Raph,"

         He laughed, "You say that as if I'm a bad person,"

         "But you are," I chuckled, hiding myself beneath the covers of my bed, hearing the vibration of someone's phone,

         "That you?," I asked, referring to Raphael,

         He remained silent but answered my question by bringing out a phone from his back pocket. I assume it was a work phone for my parents owned one of the same model, and taught me about it themselves.

         "Yes sir," He whispered to the phone, intending it to be out of my range, "I understand, will make preparations now,"

         "I take it you must leave?" I inquired,

         "Yes," He sighed, "My boss wished for me to prepare for an event his daughter requested, and will not get off my back about it,"

         "Goodnight then," I dismissed him,

         "One more thing," He handed me a bottle of medication, "This is part of the change in medication I mentioned earlier, I advise you take it tonight,"

         "Of course," I smiled, watching the door close behind him,

         Before night fell upon my eyes, I took the pills. There was nothing unusual about them, having the same texture as vitamins I would take back home. Wasn't bitter and the flavor was tolerable, but I'm quite sure they had some sort of anesthetic in them. For I was fast asleep before I could think another thought.


         
_______________________________________





         "Good morning," I said, hearing the door to my room open, "I feel as if you're earlier than usual again,"

         There was no response.

         "Could you come back later?" I asked, yawning my words out, "I'm still tired from yesterday,"

         There was no response again.

         A light was moved, shining straight into the lids of my eyes, forcing them awake. However, even with me feeling the muscles move, everything was black. No matter how many times, or how hard I fall into view.

         I tried to rise from the bed in a panic, to find or call Raphael to aid me. My movement was restricted by Shackles, binding me down to a bed that was never mine. Sounds of rustling and wheeling surrounded me, hitting a smooth surface I was accustomed to hearing.

         Someone was here, in this room I assume to have a tiled floor. The same floor I stepped on each day in the hospital, granting me the possibility that this was another area of the hospital I had not known of.

         "Hello?" I spoke to the darkness, "Is someone there? Where am I?"

         The silence resumed.

         Panic became abundant, rushing from my heart to my mind. I squirmed to break free, each attempt only tiring me more. Eventually, color began to emerge from the black. Although it was extremely fuzzy, it was enough to calm me down to an extent. I could speculate what certain objects were by tracing outlines. Leaning me toward the thought that I was in a room similar to the one I knew, a surgical room in the hospital I had not known.

         What was it, why was it I was here? Raphael hadn't told me of any surgery later this week, and I knew that I took pills last night, but that was only medication. I had slept in my bed because Raphael walked me there, so what happened? I kept racking my brain for possibilities, and answers to my own questions. I possessed no resources to assist me and felt myself falling into some cycle of insanity. Answering and asking the same things, never getting anywhere.

         Frantically, I analyzed what I could. The bed for a sharp surface, but all were sanded blunt. The bindings were tight and gave me no leeway to move around or reach for anything. The tools and machines surrounding me were clearly useful, but my legs couldn't reach them.

         In all my mental confusion and physical chaos, two figures had appeared one beside and the other behind. As I tried to make sense of them, a needle was inserted at the nape, gradually clearing my vision.

         "Good morning Taliah," a voice filled me with relief, "I see your certainly making yourself comfortable,"

         "Asa, what the hell is this?!" I nearly yelled at her, "Was this you?"

         "Only part of it, mainly him though," She gestured to Raphael who was assisting her, "I simply gave permission,"

         I stared at the two of them. Opening my mouth with no words able to form. That call, the daughter was her and this was the event Raphael referred to. But none of it made any sense.

         "So I take it your dad owns the hospital?" I inquired, my mind a mess,

         She tilted her head in wonder, continuing to look at me, "Yes, Abner Viel,"

         My ears perked at the name, my parents business partner and co-founder. I knew him only by name and a reputation that certainly precedes him. By the words of my friend's parents, he is quite the happy father who is in very close relations with my parents. When speaking of him their voices would scream envy, making backhanded comments of him having no children of his own.

         "If I may, halt your thought," Asta brought me back to the present, "What exactly do you mean by hospital?"

         I looked at her confused, "This facility, where kids with similar conditions to me go to recover,"

         "You have the wrong idea," She chuckled, "This is a laboratory, not a hospital,"

         My heart dropped, what does she mean laboratory? Why would my parents' trusted companion conduct these? Why is this a laboratory? My head hurt with thoughts whirlpooling in my mind. Too many whys, too many whats and far too many possibilities.

         "A laboratory for what," I was prodded for answers, "For what Asa."

         "To find a cure to my disease," She shrugged at the answer, moving away from me to another bed on the other side, "Each patient under the roof of this building is an experiment although they are not told that,"

         "So why am I here?" I asked, masking fear in my voice, "Why not someone else?"

         "We took a scan of your cells while you were asleep, and noticed a rare mutation in them, one that we have been attempting to artificially create for the past few years" It was Raphael intervened, "The mutated cells attacked the diseased cells and virus before they could regenerate, annihilating them immediately,"

         He rolled the tray of tools next to me, placing gloves on his hand, "You simply woke up one day with your legs completely healed, because after those mutated cells killing off the infected ones, allowing your body to heal itself through time,"

         "Doesn't that mean I can go back home to my family? Or at least phone them to tell them the news?" I pleaded, "And my friends too, I have to catch up with them all,"

         "No you cannot phone your family, or friends for that matter," He denied me, "Everyone outside believes you are dead,"

         I was shaking this time, not out of terror, just confusion. I felt cold and betrayed by people who I believed were helping me.
         "What do you mean dead?" I cautiously asked,

         "The world outside believes you are dead, all but your parents," He stared at me, putting a mask on, "They sold you to us, making you our property,"

         "Your property?" I broke, words barely able to escape me, "What do you mean SOLD?"

         He only shrugged, without a care in the world.

         "Your parents have been in debt to Asa's family for quite some time now, for their business boomed because of a loan they took from them. Couldn't pay it back in time, so they used you to pay it all off," Raphael continued, "We restricted your access to the outside world to make everyone think you died, and from what I hear, your sibling has taken your spot,"

         My world shattered like glass around me. I had been replaced with my sibling, they didn't need me anymore. My friends weren't being distant, they all just thought I was dead. And no one ever received any of my calls because they were being intercepted, it all made sense now. The "hospital" isolated me from everything, forcing me down an abyss so that I would be reliant on the only social interaction I could have, naturally making me reliant on that one person. Viewing them as the light in a time of darkness.

         I turned my head, to face the girl I considered to be my savior, "Is it true?"

         "Every word," She said, not even meeting my eyes, "Raphael, once you are done with her, assist me, understand?"
         "Understood," He obeyed, organizing his resources,

         "What more are you going to do to me?" tears followed my question, I felt defeated not by the world, but by the two people whom I gave my care to. The warm and welcoming eyes I remembered fondly vanished, replaced with predators looking down on prey. "I thought we were getting along so well,"

         "We were," She rolled over next to me, "It's why I have been avoiding for the past few weeks,"
"What?" I urged her on,

         "My dad recently phoned me about your cell mutation, sounding all giddy saying how we were going to extract those very cells you need to live in from you and inject them into me," Asa explained, "I couldn't stand the idea and originally refused,"

         She sighed, taking a breath, "But watching you talk to those kids and walk around just annoys me,"

         "So you did this simply because I was talking to a few other people besides you?" I wanted to hit her, to force sense into her, "Those kids are like us, Asa! They were lonely like me!"

         Her eyes widened, I had hit a nerve.

         "No, I'm not mad!" She exclaimed, "Just why is it that you had to be heaven's favorite and be magically healed when I had been working for years to walk again? Why is it that you get to be oh-so cheerful with other kids while I have to be there and watch? That was supposed to be me!"

         I was speechless, unmoving, stunned. That was it? She threw everything just because she felt overwhelmed by jealousy? How comical.

         "You are the most stupid person I have ever seen," I spoke with defeat, and rage, meeting her eyes, "How much of a wreck do you have be to make other people as miserable as you? Did you not use that blessed mind gifted to you by your father to come up with alternatives? "

         "I did," She answered, moving back, "And there were none,"

         "None? None?!" My voice boomed, "Did you not even think about asking me to help you make friends?" I wailed, allowing streams of tears enter my mouth, "Are you just so self centered that you decided to take me out instead of using me to your advantage to befriend others?"

         Her eyes filled with surprise as I went on, clearly annoyed she did not think of that, "You hadn't thought of that have you? Doing all of this for nothing? I expected better from the daughter of such a reputable man,"

         I felt unlike myself,

         "Don't speak of my Father that way!" Asa exclaimed, "He is not what they say,"

          "He built this all for YOU!" I attempted to point around us, " And I was speaking of YOU not your father,"

         Asa had no words to share, her eyes devoid of any thoughts other than shock.

         "People would always ask

         "I am not!" Tears threatening to spill, "I had a life, I had great friends, and could see the sun, imagining I could touch it,"

         She rolled backwards, turning away, "That's why your life is now going to be used to give me mine back,"

         "Wha-" I tried to muster the strength to form one last remark, but was forced under anesthesia by Raphael, hearing his voice echo, "A life for a life, Taliah,"

























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