This week's flash is inspired by the prompt: Since when did anyone are about me? (slight tweak to make it fit the storyline)
The door chimed, and I reluctantly uncurled from my ball on the bed and went to find out who was there. I hesitated, my hand hovering over the panel, before I finally let it settle on the cool screen. It warmed briefly, then the door slid open.
“Hello, Kohen.” Aparoe stood outside the door with a bag in one hand.
“Hello.” I retreated, but they didn’t follow me. I stared at the black bag.
“Can I come in?”
I darted a look up at their face, then tilted my face to one side and shrugged.
“The captain did tell you these are your quarters, and you control who comes in, right?”
“Good.” They stepped inside, and the door slid shut. “I brought you some things.”
“Why?” I didn’t want to get back on the bed with Aparoe in my room, so I sat down in one of the chairs at the small table. I pulled up my legs, tucking my body into a tight ball with my arms wrapped around my knees.
“Because I want to make sure you’re getting what you need nutritionally. You underwent a serious surgery recently. Your body is still recovering, and I can only imagine what you’re feeling and thinking after so many years as a captive of the Brox Consortium.”
I rested my chin on one of my knees. “Brox Con-consor….”
“Consortium. Those scum running the lab we rescued you from.”
Aparoe paused in taking the packages out of their bag. “They employ aliens, yes. But it’s run by a company that has far more reaching goals. Galactic politics, power behind the power thing, and they’re willing to use brutal, horrific means to accomplish their plans. Including torturing different species to find out what makes them tick.”
“Hmm.” I didn’t really get what she meant. “What is that?”
The bag was full of purple powder. “This is a supplement. I would like you to add it to the juice I’m going to program into your machine. One every morning, and one at night.”
“The patches will help calm any agitation your nerves might experience. We’re unsure of what effect the suit will have had on your body. You had several storms of electrical activity after the surgery to remove it. Should it happen again, you can place one of these patches on the base of your neck. It will help.”
“Tingling, burning, muscle and skin crawling sensations. Most likely, an event would be brought on by stress. Your body’s nervous system goes into hyper drive, essentially. There’s also an anti-emetic, which will help with nausea.”
Was that what had happened? While we were eating? I felt a little better, thinking maybe the freak out by my body wasn’t just because I was broken in my head. And I knew I was.
More than anything, I wanted Aparoe gone. I wanted to be alone. I knew I shouldn’t, that I should want to be around people, but it was too much.
“Kohen? Can you read this?” Aparoe held up a digital sheet.
“Yes. Biz… Bizard… I don’t know that word. Then it says, um… take with juice t-twice a day.” I pleated a fold of my pants between my fingers, rubbing it nervously. “Didn’t read much before.”
“That’s good enough. You just need to be able to follow the directions. Place this portable vid over the medicine and it will give you the directions. If you’re unable to read it for any reason, this button here”—they pointed to a set of wavy lines—“will read it aloud for you.”
Aparoe gathered up their bag. “Please let me know if you need anything. I will be checking on you once a day for the near future.”
“We’ve only been able to decode the basic information in your file from when you were first… well, from early on. Only you know what you’ve been through, but we know that they were tinkering with human DNA as well as mental and emotional experiments. We want to help you.”
I frowned. “Why?” Remembering my life before I’d been sold was hard, but I hadn’t forgotten everything. No one did anything without expecting something in return.
“It’s our mission.”
Like that told me anything. “Mission?”
Aparoe nodded. “We— wait, hold on. Yes.” They tapped behind their ear. “Sorry, Kohen. I’ve been summoned to deal with an idiot who didn’t realize mass doesn’t change just because you’re in zero gravity.”
They left me with more questions than answers, and the visit alone had exhausted me. I got up and rechecked the seal on the door, then crawled back into bed. The pillow was soft, like a fluffy cloud in an old storybook, and the blanket was heavy and smooth.
I curled onto my side and pulled the blanket up to my face, turning it and clutching a handful so I could rub my chin and cheeks on it. Since when did anyone care about what happened to me? My parents… not so much. The aliens? Definitely not. I couldn’t even think of any friends who might have really missed me—or missed me at all.
Drawing in a ragged breath, I tried to push those thoughts away. The past didn’t exist, and I had no idea what my future held. I would do what I’d done for years to get by; I’d live in the now. And the now meant I had a private place for my own with comfortable clothes and an awesome bed, and I could watch anything I wanted on the vid and order anything to eat and drink.
I sat up on the bed, wiping away the moisture on my cheeks. At home, there had been channels on the vid we couldn’t see….
Hopping out of bed, I bounced over to the dispenser. I didn’t even have to think about it. “Parl treats and warm cokala.” The sticky, chewy candies were impossible to chew, but when you bit through them, the goo on the inside oozed out and the two flavors combined in the best ever flavor. I liked the ones based on Old Earth fruits.
The cokala was thick and fizzy and better than anything I’d tasted before. “Oh yum!” I took my haul over to the bed. Time for some fun.
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