21 - Experience

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 Stella unveiled mysteries that required more unveiling, and yet she had to go. I can only imagine I will meet Number Three next.

I listen for the entry of the newcomer, but my mind is distracted, reeling with chaotic thoughts, desperate for explanations, for someone to tell me who I am and why I'm here. Someone clears their throat and I swiftly do a one-eighty and see a guy decked out in the color yellow. What's with the colors?

"Well, hi there," he greets, holding his hand out for me to shake.

I have the courage to take his hand, but hurry to let go. "Hi."

The guy appears young, like me. Maybe younger. He's graced with golden yellow eyes and matching messy hair that reaches the base of his ears.

"It's cool to see a color change. That red is wicked awesome."

I don't know where he comes from, but he has a thick accent.

A semi-smile begins to form at the corners of my mouth as I say, "Thanks." Our conversation immediately falls silent after that, but I gain the nerve to be the talker now that I have a bit of information to work off of. "So you must be the third in line," I infer.

His head shakes, his disheveled surfer hair flinging around his face. "No. Your chip must have a glitch in it. I'm Number Four. Xena was busy I guess, so we traded spots," he explicates with exuberance. Xena?

Thanks to my microchip, his information pops up beside him and I realize he is Number Four and leads Sector D, respectively. I'd only assumed these people were introducing themselves in sequential order, like Number One told me they would. Just when I thought I knew a tiny bit of what was going on, they switch it up on me.

"How has this experience been for you? I'm the newest of the group, so you'll probably best relate with me."

It's interesting to hear the way he enunciates certain words. His accent is not quite Australian, and not quite Russian. Some kind of odd mix of the two.

"Uh, it's...well, I don't know." I stutter under pressure as his yellow eyes stare me down.

He smacks his lips. "That bad, eh?"

I shrug. "Well, when one moment you're home with people you love, and the next you're running for your life only to wind up here, it's a bit overwhelming, and I can't exactly say it's been fun."

Number Four grins. "That's because you're with Br—a hardass," he says, locking his eyes on the ceiling in corner of the room. When he winks, I turn and look to see a tiny white camera shifting around, taping everything.

"Don't worry. He probably won't even view the recordings."

I frown, wondering why, but don't force the question out. Knowing I'm being taped here augments my ever-growing paranoia.

"We always give him a hard time. I feel bad for ya. I was put in Xena's sector when I was captured and I thought that was rough, but don't tell her I said that. Anyway, she can tell you all about it right...now."

The door glides open and she strides across the room as though she's on a runway. She's got long, wavy hair, with a hot pink-to-purple ombre throughout it, which glows magenta under the white lights. Her makeup is extravagant with pink and purple shadow, liner, and even the tips of her eyelashes.

Number Four wittily bows to her. "My fair lady," he jokes. "Have fun. Be nice. I'm Zeriah, by the way!" he calls over his shoulder and departs from the room, leaving me alone with her.

She fixes her bright purplish eyes on me and starts the intro. "I'm Xena. The number nonsense bugs the hell out of me, so don't mention it. I don't get the deal with people hiding their name." She glances up at the camera, rolls her eyes, and then looks back to me. "As I'm sure you can read, I am Number Three and my prison resides in Sector C. That's the last time you'll hear me say it, now that there aren't any more of us to find. I'm not even sure why I'm supposed to be here. Talk to you like a little kid, hold your hand, and tell you your life will be perfect here? I won't do that, because I'm not a liar." Her voice softens and gains speed. "They will take everything they want from you and use it to their advantage. One minute—"

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