Chapter 02: Dreary Days

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Time passed, though Greg wasn't sure how much.

He worked out, doing mostly sit-ups and push-ups, as well as practicing hand-to-hand combat techniques he discovered via muscle memory. He found that exercising made him want to do the techniques. When he was tired enough, drenched with sweat, he laid down and slept on top of the thin, uncomfortable bedding.

He slept, fitfully.

Then he awoke to the sound of the door opening. Graves stood there with a man encased in a white biohazard suit. A gurney rested between them.

"You gonna fight? We don't have to do the gurney," Graves said.

Greg hesitated, as up until that moment it seemed that Graves hadn't been able to talk. He had a slight accent and his voice was not as deep as Greg assumed it was.

"I won't fight," he replied.

Graves stared at him for a moment, perhaps trying to determine how much truth there was in that statement, and then he waved the man in the suit and the gurney away.

He turned. "Come on then."

Greg stepped out of his cell and walked alongside Graves. The man was a full head taller than he was and the way he walked spoke of a deceptive grace and lethal training. The man was an economy of movement, nothing wasted.

Neither of them spoke as they navigated the brilliantly-lit corridors. Greg thought to ask questions, demand answers, but neither seemed like they would have elicited any reaction beyond mild amusement or irritation from a man like Graves.

After awhile, they came to one door among many. Graves escorted him in. A pair of medical technicians waited within, standing on either side of an examination table. Graves stood by the door, silent as a monolith of inert metal. Greg moved forward with slow, cautious steps and laid down on the examination table.

Working without speaking, the med-techs attached wired strips to his head, his neck, and his chest inside his jumpsuit. Greg continued to lay there. It was a genuine effort not to tear the strips off, jump up, punch out the med-techs, and bum-rush Graves. He clenched his fists, resisted the urge, and continued to lay there.

As he tried to distract himself, questions came. Why were they still testing him? They had the cure, what more was there to learn? He laid there for a long time, thinking about it as they continued to run their tests, gathering more data on his body, his blood, and his bones. Seconds bled by, pooling into minutes.

Abruptly, without provocation, one of the med-techs walked over to Greg and slipped a needle into his arm, at the vein. He watched as his blood began to spiral up a clear tube, towards a collection pouch.

What were they looking for?

Greg decided simply to observe and settled in for the long haul.

* * *

When Graves escorted Greg back to his cell, he felt lightheaded. It was an effort to walk in a straight line and keep upright, but determination and a strange feeling of not wanting to appear weak in front of Graves got him back. He stepped into his cell, and as the door closed behind him, all but collapsed onto his cot.

He realized they must have taken more than an average amount of blood from him. Greg managed to settle into a more comfortable position and shifted beneath his blankets to ward off the chill he'd gained.

As he drifted off, he heard a voice, talking to him, asking him something. It was a light voice, with the vague edge of mechanical buzz.

And then he was out like a light.

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