Thirty - Linkin

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Ira stopped showing up once I told her I could draw her the labs. I didn't know if it was because she got what she wanted or something else. It didn't matter much. Jaysen and I sat in the darkness, talking about the strangest of things. The closest thing we ever got to talking about island life was me telling him about how Desmond didn't know what Candy Crush was.

We had a good laugh over that. We even spent a whole day arguing how it was impossible for me to know ten different languages. "How is that even possible, what are they? I bet you can't even list ten!"

I rolled my eyes, chuckling as I leaned back into the darkness. "I can read eleven different languages-"

"Which are?"

"English, Chinese, Hindustani, Spanish, Arabic, Malay-"

"That's definitely made up."

I laughed harder, shaking my head. "It is the official language of Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia, also spoken in three other countries with approximately 281 million native and non-native speakers," I replied like I was quoting from a book, which I was, before continuing my list. "Russian, Bangla, Portuguese, French, and of course Latin."

My list was greeted by more silence before Jaysen huffed out, "Brunei sounds like a made up place." He continued to argue with me when I told him where the small nation was from and the rest of that day was wasted with me reciting maps and books to him to prove that I truly did know eleven languages (though he didn't count Latin). In the end, he almost seemed to understand that I could remember the entire language, could read it if I saw it, but couldn't speak a word of it. An eidetic memory did have its limitations.


One morning I was greeted to the lights being turned on before a short ginger walked into the room. "Good morning, Jaysen," she spoke directly to him and only him. "I'm here to do your weekly checkup."

I lasted all of five minutes before I felt the need to interject as the bimbo moved a small flashlight in front of his eyes. "First of all, your test will always be negative for the pupil response test considering he has no pupils. Second of all, instead of you poking and stabbing him like a blind ape with a toy trying to find a vessel for his IV, try using the suggested veins in the antecubital fossa, not in the back of the hand first." I started to list the girl's many mistakes for the few minutes she had been here for.

The girl could only come back with stuttering and broken sentences as Jaysen glanced at me with a proud smirk. She lasted about another minute of my corrections before she stormed off, taking her tools with her. "That was awesome!" Jaysen cheered me on. "No one has ever been able to get me out of testing, not even Ira."

Ira's name made conversation take a sour turn. "Have you seen her?"

"You know I haven't left this room either, Linkin," Jaysen spoke in a low tone. The look of pity he gave me was enough for me.


It only took a day of being ignored and avoided for me to be bored out of my skull. No one had run a single test on me since I had arrived at the labs and most people seemed like they were avoiding me. Jaysen had even started to notice and he made a comment on the lack of people who were coming around since I had arrived.

It didn't take a genius to know something was up, that even the person who slid our food through a slit in the door started to wear gloves. There was a fear around me, one that was causing Jaysen problems as well.

"What do they do to things they can't control?" I asked one time in the middle of the night.

Jaysen took so long to reply that I was worried that he was sleeping. "You know there are mics in the room, right?" he spoke with no emotion and a shocking amount of bluntness. "For someone with your brain, you're so stupid." His mattress gave a puff as he rolled over onto his side, leaving me to a sleepless night.

The night gave me a lot of time to think. The concept of time itself did distract me for a bit, wondering if it mattered in a room of darkness with no clock and nothing to distinguish it except the types of mush we were given for food. More importantly, I regretted letting my new situation get the better of me. While the darkness and answers I had in the lab were truly welcome, the price was getting increasingly high. I was no better than a rat in a cage, but I knew this rat might have to bite at least one more person before I could figure out what was happening.

The light turned on for a moment and I was quickly on my feet and waiting at the door. "One, two."

"Linkin, what are yo-"

I raised a finger to my mouth and continued to count, "Four, five!" Exactly on five, a gloved hand reached through to give us food. "Sorry about this," I didn't mean a word of it as I grabbed the hand. The tray of food crashed to the floor, tan and green mush spilling everywhere as the man began to shout. "Calm down, it'll just be a second and it'll be easier if you don't fight me." It was a lie, one the man didn't seem to believe.

Once the glove was peeled back just enough, the horrified look on Jaysen's face disappeared as my tattoos shifted under my clothes and images started to appear in my head. I was cleaning the floors, moving a "Wet Floor" sign a bit further down the hall as I heard a woman talking to a man.

"Valentina Maione is the biggest risk we've ever had, and—" The woman started to speak.

"Don't tell me you don't know what Liana would do, Doctor Strand," Stuart cut her off in a cold and dangerously low tone.

The rest of the conversation was literally pulled from my hands as the arm was pulled free and the meal slot slammed shut. "What? I only wanted a ball!" I shouted through the metal door, trying not to show that my heart was racing. I didn't need to hear the words to know I was in trouble. 

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