Chapter 2

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The inhabitants of the one hundred cells on the second floor of the prison were all between the ages of the six and eighteen. Anyone under the age of six was raised in the maternity section of the prison, which was said to be a brainwashing facility. Of course, everyone in the prison knew what would happen to them: they were all human guinea pigs for elaborate experiments involving animal DNA. Everyone was told upon entry to the prison, stripped of everything including their name, and referred to simply as ‘subjects’.

   This wouldn’t even be happening if the government hadn’t approved it. It had started with people already sentenced to life imprisonment, forced to take part in the ‘clinical trials’, and slowly spread to prisoners willing to volunteer – told that they could be released early if they helped out. They had all assumed it’d be a few easy tests, maybe a blood donation, or a survey. Instead, they’d be left to suffer as they were injected with mixtures of chemicals they hadn’t even heard of, for an organisation called Calox. Eventually, the elderly people had been targeted. After that, they moved onto the orphans, adopting child after child and taking them to the prisons for their experiments.

   Then the economy had collapsed. Jobs were taken from people and given to machines with the intention of removing human error and the cost of wages. Unemployment rose, leaving millions of people in poverty and reduced to going to extreme lengths just to earn enough money to buy something as small as a loaf of bread. The government had stopped caring. The only jobs available were given to those with the knowledge of construction and programming of the machines, and even those were threatened by new types of technology and super computers. The world was becoming robotic.

   Calox had seized this opportunity, beginning only as an extremist group with the intention of improving humans so that they could overpower the machines. So far, the experiments had killed hundreds of people, leaving Calox with barely any evidence that their DNA alteration program would ever work, but their company had grown with people begging outside their headquarters for a job. No one in the outside world knew of the horror taking place in their prisons. Many even resorted to selling their own family members to Calox for the money they offered, or they simply volunteered themselves for the sum they were offered.

   However, the volunteers were never seen again, and life on the outside world was too harsh for people to worry about what was happening to them.

   One of the many people who had been sold to Calox was Sara Worthington. She was quite tall for a girl of just sixteen years old, with blonde hair that was tied back in a ponytail, falling to just below her elbows. Her ivory skin was marked with dirt from where she’d slept on the cold floor, and there was a cut on her lip from a fight with the girl across the corridor.

   “Great,” she muttered, seeing two security guards appear outside her cell, “I guess it’s me next.”

   She’d seen this many times before, usually on the floor below her. The stairs were just outside her cell, so she could see many of the prisoners on the first floor. At first, the deaths had haunted her, keeping her awake at night, or giving her gruesome nightmares. After a couple of months in the cell, she’d gotten used to it, using her bony fingers as makeshift earplugs to block out the screaming.

   “Come on, girl,” Eric had been called back into the prison by Ford, who was accompanying him, “Come over here.”

   There had been a very tense discussion between the two before they’d entered the prison. Eric knew that there were rules against testing on children, but Ford insisted that these were his instructions. Torn, Eric had eventually decided to follow Ford into the prison and watch him administer the serum. After all, his job depended on his ability to follow instructions.

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