Chapter 2

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"Who's there?" I shout. I am immediately taken aback by the sound of my own voice, so unused to it's low ring.

No answer. I peek out of the door way and see that the room is, in fact, empty of anyone but me.

Slowly, I inch forward, until I reach the shoes. They are brand new. This is clear from the smell, a fresh scent.

I approach them and pick them up, letting them swing gracefully by the shoelaces. Side to side. Left to right.

I watch them swing. It is hypnotising. Impossible to look away. I feel the air blowing softly from the repeated motions. I grip the plunger in one hand and focus my attention on the shoes in the other.

That is until I feel it. A motion behind me. A presence.

Instantly, upon some hidden instinct I didn't know I had, I turn and throw my plunger straight through a person. Or, at least, I think it's a person.

It's a woman. She wears a black dress, with a white overcoat, that looks like a laboratory jacket. A large white pocket sits upon the right side of her chest. Inside it is a notepad and a black pen. Around her face is a gas mask, so I can't identify any of its features. But the mask is charcoal black, and covered in some sort of dust. The pane of plastic covering her eyes is darkened, so that I can barely see them, but what I can see is that they are small, dark, and beady. She is short. My height, but in a pair of black heels that make her taller than she actually is. Her blond hair is gathered up in a tight bun behind her head, not a wisp sticking out. Orderly and neat.

But none of that, not even the mask, is the strangest part about her. The plunger soared right through her, and hit the wall behind, knocking over a picture frame holding a picture of a happy family, one that I no longer remember. One that holds a woman that was my mother, and a man that was my father. Two people that don't exist anymore holding a child in their arms, that used to be me. And now it lies broken on the ground, behind a woman who, I am not sure, is actually solid.

The woman stands there, motionless, staring at me. Despite the fact that I know I shouldn't, I creep closer to her, until I am inches away from her. She stares ahead, unblinkingly, as if right through me. Then I punch, aiming right at her throat, where I know It is a weak spot. But instead of my hand colliding into her, with horrendous force, it passes right through her, and she dissipates away from me, until she is no longer there.

Strange. Where did you go? I think to myself. Who are you? Why are you here? And most importantly, why can't I hurt you?

I turn slowly, intent on heading back towards the comfortable sofa, but instead, jump three feet into the air. The woman that just disappeared before my eyes, is now standing in front of my sofa.

"Who are you?" I growl, trying to sound menacing.

"Activating Holographic Message Initiative number 781. Otherwise known as NWCRRC code 17984201," the woman rumbles in response. Or, at least I think it is her. Even through her mask, it seems as if her voice isn't coming from her, but from somewhere else. Somewhere closer. Somewhere, where I can feel its annoying rumble, right against my rib cage.

I stare down at my mother's radio, and nearly drop it from surprise when it starts to speak again, using the woman's voice. Somehow, she is communicating with me through my mother's old device.

I stare back up at her in shock, and she continues on. "Hello Beatrix, full name Beatrix Algora Dixie, otherwise known as survivor number 9, placard code 17984265, test subject for The Rebirth," The woman stands there, and her jaw isn't moving, as if she isn't talking, yet I know the voice coming from the radio is her's.

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