A strange voice pulled me out of my sleep and I slowly opened my eyes, feeling really disoriented. Panic started to overwhelm me as I realized I had no idea where I was. I gave a yelp and jerked forward. A seat belt prevented me from going too far and I was yanked back against the seat.
“Ma’am?” I looked forward and saw the driver. A cab, I thought, taking in a few deep, calming breaths. I’m in a cab.
“I’m okay,” I promised. “Where are we?”
“Just coming into Riverview,” she said, eying me through the mirror. “You’ve been asleep for a few minutes.”
I remembered getting off the bus and hailing a cab. Riverview was one of the ‘big’ towns but it wasn’t really that big. The nearest bus station was about fifteen minutes away. I wondered why they always put bus stations in weird places. Why in that small town and not here? At least this place had a military base and the other stuff that made people consider it a bigger town. But no bus station. Weird.
“It’s really pretty here,” I said, watching the scenery go by.
“Oh yes,” the driver said. “It’s really quiet and really pretty.”
Finally we pulled up in front of my new house. I stared at it with wide eyes, loving the surrounding area. I could really get used to this place. I paid the driver and then turned back to my green house. I liked green. Okay, a brighter green than this–but green was nice. I had always wanted to paint my room a bright lime green (something Orion had always agreed with) but since I shared with Temp, I was never allowed. I’ll have a lime green bedroom here, I decided.
I felt a bit anxious as I walked towards the porch. My home, I thought, hesitated in front of the steps. My own home. I’m a homeowner. Like Mom and Dad. Like Orion. I’m an adult. I’m my own person. I shivered slightly and looked up towards the second floor. According to the virtual tour, the bedroom was up there. There should be a spiral staircase. There was an area for a kitchen, and a living room. One and a half bathrooms.
My own house, to share with nobody else. No parents, no brothers, and no sister. I shivered again, grasping the railing and pulling myself onto the first step. My stomach did a flip and I stopped, closing my eyes. I was scared. Okay. I admit it. This was the first time ever that I’d be so alone. I always had my family around. Even during college! I had lived at home, and always had to deal with family. But now I was alone. Alone. Completely alone.
The fear took over me and I grabbed at my hair, taking in several gulps of air. After doing this for a minute or two, I started to relax and managed to get to the front door. I pulled the key out of my pocket–the key that had been mailed to me a couple days ago–and unlocked the door, pushing it open and stepping in.
My first thought was that at least there was some furniture. I wasn’t a big fan of the decoration and when I went up the stairs I saw the room was an ugly beige color. I decided that I would get it fixed up first thing.
I got to cleaning first thing. Wiping off all the appliances, cleaning the toilets and shower, dusting the stair railing, sweeping, mopping, vacuuming–by the time I was done with everything, I was pretty tired. I still had to go get a bed, though. Ugh.
As I headed for the door, my phone chirped.
“Hey Dad,” I said after I checked the caller ID. “Sorry I didn’t call sooner, I got to cleaning.”
“How was the trip?” he asked.
I paced around the room, chatting for him for quite some time. Then Mom needed to talk to me, and Kyle, and finally they offered the phone to Tempest but she refused to take it. After I promised Mom I would call Orion, I hung up the phone. Instead of calling, I just sent a quick text. Hey Rion, I’m at my new place–the virtual tour didn’t lie so there. House is great. Hope you are well. ❤.
Since I had a couple days before work started, I got myself situated in town. I bought a bed, sheets, and found a bright green blanket. The first full day of being there, I spent most the day at the library. I did some reading and spent quite a bit of time online. I researched the science lab, looking up the different projects they had going on (that were public news) and reading a bit about the CEO and other people in management.
Since I knew that the SWRF leaned heavily on skills with plants, I decided that I should brush up on my skills. I checked a couple books out of the library and went to the store to buy some seeds. I spent some time that night reading and then as soon as dawn broke over my new house, I went outside and planted the tomato and lettuce plants.
This isn’t so bad, I thought, wiping the dirt from my hands and standing over the patches of dirt. I continued staring for some time before realizing they weren’t just gonna shoot up right away. Plants are boring, I sighed, heading back inside and putting some food in the microwave. I itched to get my hands on some metal but I had nothing to work it with. I needed a work table or something. I also need a car, I thought as I took the meal and went to sit on my bed. The SWRF was far enough that I didn’t want to walk. There was a carpool arranged but I didn’t want to rely on strangers.
First day of work, I thought on Monday morning when I left the house. There was a car waiting for me and a strange woman. I felt nervous getting in the car but finally did, perching on the edge of the seat.
The car ride was almost silent, other than a short introduction. She looked a bit bored and I was too nervous to talk. I had no idea what was expected of me, really. It paid decently and had room for climbing the ladder. I would climb that ladder, reach the top, discover great things… but in the meantime, what?
When we arrived she just walked in while I stood outside for a minute, staring in. All the stories that my father had told me rushed into my mind. Voices on the phone, bright green eyes, cold smirks–swirling around scientific research and experimentation. Human experimentation. Male pregnancy. Kyle’s baby. Dad, too.
I brushed back a strand of hair and stepped forward, watching the doors slid open from motion sensors. People in white coats were wandering around. An older man was chatting with the receptionist, his white coat partially burnt at the edges. Finding new ways to do things, putting chemicals together, formulas for turning dolls into human and giving everlasting youth….
A smile spread across my lips as I went over to the desk to ask where I needed to be. I had never felt happier in my life.
Okay, I thought as I headed home. It wasn’t exactly what I expected.
Apparently they were hiring out for test subjects. Test subjects! I had spent the day with a doctor who had given me a very thorough going over. He checked all my vitals, my blood pressure, my temperature. He had taken blood, asked for a urine sample. I had to be measured and weighed. Then little electrodes had been hooked up to my body as I ran on a treadmill, which had not gone well since I fell over. What can I say? I was not an athletic person. I left that up to Rion and Temp.
But they said I was perfect and I signed my name saying I was willing to be tested on. “Your grandfather signed his name, not knowing they had lied to him.” I shook my head, trying to get my father’s voice out of my head. This was different. That was volunteering. This was a job.
As the week progressed, I decided more and more that I loved my job. I spent my free time researching different things I overheard mentioned and also gardening. I didn’t mind getting my hands dirty but I stood by what I had thought before: plants were boring. Metal was fun.
I called home every day, knowing that if I didn’t then they’d call me. I raved about my new job (not telling them that I was being tested on). I talked to Orion about chemicals, since he was really studying hard to get into the forensics. Kyle talked to me about what they had done to his body–something that both interested me and grossed me out. I mean really, it was awesome about the new organs and being able to move things around to make room for a baby but I did not want to hear about my brother’s body. Ew!
I soon got used to living alone and discovered that it wasn’t as great as I previously thought. I rather missed having someone around but figured that one day I would learn to love it. I also really missed the meals. Ken’s cooking. Mmmm. Mom rarely cooked, and half the time that Dad tried he’d just drop something. So once Kenyatta joined the family, he became the chef. And he was good at it.
After my first week of work, a co-worker I was occasionally talking to told me about this completely awesome place. So on Saturday morning I headed to the junkyard.
I swear those piles of junk glittered. My heart pounded as I started walking towards them. The smell of rust and metal filled my nostrils but it was like a magnet, pulling me towards the buried treasure. I stopped by the little shack to see if I needed to pay for this privilege but the guy just laughed.
“Pay for rooting around stuff that will getcha tetanus? Harharhar!” He waved his hand at me, shaking his head in mirth. “Go at it, little girlie.”
“Thanks!” I exclaimed and took off at a run.
Next time I’ll wear old clothes, I decided, not caring much that my white clothes soon became pretty dirty. I also needed to buy some gloves. I rummaged around, finding bits and pieces that looked interesting. I went back into the hut and asked for something to carry the stuff in and the man handed me a tote bag for ten simoleons. A bigger tote, I thought as I piled as much stuff in the grey tote as I possibly could.
I wanted to take several trips that day but couldn’t afford to pay for a taxi. The junk shop was too far from my house to just walk. I really need a car, I decided as I showered later that day. I sorted through the junk, tossing pieces that were too far gone to really care about and piling the rest in a little corner of the living room section.
That night, in my newly decorated room, I slept completely soundly–at least, for a short while. I dreamed wonderful dreams of building robots and making wonderful discoveries. I also had dreams of adding living things to those robots and doing all sorts of wild experiments. Just the kind my dad was worried about. When I woke up with a start, I was a bit worried about it but was soon lulled back to sleep, deciding that the dream didn’t mean anything bad.