They called him Subject Zero.
He didn’t know why. Nor did he know why he was here, how he got here, or even what his true name was.
Steel walls with no windows surrounded him. The mattress he slept on was as hard as concrete, and no blanket existed to act as a barrier between him and the chilly air. And his torso would sometimes ache, for no reason at all.
Was he homesick? Did he even have a home outside of this room?
He glanced up at the small black orb in the upper right-hand corner. A smaller, square-shaped black object hung beside it.
A few seconds later, a voice spoke, startling him. “Subject Zero, you are free to roam for half an hour.”
As the voice repeated herself, the door slid open. He almost ran, but controlled himself to walk instead. He didn’t want to lose roaming privileges again.
Outside, in the hall, he stepped onto the half of the floor that was painted green. Other than it and the red half being the only bright colors in this place, it was also the only path he was allowed on.
And frankly, the scenery was boring.
It was nothing but steel walls, cameras, a girl, and-he stopped short after passing a hallway and backed up.
Like him, she was also dressed in black pajama-like clothes, and she walked with her shoulders slumped and her gaze to the ground.
Zero blinked and looked up at a camera. Was he allowed to talk to her? He inched his left foot forward. Nothing happened.
He took a step and still nothing. Huh. Maybe he could talk to her.
She looked up and upon noticing him, stopped, eyes wide. She seemed to be just as shocked as he was to see another person who wasn’t an adult wearing a white coat and performing some sort of mind experiment.
Strangely, she looked a tad familiar, but he had never seen her before.
He hadn’t realized he was still slack-jawed until she spoke. “Oh. Uh, h-hi. What’s your name?”
“Yeah, I’m Subject Five,” she said. “But I just use Five. What about you?”
“Zero,” he replied, taking a few more steps and stopping in the middle of the hall. “I would say where I’m from, but I don’t remember.”
“Neither do I,” she replied, rubbing one arm and looking down at her feet. “This is going to sound crazy, but-” She looked up. “-have we met before?”
“Subject Zero, come to Examination Room Two immediately. Subject Five, go to Examination Room One immediately.”
They collectively groaned.
“Now what did I do?” Zero mumbled. He turned and started walking. Five started to follow, but was told by the voice to use a different direction.
Before he had even stepped inside the room, there was a whirlwind of activity. Men and women wearing white coats ushered him in, and one of them handed him a small cup.
“Drink this,” she said. “It’ll help you.”
Help me how? he thought as he mistakenly downed it all in one gulp. He grimaced at the bitter taste. “What is that stuff?”
The white-coat, as he was now calling them in his mind, led him to a chair and he was strapped to it.
Dread settled in his stomach. Whatever was happening, it didn’t look good. To make matters worse, his vision was fading to black.
He blinked and shook his head, trying to stay awake. The people around him started to talk, but he could barely make out the words.
Something about reprogramming.
Darkness gave way to light and a steel ceiling. He sat up and looked around.
Steel walls surrounded him. A small black orb hung in the upper right-hand corner of the room, with smaller, square-shaped box beside it.
Where was he?
Why was he here?
What was his name?
©H.S. Kylian 2019
(Critiques are welcome and appreciated!)