Sneak Peek! Chapter 3. Forging Humans: Broken and Surviving
Updated: Nov 17, 2021
A guard waved a blowtorch across Sadie’s arms and legs. The flames licked her skin and boiled her sweat. She channeled her screaming into singing. Music helped her sanity. She’d learned that lesson five months ago. Sweat soaked her gown, and it stuck to the shape of her body.
Her skin didn’t burn. Rather, the torch darkened her skin as if it were a tanning treatment. The guards tested the flames on the rest of her body except for her hair. They didn’t want to risk cooking her brain with fire.
The guards killed the torches and took her down from the ceiling. Sadie stopped singing. She placed her hand around the shoulders of the mustached man for support and asked for the bald man’s help. When the bald man came close, she stole his stun gun, jabbed him in the chest, and knocked him out with an electric shock.
Then she bit the mustached man on the nose and tore it from his face. He screamed and twisted her arm. Sadie spat into his eyes and blinded him with his dismembered nose. She kicked him in the groin and pushed him to the floor.
Sadie swiped his stun gun and took the blowtorch from the table. She relit the torch and set the noseless man on fire. While he panicked, she stole his keys and ran for the exit.
She left the room, and the hallways echoed with the sounds of fast-approaching footsteps. Without a guide, she ran in the opposite direction from the noisy guards. Sadie pumped her legs, but her body slowed her down.
Her heart raced out of control. She avoided the black doors and tried the gray ones, yet they wouldn’t open. If she was going to escape, it had to be now.
Guards shouted and ran throughout the halls. Sadie heard a ringing noise and ran toward it. Several guards spotted her, but she was far ahead of them.
When Sadie turned left, she found an elevator three corridors ahead. The elevator opened, and a group of guards stepped out. Eight muscular men stood between her and freedom. She charged and roared at them.
They brought out their stun guns and fired. Sadie lit the blowtorch and threw it. The torch intercepted one of the electric darts, and it set a man’s shirt on fire. Unfortunately, the other darts latched on to her body.
The combined electrical shocks made her fall and contort on the floor. Sadie fought through it and fired her stun gun at the nearest man. She wanted to kill a guard, and yet her body lost the strength to fight.
After the guards returned Sadie to her room, she scratched a tally mark on the wall with her fingernail. She counted seventy-three days based on how many times they’d tortured her. It wasn’t an exact count, but she figured more than one test per day was too much.
I acted like a weak little girl and it worked. Too bad, I can’t do that again. Next time, I’ll take the elevator.
Although Sadie hungered, she took a shower first. While she sat in the pouring water, she scratched the bathroom tile. She recalled where the elevator was and sketched a map on the wall.
Now I know where the exit is. I can’t use the same trick twice. Extra security and brutality are guaranteed. If this body can handle months of torture, then so can I. Maybe I can trick them by pretending to be stronger?
She lathered her hair and rinsed. Her hair had ceased growing. It had become noticeable some time ago. Sadie thought it was a disease, but the doctors weren’t concerned. Later on, she realized that her nails had also stopped growing.
Her stomach growled as if it could read her thoughts. She finished her shower and ate her daily slop. The hunger persisted with no cure. Worn out from the day’s events, she laid in bed and sang a lullaby.
An eerie silence startled Sadie. She searched the bed and the bathroom and tried the door, yet nothing was different. Her temperature was fine, and she felt well-rested.
Am I missing something? Sadie circled the room for a minute. The guards were late, but she put it aside and used the bathroom. She had pissed on a guard one time. It made the man extra violent, and the torture session was extended. They were paid to be obedient and cruel.
While Sadie washed her hands, she heard the door open and close. A plate of food was set by the door. This isn’t right. They don’t give food before the tests.
After Sadie washed up, she picked through the contents of her plate. The food looked normal, but to be safe, she tasted each item. While she waited for her body to react, she chewed a hole into her gown.
When she didn’t feel any negative side effects, she ate her food. Then it dawned on her as she ate. The doctors were planning something for her.
What could it be? Sadie knew that someone would’ve noticed her disappearance. Maybe they were dealing with detectives? Her friends would’ve noticed her disappearance and Lars wouldn’t give up searching for her.
Although she didn’t want to indulge in fantasies, she would imagine her life with Lars. A smile spread across her face, and she prayed for freedom. Hope encouraged her to escape.
Sadie breathed through her nose and exhaled from her mouth. A professor had taught her how to meditate and focus on her studies. The teacher had been crazy, but she’d appreciated his advice.
She sneezed and felt another one coming on, so she blew it into her gown and cleared the mucus from her face. The sneezing grew worse, and her nose felt swollen.
Her face was itchy and hot. Sadie pinched her nostrils, and the mucus blew through her grip. The snot covered her hand, and the spot between her eyes began to hurt.
Someone entered her room, and her vision was blurred beyond her exploding nose. Sadie strained her eyes and saw two people. They wore hazmat suits, which covered them from head to toe. The people grabbed her, and she tried to resist. However, her sneezing wouldn’t stop.
They carried her away and laid her on a table. She thought the sneezing was a new symptom until her breathing returned to normal. Her nose was pulsing, and snot trickled down her face.
She tried to wipe her nose, yet her body was strapped to the table. Her jaw and fingers could move, but she couldn’t use them to break her bonds.
A man dressed as a medical surgeon stuck his face close to hers. The man held Sadie’s eyes open and flashed a light into them. Then he shoved his mini light into her nose.
“You had an allergic reaction to the gas. Swallow these pills. They’ll help.” He shoved pills between her lips. She spat them back into his face. The man chuckled with an evil glint in his eyes.
“Braces,” said the man. Another surgeon handed the man a small box. It was a contraption with open gears and hinges. One man separated her lips while the other stuck a pair of metal pins between her teeth. He pounded the device into her mouth and clicked a button.
It whirled to life, and the box pried her mouth open. Sadie bit down, yet the machine kept going. When it reached its maximum width, she thought her jaw would unhinge.
After the machine was set, the surgeon dropped the pills into her throat. She couldn’t spit or cough it out, so she choked and swallowed. The three pills were bitter like stale peanuts.
“T4, has consumed the drugs. Start the timer and prepare the tools. We’re going to operate.”
They’re going to dissect me! Sadie thrashed and pulled the straps, yet the bonds wouldn’t break. She stretched her fingers to find a way out. While she wiggled her fingers around, she scratched the table and felt the indentation she created on its surface.
Although she wasn’t sure, she dug her fingernails into the table and scraped it. Sadie felt the metal splinters jam themselves between her nails and skin. She scratched the table, and someone snickered in the background. Both of the surgeons in front of her were quiet.
There are more people in the room? People shuffled their feet and whispered around Sadie. This concerned her. However, she continued to grind her nails. If she made a gap in the table, then she could free her hands from the straps.
“T4, I have a set of questions for you, so I’m removing your brace,” said the primary surgeon. “If you wish to keep it off, answer every question. Blink twice if you understand.”
Sadie blinked, and he removed the brace. She opened and closed her mouth to relieve the tension in her jaw. Her tongue and throat were as dry as sandpaper.
Several minutes were spent on the questions. He revealed a card to her and asked her about what she saw. Each one had a picture of a colored shape and a different-colored word describing the shape. It was easy, yet he kept asking her about the cards until he’d gone through the entire pile.
“Subject appears to be healthy and aware,” said the primary surgeon. “We need another dose. T4, swallow these.”
“Could I have some water?” said Sadie.
The surgeon’s exasperated sigh was his rebuttal. Another man brought over a paper cup. He dropped the pills into Sadie’s mouth, and she sipped the water. Then he checked her mouth to make sure that she had swallowed the pills.
They waited for a set amount of time and tested her with the cards again. It continued with no end in sight. Sadie could’ve fallen asleep, yet she feared mutilation and death.
Am I immune to this stuff? Or what? They must’ve given me fifteen pills. Or was that how many minutes passed‒ no, it must’ve been hours. Oh wait, hold it. They gave me three pills each dose. So eleven times three is…huh?
Someone talked, and the person responding sounded like a squeaky squirrel. Certain voices became deeper or higher while others spoke slower or faster. The familiar voice of one the men changed into a woman.
Her head was light and the room spun as if she were at the center of a merry-go-round. The gray ceiling became black and blue before bursting with splashes of rainbow liquid. Sadie indulged in fear and exhilaration. It gave her life.
“I baylive Tee For iz ander da rugs.”
A dolphin wearing the surgeon’s clothes floated to her side, and an owl came by with giant leaves in its mouth. They looked at her with googly eyes as they spoke to each other with hooting and squawking.
Sadie laughed. They both pecked at her and pointed their fins or wings at the leaves. The animals offered to share some of the leaves by putting them in her face.
“Yeah, they’re colorful. I don’t think I can eat them,” said Sadie. “Then again, that one is a pizza!”
While she made faces at the animals, they moved away from her. She heard the neighing of her favorite animal. A brown horse with a short mane galloped over to meet her.
“Oh, you’re so cute,” she said, “Let me pet that messy hair on your head.”
The horse person didn’t speak. Instead, it nuzzled her head with its snout. Although it was bizarre, Sadie enjoyed how it felt. This is nice. They should’ve done this from the beginning.
She tried to pet the horse until it clacked its hooves. The horse carried an ornate pole with its fingerless hoof. He pulled the pole apart and revealed a sword veiled with a glowing white mist.
An air of wonder had filled Sadie’s mind. Unlike the multicolored fun land around her, the sword emitted an alien energy. The object curved and bent the air around her.
Then the horse swiftly drew the blade over her body and walked out of sight.
That was…ouch! “Hey,” said Sadie, “what just happened?”
New animal people rushed to her, and they were all screeching. They were prodding her belly, which kind of explained why she had a fierce tummy ache. The animals moved to and from her stomach. Their appendages became coated with a golden liquid.
Droplets of the substance were flung onto Sadie’s face. It was warm, yet she became cold. She grew colder as the gold leaked from her body. Amid the mad shouting of animals, she began to laugh.
Surgeons put a mask on her face, and she howled louder than any of them. The floodlights blotted the gray room. All of the surgeons looked at her with the same twisted disgust. She couldn’t help it. The pointless drunken giggling made perfect sense to her.