I awoke in a cold sweat
Immediately, I fumbled around, searching all around me.
"The book. Oh God, where's the book?" I asked myself, trying and failing not to panic.
I threw off the thick blanket on top of me and kicked my legs over the side of the bed so that they rested on the floor, my hands searching under the creaky bed.
I sighed in relief when they hit a small, rectangular object.
"There you are." I sighed with relief.
In my hands was a seemingly normal, leather-bound book with a silver lock on the opening side.
This book was everything to me.
It held all of the secrets I'd been looking for in all my time at Paramount House for Rehabilitation.
This was the informational guide to every patient here.
It only unlocked every now and then, which was strange. It would've seemed magical if I had believed in magic.
But I was a realist, and there was always science behind something. Something that could turn the 'maybe's into 'absolutely's.
This time, I'd had the dream again.
I was in a cold, metal chair, sitting in a white room. It smelled like the hospital.
"Where am I?" I asked, hoping someone would answer.
Sadly, I was alone. The only other thing in the room was a metal desk.
On top of the desk was one beaten-up leather book. There was a small silver key next to it, which I quickly grabbed and stuck into the lock.
When the lock popped open, I flipped through a few pages. The first two were blank, but the third featured a picture of an old lady, her hairs greying at the roots. She looked traumatized.
Next to the picture was a list of multiple-choice themed questions, the answers already filled in.
They were all personality traits.
The page after that held something similar, but with a different person.
As I began to flip the page again, I heard a key clicking in the door across the room.
I quickly shoved the book under my shirt.
When the door opened, I could see a man, clad in a doctor's coat and thin-framed glasses. He was holding a clipboard.
"Well hello there, I see you're awake already," he chimed. The door closed behind him.
I didn't answer, just looked him in the eyes and glared.
That's when the dream always ends.
And when I woke up, the book would always be unlocked.
Holding the small book, I flipped it open, searching for the page I'd read last.
I was almost to the end, and I was losing hope of finding my page.
Until I saw it. The very last page, page 143, and my face was plastered on the right side. I gasped.
The answers to every question were 'All of the Above'.
"What does subject 143 do when confronted by a guard?"
A. Run away
C. Show resistance
D. All of the above
"What does subject 143 do when punished?"
B. Fight back
C. Attempt to escape
D. All of the above
And so on and so forth.
I was confused. Why didn't any of the others have answers like this? What was so different about me?
On the backside of the page was a note left by the author. I read it and fell silent.
"Subject 143 was a success. We have altered her brain with our newfound technology, replacing the problem areas and creating what we need.
We will continue to replace the unneeded DNA with more functional data and machinery. The military will pay greatly for our efforts. After 142 failed experiments, we have found the right host.
We shall keep her under close watch and have daily examinations to continue to observe her progress."
My mind went blank for what felt like hours.
I was an experiment? Is that why I was so different? And did they say machinery? Was I a robot?
At that moment guards burst through the door.
They tackled my small body and ripped the book from my hands.
"Tranquilize her," One of them said, gesturing to another.
"No! No, no, no, no! Let me go!" I did my best to fight back, to no avail.
Just then, the man with the gun pointed his firearm at me. I felt tears drift down my cheeks.
The last thing I heard was the sound of a gunshot and the feeling of the floor as I fell.