I still have yet to write the synopsis, but here is a sneak peek at STANDBY:
*Reminder: This digital short picks up where Deprogrammed leaves off. Don't read this if you're not caught up with the series. It won't make much sense otherwise!*
1 THE PROCEDURE
As I lay on the table, with White Coats hovering over me with scalpels in tow, the sharp edges of which tearing into my skin, all I found myself thinking about was her. Not the pain. Not that I missed my old life.
None of that.
All I could think about was her.
And it wasn’t just because I had missed her – I did, more than anything – but it was also because I felt as though I had failed her somehow.
Maybe that was a ridiculous thought considering the circumstances. I’d fought hard, and I knew that, but I couldn’t help but to think that it hadn’t been enough. I could’ve saved her from this, I thought to myself, even though I knew that it was ludicrous to think such a thing.
But even with my need to protect her, I knew that she was more than capable of protecting herself. She had already shown me her strength once before, having survived the transformation and regained control of her body. She was strong, determined, and quite stubborn, but still, she was still my little sister, and I should have done more.
Having spent months working for Charles McVeigh had not helped to ease my worries any, either. If anything, working under his thumb had only helped to increase my fears. The truth of the matter was that he was a terrifying man, and he wanted her more than he’d ever wanted anything.
I had read the files. I knew that, in the beginning, she was meant to be nothing more than a throwaway experiment; a test to create a satisfactory teenage Program. But she had been more than he had ever dreamed of. She was everything he had aspired to create within a Program.
Emile was his prized possession, and he wasn’t going to let her go. Not without a fight, and certainly not without causalities.
She was everything to him – to Vesta Corp, for that matter.
And I was his ticket to getting her back.
In McVeigh’s eyes, I was Emile’s one weakness; her only remaining – living – link to the life he’d stolen from her. He knew that she’d want to rescue me. He knew that killing me would destroy her, and that hadn’t mattered to him. All that mattered was that he got what he wanted – that, in the end, she was back inside of Vesta Corp where he felt she belonged.
I only hoped that she wouldn’t fall for his trap.
She’s smarter than that, I’d told myself. And she was. But even I knew that the heart had a tendency to be more convincing than the mind.
I could hear the computers booting up around me; their screens flickering on, one by one, in the dimly lit room.
I imagined what those before me had felt when they had undergone the transformation – the fear they must’ve felt at the unknown.
Me? I was calm, collected. Not because I wanted this, but because I’d expected this.
I knew this would be my outcome.
I knew it the moment that I took the job at Vesta Corp.
That didn’t mean that I wasn’t in horrendous pain. With each tear, I wanted nothing more than to scream, to fight back against the pain. But I’d known better than to show weakness.
That was what they expected, what they hoped for, and I’d be damned if I was going to give them any bit of satisfaction. They’d already destroyed everything else that I’d held dear. I wouldn’t allow them to destroy me, too. I wouldn’t allow them to toss me onto a hard-drive and lock me away in a storage room.
Weakness was one’s worst friend in life, and right now? Right now I was still alive.
You can’t forget, I told myself. You can’t forget who you are.
“Prepare for injection,” a female voice called out.
She leaned over me, a large needle within her grasp. Her face was hidden behind a surgical mask, but I could make out her eyes. They were a soft shade of green, but they lacked any sort of emotion.
“No better than the others,” I said, my voice uneven as the needle slipped beneath my skin. “You are no more alive than the Programs that you help to create.”
My eyelids grew heavy as the cold liquid made its way throughout my body.
I could hear them talking above me, though I couldn’t make out what was being said. At one point, I could’ve sworn I’d heard them say Emile’s name, but that also could’ve been my paranoia taking over.
I lay there, unable to fight back against the White Coats as they ripped through my flesh, rebuilding my insides with inhuman parts, slowly finding myself plunging deeper into darkness. And I welcomed it.
I welcomed it because it was an escape from the pain; a temporary source of relief.
But I should’ve known better.
I’d watched as McVeigh and his White Coats performed the same surgery on many other “donors”. I knew what he was capable; of the torture he could unleash upon his victims.
My mind was so wrapped up with worry for Emile that I hadn’t even thought to expect what came next.
They lay strapped to two surgical tables, white clothes draped over their pale bodies. Charles McVeigh stood near the ends of the tables, his hands cupped at his waist, and a smug smile spread upon his lips.
“What do you want with us?” My mother pleaded. “Why can’t you just let us go?”
McVeigh let out a frustrated sigh, dropping his hands to his sides. “You know why I cannot allow you to leave,” he’d told her. “We both know you have been made well aware of what takes place within these walls.”
My mother lay silent, tears pooling at the corners of her eyes.
“You are here today because of your daughter and her selfish tendencies.” McVeigh ran his finger along the edge of my mother’s table, slowly making his way towards the head of the table. “In order to assure she returns, I needed to take out a bit of insurance.”
He’s showing you what he wants you to see, I reminded myself, don’t believe any of it.
But that was the thing about becoming a Program, you fell victim to the machine; you gave life to McVeigh’s creations.
And you lost yourself to your worst nightmare.
Available Next Week!