Paradigm Shift 03

Waking up took a lot out of him. He opened his eyes and it was so difficult he just lay there afterward, exhausted. His listened to the world around him while he acclimated.

From the sounds of the place and a glance around the room he was in, Gregor assumed he was in a very expensive hospital, the kind of place he wouldn't have even been allowed to walk passed before.

Except now he was a Third, destined to have so much more than he had ever deserved. It made him afraid.

There was the sound of the door opening and footsteps approaching from an angle he couldn't see. He would have much rathered his bed face the door; it would have made him feel more secure. As it was he had to wait until his visitor stepped into view before he knew what was happening.

"Ah, I see that you are awake. Good." It was a dark haired woman in a white lab coat buttoned all the way to the top and serious pumps on her feet. The smile she gave him seemed completely alien to her face, but there was obvious sincerity behind it. "I am Doctor Elizabeth Czernada. It is very good to meet you."

Gregor licked lips that felt impossibly dry and had to cough before he could speak. "I am Gregor Tierney Citizen G9375-41-8344."

She waved it away with her hand. "We don't need any of that. We know who you are. We are simply very happy to have found you."

"Really," Gregor said. He held the blankets tightly with both fists; if he didn't hold on he felt as though he would float away. He wondered if they'd hit him with some Calm while he was passed out. Unpermitted drugging seemed like something a doctor like Czernada would do.

He hadn't let anything show, but he'd recognized the name, though she was filed in his mental banks under her nickname, The Butcher of Clavell. She'd been there during the Reclamation Movement's last stand and had experimented on the bodies.

Just being in the same room with her made his skin creep. He wanted to clamp his legs tight together, which was ridiculous. She would use her scalpels to cut him from breastbone to the soft dip beneath his belly button and scoop out his insides.

When she stepped closer to the bed he couldn't help cringing away. He didn't want those devil hands to touch him.


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