Killing Time OST – 14b – Sickness

<< 14a – Sickness

Vexx insisted I eat before he explained anything else to me. I gave up on my futile rebellion when he dropped a plate of reheated spaghettis in front of me. That it was my first meal of the day didn’t matter to my growling stomach. Besides, noon had long since rung by. As long as I spared myself the desire to threaten the nanobots in my head, nausea didn’t bother me. So for fifteen minutes, my thoughts were limited to “yummy pastas” and that was kind of refreshing.
Once I emptied my plate, Vexx’s slow cleaning of the counter kindled my anger anew. I had ‘grayed’ long enough. He probably thought he was sparing my feelings but my mind obsessed over the unanswered questions. Vexx made eye contact before I started yelling until he talked. I took a deep breath and waited for him to do the same before he spoke.
“Obviously, I can’t look at the bots up close and personal –”
“– So you’re speculating. Gotcha. Stop covering your ass,” I said a bit more violently than I intended. Was that my natural anger or a weird blip on the nanobots’ radar? I had to stop asking myself those questions.
I had to get them out.
A burst of nausea waved up my throat. I pushed the idea aside and the sickness receded.
“There are very few companies who have the capacity to create what’s in your head. I think this is Merrilyn’s work.” He stopped my retort with a raised hand. With his past, I couldn’t blame him for suspecting his ex-employer of every evil in the world. “Remember I said I tested your reaction to various stimuli while you were out.”
“How much info could you possibly find? I was out!”
“But the bots weren’t.” I shrugged; that kind of made sense. “You could hear and they reacted. Every tech company’s name caused a drop in your serotonin levels.” My cocked eyebrow requested an English translation. “The happiness hormone stopped flowing.”
“Vexx,” I stifled a yawn, “this isn’t going to work.”
“After effect from the tranqu. ?” He rounded the counter to take my pulse. I slapped his hand.
“It’s a bit late for that. I think the bots are bored by their history.” Saying it – treating the nanobots has a separate, sapient entity – sent a shiver down my spine. Nanobot self-defense system or –
Shut up!
I grabbed Vexx’s arm and pulled him to the gym where I jumped on a bike.
“What are you doing?” Vexx asked sometime between the moment I cranked the tension and the one I started pedaling.
“Messing with the parasites. Tech-speak, boring. Exercise, party. Humor me.” It felt weird not to curl my right hand around the handle but my strapped fingers wouldn’t allow me to. It wasn’t like I could lose control of the vehicle anyway.
“Merrilyn Tech doesn’t affect your serotonin level,” Vexx said as he sat on the weight bench.
“I don’t hate it.” I had a hard time getting the sentence out and reduced my RPM.
“Which, compared to the rest, is the equivalent of protecting it.”
The revelation should, logically, have driven me back to the laser training program. Yet I couldn’t bring myself to fury. I couldn’t get angry!
“It’s a miracle you even went against them without someone pushing you the first time.”
This was not reassuring at all. How could I hope to avenge my situation without anger to fuel me? I needed the chips out of my brain.
I barely had the time to stumble off the bike and get to the trashcan before my lunch came out. My sweat turned stone cold and all my muscles started shaking.
Think of something else.
“How did they get in?” I asked Vexx who stood awkwardly a few feet behind me, worry dripping on his face. I’d be bored by the revelations but at least, I wouldn’t be sicker than an addict without her fix. Was that how the bots made me sick? By creating a fictitious, turbo withdrawal? They said it was the worst way to die.
Vexx retreated to his bench. “Judging by the way it affected the growth of all your hormonal and neurochemical regulating and producing organs…” His shiver echoed through my body and I felt myself pale. “It was injected in your embryo.”
I threw up again. It didn’t come from the bots this time. How could someone have sneaked this in my mother’s uterus without my parents noticing? It had to be a doctor. I could get the list from my dad and I’d start the vendetta there. I could find the rage to do that, couldn’t I?
I wiped my mouth with one of the towels and straightened my spine. Vexx watched me, his eyes conveying his wish he had nothing more to say to me.
“Can I do one more test?” He asked before a ‘what?’ barked out of me. I nodded. “What’s the thing you like the most about your dad?”
I cocked an eyebrow but thinking about my dad washed away the pain so I decided to play along. “His cologne.”
“Do you have any?”
I turned to hide my blushing. On a mumbled ‘sure’, I exited the gym. The way to my bedroom seemed longer than usual but I finally put a hand on the bottle of cologne I kept in my nightstand for rainy days. When I got back to the basement, Vexx was setting up the blood analysis machine. He outstretched a hand. I reluctantly offered the bottle of cologne. It felt wrong.
“No,” he said, “your arm please.”
I winced when he dug the catheter into my elbow. My blood ran along the tube to be analyzed in real time then returned to me. I hated this.
“Don’t be afraid,” Vexx whispered, eyeing the monitor which said my adrenaline level was a bit high. “Just think about your dad and breathe his perfume.” He pushed a strand of hair behind my ear and waited for me to comply. All my instincts said ‘don’t’ which was exactly why I placed the opened cologne bottle under my nose.
I liked that smell. Surely there was nothing wrong with that.
“You were right,” Vexx said. Did I want to be right? “You do love your dad.” Still didn’t sound good but my mind refused to nail the facts in clear words until Vexx voiced them. “He’s likely the only one.”
Self-defense mechanism.
My reason wanted me to chop my own head off.
So I retched again.

14c – Sickness >>


About Aheïla

Somewhere in Quebec City, Aheïla works as a Game Design Director by day and writes by night. Known for her blue hair, unyielding dynamism and tasty cooking (quails, anyone?), she’s convinced “prose is the new crack”. She satisfies her addiction daily on The Writeaholic’s Blog and weekly on Games' Bustles View all posts by Aheïla

8 responses to “Killing Time OST – 14b – Sickness

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