By Jonelle Cetin, Elektraphrog Assistant Managerial Editor
It had only been two days since Lucy received her package in the mail. It contained a plane ticket, a ruby ring, and a letter that read:
Your time to serve has come. Arrive at the gate at 6AM. Proper attire is required. Be prompt.
Lucy scanned the area for signs of life. She was alone at the gate. She double-checked the number on her ticket, B-6. She looked back up at the corridor; the letter B and the number six were etched into the mantle. She walked back to check the flight monitor. There were no arrivals scheduled and only a single flight departing. The destination was blank. It had to be the right one.
Lucy took a seat near the giant window next to the corridor. She stared down the runway and counted the blue lights that marked the pilot’s path. She reached 35 when she heard footsteps coming towards her. She looked up and saw three young men all dressed in matching white oxford shirts, black pants, and slim black ties. The slate gray sky became a brilliant red that rivaled the ruby on the ring contained in the package. Lucy reached into the blank yellow envelope and positioned it on her left index finger. The light now gleamed through the window and Lucy noticed each of the men boasted a different colored gem on their tie. She thought of each man as the color he beamed. She was no longer alone; she was in the company of Blue, Green, and Yellow. They didn’t notice her.
Lucy thought of the conversation she and her co-worker Nina had a month ago.
“Ruby is for your first trip,” Nina said as she emptied a large pot of coffee into the sink.
The steam kissed Lucy’s cheek.
Nina continued, “Sapphire is for the second, emerald for the third, yellow topaz for the fourth,” she paused and held up her hand, a smirk now across her pale face “Diamond is for five or more.”
“Where exactly are these trips to?” Lucy asked.
“They don’t tell us exactly where we are, it is usually someplace tropical, dangerous, uncharted …you know-,” Nina leaned in close to her face and whispered, “Where the savages are.”
Lucy glared back at her. She knew she ought to keep her mouth shut while she was at work.
“I shouldn’t even be speaking to you about this. You are an outsider,” Nina said as she pulled her diamond ring off her finger and stuffed it into her pocket, “You should come to group with me sometime. People like you could use a little discipline.”
“People like me?” Lucy replied, placing her hands on her hips.
Lucy pulled a bag of coffee off the shelf and dumped it into the grinder. She was only a second away from throwing Nina in there, too.
Nina finally spoke up, “Well, the directionless.”
Lucy was now holding back the laughter that tickled in her throat, “The only direction I’m headed in is home; Goodnight Nina.”
On her walk home, Lucy imagined a room full of robots and zombies all chanting some gibberish about “the savages” and trips to nowhere, and she was supposedly the directionless one.
Lucy was majoring in physics. She went to school when she could afford it, but that only meant 2 or 3 classes a year. Lucy was extremely intelligent and pitied people who were told what to believe like Nina. Logic is key. Emotions make people weak, unstable, easily manipulated. She didn’t need emotions, just the facts.
Nina had nagged her for months before Lucy finally agreed to attend a meeting. Now, a month later, she was on one of the flights to nowhere. Lucy now boarded the flight with Blue, Yellow, and Green; along with various other men, women, and children. The woman wore all white dresses of the same cut. The children wore plain tee shirts, pink for the girls and blue for the boys.
Lucy found her seat at B-6, smack between a grossly overweight man, with the body odor of a rotting ham, and a girl with hair red as the bottle of Robotussin Lucy had chugged in the restroom. She knew that the odds of the plane crashing were 1 in 11 million, but Lucy was still terrified of flying. She still didn’t know why the hell she had agreed to board this plane to nowhere, perhaps she was too curious… but everything was now turning a pretty purple color and she wasn’t too worried about it.
When the overhead speaker barked for Lucy to buckle her safety belt, Lucy jumped out of her chair; she wondered if she’d dozed off. The flight attendants, who were dressed in perfectly ironed pencil skirts and bleach white blazers, were handing a small black box to each passenger. The overhead speaker cracked again:
“You may now open your box and place the blind fold over your eyes. This will assure your safety and the safety of the ones we save. And just a friendly reminder that conversation is strictly forbidden while we are en route.”
Normally Lucy would of found this strange, but the syrup made her eyes droop and her ears ring; she didn’t want to converse with anyone, anyway. She dozed off once again.
The speaker boomed as the wheels touched land:
“Welcome to Camp Cure. Under your seat you will find directions to your assigned dorm as well as the name of the officer who will be supervising you, please follow the white arrows as you exit the plane.”
Lucy stumbled off the plane and followed the endless string of white arrows on the pavement. Lucy gripped onto a wall to steady herself as she surveyed what was before her. The base consisted of six square buildings, all white stucco. There was a large building made entirely of mirrors that stood in the center. Chills crawled up Lucy’s back.
Lucy’s paperwork instructed her to meet with her assigned officer at Compound Six. She entered the lobby of her dorm building; he was seated at the front desk. The word OFFICER marked across his white oxford. She had seen this man before; maybe in a suit and tie with longer hair, there was just something so familiar about it all. He stood up to greet her,
“Welcome to Compound Six, you will find everything you need in here”, he said, handing her a white plastic sack.
Lucy nodded and took the bag. It didn’t take her long to remember him once he opened his mouth. He had this gap between his two front teeth. Lucy figured it was big enough to fit at least three other teeth in its place. His breath stunk of garlic and stale cigarettes, and his face resembled a weasel. She had definitely seen this man before.
Two summers prior, Lucy had an internship in Philly. She worked under one of the most prestigious chemists in the state, Dr. Wesley James. Her main duty was to bring him double lattes– no hotter than one hundred and sixty-two degrees. Dr. Wesley threw many fits so Lucy kept always kept a couple of xanax within arms reach. She must have taken a few two many of them the day she was fired, she spilt his entire latte into his lap during a lecture that a representative from some big pharmaceutical company was giving. Gap tooth guy was going on about some plant that his company had discovered off the coast of South America; which supposedly held the cure for many modern day diseases. Lucy wondered what the fuck he was doing here with the sheep.
Lucy decided to ignore the flashback and get some sleep. Once she found her dorm she opened up the white sack and found six sugar-like packets; the directions read:
For optimum health, mix with one cup of water and drink each night.
Lucy stuffed the packets under her mattress and plopped on top of it. She had already had enough excitement for the day, and she didn’t trust that crap. Lucy woke up in the middle of the night. She hopped out of bed and peeked down the bleach-drenched halls. Everyone seemed to be asleep. She snooped around the halls in search of any doors marked private or keep out; anything that would signify secrets. Having no luck, she slipped out of Compound Six and began walking around the camp.“Hey! You!” a small voice came from the darkness.
“You must come- quick-they see you-they kill you.”
Lucy could now see the voice was coming from a small brown girl on the other side of the fence.
“Pick up that stone, I show you something-“ the little girl said, motioning towards a large stone next to the fence.
Lucy picked it up and before she knew it the little girl was up through the hole and standing in front of her. She grabbed Lucy’s hand and began to lead her towards the building of mirrors.
“Stay close to ground.”
Lucy crouched down and they moved swiftly through the darkness. Once they reached the building, the girl scaled the wall and removed one of the panels. It was already covered in tiny fingerprints along the edges. Lucy jumped through the open panel and was instantly engulfed by a warm, thick liquid. Lucy gasped for air and the salty syrup began filling her mouth; she was drowning in blood. Lucy reached out and felt a surface, which she followed with her hands until she emerged from the pool. She scanned the room for the girl; there were no signs of her. Lucy felt dizzy.
She must have been out for a good couple of minutes because when she came to, the alarm was echoing through the building. Lucy got up and began to run. The main room of the building resembled any chemistry lab; there were rows of medications as far as Lucy could see. Lucy heard someone coming towards her and ducked into a long, dark hallway. The stench of burning flesh became so pungent halfway through the hallway that Lucy couldn’t breathe. There were footsteps close behind her now; she had no choice but to push ahead. She pulled her blood-drenched shirt over her face and ran straight into the room at the end of the hallway.
The bodies of about sixty savages hung from the ceiling, clear tubes pumping blood into the vat. There was a furnace in the center of the room for the fully drained ones.
Lucy woke up in a white room with her entire body strapped to a gurney, nurses were buzzing all around her with various tools. She tried to fight her way out of the ties but they cut into her even more when she struggled.
“Calm down, Lucy, you had a pretty exciting night, it’s time for you to get some rest.”
She recognized this voice. It was Dr. James. Maybe he had come to bail her out of this mess. “Why did you hide your medication under your mattress? Lucy, it is very important that you take them you know,” he said as he gently opened her mouth and poured in one of the packets, “and we can’t have any more of this snooping around, my darling, you might get hurt.”
“Where is the little girl?” Lucy asked.
“I am afraid I don’t know what little girl you are talking about.” The doctor replied.
Lucy felt ill, as if she had drank an entire bottle of wells vodka and chased it down with curdled milk. She could barely find her voice, “I know the truth, and I will expose you,” she finally managed to mutter, spitting blood in his face.
“Darling, you really just need some sleep, it’s been a long night, it will all be okay in the morning,” Dr. James said stroking her matted hair.
Lucy thoughts began to dissolve as the packet did the same under her tongue and she drifted into sleep.