English Short Story on Belonging

It was Raoul, and I wished for him to go away. He knocked again then stuck his head around the door. ‘How are you? ’ he asked with concern. Anger overcame me. ‘For god’s sakes, they can’t send me away because of a headache. But if you think I look suspicious why don’t you report me yourself, after all, you become their lackey more and more each day,’ I retorted, staring him down. He paled, ‘Keep your voice down, people outside might hear’, he shut the door behind him and stepped in the room. I tried to force myself to be calm. What is it that you want? ’ I asked him coldly. I knew I was over reacting but I didn’t care, he was the only one who I could take my anger out on, though by looking at his darkening expression I could see it was becoming increasingly dangerous to do so. I had a habit of pushing the people who tried to get close to me away. It started out as an accident but now I just generally didn’t want to talk to people, I avoided them as much as possible. ‘Maybe you don’t care about being taken but I do, caution is the only thing that has kept us safe thus far.
No thanks to you,’ he added. ‘A headache is nothing, but you know how little things are blown out of proportion. It is a short step from a whisper of gossip to being sent to the government’s so called “refuge”. ’ ‘You have been made a supervisor’, I said flatly and now his face flushed. A look of pride mixed with shame passed across his face. ‘How could you’, I asked, hurt. I know that we had never been close since being taken but he was still my brother, but for some reason I couldn’t bring myself to tell him that I did love him in my own way.
He must have assumed that I wanted nothing to do with him. He raised his fist and shook it in my face, ‘you will not ruin this for me, you may be my sister but it is my obligation to this facility to denounce you. ’ ‘You wouldn’t dare denounce me. ’ I said. ‘Your own fate would be ruined if it was known that you had a psycho as your sister, they would drag you to the “refuge” along with me. So don’t pretend you care for me. ’ A look of hate passed over his face before he turned and headed out of my room. When he had gone I was still filled with tension.

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We used to be so close when we were younger, a dutiful son and I the wandering daughter, loved dearly by our parents. But that was all destroyed when the government took my mother to the “refuge” and my father had followed to rescue her but he never came home. Then a week after my parents disappeared, a man in a suit came, looking all important with his hat and briefcase. My brother only opened the front door to let him in because he had information regarding our parents. He told us that they were taken by the government for resisting the system and that we would never see them again.
And that my brother and I were to be taken to a government institution for orphans like us. I was only 8 years old at the time. Raoul was 12. This was of course where we were now, having no choice but to accompany the staunch looking businessman in his stiff dark suit. Inside the facility was a school and factory. We orphans were made to mass produce objects the government needed. My mother was accused of, by one of her close friends, being a person with special abilities, much like a witch. However, they were mental abilities which gave her the power to read thoughts and emotions.
But I, unknown to anyone but my brother, had inherited her abilities and more. I could Put thoughts into the minds of others and make them act on it, as well as being able to read thoughts and emotions. These abilities only came to me recently, exactly after I turned 16 three months ago and soon I was to be tested again by the probing machines, which tested any for any possible signs these abilities manifesting. I had recently been suffering from major headaches, rendering me senseless and immobile, and it was these that were causing me to be under suspicion.
In this institute, it was dangerous to be seen talking to others because close friendships were not allowed. Though it wasn’t hard for me to avoid making friends, I stayed clear of making friends, preferring not to open myself up to another but rather keeping everything bottled up inside. Pretty soon after I arrived here, the others learned that I wanted nothing to do with anyone so I was left to myself. I once heard a girl comment on my lack of social skills, the other girl she spoke to just said that it was thought I suffered from severe depression.
A simple hello could be considered as forming an alliance between the children that might lead to future trouble. In this place, suspicion was like a physical plague. Not that I had any trouble avoiding talking to others; I avoided it as much as possible, never being able to enjoy interacting like normal people, unable to communicate my feelings and desires through physical touch or talk. I asked an instructor why we were here once and he told me simply that we orphans didn’t belong with normal people because of who and what our amilies had been. And that if we were to leave the institute, society would shun us or pretend that we did not exist. I looked back to the times when I was living at home, I had a few friends, not many due to my shyness, but we did everything together, wandered the village, roamed the areas and playing games every chance we could. Thinking about them now, they probably wouldn’t remember me and if I were to show up one day in my old home, they probably wouldn’t greet me warmly or at all. Most likely I would be avoided like a bad smell.
That fact alone is one of the reasons I dislike making friends, alienating myself from them because I’m scared of being hurt. The instructors thought my headaches were a result of working with dangerous substances, and when I cried out in the night in pain, they heard about it from the whisperers, those of us orphans who told the instructors about anything suspicious to give them a good name. They had been asking me suspicious questions and I new it was only a matter of time before they linked the headaches to my mental abilities as these were known symptoms.
And now I had to worry about my brother dragging me along to these instructors himself! I knew it wouldn’t be long before I was discovered and sent away to the “refuge”, another government facility specifically designed to house people like me. But everyone knew that the name is hollow, that there is no refuge but existing in its place is an experimental research jailhouse for the abnormal people like me. The government wanted to figure us out and use us to their own advantage.
Not for the first time did I feel cold and alone, knowing there was no one who I could confide my worries or fears too, no one who could comfort me or give me support, no one that could understand me. I just wanted to belong to someone or something. Resigned to my fate, slowly, remembering better days in my parents loving arms, I silently cried myself into sleep. I woke up to my bedcovers being roughly pulled off. As far as I could tell from the darkness, it was well before 6am when I had to wake up and get ready for the day.
Someone turned on the light and I was blinded by its sudden brightness. My eyes adjusted to the light as I blinked away sleep. Two instructors and my brother were standing next to my bed. ‘Get up, you are to be taken to the testing room,’ said the instructor closest to the door. I looked at my brother questioningly but he wouldn’t meet my eye. I wasn’t scared like I thought I would be as I walked barefoot down the cold bare corridor, I felt numb, like all my senses and emotions were shut away into a box inside my mind.
I tried to sense thoughts or feelings of the three accompanying me but I only received a similar numbness as to what I was experiencing. It was as if they had done this kind of thing so many times that they were immune to any thoughts about it. We stopped in front of the door leading to the room, I had been in this room a number of times, like all the other orphans in the vicinity, and it was unchanged from my previous visits. The bright harshly lit white-walled room consisted of a plain synthetic chair with a small square table holding a computer.
I was lead through a glass door to the right of the desk, into another section that contained the CT scanner machine. The CT scanner was what would scan my brain looking for abnormally functioning brainwaves. The supervisor roughly grabbed my arm, painfully strapping it. After which he injected a large syringe filled with purple die into my protruding vein. Although painless, the intensity of this experience made me feel rather light-headed. I wished there was someone who cared enough about me to save me, or to give me a reason to resist and attempt escape.
But there was no one. They put a tight brace upon my head to prevent any movement of the head, which would disrupt the scanning process. Then earmuffs were placed over the brace and onto my ears to drown out the intensely loud buzzing of the machine in action. I felt like I was in a kind of trance as they lead me to the machine, there was complete silence throughout the whole process. The last time a word had been uttered was back in my bed-chamber. Oh how I longed to be back in my small, hard bed, and for what was happening to be nothing more than just another nightmare.

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