Reaping What Grows

Discussion in 'The Queen of Cups' started by mek, Aug 22, 2016.

  1. Vivi

    Vivi Proud Member of the "Break Katters' Nose" Club

    It's a long time before Vivi is aware of the world again. She's not sure how much time has passed, or what's happened, but she's back in the cell. She failed.

    She kneels down by the little garden, running the fingers of her intact hand through the soil. Her other hand...she can't see it through the bandages, but it doesn't feel right. She doesn't try to remember what happened. She doesn't really want to think about it.

    She lets herself believe that her hand is okay, that she'll be able to use it once the bandages are gone. If she admits to herself that they changed her beyond repair, that they broke her and she couldn't do anything, she doesn't know if she can keep fighting. She couldn't escape with both hands - what chance will she have with one?
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  2. mek


    The lights in the ceiling switch, with a loud click, from too bright to too dim. At the same time, a guard enters the girl’s cell with a tray of food and water, while a second guard waits just outside the door.
  3. Vivi

    Vivi Proud Member of the "Break Katters' Nose" Club

    Vivi barely notices the guard, and it's almost a minute before she manages to actually look up. It takes her a couple of tries to take the glass - her hand is unsteady and she's still not quite all present - but the water is welcome. The food is harder, and she keeps trying to use her right hand before remembering the bandages, but after a while she gets the hang of it. She eats more mechanically than eagerly, but she does eat.
  4. mek


    The guard waits, impatiently, for the girl to finish eating. When she’s done, the tray is taken and both guards leave.

    She is alone.
  5. Vivi

    Vivi Proud Member of the "Break Katters' Nose" Club

    Vivi keeps sitting where she is for some time before finally standing up and moving to the bed. She curls up on it, holding her bandaged hand loosely against her chest, and tries to focus on keeping her breathing steady.

    She drifts in and out of sleep. Every so often guards bring her food, but otherwise she doesn't see the need to move. Doesn't really see the need to exist, not like this, not right now. Her hand -

    She can't think about it. Won't think about it. Nothing happened. Everything is going to be fine.
  6. mek


    The routine of guards patrolling, of morning rolling into night and back into morning, of food coming and going — the pattern of life as a test subject makes it easy to slip into something like nonexistence. But, eventually, the pattern is broken.

    A doctor arrives one day, flanked on both sides by guards. He’s carrying the same case the doctors always bring with them, housing the tools they use to gather their samples.
  7. Vivi

    Vivi Proud Member of the "Break Katters' Nose" Club

    She doesn't notice them until they're already inside the cell, and then it's too late to prepare any decent resistance. She's slow, and tired, and her hand is useless. She tries anyway to stand, to fight, but she feels like she's trying to move underwater.
  8. mek


    The doctor — a very tall man with olive skin and dark hair — hovers near the door while the guards approach Thirty Fifty-Nine. “Turn it around,” he says.

    The guards take the girl’s arms and spin her around. They ignore her struggles and the doctor does, too, walking up to her back and pulling her shirt collar down. He has to pull it pretty far to see what he’s after, and the collar tugs against the girl’s throat.

    “Oh,” he says.

    He does something, something that makes a dull, scratching noise, but Thirty Fifty-Nine can’t feel anything except a pressure against her back. Then he takes a sample and she can feel that, can feel the biopsy pen she is no doubt very familiar with by now.

    He lets go of the shirt and packs his things back up in the case.
  9. Vivi

    Vivi Proud Member of the "Break Katters' Nose" Club

    She doesn't stop fighting until after they're already gone, and then she's sitting on the ground with her hand cradled against her chest again. She squeezes her eyes shut, opens them. Hand or no hand, she can't not fight. She has to try to escape, with anything and everything she has. She'd rather die than be here.

    She frowns, bites her lip. It's a line of thought she's been trying to avoid, and she's had plenty of opportunity to die, and she's still here, so it can't be true. But...but now...

    She should have just let their damn poison suffocate her. All of this could have ended right then. It wouldn't be escape, sure, but it wouldn't be this.

    No. No, it could have ended there, but it didn't. Better to take stock of what she has now.

    She pulls at the bandages on her hand, slowly unravels them. Her hand is still there, for a given value of 'hand' and 'there'. It's less like a hand and more like a mess of meat, bloody and strange, with skin still covering one finger. She tries to move her fingers, to see if they still work, and they hurt, but they move. And even the pain is a relief, after the numbness of the past...few days? week? She's not sure.

    She shouldn't have taken off the bandages. She should have let them be, and let her hand heal, and waited. But it's better to know, and what has waiting ever done for her, really?
  10. Katters

    Katters Has never made a candle

    Baines brings the samples back to the lab, where Katters and Noel are waiting.

    “Thirty Fifty-Nine’s feisty today,” he tells them as he sets the case down.

    “So long as it’s breathing, I really do not care,” Katters says. “What do you have for me?”

    “Skin, mostly. Things are looking pretty positive.” He pulls the samples out and hands them over. “I don’t want to jinx it, so I won’t say anything. But things don’t look bad.”
  11. Vivi

    Vivi Proud Member of the "Break Katters' Nose" Club

    Vivi wraps the bandages gently back around her hand and tries to determine if they hurt more or less than leaving it uncovered. It's hard to tell, hard to focus, so she leaves them as they are and tries to think. She's a person. She's survived being a captive before. She can figure a way out of this.

    Her thoughts are vague and disjointed and nothing yet resembling a plan, but it's only a matter of time before that changes. It has to be.
  12. Katters

    Katters Has never made a candle

    Katters takes one of the samples and Noel takes the other.

    “This is promising,” Katters agrees, comparing the new sample to an older one under the microscope. “And it’s not killing itself again?”

    Baines shakes his head. “Alive as ever, as far as I can tell. Maybe the new room’s helping.”

    “The cion looks good, too,” Noel says. “Healthy.”

    “Almost too promising,” Katters says. “Let’s not go letting our guards down, just because everything is still alive doesn’t mean the formula’s working.”

    Baines grins. “But it does mean that everything is still alive, which is better than when we had a working formula and a dying specimen.”

    “I thought you said you didn’t want to jinx us?” Noel asks.

    Baines shrugs. “I’ll go find some salt to throw over my shoulder, if that’ll help?”

    “Go find us some coffee, too,” Katters says. “We’ve got a lot of science to write down before we go home.”
  13. Vivi

    Vivi Proud Member of the "Break Katters' Nose" Club

    Food, water, hand. Bandages. Handages. Ha. Dirt under her fingernails. Dirt on her face.

    Her hand hurts; everything hurts; her hand hurts. It feels like there's something on her back, but the idea of moving to check is too much.

    So she lies flat on her front near the plants and waits for sleep or something worse.
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