I entered into a large room that was divided by multiple blue curtains. Behind each curtain, there were doctors and nurses talking to and examining both male and female Ouroboros. The room wasn’t a crowded, but it was definitely busy. Just walking through, I had to watch myself from not bumping into others. A couple of times, I had to twist out of harm’s way as an oblivious nurse ran past me with a vial full of collected blood sample. One wrong move, the nurse would’ve probably spilled all of the content if I didn’t move out in time.
“Alexus Tyger.” A petite, Japanese lady with long black hair that came down to her butt, oval face, unusual striking sharp sea green eyes, that wasn’t Japanese, with quite a figure. She wore a white lab coat that covered majority of her body with black pants. Everything about her screamed cute, even the way she bite the end of the pen while she stared at her notes made my lips curl up into a smile. I couldn’t help it, but to stare with interest.
They were other variety of females, majority of them drop dead gorgeous, streaming in from the opposite side of the door, chatting loudly with one another. Every single one of them were wearing the same ugly gray color clothes. I didn’t pay much attention to them, and instead my focus was on the asian lady. Her black hair was brought forth, showing off the barcode on her neck with the number 33.
The thought of this lady being part of the team and even an Ouroboros shocked me. There were a lot more to this lady than I thought, and it piqued my interest even more.
Marcus came over, slapped me on the shoulder, jarring me back to myself. I couldn’t help but wince at his neck jerking slap, making me wish that he would just stop that. “You should hurry up and go. She’s the type that doesn’t like to be kept waiting.” He pushed me forward.
I stumbled. My gaze cast down at her feet, slowly I got up, letting my eyes trail upwards taking a good look at her. She was quite small in that oversize lab coat, though her muscles that peeked through told a whole different story.
“You are Alexus Tyger, correct?” Her voice was soothing to the point where it strangely calmed me. What was even more mind numbing was the sweet jasmine like smell that wafted out of her body. I couldn’t help but unconsciously lean in and inhaled the intoxicating faint smell.
“Mr. Tyger?” She called out again, jarring me awake.
“Yes?!” I stepped back, looking away embarrassed.
“My name is Crystal. We’ll be going through some physical checks up. I would like you to sit here so we can start.” She motioned her hands in front of her, where a metal chair lay.
I quickly walked over, pulled back the chair and sat as comfortably as I could.
Crystal turned around and picked up a stethoscope. “If you don’t mind.” Her finger pointed to my gray shirt.
“Ah, give me a moment.” I reached over, and pulled of my shirt, showing my skinny body. This was the one time, I wished I actually took the time to tone myself. Everyone in this building was unusually fit.
Crystal didn’t even give me a second glance, making me feel a bit down about myself. She scooted over with her stethoscope in hand, the cold metal touched my chest, making me shiver. “Breathe in. Breathe out.”
I did what she asked. “So, out of curiosity, are you an Ouroboros too?”
Crystal didn’t say anything for a moment, I felt stupid for even bringing up such obvious question, when I saw the barcode on her neck.
“Yes, I’m the handful of scientist here who have changed.”
“Did you change willingly?”
With a snort, Crystal pulled back the stethoscope and raised her eyebrow towards me. “Changing into an Ouroboros isn’t done willingly Mr. Tyger. We change upon our death.”
“If we could recreate the shift without the necessary death, there would be a lot more willing people who would buy to become what you and I are.”
“I’m not sure that’s a good thing or a bad thing. Seeing demons isn’t something that I would sign up for,” I replied, “Plus, I would like to be called Alexus if you don’t mind.”
“Well Alexus, the society as we know would pay a fortune to live longer, look younger, and the number one key factor is to escape death. We recently found out that we won’t age as quickly as normal people, even our life has been extended by another hundred years.”
“Another hundred years?” I was shocked at the large life gap of an Ouroboros.
“The normal expectancy of human nowadays range from 60 to 80, add another 100 years without aging, I believe people would take the chance to live a bit longer if it means to stay alive. Though by another hundred years, we might even have some way to eradicate demons safely without having to fight.”
“I don’t think that’s going to be easy.” I replied. From my interaction with demons they weren’t just going to sit there and let themselves be killed off. “Who knows, there could be billions out there that we don’t know of.”
“That is a matter of opinion. A demon could be just a figment of our imagination, especially because it is just us that can see them. The rest of humanity have a lot more difficult time seeing these so-called demons.”
I couldn’t help but stare at her with a bit of skepticism. The thought of demon’s being a figment of one’s imagination was a bit difficult as a whole, especially since the purple blotches, where the demon had choked me were still present.
“I think that’s a little farfetched.”
“You see this?” I pointed at my neck, where the ugly blotches were present. “This handprint isn’t no imagination that I have conjured up. If this was all in my head, and the demon that I saw was some kind of figment of imagination, then how would you explain this? How would you explain the deaths of an Ouroboros?”
Crystal pulled away her stethoscope. “Heart attack.”
My lips twitched, I sighed. Does this lady has an answer for everything? Talking to her would be a lot more difficult than I thought.
“Look, It’s a possibility that it could be all in our mind. Until it is proven that it’s false, it’s still liable for it to be the truth.” She started to jot down notes on her paper. “Your arm please.”
I raised up my arm for her to put the next medical equipement without flinching. “So, if you don’t mind answering,” I paused for a moment, “how did you die? I don’t mean to be disrespectful. I’m just a bit curious.”
“I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I some how got in a middle of a gun fight between gang members, while I was out on a date at a restaurant.”
So, she does have someone. I frowned, I was a bit let down at the thought of her having someone. Still, I wasn’t so sure if she would even find me even interesting to talk too. I was the one asking most of the question, while her answers were all short and precise. Then again, going out with someone when I’m stuck in a laboratory like setting wasn’t an ideal place to ask someone out, especially if she was already taken.
“What about you?” She asked. Her gazed rest on me, wondering what I would say next.
“Well for me, my family has a chronic heart attack. So, following behind that logic, I also had an heart attack from stress, while I was drinking coffee at a cafe. I didn’t expect to die at the age of twenty-seven.”
“Stress is the leading cause for majority of the illness out there.” I felt the straps around my arms tighten. “Majority of the people here all died in some shape or form from chronic family illness. Heart attacks, diabetes, lung diseases, you name them, though there has been a couple of unexpected death.”
“Suffocation. Stab to death, Gunshot wounds, while some even got murdered.”
“Wait, murdered?!” My voice went up an octave.
“It happens.” Crystal shrugged her shoulder, not phased at all by what she had said.
“What about their injuries?”
“Any injuries that has been sustained gets healed when you awaken into your second life. You could say that you’re born again.”
Born again, that was quite a new perspective on this second awakening. What was even more shocking was the ability to heal perfectly to one’s original state.
“What about the illness, does that go away as well?”
“Yes, although for some reason our bodies are more receptive against diseases. That’s what makes Ouroboros even more unique.”
“I see. Does that mean we won’t ever get sick?”
“No, that’s not the case. We’re just immune to at least 75% of different diseases and illness out there. Aids and Cancer being one of them.”
I whistled. That was a huge achievement in itself, meaning that there was an high chance that Ouroboros would be experimented on. Their reason, to find some way that the populace as a whole would benefit it. My mind quickly went into a darker thoughts, I worried that I might be used as some kind diabolical experiment, possibly even cutting me up on the table.
“How long have you been with this company?” I carefully asked.
“Four years and one month on January 21. That was during the time when Ouroboros was becoming globally known.”
Now that I think about it, I remember hearing the news, when driving my car to work, about her case. She was in the middle of a gang turf squabble, the two gangs went head-to-head shooting up the place and killing twenty pedestrians. It didn’t just end there, thirty minutes later, when she was taken to the hospital, she went on a rampage, screaming that they were demons in the hospital.
She killed one of the doctors, ran out and disappeared for twenty days. It wasn’t until she slipped up, and killed another person, or should I say demon, that she finally got caught. I just realized that, she was the longest known Ouroboros to live outside these walls, making her quite a survivor without the company’s help. That in itself was an achievement.
I saw her in a whole new light, making me even more curious about her. What else could she do? What powers did she have? And the better question is, why does she work for this company in the first place. So far, there wasn’t much facts that are good or bad about this company that I know of, except Jones’ superstition. In which case, there is a high possibility that we are being used as lab rats.
Especially the way Crystal seem to lean in favor of so called helping the world. Hopefully she didn’t have any sick fantasies of dissecting us, giving me a shudder. The thought of being put on the table under the lights sounded horrible.
I slowly asked. “Is it worth working here?”
Crystal thought it over for a moment. “It’s not bad actually. The benefits are great, there time when I’m overworked, but it’s part of being an employee.”
Employee. I wasn’t so sure if she was deluding herself, or if she really was part of the team. To the outside world, she had killed two people, while for us, we knew that she had fought against a Demon and won.
“Do you really believe that you are part of this company?” I couldn’t help but ask.
Crystal stopped what she was doing, and gave me a sweet smile. “You’re quite interested in what I have got to say don’t you?”
“Well,” I turned away, trying not to show my embarrassment. “I was just curious about the company, that’s all.”
“Uh huh, sure buddy.” She pulled out gloves, glass tubes, and a syringe. Flicking a couple of times on the syringe before she placed it on my forearm. I look away, not wanting to see the syringe enter my skin. Even though I wasn’t afraid of syringes, just the thought of seeing metal entering my body made me tense up. As a child, I was a lot worse, running away from the doctor the moment I saw them. Now at least, I could sit there without throwing unwanted fits like a child.
“You don’t believe me?” I asked, clenching the side of the chair. I felt something else enter my arm, I peeked towards the side and noticed a tube sucking away my blood into a small vials.
“That’s what all you guys say when you’re trying to hit on me.”
“Absolutely not.” I half gasped, but in all honesty I was caught red handed. “You’re a beautiful woman no doubt about that, but I don’t go after the one’s that are already taken. Plus, I’m new here and I would like some answers about this company.”
Crystal took a moment to search my face, wondering what I had said was the truth or not, before she answered. “Seventh Sanctum is one of the leading medical corporation in America. Even though this company has been opened for six years, it already had taken the world by a storm. They have made countless breakthroughs in the medical field, and in technology. Mr. Sylvester is the owner and the leading mastermind in the Ouroboros program, so far he has done quite a bit to help us out from not dying in the last couple of years.”
“So, how does an Ouroboros like you even get the job?”
“Why, are you interested in joining?”
“Well, maybe.” I wasn’t so sure if I wanted to join, but I needed to know if this place was truly a place of sanctuary for our kind.
“You already are, you know.”
“I’m just a lab rat,” I said, “I want to know how I can become a member like you.”
Crystal thought it over for a moment, there was some form of struggling in her part before she open up her mouth again to answer my question. “You need to be specialized in the field for one, though there are other areas where they do need extra personnels. For example, the testers and security guards. You can even submit an application to join. You will given benefits for your help.”
“Benefits?” I think that there were benefits that came with joining in the company, even though I was already prisoner here.”You also don’t force us to join in on your testing?”
“We don’t treat our patience as lab rats you know. It is our company policy to keep everything as humane as possible. Plus, the benefits go by reward system, and you could exchange it for a temporarily leave of this building, trade in for having your own room, or using it to buy your own things.”
Really now, this made me see the corporation in a better light. “Wait, I thought you guys put us four to a room to keep us together.”
“Yes, we did, but that doesn’t mean you guys can’t work to move to a better and larger room.” she replied as if it was a normal everyday thing.
This made me wonder, why the others haven’t even attempted to change rooms. I understood Jones, he just wanted to leave. Timothy was a geek on technology so I wouldn’t be surprised if he used his rewards system on such things, and Marcus was a whole different case in a nutshell. He been with this company for five years, and so far he hadn’t seem to show anything for it. Why was that?
“Though there are more benefits for being a tester than a security guard.”
“What would being a tester entail? And when you say security guard, do you mean protecting the whole building, correct?”
“As a security guard, your job would be only on the Ouroboros living areas, including screening every humans that enters into the building. As a tester, you will be trying out our latest technology and allowing us to run some medical test on you as well. Don’t worry, we not going to push you to the point where it’s considered inhumane.” She winked.
I weakly chuckled, I wasn’t sure if we were even considered regular humans anymore to be inhumane. “I’ll think i’ll become a tester. I’m not a bodyguard material as you can see.” I joked.
“You don’t have to worry too much about being fit, eventually you will start to tone out in under two weeks, and even gain muscles that you never thought was possible. Like I said, Ouroboros are different physically, so a lot of things are going to change. Now then, turn around and I’ll apply you to the tester position. You are allowed to change jobs later down the road if you ever decide too.”
“That’s good to know.”
“Now, if you could just show me your neck.” Crystal got up, she grabbed a scanner.
I twisted my body for her and knew what she wanted to do. A loud beeping sound could be heard as the scanner recorded my information.
“There you go. You’re applied as a tester. I suggest you to stay for at least a month before you decide to change. Now you’re done.” She got up, she threw the needles and other medical supplies into specialized trash cans.
“Thank you.” I reached over and grabbed my gray shirt. A sudden chill went across my body, when the A/C turned on with a loud hum.
“I’ll be seeing you in another week for your next check up.”
With a nod, I turned around, leaving the room behind me. The rest of the guys were waiting outside the door, huddled together, talking among themselves. I had to wonder, why did these three seem to stick with each other, even though they had a vast amount of differences between one another. Especially Jones and Timothy, they were like cats and dogs, always getting into a heated argument one way or another. My guess is that Marcus was the glue between the three of them or the group wouldn’t have worked out.
Marcus noticed me, and waved towards me to come join them. I walked over towards them.
“Well, what do you think?” Marcus smirked coyly at me.
“What do you mean, what do I think?” I asked, tilting my head in confusion.
“I’m talking about the girls.”
“Um… they’re okay?”
“Okay? They’re amazing.” Timothy snickered. “I have my eyes on the brunette for awhile now, and I think she’s finally coming around.” He arrogantly stated.
Jones rolled his eyes, and shook his head at Timothy.
“What?” Timothy’s coy look turned sour.
“So, what do you think about Crystal. I seen you talking with her quite a bit. I’m assuming you’re into her?” Marcus asked.
“She’s quite unique.” I replied. “Though, why haven’t you told me about the whole applying with the company deal?”
“Applying with the compa-? Oh, you mean that. I was going to tell you, but it flew over my head.”
“Don’t apply.” Jones intercepted the conversation. “You’re signing away your life.”
“Calm down. It’s not as bad as it seems.” Timothy leaned back onto the wall. His foot crossed in front of him as well as his hand. “I been a tester for three years now, and so far they haven’t done any crazy experiments on me.”
“You don’t know that. I been strapped, hooked up to some kind of death machine, and even had my blood sucked out of my body like a vampire. Plus, they are probably feeding us some kind of messed up medicine every day to test out their products.” Jones threw up his hand in exaggeration. “Who knows, they’re probably planning on doing something really crazy that could get us all killed.”
“You know, you’re quite a scaredy cat. Those pills that they give you to eat are actual vitamins.” Timothy replied. “I checked there systems, and there haven’t been a single case of medical malpractice on us…though….” His voice trailed off.
“What?!” Jones asked. “You’re hiding something, aren’t you.”
“I wouldn’t be saying hiding, more like I haven’t figure out the content of it.”
“What would that be?” said Marcus, his interest piqued.
“I recently read in their classified file about a large scale project that they will be undergoing this year. Something called Animus Progressium.”
When I heard the phrase, I unconsciously whispered under my breath.“The soul’s progress.”
“Did you say something?” Timothy asked.
“Animus Progressium, or in another word, the soul’s progress.”
“I thought so as well,” said Timothy, “I’m not sure what the corporation is concocting, but I believe it’s going to be big.”
“What do you think it’s good or bad?” Marcus asked.
“I’m not so sure, but I haven’t been able to get much information about it.”
“I’m telling you, it’s something bad.” Jones replied.
Timothy sighed, “There is no point in talking with you about this.”
“What? It’s true.”
“Either way, if you got any other information, give me a heads up,” said Marcus, “I’m interested in what you find.”
“Well then, let’s get some rest and get ready for tomorrow.”
“Good idea, I’m bush.” Timothy yawned.
We headed back towards our room to rest.
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