Up on Strawberry Hill: 6

Something isn’t right. Something isn’t right. Something isn’t right…

The voice trails off into an echo in your head. The voice calming yet clearly panicked. The words swirling around in you head as you swim through the darkness trying to find your way out. You fight through the emptiness until the black begins to dissolve into a dim gray fog.

He-huh uh-hey there.

The fog begins to lift as you try to open your eyes. Your eyelids feel like lead as you try to force them open they defy you by falling closed again. You finally get them to cooperate with you and you have to blink several times to clear the fog. The room around you is unfamiliar and fuzzy at the edges like a dream.

My name is Charles Simeon.

You recognize the voice. It sounds the same as when it was warning you that something was wrong. You remember that, but when you try to think about what was so wrong your head aches; a splitting pain right behind your eyes that makes you feel like they might fall out of your head. Your vision is beginning to clear slightly, making the room look less dreamlike, but nothing about it is familiar.

“Are you alright? Do you know where you are?” The voice of Charles Simeon asked sounding much more crisp and closer than it had prior.

You slowly move your eyes to look at a figure standing next to you. Though his voice is coming through crystal clear, his figure is blurred like your eyes were too lazy to focus on him and not the strange machines behind him. Were you alright? Did you know where you are? You think how stupid these questions were, because of course you don’t know where you are and if you are fine. You try to vocalize that thought and find you’re unable to move your lips.

You try again, but they don’t want to cooperate. You try something else, hands, feet, mouth, neck. Anything. Nothing is responding the way it should. Your mind had been sluggish, but suddenly it was alert and everything was on edge as you assessed the situation further.

“It’s okay.” Simeon said to you in a soothing tone. He leaned over you watching you struggle as you willed some part of your body, preferably your mouth to move. “It’s alright. I’m here to help you.”

Here to help…Sure. You couldn’t help but think that this was a lie. He was the reason you were laying there, you could feel it and the pain behind your eyes seemed to tell you this was a good guess. Simeon pulled a pen light from his pocket pulling your eyelids up and shining it in your eyes. Your finger twitched. Snapping your eyes down to look at your hand Simeon snapped his fingers in front of your face.

“Look here.” He said snapping again. “I need to make sure you aren’t still affected.”

You watch your finger, willing it to move again. It responds as does the finger next to it. Slowly, sleepily your hand wakes up. Your mouth twitching as you try to will that to respond as well, but it remains disobedient. You try to shout in frustration but it comes out sounding like a garbled muted grunt.

“Shhhh. It’s okay. It’s going to be alright.”

You cry out again in frustration. Simeon doesn’t seem to understand what is happening and you don’t trust that he isn’t responsible for the lack of movement.

“Calm down, it’s alright.”

No it’s not. Your arm finally decides to work with you and you find yourself gripping the man’s throat in your hand. You can feel yourself frowning thinking so many horrible things as you watch his eyes widen in surprise. His face paled then flushed red as his air supply was cut off. He paws at your arm, wheezing, trying to say something only able to get “HAS-” out before he was gasping again for air.

“YOU.” You finally manage to get your mouth to respond. “YOU DID THIS TO ME!”

“HAS-” is his reply. You loosen your grip for a moment and he grips your wrist with both hands and screams, “HASCAL!”

You have no idea what that is supposed to mean, but you clamp your hand around his throat again. You’re not sure where the strength is coming from, but you tighten your fingers watching his face grow a deeper and deeper shade of red.

An image of a man in horn rimmed glasses smiling at you appears before your eyes. He hands you a clipboard. The papers clamped to the plastic covered in words that are too small and blurry to read except for the large bold print at the top that reads “Test Trial Patient Waiver.” You remember explanations that you didn’t understand. The pain behind your eyes grows more intense spreading back through your brain until it burns so intensely the thought of your skull cracking open sounds like a God send.

A primal scream escapes your throat as the pain increases. You drop your hand from Simeon’s throat and claw at your ears screaming pleas for the pain to stop. Simeon scrambles backwards gasping and coughing. A door next to Simeon that you hadn’t noticed before and a tall slender man with red hair comes striding into the room.

“Hascal,” Simeon wheezes, “Help them.”

“Alright.” Hascal reaches inside of his lab coat.

“Please!” You scream your plea at the man. “MAKE IT STOP!”

“As you wish.” He replies dryly. He produces a revolver from his waistband that shines dangerously in the dim light. “Thank you number six, your service has been appreciated.”

Before you can manage to say anything else, he pulls the trigger.


You wake up gasping in a white room, a woman in a jet black dress with straight cut black hair is sitting in front of you.

“Don’t worry Sixsmith.” She says clasping her hands in her lap. “I can assure you that you are alive and well.”

“I…I was shot.” You pant trying to catch your breath. Your fingers trace the space between your eyes where the bullet should have been.

“Yes, you were.” She replies soothingly. “But all is well. Your part is done.

You stare at the woman in front of you. Her blue eyes pierce into you as you piece together what just happened. You notice a small spot of gold on her dress near her shoulder, a small golden pin in the shape of a bee. The little inanimate insect shimmers on her collar flashing an image in your mind that makes you nauseous. The woman’s eyebrow raises slightly as the color drains from your face.

“Are you alright Sixsmith?” She asks and you nod in response. “Alright. Well your work is done, the rest is yet to play out. You are welcome to stay and watch, but I highly suggest you go home.”

“Yes Ma’am.” You reply rising from your chair and shuffling out of the room feeling like something is wrong once again, as if you’ve done something terrible yet can’t remember what. The worry consumes you as the door clicks shut behind you, muffled words coming from the woman still sitting in the room. You wonder who she could be talking to if you were the only person present before leaving.

You don’t have much time to think about it further, and you never make it home.


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