Altered State – Final

glass pyramid

The door was flung open almost immediately after I knocked, revealing my mother. She had bags under her eyes and looked thinner than she was before I left.

“Hey, mom.”

Her eyes widened as she looked me up and down. I noticed her gaze linger on the dirty slippers before going back up to my face.

“What are you doing back home already? I thought you were going to call first?” My mom pulled me inside and ushered me onto the couch.

“You kind of look like…” she paused. “Sorry, but you kind of look like shit.”

I laughed but it felt forced. “I know, I’m sorry. Hopefully I don’t mess up the couch.”

She sat down next to me and scanned my face, rubbing at a spot of dirt on my chin that I’d missed in the McDonald’s bathroom. “Why didn’t you call?” she repeated.

I knew that she knew something was up; my mom wasn’t stupid and I’m not a good liar.

“I wanted to, but my phone broke.” I pulled it out of my backpack to let her see the shattered screen. On my way home I payed a stranger the rest of my cash to run it over with their car. I’d hoped they wouldn’t ask too many questions, but they seemed elated at the idea.

“How did this happen?”

“I dropped it.” Doctor Wilson would be pleased to know that I followed through.

“That’s a shame, you can go with your dad tomorrow to see about getting a new one.”

“Sounds good.”

We sat in silence and I could feel that my mom wanted to ask me about my time at the lab, but wasn’t sure how to bring it up. Instead I got up and walked to the kitchen go get a glass of water. “The trial failed, by the way.”

“I figured.”

“They fixed me, though.”

“Are they sure? Maybe we should bring you back in a few weeks to make sure.”

“No!” I paused and took a deep breath. “No, I’m fine.”

My mom knit her eyebrows together. “Uh, okay.” Another pause. “Are you sure you’re fine?”

I’m fine, mom. I promise. Just tired.” I sniffed my arm—dirt. “And I need to take a good shower.”

Being back in my own room was strange. I’d grown used to the loud machines and the uncomfortable hospital chair. Except it was less like a chair and more like a table with a sheet on it. My body was excited to finally sleep somewhere that wouldn’t hurt my back.

I tossed my backpack onto the desk and realized I’d have to explain my lack of belongings to my parents. Out of everything I’d brought, I only returned with two shirts and two jeans. I thought I’d grabbed my toothbrush but I couldn’t find it, along with my hairbrush. Oh well.

I knew I needed a shower, but first I cracked open my laptop to do some sleuthing. After scanning both the police reports and news headlines, I came up with nothing. No clues of the fate of Doctor Wilson and the others.

Hesitantly I searched “Brightside Energy.” Their website popped up, and there was a brief explanation of the trial, but nothing else. I had no idea if Doctor Wilson and Kate made it, or if Tanya got in trouble for trying to help me escape. There was no way of looking up Karen, because I didn’t even know what her job technically was. I’d check, albeit foolishly, every day for the next few weeks, but nothing ever came up.

I tried to move on with my life and got ready for moving to my university, but sometimes I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was being followed. I don’t know what they’re planning, or if it’s just my paranoia, but I’m going to keep trying to live my life as normally as I can.





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