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Laboratories

A work in progress novel

Chapter 2: BRYN

The teacher placed a test packet in front of me, I flinched. I had already failed the first test, now I had to take it again for a higher grade. If I failed this one, well, goodbye school. No one else was in the classroom with me and the teacher, because I was the only person who had failed.

I looked down at my exam, the exam that would determine my entire life. Just a stupid pile of papers. I picked up my pencil, and wrote my name in the top left corner. The teacher said in his clear loud voice, “begin.” I flipped the top page back, to expose the contents beneath. 

Question 1: Who is the founder of Capricorn Laboratories? What was their reason to open it?

“Easy.” I mumble. I could feel the teachers eyes burning into me, warning me not to talk. I began to write.

Missy Capricorn founded Capricorn Laboratories. She opened it to explore further into the realm of science, and to improve the world as we know it.

Each question passed with ease. None made me stop to think for more than a minute. I finished the test in two hours. I raised my hand, and the teacher picked it up off my desk and left the room to grade it. All I could hear is the clock ticking off the seconds as they pass, and my pencil tapping against the hard wooden desk in time with the ticks.

The teacher reentered, my test in hand. I saw a large red stamp at the top of the front page. He walks over and places it upon my desk in front of me, face down. He walks back to the front of room. I Gingerly flipped the test over, and saw my grade-

I jolted awake. I was sweaty and sticky; my sheets pasted to my body. I peeled them off and stumbled out of my small bed. I had just dreamed of the day when my future had been ruined. I shivered. It was a twisted system but effective; weeding the failures out of society.

I groaned and began my morning routine. I trudged to the kitchen yawning. I opened the door to the refrigerator, the paint was peeling and it was rusted with age. Lillian had always thought of it and it’s rusty red spots as a cow. As I pulled out the store brand milk, I heard a floorboard creak.

It was George. I knew it immediately, he always stepped on that board to get my attention. He started walking toward me, I could hear the slap of his bare feet on the worn wooden floor. George tapped my shoulder. I turned and crossed my arms, I looked into his stone gray eyes. They were practically identical to mine. Except they were full of cold determination instead of dull acceptance.

“Are you still going to the labs?” He asked, an eyebrow raised. “Yes.” I sighed. “I am.” George clenched his fists. “Now let me eat my breakfast, I’m hungry.” He glared at me, but sadness tinted his gaze. I brushed past him and sat at the kitchen table. George followed.

We ate together in silence until our mother entered. “Where’s Lillian?” I asked mom. “She’s still sleeping. I think it will be easier for you to leave if she isn’t with us.” I nodded, George’s frown deepened. “Lillian can’t not see Bryn when she leaves.” what had George said? ‘When she leaves’ had he finally excepted the fact that I was leaving? “If she leaves.” Never mind. “George. I agree with mom.” I hoped that would be the end of the discussion. George pursed his lips, but said nothing.

I looked at our mother, and I mean really looked. She seemed more stable this morning than she did last night. Her eyes were clean of the streaks from her tears, and her voice was steady. She and George glance at the clock on the wall. I took this in stride. “I guess it’s time for me to go…”

“No it’s not. your staying here.” I stand up. George stands up to. I walked to my room. He follows. I reached under my bed and pulled out my backpack. George sat on my bed. I searched inside my small chest drawers for an outfit, when I found each article of clothing I stuffed it inside of my bag. George sighs. I walk out of my room to the bathroom. George follows. I grab my toothbrush. I turn to leave and George sighs again. “what do you want George.” I say annoyed. I place my hand on my hip and turn to him. “For you to stay here.”

“Sorry. But that’s not happening.”

I turn away from him and walk into the kitchen. I lean down and hug my mom. it was supposed to be quick but she held on. “Please don’t do this.” She whispers in my ear. “I can get a new job. I bet we have enough saved up to last until I find one.” I pull away. “let me do this.” She nods. I can tell she’s trying to be understanding. She sighs and kisses me on the cheek. “Have you said goodbye to George?” I shake my head. “No. And I wasn’t planning to.” She frowns. “Mom,” I say “take care of yourself.” she pulls me into hug. “Good luck” Mom releases me and I leave the cramped apartment.

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 1: BRYN

I stirred the large pot that is sitting on the stove top. I sniffed the stew tentatively, the smell of cooked beef and potatoes filled my nose, making my mouth water as I put the lid back over the pot.The battered telephone hanging on the wall rang. I dropped my wooden spoon into the sink and picked up the phone.

“Hello, who is this?” I said into the phone. “It’s mom, is that you Bryn?” My mom answered in a calm voice, but I could hear an edge of tension underneath. “Listen, I’ve got to stay at the office a little bit longer than usual today. Can you watch George and Lillian for me?”

“Of course I will. But, why are you staying late?”

“I will tell you when I get home. I love you, bye.”

She hung up. I stared at the phone in my hand. A small “huh” escaped my lips. As I hung it back on the wall, the lock on the front door clicked. I heard the happy voice of my younger sister, Lillian babbling about her day to my twin brother George. They walked into view, George’s head nodded as he listened to Lillian’s day.

George raised his hand to greet me. Lillian noticed his gesture, her head whipped around and she saw me. She skipped over; her black curls bouncing. “Guess what happened at school today!” She smiled and bounced up and down, with excitement that only a seven-year old could muster. “What happened?” I said as I glanced up at George, but instead of seeing his easy smile, his mouth was set into a grim line. He shook his head in a silent warning.

“A man from Capricorn Labs came, but he was kinda boring.” She said rocking back and forth on her heels. I let out a quiet wheeze not knowing what to say. “Didn’t dad work there?” She looked at George and me. “Um… George. Bryn?” I stared at George my eyes wide, begging for help. He chewed his lower lip nervously. Finally noticing our distress, Lillian muttered “Never mind. Sorry.”

George laughed nervously. “Uh. No it’s fine,” he stuttered “yes. He did work there-”

The lock on the front door clicked again. The door opened, the hinges creaked loudly in the sudden silence. We turned our heads towards our mother, who scurried through the door. She dumped her bag on the kitchen table; it looked heavier than usual. Mom grabbed mine and George’s wrists. “What?” My mother interrupted me as she looked over at the nervous Lillian. “Stay here honey, I need to talk with your brother and sister.”

George and I were pulled through the hallway, and into our mothers room. “What is it? what do you want?” I said, as I pulled my hand away. She had been holding it tightly. We looked at our mother. She looked back at us. “I lost my job.” She murmured as if not wanting us to hear. She probably didn’t want us to hear. George chewed his lip, and I tapped my fingers against my leg, both signs of our extreme anxiety with our mothers words. “what do you mean you ‘lost your job'” George’s voice was shaking. “I lost it,” she muttered hysterically “they didn’t have enough money to pay all of there staff, so they fired three people from every floor of the office building.” She broke into sobs. “I was one of them!”

George looked at me, helpless. We were both shocked by our mother’s sudden sign of weakness. She had always been our mother, strong in any situation, someone to catch us when we would fall. Now we had to take the place of the woman who had helped us all our lives. Too help her.

“I can work at Capricorn Labs.” I announced, my voice surprisingly strong. George turned to me surprise written on his face.

“You can’t.”

“I have to.”

“Dad died there.”

I flinched at this gentle subject. He had died two years ago at his place of work. Capricorn Laboratories. A man dressed in black, had come to tell us that our father had died of poisonous chemical inhalation. We had had a small private funeral. Nothing fancy. Just what he would’ve wanted.

I snapped back, not wanting George to one up me on this. I had made up my mind. I was going. “Mom. George. I have to go.” I said. “You’ll get the money from me. That’s the only reason I’m doing this. For the money.” George gawked at me. “Go get another job then,” He shouted, “all of them pay money!” He was purposefully ignoring the obvious fact. I didn’t have a proper education, none of the other jobs would take me. “My decision is final. I’m going.” I was done arguing. “Bryn.” It was mom. her voice wobbled slightly. “Please, stop this.” I looked at her. She didn’t want me to die like dad had. But she knew I would in order to save my family. She knew I was just like him. In almost every way.

 

 

Prologue

Another test. One after another, they keep coming. Each deadlier than the last.

I look down into the once clear water, that is now contaminated with poisonous chemicals. I edge along the narrow wall looking for an escape. “How is it going?” A robotic but feminine voice booms through the intercom in the grungy white room. I tense looking up at the ceiling. “Oh!” She says, a shocking amount of surprise in her voice for a robot. “You are no longer in the testing chamber. I Must do something about that.”

Mechanisms started to clank. I press my ear on to the wall, trying to find where the noises were coming from. A large thunk, then quiet hiss sounds behind the wall.

Suddenly I’m falling. I look down once again, the murky water is rushing towards my body. I shoot a glance at the ledge were I was standing. There was no longer a ledge. It is a wall, a smooth white wall.

I shake my head. “Of course she would kill.” I thought, “I was just a rat in her kitchen. A pest.” I hit the water, and let it take over as I’m sucked under. But before I’m gone I hear her voice. “Goodbye.”

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