Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Entry #2 Unique Character/Setting: Adjustments for Myla

Adjustments for Myla
By Sara Harricharan

I feel like frozen chocolate. The thought scrolled through my head as I trotted down the hallway after my first-year handler. I’d enrolled in Vision Academy, compliments of Arlyn, student recruiter.

She said I’m lucky to be alive, because I’m the youngest human female to survive thirteen Splices. Splices: a DNA morphing serum used to heal and repair things. As a former cheerleader, I used it for broken legs and twisted ankles. There’s nothing lucky about thirteen. It certainly didn’t land me any special favors, such as my handler. I’m five feet, six inches. She’s about waist high.

“Myla, could you try to keep up?” Carrie sounded annoyed and frustrated.

I hurried to catch up. For a midget, she was fast. I guess it made up for mousy-brown hair and bulldozer yellow cat-eyes.

One minute I was walking down historic main street and skipping over broken sidewalk. The next second, everything was either white and curved or so well-polished that I could see my reflection scowling at me. I was told my admissions application was processed, I’d been transported to the school grounds, and my handler would be along shortly.

I figured I’d get lost in here before the day was over. Every hallway looked alike, with the same round white lights and no floor or hall numbers.

Carrie waited at the elevator, brows scrunched and lips pulled into a pout. “I have extra training and curricular classes to attend, which you do not.” Her cat-eyes flashed red. “As your handler, I demand a decent level of respect, which includes looking at me when I’m speaking-”

I looked down, trying to focus her instead of her crooked ponytail.

“-keeping up so I do not earn demerits for tardiness because you are otherwise occupying my immediate attention.” She swiped the I.D. card clipped to her shirt pocket. “This is the elevator. Seniors have first rights, meaning if there are new students, such as yourself and a senior arrives, late for class or something, you are required to step aside to allow them first use.”

“What if they aren’t really late?” I watched her punch numbers on the glowing, blue keypad. “What are you doing?”

“Whether they are or not, the right is theirs. I’m entering my clearance codes. You’ll get your own soon enough.” Her appraising look swept me from head to toe. “When you’re a senior, you’ll wish others wouldn’t give you such a hassle about it.” The doors slid open and we entered. “Rule of thumb, be careful what you tell a senior. If a newbie ticks us off, we fuss about it, naturally.”

“Naturally.” I tucked the info away.

Carrie readjusted her ponytail. Now it was even more crooked. “I’m a 4-year senior. There are 5-year seniors. Everyone knows them, you‘ll like them right away…but steer clear of them. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Never get into an argument with them either.”

The elevator chimed as we exited. Carrie led me through white double doors, zipping her I.D. card at another security kiosk.

That was another thing to add to this space-age academy: there were no windows. Security was like cluster of ninja’s guarding the tool shed out back. There was nothing terribly interesting inside, but it warranted heavy guard.

Silver, heavy-duty doors slid open before my wondering eyes. Carrie nudged me forward. “The guy with the ponytail is Master Quinn. Be nice, good luck!” She patted my elbow, darting off before I could protest.

Bright lights clicked on, streaming down unmercifully as I inched inside. It was a domed room with everything white and blinding.

“Myla Roberts?”

I turned, staring straight into gray eyes. “Yeah?”

“Pleased to meet you.” His handshake was firm, followed by a faint smile.

He had a nice face for an old guy, classic salt-and-pepper hair in a short ponytail. He let go of my hand and reached over, tipping my chin up.

For a moment, I felt nothing, just cool smooth fingers and then everything.

Colorful shapes danced before my eyes, an exploding pain inside my head, followed by an itchy, prickly feeling that started at my toes, working its way upwards. I cannot describe what it felt like to be taken apart and put back together.

The weight in my head melted away as my knees buckled, sending me to the floor. I sat there, stupidly, with everything spinning as Master Quinn instructed me to put my head between my knees.

“You’ll be fine. Sorry. If I’d asked your permission, I wouldn’t have been able to establish a mindlink.”

The mental fog lifted and I stood unsteadily as he came into focus. “You were reading my mind?”

“I was linking to your mind. There’s a difference. I never read anyone’s mind without their explicit permission and complete trust.” He frowned. “You’ll need to relax before I finish the rest of it. I merely planted a central message center.”

I stared at him. “Excuse me if I don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.”

Gray eyes took pity on me. “You aren’t ready for some of this, are you?” He murmured. “Never mind. First your placement test, then we’ll talk. Sit. Wait. Listen.” I opened my mouth and the gray eyes frosted over.

I shut my mouth and sat.

Quiet humming filled the air. I sniffed cautiously, expecting something other than the scent of fruit. “Uh, Master Quinn?”

“Just Quinn.” His voice came from somewhere on the ceiling. “I don’t know why they assign me fancy titles. It’s a formality I don’t care for.”

I squinted upward, my eyes at the mercy of the vicious light. “Okay, Quinn, what exactly is a placement test?”

His chuckle was distorted. “Don’t worry about it. I’ll ruin your fun if I answer. Just react. Don’t think or second-guess yourself. It’s a type of virtual reality… that’s all you need to know.”

Now the air smelled like almonds. I must be dreaming. The lights flickered and went dead.

I am officially insane.

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