Reset.

The girl was alone. She was sitting in a dark room. She couldn’t see a thing. She knew she was sitting because she felt leather beneath her. She knew nothing else about where she was or who she was. She felt emotion, fear to be precise, and in that first moment when she became aware of her existence, she screamed. It sounded dull, there were no reverberations of her voice. She reasoned that she must be in a small room.

 

“Doc, the subject is making logical conclusions and acting on her assumptions. She is running on more than just instinct.”

 “Good, good. She’s a quick learner.”

 

She moved out of the seat and was grateful to find her feet resting on solid ground. She trusted the ground fully and began to move around, extending her arms in front of her. She came to a wall and followed it to her left. She reached a portion of the wall that felt different. Her fingers felt a slight crack between the two portions of the wall and imagined it was the hinge of a door. She found the doorknob and without hesitation twisted and pulled.

 

“Doc! The subject just left her primary environment! She is entering the external environment now.”

“That’s our quickest time yet! Launch phase two!”

“Yes sir, launching now!”

 

Light.

The girl fell to her knees and waited there for several minutes for her eyes to adjust to the new environment. Slowly, vision came to her. She stood to her feet and looked around. She was in a large field strewn with different landmarks. To her left in the distance was a small concrete building, slightly hidden from view by a grove of small trees. They looked like oak. Straight ahead of her was a concrete path that lead a hundred yards or so and then crossed a small stream via bridge, and then meandered back and forth around groves of grass and big trees and beyond sight. To her right, nothing but grass and a few groves of small trees. She looked behind her as well, expecting to see the building that she just exited. Instead, she was shocked to find nothing but sky, all the way into the distance. She looked down to find that she was standing on the very edge of a steep cliff that shot down into a body of water a hundred feet below.

Her heart rate spiked and she instinctively dove away from the cliff’s edge.

 

“Good news, Doc, she has retained her fight or flight mode.”

 “Excellent. You have the go-ahead for phase three.”

 “Launching phase three now, sir.”

 

The girl lay on the ground for a moment, catching her breath and allowing her heart rate to return to normal.

From her left she heard shouts. Looking up, she saw three large men sprinting toward her, wielding handguns. Fear once again filled her body and compelled her to jump to her feet and run to her right. She was fast, but despite her efforts, the men were gaining on her. She looked around frantically, hoping to find some cover but she found no respite. Suddenly, she stumbled over a root protruding from the ground and fell back down to the earth. She was about to get back up and keep running when she saw something on the ground just beside her. It was a pistol. Without flinching, she grabbed it, turned around to face her assailants and shot each of them in the chest. They fell to the ground with a thud.

 

“Doc, the subject has shot her attackers. It appears she has no compassion; her levels indicate she feels no remorse.”

 “Wonderful.”

 “Should we move forward with phase four, sir?”

“Not yet, let her adapt to her environment.”

“Yes sir!”

 

The girl, relieved from danger, realized she was thirsty. She approached the stream with caution, wondering what danger might be in this new experience. Tentatively she drank the water, and once she had her fill, she submerged her body in the water. It was so refreshing she thought she’d never leave. After a while, however, curiosity got the best of her and she left the comfort of the river and began to roam her environment. She walked in the same direction until she came to a fence, with a sign in front of it that read “DANGER! MINEFIELD AHEAD!”

 

“Sir, she can read.”

 

The girl discovered that she was contained on all sides by the same fence and signs. She dared not hop the fence and risk her life. Instead she walked to the building she saw when she first emerged from the dark room and walked inside. It was a nice respite from the sun’s draining power. Inside the building was a bed, which she promptly used to take a nap.

 

“Doc, the subject is asleep.”

 “Now we move on to phase four.”

 “Yes sir. Launching phase four.”

 

When the girl woke up, there was a boy sitting on the edge of the bed, waiting for her. She jumped out of bed quickly, screaming.

“Hey! Calm down, I won’t hurt you!” the boy said.

“Who are you?” the girl demanded.

“I don’t know, who are you?”

“I don’t know either. I just appeared here in this place.”

“Me too,” said the boy.

“What is this place?” The girl asked.

“I don’t know, I just got here.”

“Did you see the minefield?” she asked.

“No, where’s that?” he responded.

“I’ll take you there. Maybe there’s a way out of this place.”

 

“Sir, subjects 519 and 520 have made first contact and are trying to find a way out of their environment.”

“I hope they succeed.”

 

“You think it’s a bluff?” the boy asked.

“What, the sign?”

“Yeah. You think there are really mines out there?”

“Is it worth it to test?” the girl said.

“I want to find out.”

“I wouldn’t,” the girl responded.

“Good thing you’re not me,” said the boy.

And with that, the boy jumped over the fence, landing on a mine and exploding into a thousand pieces.

Reset.

 

“Doc! Subject 520 has been killed by a mine!”

“Now we see how the girl reacts.”

 

The girl’s breath was stolen from her chest in response to her friend’s death. Was he her friend? If he wasn’t, he was the closest thing to a friend she had ever experienced. And already he was gone. After her breath returned, the crying began. She didn’t know why, but tears streamed down her face and she couldn’t stop them. Once the tears stopped, the depression came. The loneliness set in, the sorrow overwhelmed her, and she lost what little joy she had previously experienced through meeting the boy. She ran to the fence and catapulted over it, landing on a mine and exploding into a thousand pieces.

Reset.