Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Walls Are Closing In

An Excerpt from The Tomorrow Paradox (Book Two in The Adventures of Mackenzie Mortimer):

Brandy paced back-and-forth across her new room at the Simulacrum Institute. Her bare feet marked off 12 paces from her cot to the farthest wall. She realized her bathroom at home was larger than her new living quarters. She longed for a window or even an unfamiliar face. Days earlier, Brandy could not have imagined a more confining incarceration than the Serenity Valley hospital. But at least her hospital room had had a steady influx of friendly nurses and doctors; this was solitary confinement.

She tried to contact Drake but was unable to access the neural net. “If only that annoying noise would turn off.” She looked around the barren chamber. “Not even a holo-vid or anything to read. What am I supposed to do in here?” She lay on the cot for an hour and tried to sleep, but found she wasn’t tired. She got up and paced around the room. She measured its length and width, and then walked diagonally, counting the number of steps from corner to corner. Brandy sat back on the cot. For several minutes, she hummed in tune with the ambient noise until it began to give her a headache. Brandy stared at the wall, the drab gray wall, and noticed a few hairline cracks showing through the paint. She eagerly examined all the walls, counting and mentally recording the number of cracks. Before long, there were no more cracks left to count. Brandy had never been this bored in her life. She desperately wanted to speak to someone… anyone, but there was no one to talk to. In the hospital, there had been chatty nurses and high-spirited candy stripers, and Drake had visited her every day, but in this place… Brandy wondered if she would ever again see her brother or anyone else she knew.

She lay back on the cot and stared at the ceiling. She missed Drake and her grandmother, she was lonely, and she was bored to tears… And it was only her first day at the Simulacrum Institute. Worse, she feared she would never be released. Brandy Bryant stared down at the lettering on her nightgown. “Property of Simulacrum Institute. Do they mean the nightgown or me? It might as well refer to me. They’re in control of every aspect of my life, as if they own me. Will I ever be free again, or will I have to spend the rest of my life stuck in this room?”

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Time is running out… fortunately, Mackenzie Mortimer has a few more minutes than anyone else!

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