Chapter 4- Small freedoms.
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When I sat up the next morning to the lights being turned on in my room, I looked around and sighed, I was still here. Like every other damned day before for who knows how long. Well, Dr. Heart probably knows how long it's been, but I can't trust anything he says. No matter what I act like or what happens, I am getting out of this shit hole, this bright white cell, the hallways where I fought off spiders with human eyes who were trying to do god knows what to that little cyborg girl.


I laugh out loud, I sound insane. Maybe I am insane. Maybe this is all in my head and I am lying in my bed right now like I am in some coma. Nothing makes any sense anymore…


“Oh, nice!” I say a moment later after I looked around for a moment longer because I saw a few new things in my cell room. The most obvious thing was a small weight rack that was in front of the wall that the door is on but there was more. I saw a small pile of clothes by the foot of my bed with a pair of running shoes on top of it! I looked around carefully, hoping that maybe the foundation actually gave me a laptop or something, but I found nothing. ‘Whatever.’ I thought to myself, a little disappointed.


I stand up on the cold stone floor and I pick up the clothes and shoes, examining them carefully. They looked around the right size, pretty bland though. Just black t-shirts, a black hoodie, black sweats and several pairs of underwear and socks, all black. The shoes were not much different, black body with no apparent pattern or style and white soles and laces.


I quickly changed out of my dirty, cut and stinky clothes and into the new stuff, noticing that the shoes were very comfortable, more so than I was used to. “It's nice to finally wear something other than my pajamas…” I sigh, looking down at my outfit then at the absolutely destroyed black wife beater and sweatpants, holes and cuts throughout them from the fight yesterday, along with the marks of wearing them for who knows how long.


I tossed the old clothes into the corner and I turned around to the weights, inspecting them with a smile. “Well, hello there. I think we will be good friends.” I say out loud, looking at the array of weights with keen anticipation for a good workout.

The next two days passed quickly, though truth be told they were slightly better than the days before because of the weights and the feeling of cleanness that having fresh new clothes brought after showers. But that was all that happened, really nothing different happened. On the third day during the early afternoon directly after I finished eating, I got a welcome distraction from the constant cycle I put myself in.


The door clicked from behind me and I spun quickly to face the doorway, standing up from my small bed as I did. The door was opening. When the door was mostly open, a guard stepped into the room, gun in hand and Dr. Heart beside him wearing the same lab coat as usual and a smile. “Arnold! It's good to see you!” Dr. Heart pronounced loudly to me, beaming as if happy about something. “Hey doc.” I said slowly, watching the guard out of the corner of my eye with nervousness, every guard in this building seemed a little trigger happy.


“I have good news! You were permitted to leave solitary confinement by the higher-ups!” The doctor said to me happily. I perk up a little and tear my eyes off the guard and look at Dr. Heart in shock. “You mean you are letting me go!?” I asked, surprised and shocked at the doctor's declaration. 


Heart frowned for a second “Well, no. I am afraid that won't happen. You can leave the cell during the day and look around the facility, eat in the cafeteria and talk with fellow anomalies though!” He told me to my disappointment. “Well, small freedoms are better than no freedoms…” I muttered under my breath, mentally thinking about how this might, just possibly, get me a way to escape this hell hole.


“That's the spirit!” Dr. Heart said jovially, not knowing my inner thoughts. “Now, let's take a tour around, meet some of your fellow anomalies, see where you can go, and then you can get back to whatever you wanted to do.” He told me and gestured for me to follow him and he walked out into the hallway with the guard.


I sighed before starting after the weird doctor and walking behind him through the familiar hallway that my cell was on, turning a few times until the door signs changed from saying things like “SCP-953” and “SCP-507” into things like “Weapons storage” or “Maintenance”


Eventually we made it to a large open room with tables lined up in rows and a counter built into the wall resembling a buffet table, like some high school cafeteria, with various people and… things finishing their meals. I stood in shock as I looked around the room, taking in the sight of the creatures dispersed around the room, a figure made of bones, muscles and organs being held in the shape of a woman by a invisible force, what looks to be a penguin talking with a woman in a lab coat, a tiny man made of bark, the list of the strangeness goes on and on.


“Hey, you are new here right?” I hear a voice ring out to the side of me and I turn to look to where it came from and I pause as I see a man. His skin is green and covered in pointy spikes, like a cactus, but otherwise looks exactly like a human with dark hair and nice clothes and a striking face, accentuated by having a cactus for skin.


“Yes.” I say decisively, a little freaked out about all the strangeness around me. The guy with cactus skin looked at me understandingly. “Dont worry too much about how weird everything is in here, believe me most people went through the same thing.” he told me, clearly from experience. “My name is Dan by the way, what's yours?” he said, causing me to start a bit, I was being a little rude. “Oh, Arnold.” I introduce myself to Dan and look around a bit more before realizing that my escort of the guard and Dr. Heart had disappeared.


“So how long have you been here?” I ask Dan hesitantly, deciding that I might as well get to know the guy since he had approached me and seemed friendly enough. “Oh, that's tricky… Just over five years… I think? It's hard to tell I don't have a calendar and any of the staff usually don't tell people the date they got here.” Dan said haltingly, unsure. I understood that and nodded at his response, I couldn't tell for the life of me if I had been here for a few months or a couple of weeks.


It would be useful to have someone that's been here for that long as a friend, perhaps he knows something that could help me escape. I only had one problem with that. I was terminally introverted and have never been a people person. 


“So, uh…” I said to Dan, trying to think straight, “You like Marvel?” I asked and immediately knew that I had said the right thing when his face lit up at the question.

I sigh as I lie down on my back in the bed inside my cell, relaxing my muscles and massaging away the tension from the workout I just went through, not bothering to take off my clothes or shoes. It's been a few days and truth be told, things are better now that I have people to talk with, with people being Dan or ‘Cactusman’ as he calls himself sometimes. We hit it off when we met and we are actually pretty good friends now, he is a good guy. 


Infact, I had come from Dan’s room before my bedtime workout and it caused me to stay up very late, a while after the lights went out. Time is tricky when the only way to know what time it is, is to look to see if the lights are on or not. I was confident that it was late however, and I needed some sleep, but as I tossed and turned I found that I could not find sleep.


Somehow, I have too much energy to sleep. I really shouldn't though, I had been chilling in Dan’s room playing video games that he was allowed to have about a year ago for most of the afternoon and evening, but I had also just done a good hour of exercise so it was weird and very unusual for me.


I just lay back in my bed tiredly, because what else could I do? I can't exactly work out without any source of light, and I didn't have anything else to do in the barren cell the foundation put me in.


I let my thoughts wander as I stare at the blank white ceiling I can't see through the darkness. There was quite a lot of time when I had this exact problem every night, I was quite an insomniac, especially in my teens. 


Maybe I could try that military thing for sleeping I used to do? That seemed like a good thing to do, so I started controlling my breathing, repeating the pattern that I had instilled in myself years ago. Picture something, anything. Imagine you were in a pool, looking at the sky, picture it in your mind and relax, breathe. Sleepiness came through my mind and I felt myself falling through the depths of my mind into sleep.


Falling through the abyss… Wait, this is not the abyss… It's red and glowy through my closed eyes… I come too slowly. Trying to make sense of what is happening around me. Was this in my mind? Some weird dream? It feels like I am falling… I open my eyes and they blink quickly, trying to get rid of the spots from the bright light.


I was falling! I was back in that portal thing! I could make out the bright red clouds and flickers of electricity, bright white against the red. I could feel the wind flying across my face quickly. I was spinning through the air in the freefall of the portal, something dark and heavy tangling around my body. I struggled to free myself from whatever was holding me and as I flailed around, I could see that it was my blanket from my cell and I tore it away from me quickly before bundling it in my arms, who knows what would happen this time…


I feel the pressure of the wind start to subside and my entire body becomes numb, I can't feel anything anymore, not even the blacket in my arms. The area around me started to blur and fly past, faster and faster as I could feel myself speeding up and my head started to pound a rhythm of soft pain through my body. I spotted a dark dot in the distance and remembering what had happened last time, I braced myself and angled myself as best as I could to put the blanket below me as I started to slow down, then as quickly as a lightning bolt, I was out the other end of the hole and through a portal in an area that I did not recognize, only seeing dark and lifeless surroundings in the millisecond before I slammed into a hard surface. The banked helped cushion the fall, but not by much as I felt myself come to a halt, head spinning and body aching.


I groan and slump on the dark ground below me, feeling my body come back to life in pain from the fall. I can feel what I am on now, it almost feels like carpet, but harder. I feel like I should recognize this feeling… Oh! I am on grass!


Oh… I am on grass. I really hope that does not mean what I think it means…


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