Mimi was laid on a metal bed; the kind used in hospitals. She couldn’t open her eyes as they were programmed to stay shut. In fact, her whole body was programmed to stay immobile. Her hearing and sense of touch were still active hence she could hear the frantic whispers of the men beside her bed.
“It’s a failure John! It failed way too many trials, we cannot present this. I won’t allow you to,” Harry said. She could sense he was making wild hand gestures through the changes in the air.
“We don’t have a choice,” John said, stressing every word. “The deadline’s tomorrow, there is nothing else we can do.”
“Well, there must be something! Postpone it. Make up excuses. Anything! Anything other than this.”
“No. We have already extended the deadline twice. Doing it again is asking for a death wish,” John said moving away from him to the other side of the bed.
“Presenting this would be a death wish. They won’t hesitate to kill us,” Harry said, dejected.
“Then it’s a gamble we have to take,” John said; unyielding. He stared Harry down, the reason for their argument in between them.
“I—,” Harry pauses; having choked up, “I can’t. I have a family.”
“I know, that’s why I took this job remember?” John sighed, slowly walking back to his side.
“No, it’s alright Harry. I–I truly do understand. I couldn’t be there for my family; I can’t have you suffer the same thing,” he admitted as he patted Harry’s shoulder. “Go; I’ll take care of this.”
Harry knew he had had to make this decision; he was going to leave John when a possible death was facing them. He has been thinking about it ever since the project started to fail. He couldn’t just die as he had a family to care for. And John knew that.
Swallowing back sobs that threatened to wreck his body for betraying his best friend, he hugged John. He drew back and moved around the room; gathering all his stuff. All the while he muttered a string of thank you’s and sorry’s which he hoped would lessen the betrayal.
He stopped in front of the door. He couldn’t look at John in the face so he faced the door and whispered the words he wished would convey the desperation inside him.
“I am truly sorry,” he said and quickly exited the room.
“I am too,” John said to the empty room. He dragged himself to the chair beside Mimi’s bed and collapsed on it. He knew Harry has always been a coward but he never backed out. Imminent death was his breaking point. It was anyone’s breaking point; except his.
If he had only learned to back out, he wouldn’t have been all alone right now. He lost everything. His wife, daughter and now his partner. Mimi was all he had left.
“You can move now Mimi.”
Her body recognized his voice command and the invisible force keeping her from doing anything disappeared. Mimi opened her eyes; the bright light above her momentarily blinding her. She took a second to gain the control over her body again, then slowly got up. She hesitantly turned her head towards John. Her neck protested a little as the circuit there got damaged during the trial, but she paid them no heed.
John was slumped in his chair. He had his elbows on his knees and his fingers lazily interlocked as he stared at the empty space between his shoes.
“I’m sorry Papa,” Mimi said in a small voice. “It’s entirely my fault.”
“You heard?” he said.
“You didn’t deactivate my hearing,” she replied.
“Of course,” he mumbled, mentally hitting his forehead for not realizing the obvious. He dragged his hands down his face and looked up at her, plastering a small smile on his face. “It’s not your fault Mimi. It’s mine and mine alone.”
Mimi shifted her body to face him, dangling her legs off the bed to lessen the strain on her neck. She silently fidgeted with her clothes, John hasn’t spoken for a while now and she was bursting with questions.
“What is going to happen?” she finally asked.
“I don’t kn—Wait, deactivate?” John said, his eyebrows crinkled as if he realized something and he suddenly sat up. Mimi mutely nodded at him; not understanding where this was going. “That’s it! I must be going senile as I’m not even remembering the basic stuff,” he chuckled.
“You are too young to go senile Papa,” Mimi commented.
John got up and got his tool box; he set it beside her and asked her to turn around.
“I’m fifty Mimi it is plenty possible for me to go senile. Anyway now shush while I repair you. I got an idea for tomorrow.”
He explained to her about how he is going to deactivate some of her abilities so that they won’t interfere with the ones she is used to. He left out the part where showing them less than what he promised might cause problems. He didn’t want her to worry about that. He told her to go to sleep to rejuvenate and left the facility after making sure her chamber was locked.
Mimi listened to the usual ritual her papa goes through. She listened as he double checked everything was locked and got into the lift. She could hear the elevator music as it descended for a few floors, after which she couldn’t hear him anymore. She estimated the time that will take for him to get into his car and drive away, she didn’t move until then. She waited an extra five minutes just to be safe.
Confident that he was gone she sprung up from her bed and tiptoed over to the drawer that contained her collectibles. They were no treasures. There were little things like a pony shaped eraser, color pencils, a collection of fairytale books and such. To her, they mattered a lot. She took out the candle and match box she obtained from her previous visit to John’s house.
Her Papa had warned her about the dangers of fire, even though she was equipped with the ability to shoot missiles. She carefully struck the match against the rough surface of the matchbox. Then brought it over to light the candle she placed on her study table. The candle made a slight hiss as the fire greedily lit it up. A faint buzz could be heard from the candle that human ears wouldn’t have caught.
She watched as the flame danced in front of her eyes; constantly moving. Mimi was always fascinated with fire. She couldn’t exactly describe what she felt about it. Her feelings towards explosives were the complete opposite. During the trials when she was ordered to shoot targets, her body went into a state of panic at the sight and sound.
It might have been her brain that thought so. Her brain was not her own and she had a ghost heart. Electricity flowed in her instead of blood. She felt lost; like she felt every day.
A thud outside made her jerk up, in turn knocking the candle over. On instinct, she grabbed the candle before falling, but at the fire. She flinched as pain waves flowed through her hand to her brain. The fire was doused but her artificial skin had a slight charring when she examined it. She swiftly put the candle in the drawer and crept into her bed; listening for any movement. Nothing.
Feeling assured, she relaxed and brought her hand up. Running her thumb over her charred palm, she tried to push down memories the burn brought up. Bad memories. Memories she didn’t want to look into.
The next day John did notice the burn on Mimi’s hand and the match box she left behind. He berated her for playing with fire even though he warned her not to. Mimi quietly listened upset that she worried her papa. The time for testing was here; just a few more hours.
John’s mind was filled with dread. He couldn’t let anything happen to Mimi.
The organization’s leader showed up. He was a strict guy and he didn’t take shit from anybody. John greeted him with a stoic face and a firm handshake. Mimi was already sent down to testing arena while the spectators watched from up above; safe from harm.
The tests were going fine. She was performing alright, or so John thought. He hoped that they wouldn’t notice it was less than what they bargained for but luck was not really on his side.
It happened way too quickly. They started accusing him that this was not what they asked him for. The speed was not enough; the explosives were not powerful enough. Mimi watched as John got into a fight with the leader and she could hear everything that was happening even with the soundproof wall separating her from it. She hesitantly walked towards the wall unsure if she should help.
Suddenly blood coated the glass. One moment they were arguing and the next moment, the leader bought his gun out and shot John straight through the heart. She was paralyzed with shock unable to believe what she just witnessed. John staggered a few steps back; his gaze clouded over and he fell on his back. He closed his eyes and never opened them again.
An onslaught of memories attacked Mimi at once. Memories not her own. All of which belonged to John’s daughter, the one her brain belonged to. A storm of emotions enveloped her. With all the anger, sadness and fear she could see clear no more. With an abandoned sense, her body released a force field so strong, it shattered the glass separating them into a million pieces.
She activated the jetpacks in her feet and flew up to the man that killed her father. In a flurry of emotions, she attacked everyone surrounding her, friend or foe. Her mind didn’t process sense anymore. All that she bothered about was to kill. To destroy everything that took her father away from her. Blood spilled everywhere. Even as she was drenched in all that blood and gore, she couldn’t stop. She had no control. No remorse.
By the time she came about, she was no longer at the facility. She had no idea where she was. She was floating in mid-air surrounded by clouds and water below. She couldn’t think straight. Her mind saw red and revenge clouded her; destroying any sense left in her. Even after all the bloodshed of those responsible for the death of her only reason to survive, all she craved was for more blood and death.
So she gave up. Let go of the little sense left in her. She turned her back on all that was good and drifted away towards destruction.