Brook was cold. Nothing new there, she had been cold for what seemed like forever. She used to believe there was either heaven or hell waiting for her when she died. Now she knew better, there was nothing except an endless void and coldness.
There was also a voice that sounded as sweet as honey tasted.
Honey, she would kill for some…and to hear that voice again. She shivered knowing neither of those things would be happening. She was dead. What she hated most was the darkness that surrounded her. A never-ending parade of blackness marching past her unseeing eyes. Then there were the memories. Stupid, unending memories that made no sense.
Memories of standing in a ball field and talking with the voice of honey. Memories of smiling and making plans for Monday, but it never came. Those she cherished. Then there were the others. Being found again. Being escorted to the long black limo.
Memories of looking into the faces of her parents. Her mother actually cried, while her father’s face looked hard as granite. She was being shipped off that very night. She would be frozen and kept until a cure was found for her condition. It was beneath them to have a child with a disease. Through her tears, her mother whispered she loved her over and over again.
Her father said it was for the best. The doctors were close to finding a cure. She would be back with them before she had time to miss them. She had broken down and cried. She wouldn’t do it. Not that they listened. Then she begged, please wait until Tuesday. She just wanted to touch his face one more time.
No, her father said, it had to be tonight. There was a movement to shut the facility down. Anyone who had undergone the procedure would not be touched, but soon no one new would be able to be preserved. Her guards picked her up and carried her to the limo, kicking and screaming. Then blackness, her constant companion arrived.
The sudden light in the darkness caused her to try to turn the head she no longer had.
“Turn the lights off.” A woman’s voice shouted, making her want to shield her ears.
Blessed darkness. She sighed in relief.
“You can open your eyes now, you’re awake.”
She was awake? Did that mean she was alive? Her finger twitched, and she marveled at the movement. Her brain slowly came back online reconnecting with her body. The coldness she felt earlier hit her full force, and she began to shiver.
“Bring me a heating blanket,” the voice said.
The blanket was placed over her making her sigh in pleasure. Warmth, after being cold for so long, felt like she was being rewarded for a job well down.
“Try to open your eyes.” The voice prompted her.
She ran through her body moving her limbs briefly to remind herself what was what. She tried to open her eyes and ended up flaring her nostrils.
“That was a good try,” the voice said. “Try again, it may take a few tries, but you can do it.”
She concentrated on her face until she was sure she had it mapped, and tried again. Her mouth opened a little this time. She grimaced wondering how bad her breath smelled. Did she even still have teeth?
“That’s excellent, try again.” Was the voice kind she wondered as she held onto it like a lifeline?
Taking a deep breath that was barely a wheeze, she tried again. Open up eyes, she commanded before she tried. A small bit of brightness hit her iris making her want to close them again.
“You did it. I’m so proud of you.” The face that belonged to the voice swam in a sea of haziness in her vision.
It was hard to make out any features as everything seemed to blend together. She blinked her eyes to try to focus.
“Don’t worry; it’s like this for all the Cryo’s when they wake up. I am going to give you an amino drink and then you will go back in the regenerator. When you wake up tomorrow, you will feel good enough to go dancing.”
The woman took the drink she was handed and gently encouraged Brooklyn to drink as much as possible.
“That’s good; before I slide you back in, is there anything you want when you wake?”
She worked her throat until one word emerged broken. “Honey.”
She turned over and yawned, it was finally Monday. She couldn’t wait–opening her eyes to jump out of bed, she fell on the floor. An overload of images hit her eyes, all appearing in sharp focus. What was going on? She couldn’t see? Was this some sort of sick joke?
The sound of footsteps running towards her made her eyes open. Sure enough, she was lying on a floor in a room she had never seen before. It looked strange, but the equipment had a slight medical feel to it. She must be in some new-fangled hospital costing her parent’s top dollar. She scooted back towards the wall and put her hands in front of her to stop the oncoming strangers.
“Stop. I’m fine.” Her hand flew to her throat. There was no pain, but it was obvious she hadn’t spoken in a while by the way her words slurred.
“Everyone out.” The voice from earlier spoke to her. Was it just yesterday she heard that voice?
The woman sat on the floor across from her looking like she did that every day.
“Hi, do you remember your name?”
What was her name? She looked at the woman frowning. Did she have a name?
“Don’t force it. Just take a couple of deep breaths. It will come back to you. You woke earlier than I anticipated, that may be the reason all of your memories haven’t surfaced yet. My name is Jazlyn.”
She smiled at Jazlyn, for whatever reason she liked her. She had red hair paired with beautiful green eyes, she was vibrant yet calm.
“Brooklyn.” A smile lit her face. “My name is Brooklyn.”
“It’s good to meet you, Brooklyn. How about you let me help you off the floor?”
She nodded her head and offered a hand to Jazlyn. She tested her legs as she rose, finding that she could stand on her own.
“Where am I?”
“You’re in a private medical facility. The best one in the country. That sounded conceited, but New Pittsburgh is known as the cutting edge of medical research and care. This facility, Arouk Care, is the absolute best.”
Brooklyn looked around the room. Overall, it wasn’t a bad looking place, the medical equipment was designed to fit in and not give the patient the feeling of a traditional hospital room. She could almost think it might be an upscale hotel if she didn’t know better.
“Do you have something I can read?”
Jazlyn reached into a drawer on the side table and brought out a tablet that was loaded with information about the facility as well as several books.
Brooklyn sat down and began to read, tears slipping out of her eyes.
“Why are you crying?” Jazlyn stared at her.
“I can see, really see. Before now, all I could see was huge distorted shapes, nothing was sharp or clear. I read all the information about the facility and not once did I have to squint.”
Jazlyn beamed at her looking almost like a proud momma.
“Jazlyn, where are my parents? Has anyone told them I’m awake?” The smile on Jazlyn’s face disappeared.
“Why don’t you have a seat?”
Brook looked at the bed and shook her head. The thought of sitting or lying on a bed was enough to make her want to scream.
“Let’s sit over here in the arm chairs.” Brook nodded her head. They were wide and comfortable looking.
They crossed the room, which was much bigger than she was used to in a hospital. Her body moved with easy grace although the movements felt foreign to her as if she hadn’t moved for years. She sat in the chair and sighed. Comfort, something she had been without.
She shook her head trying to drive the uneasy thoughts away. Looking at Jazlyn, she waited.
“Your parents aren’t here.”
Of course, they weren’t. Trouble at the Embassy, most likely.
“It’s ok. I really do understand; they’ll get here as soon as possible. Do you have a cell phone so I can call my mother? I am surprised she didn’t call and make you put her on speaker.”
A small smile lit up inside of her. She had a love-hate relationship with her parents. She loved them and knew they loved her, but they hated her disease, and they hated the independence she fought to have.
“Not only can I see you and read, but I walked without feeling any pain. I was a wreck when they put me in Cryo. You did it. Somebody did it. I’m cured!”
She jumped up and started twirling around. She was cured, and that accounted for the slurred words and the feeling of never having walked before.
“Who did it? Who cured me? Is he, she, they around? I want to say thank you. Thank you, God. I am cured!”
She started jumping around again as Jazlyn joined into the fun laughing at her antics.
“Jaz, you will have to go out with me to celebrate. I will take you to the embassy if you want to meet my family and the staff as well as the government officials. Believe me, it’s something everyone should do at least once. Maybe you could take me to some of the places where you hang out.”
Brook sat down hard, a frown replacing the smile. “Sorry, I got carried away. I have been sick for so long my friends stopped calling and coming around. I guess I just got too excited.”
“Don’t be sorry, Brooklyn. For a minute I was caught up with you and wanted to do all those things. I have spent the last several years doing nothing but working. Trying to make my life and the world better. So I don’t have any friends either, just my associates I see at work.”
“Then we will be friends, best friends.” Life was too short, and she was going to take it by the horns and never let go. Things would be different now. Everything she wanted to do she would find time to do now that she had a new lease on life. Now, if only she could find Ash.
“I just want to talk to my parents. How about that phone?”
A sad smile crossed Jazlyn’s face taking away the joy she had been feeling earlier.
“Brooklyn, I hope we can be friends. Besties forever, but I have some news to tell you that may make you change your mind.”
Jaz looked her in the eye wanting her to see how sorry she was.
“Your parents have been dead for centuries.”