She lay back in the bed, jade eyes flickering about her surroundings. Panic-stricken breaths filled her tiny body. Her arms were stretched out, wrists locked in place by metal cuffs while leather belts bound her to the bed.
She was perfectly restrained, she could barely move at all. Green eyes glanced to the men standing around her in the otherwise empty, white room. She could barely move her head, but managed to track the nearest one with wide, fearful eyes as he approached her, coming to stand beside her.
“No…” she breathed, hoarse voice permeating dry lips. “Not again… not again….”
He stood over her. She saw it in his hand as he moved to hold her still. She winced, eyes shut tight, knowing what would come next, expecting, and dreading it. A sharp pain as she felt it penetrate her. A single tear warmed her face.
The pain intensified. Sharp, hot. The fluid entered her, spread forth within her, burning.
The man removed the syringe from her neck. The pain stabbed her, burned her, kissed her with red-hot pinpricks. Her head was so hot, it felt as though her brain were boiling. Her head split in half, and her sight left her. The whiteness of the room overpowered her senses, blinding her. She knew that she was screaming. She felt it leave her mouth. She felt it in her gut, in her throat, but it never reached her ears.
She was robbed. She had no senses, even her body felt numb.
She had no knowledge of what might be happening to her.
She felt only the pain within, the agony that rocked her entire body, the agony that kept her awake, kept her aware, kept her from the sympathetic embrace of unconsciousness.
It hurt so much, overpowering her. She couldn’t even think, she could only endure, for however long it would last.
She was in hell.
The young man watched through the observation window. He watched as the scientists injected their serums, their drugs into the young girl’s body. The monitoring devices flashed to life, recording her brain activity, her pulse, her hormonal fluctuations and muscle spasms.
They recorded the results of their experiment with little regard to the safety of their specimen, their test animal.
On the surface, the man was just as calm, just as cold, just as objective as any of the other psychopathic scientists; but on the inside, he was a whirlwind of complexes, of issues, of emotions.
Why was he observing this torture? He was a psychiatrist. His field was analysis. Why did he have to witness this horror befalling the young girl? Why was he the one sent to oversee this experiment?
Part of him thought Rexl was messing with him. Had he been sent on purpose, because the older brother wished to torment him?
No, the logical reason was that the girl had been under his care. He had been the one to find her, to bring her in, to hand her over. He was the one she would trust, the one she could confide in. The psychiatrist turned his attention to the girl as she squirmed and cried out, screaming for help, screaming for him, calling his name. This was his fault. This was his punishment, yet the innocent girl was the one paying the price. She was the one being made to suffer.
The psychiatrist watched her as she struggled in her binds. They were treating her like an animal, and she was responding in kind.
Her head twitched frantically as she shifted her attention from one scientist to the other.
One of the men moved to stand over her, her next dose in a syringe behind his back. He saw her shrink back at his approach. She winced at his touch, flinching at his mere presence.
The scientist pushed the needle into her neck and injected her with the clear liquid. The girl slowly opened her eyes as the man backed away. The drug began acting almost instantly. The various monitors jumped to life, reacting before the girl did.
The seizures began within seconds of the injection. The girl’s head rocked back, her mouth opened wide, and she unleashed a deafening, haunting scream. Her body would have whipped about violently enough to injure not only herself, but also anyone near enough to be in range of her thrashing limbs. Fortunately, the leather binds tied her securely to the hospital bed, preventing any such movement, voluntary or not.
All the same, the sight and sound of her spasms, her agony, of what they were forcing her to endure, of what the psychiatrist had thrust upon her… it was distressing to say the least.
He grit his teeth, fists tightening. This was too much. How could they expect to push her this far so soon?
Eventually, the effects died down and the girl was granted a small reprieve. She relaxed in her binds, exhausted. Saliva ran from the corners of her mouth. Tears flowed freely from her bloodshot eyes. Her face was moist with sweat, the overhead lights giving her skin an odd sheen.
Her mouth hung agape and her chest moved up and down with her rapid, deep breathing.
One of the scientists moved to drug her again.
“That’s enough for today,” the psychiatrist said. “Give the order.”
The head scientist in the observation room pressed the intercom and ordered the scientists to hold off on the next dose, before turning back to the psychiatrist. “Dr Poer,” he said, “Are you sure you want to stop? “If we wish to make any progress—“
“Just what kind of progress are you expecting to make in this short amount of time?” Poer demanded. “She’s just a child, not to mention this is her first day. Push her too hard, too soon, and you’re going to kill her.”
“With all due respect, her tolerance is far too low. All of our other specimens can handle—”
“She’s five! Of course her tolerance is low, but I’ll bet she’s held up better than anyone in this room would have at her age. She’s earned a break. At least give her that.”
“I’m not sure the director would agree.”
“The director can kiss my ass!”
“Don’t forget it was the director who—”
“He put me in charge, didn’t he? That means I outrank you.”
“Well, yes, but—“
“And I say we’re done. At least for today. Her treatment hasn’t even started yet. She needs time to build up a tolerance to formula #137.”
“Surely just one more.”
Poer grit his teeth. One hand grabbed at the scientist’s neck, the other at his shoulder. He turned him around and pressed him roughly to the one-way mirror that served as an observation window for the horrific human experiments that were performed here, primarily on convicts and the homeless. More recently however, they had begun taking in forsaken children, street kids, orphans… the powers at be weren’t even opposed to straight up abductions at this point, and gazing at the suffering they were putting this girl through, Poer had to wonder whether it was really worth it. Could any ends possibly justify these means? He turned his attention back to the scientist he had pressed to the window. “Just look at her!” he snarled.
The girl lay back in the bed, still struggling to catch her breath. Her eyes appeared unfocused. Her skin looked pale. Much more so than it had when they’d first started. She looked as though she were going to be sick.
“We give her one more, and we risk permanently damaging her mind, if not destroying it completely.”
“I understand that, Doctor. However, the specimen requires a certain abundance of #137 to remain in her system long enough for the neural mutations to take effect.”
“I realise that, but what’s the rush? I’m in charge of the girl’s care, and I don’t want you taking any unnecessary risks, even if that means proceeding a little slowly. It’s better than turning her into a burned out husk.”
The scientist remained silent, contemplating Poer’s words.
Finally, he conceded. “Very well.” Poer released the scientist, who swiftly returned to the intercom. “That’s all for today. We’re suspending the experiment until tomorrow morning. Keep the specimen under observation until then.” He stepped back from the intercom and turned to Poer. “Is that sufficient?”
“No… but it will have to do. Keep an eye on her for the next couple hours. Make sure she remains stable. Let her get some rest, then I’ll return to see how she’s doing.”
“Of course,” the scientist replied, faux respect dripping from his tone.
Two hours later, Poer returned, allowing himself a satisfied smirk at the looks on the scientist’s faces. He’d allowed the girl a small reprieve, a window of time to rest, but now he was back. He was going in. He would see her, and these scientists would not stand in his way.
“I’m not sure that’s a good idea.”
“Let me guess. You don’t want me getting too close to her, is that about right?”
“Well, there is that…”
Poer ignored him. “I understand. She’s a specimen, a project; not a real person. After all, it’s not as though she’s human. Well, not for much longer anyway. A certain level of detachment is required to do what is necessary, to nurture the beast within into a controllable drone. Believe me, I get it.”
The man’s smirk widened, eyes narrowing. “Unfortunately, I just don’t buy into my brother’s bullshit the way all of you peons do. And since he, in all his infallible wisdom, has decided to put me in charge, you have no choice but to humour my eccentricities.
“Relax, you’re working too hard. Take a break.” The man dropped the false smile. “That’s an order.”
The head scientist glared at his counterpart, not that he had a choice in the matter. Poer did, after all, have complete authority to intervene on behalf of the subject’s wellbeing. Most overseers were there as a formality, but understood that the research always came first. This one was weird. Why did Director Poer place his bleeding heart brother in charge of the girl? The situation reeked of backroom politics. Still, there was nothing that could be done about it now.
“You heard the man,” the scientist announced. “Overseer Poer is taking over. You’re all free to go.” He lowered his voice, openly glaring at the psychiatrist. “Of course you realise, I will be reporting this, and that scene from earlier as well.”
“Feel free,” Poer replied, completely unfazed. “I fully expect you to. I just hope you realise that I’m doing you a favour here.” He nodded to the observation window. “She’s no good to us dead. You push her to far too fast, and you may just find yourself out of a job.”
Feeling the eyes of the scientists burning holes through the shirt on his back, Poer ignored them and proceeded through the door into the research chamber.
All eyes turned to him as he walked through the door.
“How is she?” he asked one of the men standing around the girl. Her wide eyes moved frantically between him and the others, as though expecting something to happen.
“She’s fine,” one of the scientists replied.
“Is that her opinion, or yours?”
“She’s was asleep up until twenty minutes ago.”
“Has she said anything?”
“No. She’s probably a little frightened.”
“Frightened? Traumatised is the word I would use. She doesn’t know why she’s here, why she’s strapped down, or what we’ve been drugging her with. Of course she’s afraid. A little empathy does wonders. Why don’t you try it?”
“She’s fine,” the scientist replied, ignoring Poer’s argument entirely. “She’s dehydrated, and her voice seems a little hoarse. Not surprising, considering all the screaming she’s been doing, but other than that, she’s fine.”
“All the same, I’d like to have a doctor take a look at her, just to make sure she’s doing okay.”
The scientist’s eyes narrowed. “I am a doctor.”
“Got it. You’re being too easy on her. You know that? None of the other specimens get special treatment. What makes this one so special?”
Poer looked into the girl’s eyes; his: empty, unreadable; hers: Wide, weary, anxious. “I’m the one who brought her here. I feel responsible.”
“Precisely why you shouldn’t be involved.”
“Enough, we’re finished for today. You can untie her.”
“Overseer, we have specific instructions. Specimens are not to be left unbound or unattended.”
“She won’t be unattended. I’ll stay with her, and since I’m in charge here, you have no choice. Do as I say.”
“If you plan to go over my head, then I can’t really stop you. But for now, untie her… and leave us.”
The men grudgingly did as they were ordered.
The moment the girl’s belts and shackles were removed, she curled herself up, knees rising to her chest, arms tightly hugging her legs.
Poer eyed her with sympathy. She was too young and innocent for this. She should never have been subjected to this hell, but here she was. “Leave us, and turn off the surveillance in this room, would you? She could use…” he turned to face the other men. “Give us some privacy. We don’t need the cameras on her during down time.” The scientists all shared a glance, but did as they were told.
One month later
Poer made his way into the girl’s chamber once again. It was a common occurrence. He’d being doing this for a few weeks now, so the scientists outside her door didn’t even bat an eyelid as he passed.
Stepping into the chamber, the doctor glanced upon the young girl’s nude form. She was strapped down to the bed, vulnerable once again. “Hey,” he called to her, announcing his presence. “It’s me, it’s Ollie.” The girl didn’t acknowledge him. She simply lay in her binds. The dosage of formula #137 had gone steadily up. The way she just lay there, it was as if her mind were gone. Ollie had to wonder just how much the formula had damaged her brain. It was experimental, but not untested. The unfortunate souls to be exposed to the earlier concoctions had suffered horrific side-effects. #137 was tame by comparison, but far from safe, and the dosage had been upped considerably.
It was required to form the bonds in her genetic code, and they were far from finished, but they were certainly making progress, and quickly. A little too quickly for Ollie Poer.
“Rose? How are you feeling?” The girl ignored him. “Look, I don’t envy what you’re going through. I hate it, but you’re doing really well. I want to help you however I can, that’s why I’m here. Now, how can I do that if you won’t even talk to me?”
Finally, the girl spoke. “You want to help? Then let me go.”
Ollie sighed, eyeing her dejectedly. Her tone was dull, monotonous, void of life. “You know I can’t do that.”
“I won’t tell anyone what happens here, I promise.” Silence came between them. Ollie saw something cross her mind. He saw it in her expression. A memory, a thought. He couldn’t tell what it was, and he doubted the girl would be willing to talk about it. “I’m good at keeping secrets.” The girl looked straight into his eyes. Hers lacked the fear they’d contained when she first arrived, but they also lacked the hope, the faith that someone would save her, that Ollie would save her. Enduring his silent gaze for long enough, she eventually turned away from him. “If you won’t let me go, then just leave me alone.” She was done pleading with him. Her tone fell cold once more.
Ollie’s hand clenched into a fist. She didn’t trust him. He couldn’t blame her, but still… “I’m on your side here, don’t shut me out. Please, let me help you. I can ease your pain.”
“Is that what you call it? Go to hell.” Ollie stared at the young girl, shocked that she would say such a thing. He opened his mouth to appeal, but what could he do, this entire situation was down to him. What defence did he have?
The girl remained silent. He could no longer glance upon her face, no longer look into those magnificent green eyes.
“Look, it’s not just me, we’re all part of something bigger. We’re all just cogs in the grand machine. I can’t let you just leave, but maybe there’s something else I can do. I mean, I am in charge of your well-being.”
“You don’t seem to be doing a very good job.”
“You’re still alive, aren’t you?”
Ollie felt a pang in his heart at the implication of that remark. “I’m sorry… but I’ve done the best I can on your behalf. If it weren’t for my stepping in, you’d be a lot worse off than you are now.”
“So I should thank you?”
“No… but…” the man sighed. “If I weren’t here, the experiments would be even worse.”
“They are worse. Every day gets worse.”
“Try to understand… I know you’re suffering, and I’m doing everything I can to reduce that.”
“I get it, you’re on my side. You can make everything better, right?”
“She told me you’d say that.”
“…Who?” Ollie didn’t like this. To whom had the girl been talking? There shouldn’t have been anyone else coming through here.
“She told me what you’d say, and she told me what you’d do. Is this the part where you make it all better, or the part where you take your reward, or are they one and the same?”
“My reward? What are you… who have you been talking to?”
“Someone who actually cares about me. Someone who wants to make things better. Someone who doesn’t want to hurt me. I want her… not you.”
“Her? You mean…” Ollie narrowed his eyes. “What’s she been telling you?!” Ollie stood over the girl, grasping her by the shoulders. “Tell me!” he demanded.
The girl stared helplessly up at him, tears in her eyes. “I didn’t want to believe, but it’s true, isn’t it? You’re…” her voice became faint. Her eyes shut tight, and the tears trickled through the cracks in her dam. “You’re the same as him.”
“The same as who?”
“Daddies keep the little girl safe. Daddies protect the little girl. Daddies love the little girl, but… I don’t want you to.”
What was she saying? Ollie didn’t understand, she wasn’t making any sense. The girl’s eyes were pleading him, but he didn’t know what she wanted. He released his hold on her and stepped backward.
“Don’t do it, not again. I don’t want another Daddy. It’s too painful. Don’t make me do it!” The girl’s eyes shut tight, tears still streaming.
“Daddy keeps the little girl safe,” spoke a voice, coming from behind. Ollie turned to see her walking toward them. Fiery, long red hair, pulled back in a high ponytail, only to flare out behind her in thick, voluminous waves, running down her back. She wore thick rimmed glasses, and the heels of her knee-high leather boots clacked loudly against the reflective floor with every step she took. The low-cut, sleeveless top she wore, as tight as it was, barely managed to contain the woman’s ample bosom.
To keep some semblance of professionalism, she at least wore the customary white lab coat, open, naturally, revealing her choices in attire that were, suffice it to say, less than conservative.
“But who keeps the little girl safe from Daddy, hmm?” she continued.
“Mummy,” Ollie concluded, following the woman’s childish logic. So this was the one to whom Rose was referring. This was the person that had filled her head with god-knew what. Just what had she been telling her?
“That’s right. Daddies may keep the little girl safe from all who might harm her, but when Daddy is the one hurting her, that’s when it’s time for Mummy to step in.”
“So that’s why you’re here? To protect her? No. I’m the one looking out for her. I’m protecting her from those bastards,” he gestured to the one-way mirror. “I’ll protect her from everything!”
“Commendable. But who protects her from you, and what, I shudder to ask, do you seek from her in return?”
Ollie grit his teeth. “Just what are you insinuating?”
“We all know about your perverse nature.”
“Perverse nature? Spare me the usual seven course bullshit, I have no idea what you’re even on about!”
“Oh my, but do mind your language in front of the child. You said it yourself. You wish to protect the girl from the evils of this facility, but look at the position you were just in. Don’t think I haven’t been watching you. Leering down at her, holding her roughly by the shoulders while she cries and begs you to stop, to leave her. Who is there to protect her from you?”
“That’s your role, I suppose. We don’t need you. I’d never do anything to hurt this girl!”
“All evidence to the contrary. Why don’t we ask the girl what she wants? Will she go with Mummy, or with Daddy?”
Ollie sighed. He couldn’t believe he was entertaining this mad woman’s scheme. Who knew what nonsense she’d filled the girl’s head with? It was clear that Rose had been brainwashed against him, but it was still her right to choose. Who was he to deny her? If he tried, even to protect her, even if it were for her benefit, she’d only resent him for it. Either way, he’d fallen head first into this woman’s trap. He had no hope of comforting Rose when she didn’t even trust him. He looked down to her, resigning them both to the inevitable. “Well?” he asked.
Rose looked between the two adults. “You said you’d help me anyway you can?”
“That’s right,” Ollie replied. It’s not like I can break you out of here, and I can’t stop them from hurting you, not completely, but I’ll do anything to make you more comfortable and minimise the pain… as long as it’s in my power.”
“Then… leave.” Ollie stared at the girl, disappointed, but not surprised.
“You’re sure?” Rose nodded her affirmation in return.
“Daddy keeps the little girl safe from the world. Mother keeps her safe from Daddy. It’s time for Daddy to go.”
“You see?” the woman remarked. Rose has made her decision. Respect it. She doesn’t need you anymore, it’s me she wants.”
“I don’t know what you’ve done to her,” Ollie threatened, closing in on the strange woman, boiling beneath the surface, under a veneer of calm, “but I’m getting to the bottom of this, you can count on that.” Ollie gave one final, fleeting glance to the young girl, his eyes softening as they met her, the same way they always did. He caressed her cheek, her ear, her hair. He looked into those magnificent emerald eyes for the final time. If only he could have been what she needed. If only he could have taken her away and loved her like his own, given her a family, a home. He could have done that. They could have been a family, but this place wouldn’t allow it, his brother wouldn’t allow it, and the powers above wouldn’t allow it.
This place was cruel. What they were doing was for the betterment of mankind, so why did it feel so wrong?
If only the world were fair.
Ollie gave one final sigh and said his goodbyes to the girl before turning to leave, internally vowing that he would be back. The woman claimed to be protecting Rose from him, but Ollie knew that she wouldn’t hesitate to personally torture the girl if it produced the desired result. Hell, the sociopath would probably derive pleasure out of it. She was a known sadist, after all, and she’d called him a pervert. Just what kind of rumours had she been spreading? Ollie didn’t want to know… but it might have explained all the funny looks he’d been getting. Ollie knew his brother had to have had a hand in this. He had to do something. He had to save Rose, from the both of them.
It was time the brothers had a serious talk.
“This was your doing, wasn’t it!” Ollie demanded, glaring at his brother.
The elder barely looked up from his computer screen to acknowledge the disruption.
“If looks could kill, little brother, you’d be a murderer, I’m sure. Can this wait?”
“No it can’t wait! I want to know why you’ve allowed that sadistic bitch to descend upon the girl.”
“I’ve received complaints. It would seem you are unsuitable to oversee Project Rose.”
“Why, because I care more about her survival than her role as a guinea pig?”
“If you are unwilling to do what is necessary, then perhaps you would be best placed on a less essential project. Rose must be a success. She will pave the way for the future. It has been made clear that you stand in the way of progress. If you will not allow her to fill her role, then I will find someone who will.
“Why are you talking as though you haven’t done it already? If it weren’t for me reigning in those scientists of yours, that girl wouldn’t even be alive; and if by some miracle she were, she’d be a drooling simpleton by now.”
“So you say, but there is another reason for this change. I have heard complaints of a… different nature. I take it you don’t approve of your successor?”
“She’s a sadist.”
“True, but she will get results, one way or another.”
“Even if she breaks the girl?”
“And it helps that she’s a woman,” the elder brother continued, ignoring Ollie’s interjection.
“What does that have to do with anything?”
“When a girl has been abused, particularly by an older man, it is customary for a female social worker to handle her case, is it not?”
“Abused…? but… No!” The younger brother could only stare in horror at the accusation made against him. “You can’t think… I’d never hurt that girl. I have a wife, a child of my own. You know that as well as anyone, you’re my brother for fuck’s sake!”
Rexl raised a hand to silence him. “Calm down, Little Ollie. I don’t believe it for one second. If I did, you would not be here, and you would not have had any involvement in Project Rose at all. I’m just letting you know the kinds of complaints and rumours that are stacking up against you.”
“So… now what?”
“Since you are no longer in charge of that girl, find yourself another. Project Rose is to be our grand triumph, but we need other subjects to run preliminary tests.”
“Guinea pigs, you mean. Disposable rats you test your drugs on so you don’t accidentally kill your true prize. I suppose I should be grateful that you seem to care about her survival, at least.”
“I wish you wouldn’t refer to them with such a base term.”
“It’s true though, isn’t it? You’re going to torture and destroy who knows how many, just to find out what works and what doesn’t.”
“Of course. You said it yourself, after all. It won’t do for that girl to die. Project Rose is my legacy, my crowning achievement. We can’t risk killing her, but at the same time, we can’t be too cautious. Project rose must survive, and her augmentations must be perfect. That will require trial and error; a risky business, given that one critical mistake could risk irrevocably breaking the subject’s mind. That said, while we can’t take unnecessary risks with Rose, the other specimens are all expendable.”
Ollie narrowed his eyes. This insanity couldn’t continue. Why were they even discussing it? “What if I say no? I never wanted any part of this madness.”
“That would be unfortunate. None of us are innocent here. If word got out about what we’re doing, I’m certain we’d all be charged with crimes against humanity, and you’re about as far within the inner circle as one can get.” Rexl motioned for his brother to look at his monitor.
Ollie walked around his brother’s desk and looked at the screen; he saw two girls, similar in age to Rose, maybe a few years off. They were sedated, unconscious, strapped down and nude, also like Rose, but that wasn’t the worst of it. He recognised these girls, both of them.
Eyes narrowed, teeth grit, he pulled his brother out of his seat.
“What’s going on here?” he demanded. “What kind of man involves his own child in this?”
“Are you saying that it would be better to use another person’s child?”
“No, of course not! We shouldn’t be using children at all! We shouldn’t be doing any of this!”
“And yet, here we are. We’ve come this far, we can’t go back; none of us can.”
“What is this… insurance?”
“In a sense.”
Ollie shook his head, backing away from his brother. The man was insane. “I’m not torturing and drugging my own daughter.”
“You won’t have to. Your child will be under my personal care.” Ollie blanched. With Ollie, she may have stood a chance, but… his brother was ruthless. He had no concerns about the safety or emotional state of a subject, they were just specimens to him, no different from insects. “You will oversee mine.”
“To what end? Why do this? Why bring our children into this mess?!”
“Don’t be so emotional. You are to oversee the treatment of my own daughter. Don’t think I take that lightly. Your methods are slow, cautious, ineffective. Still, if anything should go wrong… I intend Project Rose to be our crowning achievement, but what if you’re right? In your absence, what if she should be pushed too far? What if she should break, or die, or the experiment result in a critical failure? It doesn’t hurt to have a backup.” The man spoke as though the girls weren’t even real people, let alone family. He treated them like pawns, like rats. Didn’t he spare any thought to the consequences of his actions?
“And what of the other?”
“Your daughter… shall be overseen by yours truly. Treat this as a side-experiment. We shall see whose methods prove best.”
“How… my wife…”
“She has been dealt with.”
“She’s what? No. She never liked me working with you, she doesn’t trust you.”
“She always hated me,” Rexl corrected.
“She’s a good judge of character. There’s no way she would simply hand our child over to you, or your thugs.”
“You’re right. The foolish woman tried to resist. That was a mistake.”
Ollie’s blood ran cold, his hair stood on end, face drained, hard eyes stared into his brothers indifferent orbs. “What have you done,” he demanded, “Where is my wife!”
“As I said, she resisted. She’s been dealt with.”
Ollie felt a shiver run down his spine, he stepped back, head shaking. This was unfathomable. “I should kill you,” he stated. His voice was no longer emotional, it was cold, low, threatening. He meant what he said.
“I wouldn’t be so rash. Can you follow through with such a threat? Should you even consider it, your daughter’s fate will be sealed. Should you attack me, harm my child out of spite, or interfere with Project Rose in any way… remember that your young, innocent daughter’s fate rests in my hands.” The man spoke in a dull monotone. They could have been discussing the weather. “Give me just one reason, any reason at all to doubt your loyalty… and she will die.”
Ollie stared at his brother, shocked, flabbergasted. Had he… had he heard that right?
“That is all,” Rexl dismissed him in that same bored tone, returning to his work. “You may leave.”
Ollie backed out of the room. What more could he do? There were now three children he had to somehow protect from this strange sickness he called a brother. But how? What could he do, powerless as he was?
Things were… they were worse than Ollie could have ever imagined. Much, much worse.