In Time: The Awakening
Cage opened his eyes. His flesh ached. Bandages covered his body. The light hurt his eyes so he closed them, and then opened them slowly. Two people hovered nearby in white jackets. He stared, his mouth working as if it had forgotten how to talk.
“Who-who-who?” he stammered, his tongue feeling thick and foreign in his mouth.
“We are scientists, and you are very lucky to be alive,” one of the white jackets answered. Cage shook his head once. He lifted his finger and pointed to himself, his eyebrow arched in question.
“Your memory is gone. You have been reinvented.”
“Reinvented?” Cage’s hands flew across his body. It did not feel any different to him. He did notice the steam above his head, however. His eyebrows arched together.
“Yes, reinvented. We had to replace flesh with steel, and your new destiny has been decided.” the scientist stated gruffly. “Your fate lies beyond that door.”
For the first time, Cage took in his surroundings. The room seemed harsh and artificial with it’s wall to wall steel. Doors aligned one wall, also made of steel. Various machines scattered around the room operated curiously without steam.
“What is this place?” He asked. Another white jacket came over to him.
“Please, let me check your vitals before your new life begins.” Her blonde hair brushed her shoulders as she reached out and touched Cage’s arm. She fitted a strange black material around his upper arm and he felt it squeeze. Uncomfortable, he tried to pull it off unsuccessfully.
“What is this? Where am I?” his blue eyes pleaded with hers for answers. She smiled and took pity on him.
“This is a blood pressure cuff. It’s used to check blood pressure. You are in a hospital room, and just beyond that door lies Clockworks, where you will begin your life as the Time Keeper, protecting time forever.”
Shallow clarity hit him and he remembered glimpses of his final moments. He closed his eyes and hung his head in shame.
“What is it?” she whispered.
“I lost the magnet.”
He heard a soft gasp behind him. The woman nodded.
“Yes, we are aware. There’s a bit of surprise that you remember anything, but all is as it should be. Nothing has happened that isn’t supposed to.” She patted his shoulder in comfort. “Don’t worry about it now. Everything you need is right outside that door.”
Cage’s eyes drifted to the door again. It did not look like any door he was accustomed to. There was no handle, and the doors did not meet evenly in the middle. He let his eyes lock on the door as the woman finished poking and probing his body. He did not even flinch when she put the cold circular metal disk to his chest.
“Everything looks great,” she said. She lifted a ruby shirt and stonewashed denim pants from a shelf underneath the table and handed them to Cage. “This will help you look more normal to the world out there. That long brown trench coat and the hat hanging by the door are yours, too. Dress quickly. Time is wasting.”
Cage grunted as he slowly shifted his weight off the table he was sitting on. The steel combined with flesh felt awkward, and he pitched forward slightly. The woman reached out to grab him. The man in the white jacket rushed to his side. Together they steadied him.
The white jackets began talking about him as if he was not there.
“Maybe he’s not ready yet.”
“Maybe you didn’t proportion the steel enough and he will never walk straight.”
“I know what I’m doing. He just needs to learn his balance, like riding a bike.”
“I disagree. After all, he still has memories, and we were to make sure there were none.”
“The brain is a powerful, mysterious thing. You know that. Besides, its only one small memory. The magnet is his destiny. He will probably never forget about it.”
They moved away from Cage as they talked, allowing their voices to get softer and softer. He startled when he realized they were whispering yet he could hear everything as if they stood next to him.
“I can hear everything you are saying,” he said, his words bouncing from the steel and slicing through the air like an icicle. He took two tentative steps forward, lurched once, and regained his balance on his own. He let his feet guide him as he turned. “There is no need to argue. I know I am ready to go through the door, yet I have no weapons to protect me, only these strange clothes you asked me to put on. I have steel where my heart used to be, and my hearing is more acute than ever. I understand my destiny. The greatest problem here is not whether anyone made any mistakes,” he let his eyes capture the woman’s before he finished, “but that I know not what waits on the other side.”
It has been a very, very long time since I worked on this story. I decided that Viola Grace, Cage (aka The Time Keeper), Father Lee, and crew needed closure so I turned it into my NaNoWriMo project this year. It’s been moving along well, and I’m really enjoying writing. Anyway, there are tons of gaps between this scene and that one, and Cage needed his history established after Viola Grace throws him off the train. It just happened to fit in perfectly with this week’s Master Class assignment so you get to see a sample of my NaNo project and my MC prompt requirements are satisfied, too. How’s that for killing two birds with one stone?
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