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“Look forward to it.
Whether you are a useful experiment or not, we will find out from now on.”

 

*     *     * 

 

I went to Emilian’s room with breakfast.

‘I hope his body is better…’ If the fever was still severe, I thought of going to the director and asking him to skip the experiment for a day. 

‘To be honest, I don’t know if he will allow it.’ Although he regarded Emilian as special, he didn’t cherish him like a precious jewel.
He was a man of results, who thought that it didn’t matter if the subjects got hurt as long as the goal of the experiment could be achieved.

‘Still, since there’s no harm in trying I’ll have to just bring it up.’ After organizing my thoughts, I hurried.
Arriving at Emilian’s room, I carefully looked inside.

‘Are you still sleeping?’ However, contrary to my expectations, the room was empty.

‘Was he taken to the lab already?’

Emilian’s experiment was scheduled after breakfast.
However, depending on the researchers’ circumstances, the schedule was often moved early or delayed.

‘It would have been better to have breakfast first…’

I had no choice but to bring the meal back.
I was about to leave the room after tidying up the messy bedding, but suddenly something got stuck in the cartwheel.
I bent down and picked it up.
It was the towel I left yesterday.
Emilian’s face, panting and suffering from the high fever last night, came to mind.

‘Did the fever go down?’ I hoped so… I left his room with a heavy heart.

I went down to the restaurant, had breakfast, and headed to the laundry room.
Again today, a mountain of laundry piled up in front of my eyes.
I sighed at the huge amount.
The amount of laundry in the laboratory was always this much.
A sigh didn’t change anything, so I diligently picked it up along with the other errand children.
The dirt was removed by soap and force.
After an hour, my arms started to feel numb.
It was winter, and the water was as cold as ice.
It hurt as if dozens of needles were poking through my skin.
I stopped and blew my hands to melt the cold with my warm breath.
Still, the excruciating pain did not go away. If I put my hand in my pockets for five minutes… no, even for just a minute the pain would be lessened.

“Hurry up! Otherwise, there is no lunch!” 

The researcher’s sharp eyes caught me.
I hesitated, then immersed my hand in the cold water again.
A stinging pain spread through both hands.
All of a sudden, sadness waved over me, and the corners of my eyes became moist.
But I quickly swallowed my tears.
I raised my arm and rubbed my eyes with the sleeve, and then moved my hands busily again.
I consciously killed my thoughts and immersed myself in work. 

For us, even time to mourn was a luxury.

 

*     *     *

 

I worked without a break until it was already noon.
I stood up, wiping the drops of sweat from my forehead with my sleeve.

‘I wonder if he’s back to his room by now…’ I suddenly thought of Emilian.
I didn’t know if the kid had overcome the experiment well.
He may not have suffered too much on the first day, but he had a high fever all day yesterday. 

It has been my job to provide meals for the test children for a long time now.
And on the days those children were called to the lab, I was always anxious.

“You’ll have your favorite steak for tonight’s dinner.”

“What? Really?”

“Really really!”

“Hehe.
I’ll be waiting!”

Andy was a brave child.
Although the harsh experiments never stopped, the boy never lost his smile.
On that day too, he smiled and said he would come back.
If I had known that would be our last conversation… I would have told him the words that only lingered in my mouth.
I would have told him that his bright appearance always gave me strength. 

However, this was a place where the boundary between life and death was too easily broken.
Death took children unexpectedly.

‘…Still, Emilian will endure it until the end.’ Trying to calm down and not feel depressed, I headed to his room.
The door creaked open as I turned the key.
I pushed the cart and went inside.

Emilian was lying on the bed.
He tossed and turned a little, but he didn’t look back. 

I put the meal on the table.

“Hey, I brought lunch…”

Emilian didn’t answer.

 

I don’t know Andy, but he made me cry.
I miss you Andy baby!

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