I lay back on the grassy hill and twirled the flower between my fingers: clockwise, counterclockwise; back and forth. The petals were thin and splayed out from the centre. Pretty.

"There you are." It was Nurse Williams. I didn't bother turning my head, just held the flower in front of my face, staring. She moved beside me and sat down holding her knees to her chest. "That's a pretty flower you've got there."

"Yes," I responded. Sitting up, I let go of the flower and watched it float away on the breeze.

"Time to go inside." I stiffened as the nurse put her hand heavily on my shoulder. I let her guide me inside by my elbow.

Blinding pain, screaming, blood. I didn't bother to beg for them to stop this time. They said it would help me. I had to be good for mommy and daddy. It would be over soon.

The grass felt prickly as I lay back on the hill. The new dressings were stained a faint pink. Either they're not using enough or the amount of blood had increased again. I reminded myself to show the nurse.

A bird was pecking at the ground a little ways away. I thought the bird was looking at me from its shiny black eyes. I waved at the bird and it flew away.

"What're you looking at?" It was Nurse Henderson. I didn't like her. She was big and fierce. She frightened me.

"Bird," I replied. I lifted one arm limply and gestured at the black form soaring over the wall. The nurse made a little understanding noise. "Why do they get to go over the wall?" I asked her.

"They're just birds," she told me. "You need to be here."

It's what your parents would want. I filled in the ending. They've been telling me that since the beginning.

Sitting in the white rooms inside you hear things: the nurses passing through the halls, the doctors, the officials, and the investors.

"It's time to go inside," the nurse said to me. I looked back mildly mortified.

"But, we already did them," I protested.

"Yes, but somebody very important is coming to watch." She thought her tone was reassuring. "Now, don't cry. It'll be okay."

"Subject 00."

"Is the subject ready?"

"Isn't anaesthesia used?"

"No, it interferes with the process."

"Start the drill."

"That sound is ghastly."

"The drill is a bit shrill sounding."

"No, I meant the child. It's ridiculous. That much noise."

"Begin procedure."

"What's happening?"

"I-I've never seen that before."

"We've never done two experiments in one day, sir."

"I don't care. Keep going."

"The subject won't survive."

"Fine. Send the reports to my office."

"Yes, sir."

It hurt. Every breath came in short, sharp gasps. There were more bandages this time. I felt like a mummy from those books the nurses would sometimes read to me. The grass felt like little needles.

"Are you okay?" It was Nurse Rosenbaum. She was younger than the others, and the only one who wore black shoes, said the white ones hurt her feet. I thought she was pretty, but she always had such sad eyes. She slowly walked over and tentatively held my hand. Tears streamed down her face.

"It's to help me, right?" I smiled at her. She squeezed my hand and lifted me to my feet. I inhaled sharply.

"Let's go," she whispered and pulled at my arm.

"Where?" I asked.

She didn't respond, but pulled me towards a heavy metal door in the wall. She tapped something on a number pad and pulled me into the room beyond.

"Nurse Rosenbaum." It was Nurse Henderson, her voice was sharp. Nurse Rosenbaum looked scared, her eyes big and wide. Nurse Henderson spoke into her walkie-talkie and Nurse Williams appeared. "Take 00 back to its room," she said gesturing at me.

Nurse Williams gripped me by the arm and pulled me through the doorway. I looked back at Nurse Rosenbaum and her eyes were sad again. I smiled at her to make her feel better. It only made her look sadder.

I fell asleep on my bed after Nurse Williams brought me back to my room. When I woke up it was morning. I looked out my window at the garden below. In the little path of flowers under the grassy hill there was something white, I could make out black shoes.

Nurse Henderson entered my room. "Good morning."

"There's something in the garden," I told her.

"Don't be ridiculous," she said. She pulled the blind down and walked out the door. "Come."

"There was a flaw in the design. We've corrected that now."

"Subject 01 was also subject to these flaws?"

"Yes. We tried to revive it, but two procedures in a day…"

"Damn. They're expensive to make."

"Yes, but with the new corrections, it'll be more efficient."


"What should we do with 00, though?"

"Well, it's just the prototype, right?"


"Well, it's of no use anymore."


"Start production on the next generation, and get rid of 00."

"Of course."

"Administering intravenous."

"Good. Incinerate the body. It's expensive to haul stuff out."

"Yes, sir."

"I'll be expecting the next generation prototype soon."

"As soon as possible."



"Make sure to dispose of the rest of this generation."

"Right away."

"Don't be discouraged, but get it right this time."

"Yes, sir."