The night had started out normal, as normal as any night gets for college freshmen. They had gone out to some party, and on their way back, stumbling home stoned and laughing, Jeremy tripped. Which made them laugh even harder. Michael wasn’t a fan of parties, but it was okay if he had Jeremy with him. Jeremy pulled him by his hand down to the ground, and they were giggling again, and Jeremy kissed his cheek, and as the two boys stood up, Michael tripped, and stumbled into Jeremy. They really were making a lot of noise as they walked back to their shared apartment.
They didn’t even realize the man creeping up behind them, in all black, who was quite suspicious. He was shocked that the two of them didn’t even see him, or notice he was there. They were easy targets.
Michael had a bag of Ring-Pops in his bag, from a trip to the dollar store earlier that week. He grinned, pulling one of the candies out of the bag, stopping Jeremy and kneeling in front of him. He was about to jokingly ask Jeremy to marry him, when he saw the man in all black. Michael’s eyes widened in fear as he frantically grabbed his boyfriend’s hand, and ran as fast as he could. Frankly, the two of them weren’t the fastest when it came to running, if it was video games, that was another situation. Jeremy sputtered, whipping his head back to see the man who had started to chase them, and he screamed, running after Michael in pure fear. Adrenaline from a weird guy following you through the city at nearly three in the morning on a Friday night did crazy things to your body. The two of them were running down the street, tripping over lines in the sidewalk, but they weren’t fast enough to outrun him.
The man caught up with the two of them, hitting Michael over the head, and grabbing Jeremy in a chokehold so he had to watch as his boyfriend crumpled to the ground unconscious, before pulling a rag soaked in chloroform against his face, for five minutes, before he passed out too.
“I have two, you know my location. Two men, around twenty, freshmen in college, they’re dating from what I can tell. Come pick them up.” He put the phone back into his pocket, before kicking Jeremy’s side roughly, where he was laying across Michael’s body. They were surely unconscious, no waking them up now.
He waited for ten minutes, nobody walked past or showed up, before the familiar black canopied truck showed up, another man stepped out to help drag the bodies into the back of the truck, before using zip-ties to bind their wrists and ankles together. They were not getting away, at all. Not like the last two. The two men nodded at each other before the driver stepped back into the truck, and the man in black continued back down the street, disappearing again.
Jeremy woke up in the back of a vehicle somewhere, and Michael was sitting against one of the doors, head against his knees. Was he crying? He looked around, trying to figure out where they were, when the brakes slammed, and both of them were sent sliding to the side, and Michael hit his head against the door that covered the back of wherever they were, and he cursed. It looked like his glasses were broken, he’d have a hard time seeing. Had they been kidnapped? The thought raced through Jeremy’s head and he started to panic, again. It only worsened when someone slammed their hand into the side of the trunk, and another opened the doors. Michael squinted at them, his eyes adjusting to the fluorescent light, but Jeremy already knew who they were.
The people who had designed the Squips. Why?
Because the person standing directly in front of them, looked identical to the squip. Or, identical to Keanu Reeves? Who knows, but they looked like the demonic computer that had taken residence in Jeremy’s brain for almost three months.
This wasn’t good, at all.
The tall person smirked, waving their hand as a beckoning to men behind them, who roughly grabbed Jeremy and Michael. They were in too much shock to protest as they were dragged along concrete floors, bright white lights illuminated everything, and it hurt to look at. Jeremy’s knees scraped along the concrete, and they stung through the rips in his jeans. Going to that party was a really, really bad idea. Shit.
“Laura, take the one in blue and put him under T.S, and Marc, put the red one under the simulation, got it?”
“Yes,” The two of them said in sync, as a tall woman grabbed Jeremy’s arm, and another man grabbed Michael’s arm. All Michael wanted to do was fight back, grab Jeremy, and get the hell out of this place. “He will be under the serum’s influence in about fifteen minutes, you can check up on him then if you want, S”
“Excellent Laura, I will be there soon, after I see the results of the simulation. After they’re both finished, swap them, so blue is on the simulation, and red is on T.S.”
“We- We have names-” Michael hissed, trying to bite Marc’s arm, and it didn’t work, clearly, as Marc slapped Michael’s face, and laughing as he teared up.
“Don’t say that!” Jeremy responded, just wanting to cooperate, the faster whatever they were doing, the faster they could leave.
Or so he thought.
The lady, Laura, was quite polite as she led him through the facility. She didn’t drag him, or push him, she helped him up off the ground and supported his shoulder as he walked where he was instructed. Laura led him to a small room, the size of a small kitchen, with a dentist looking chair and a small stool on wheels, with multiple computers and wires. Jeremy panicked. The computers were very high tech, and glowed a slight teal, and it reminded him all too much of USB who could not be named. Jeremy shivered as Laura told him to sit in the chair. He listened, not wanting to get hurt anymore. His mouth still stung like chemicals.
“So, let’s get this started” She said with a grin, taking a syringe that had a violet tinted liquid in it, and pushing it into his arm. Jeremy winced, and tried not to cry out. She really didn’t care where she stabbed him! Laura looked at him, before back at the needle, pushing down on one end so the serum filled Jeremy’s blood. He could feel it moving through his blood and it was extremely uncomfortable. It moved slowly, and made his muscles feel like jelly. This was bad, really really bad.
“Alright, so let’s start this so they aren’t mad with the results. Do be aware that there are cameras recording everything that happens in this room, try to escape and you will not like the results. First, how old are you and what is your name?”
“I… I’m twenty, my name is Jeremy- Jeremy Liam Heere…”
“Wonderful! Thank you Jeremy, second, what is your relationship to the other person you were brought in with? Do not lie, or you will be shocked, and you wouldn’t like that would you?”
“No- No, Michael he’s my boyfriend of two and a half years.”
“Good, have you taken any, how shall I put it, suspicious pills in your life?”
“Yes, in high school, called a squip.”
“Well, we developed that! Except that was in Japan, before we moved our branch here, for better results. What is your biggest fear?”
“Biggest fear? Oh, uh, um, cyborgs honestly, because of the squip.”
“Perfect. Do you want to protect Michael from anything that can harm him?”
“Of course! I love him why wouldn’t I?”
“Just a question Jeremy. Do you have any family members?”
“Yes, my dad, my mom left us when I was ten.”
“Alright, they may come in and ask you other questions, be prepared to answer them mister Heere.”
Across the building, Michael was forcefully dragged to a large room, covered in mirrors, and he could see how wrecked he looked. A huge bruise on the side of his head, and looking at the cut above it made him feel sick. How long had he been knocked out for the bleeding to stop? It was an ugly gash across his forehead. Marc pushed him down onto a chair, and strapped his arms down to the arm rests, and Michael knew, he was fucked. This was bad, really fucking bad. If they hurt Jeremy or wrecked his hoodie, he promised himself that he’d kill them.
Marc pushed his shoulders back, and attacked wires to his head and pushed some kind of needle into his skull, it hurt like a bitch, and Michael could see what he was seeing reflected onto monitors. That was trippy. He pulled his sleeve up, before putting what looked like an IV needle into Michael’s arm. The last thing Michael remembered before passing out again, was hoping Jeremy was okay. God he hoped his boyfriend was alright.
The darkness swallowed him, and suddenly he was falling. He couldn’t stop falling, and he could hear the voices of everyone he knew mocking him and laughing at how helpless he was, before he hit the ground, and the ground around him was covered in tiny little holes. That in itself made Michael panic, why now of all times did is phobia have to pop up?
“Michael, oh Michael,” It was Jeremy, oh god he was safe, walking towards Michael. “You know, you really aren’t worth my time, I can’t stand you, I hate you, you know that? You’re so scared of me leaving you again, like Halloween, junior year. You don’t know that it will be much much worse than that-”
“Liar! Liar you aren’t Jeremy- He wouldn’t say that!”
“You’re lying to yourself Michael, you know that. I deserve so much better than you- It’s only a matter of time before I leave you all on your own. Again.” The presumed to be Jeremy faded out of sight, as fire filled the room, roaring and crackling as it slowly climbed up the walls of the room he was in, that looked like a destroyed underground parking lot, with cracks and fissures in the floor and marble sized holes everywhere.
What was happening?
The fire crept up around him, flashing the faces of his friends, and pictures from- oh god how did they even get pictures of the fire? Everyone was too concerned with getting out to take pictures, how did they get them? The faces laughed at him, as a sticky liquid came out of the holes, making awful noises, like nails on a chalkboard, clanging metal, and shattering glass.
“Fuck- shit, shit shit shit!” Michael was panicking, he couldn’t breathe and his heart was pounding. Soon enough his panic attack would end up in hallucination, which made him panic even more. He was terrified of his hallucinations. He tried to push the fire back, away from him, and it just burned his hands.
His head was bleeding again, the blood was flowing quickly down his face, and Michael felt so dizzy he collapsed to the ground, the blackness surrounding him again.
“Perfect. He’s scared of abandonment, fire, hallucinating and holes, interesting combination… Find out anything more on the way his brain operates, put him under the serum as well. Report back to me on his state after the exposure to it, and have Laura bring me the results of the other’s simulation, we have to start the mutations as soon as we can to quickly extract the chemicals.”
“Yes, as you wish.” Marc nodded, as Michael blinked back to consciousness, looking around the room again, in confusion. His head hurt, shit it really was bleeding again, he could taste the copper on his tongue. He felt like he was going to pass out, looking at Marc curiously as he swapped the fluid in the tube from whatever had been in there before, for a violet one. Michael grumbled, still extremely dizzy from the blood loss.
“What’s your name and how old are you.”
“Michael Mell, I’m twenty, turning twenty one in May, also do you have a bandaid? I’m loosing a lot of blood here man, I’m also gay and a stoner”
“Okay, the last answers were not required, and I can give you a cloth to cover the wound.”
“That would be peachy my man”
“Stop being sarcastic, Mell. What is your relation to the other boy we brought in with you?”
“Oh, he’s my boyfriend!”
“Right, do you have any family?”
“Uh, my moms? They’re on vacation right now, but they’ll-”
“Do I look like I care? I was high and having fun before this and now I’m being experimented on by some creepy people and I can hardly see anything because you dick heads broke my glasses throwing me into the back of that truck! I’m a human, not a sack of potatoes- wait no you’d handle potatoes with more care than a human considering how you’re treating me!” Michael was cut off from his rant by Marc hitting him again, effectively shutting him up. Well apparently it was some kind of serum to get him to tell the truth, huh. They must be doing some fucked up shit here.
“Jeremy, please, please be okay….”
Back with Jeremy, Laura had just set up more monitors, after the tall person had come in, and introduced themself as “S” and only S. Weird name huh… Laura had talked to them, before taking more wires and putting them on Jeremy’s head, sticking a needle into the skin, and Jeremy winced, as she quickly hooked up an IV to his arm, he began to worry about what they were doing to Michael.
“This will hurt for a second Jeremy, try to relax.”
“Also, your mother says hi,” Was the last thing he heard before he was surrounded by black. When he opened his eyes, he was surrounded by circuit boards, glowing blue and crackling with sparks. Like the squip when they got mad. Oh god were they back in his head? Trying to hurt him again- Wait, Michael was there, oh thank god Michael’s okay!
“Michael! Michael? Mikey…?” Jeremy was running towards him, but slowed down when Michael didn’t turn around. His shoulder looked, weird. Like it was, metal… What did they do to him?
“Mikey, baby it’s me, it’s Jeremy-”
“Jeremy, good to see you again.” Michael’s voice was tinged and metallic, just like the squip's… They had replaced parts of him with technology and completely let the squip take over his brain. “You thought you had gotten rid of me didn’t you? It won’t be that easy! First, I’ll destroy your precious little Michael, he is quite weak don’t you think? Wouldn’t it be perfect to get him a squip, to make him better? First I’ll ruin him, and make you watch. Then, then then then it’s your turn! You’ll either want to kill yourself, tearing yourself apart piece by piece, or they’ll kill you first. Good luck Jeremy, this won’t be the last time you see me.”
Jeremy sat bolt upright in the chair, pulling his arms against the restraints, as Laura frantically scribbled on her clipboard, notes that he couldn’t see. She seemed satisfied, unhooking the restraints before leading him to a room, down so many halls he couldn’t find his way out if he tried. She unlocked a thick steel door, revealing a small living space, two beds and a door that presumably lead to a bathroom on the left wall. She pushed him in, locking the door after him. There was a small window in the door, so he could see if someone was outside, but that was it. Jeremy looked around the room, when he saw Michael, curled up in a ball with his knees tucked against his chest, and he was crying.
“Michael? Michael, what happened?” He ran over to Michael, sitting down beside him and wrapping his arms around him, pulling him close. “It’s okay, we’ll get out, it’s okay baby, it’s gonna be alright. We’re okay, I’m okay, look at me-” Michael lifted his head so he was staring at Jeremy and he gasped. There were multiple cuts on his head, and there was dried blood all over the side of his face, he had plenty of bruises and a black eye.
“Jer- I, I can’t see, my eye- it can’t see anything, he hit too hard…” Michael started crying again, gripping his legs tighter. “I threw up earlier, everything hurts. The- the simulation, it scared me so badly, I started hallucinating when he shoved me in here. I can’t move I get too dizzy, did they hurt you? Please tell me they didn’t oh god…”
“Micah I’m fine, I’m gonna go get a towel okay? We need to get that blood off your face, cold water will make the bruises hurt less. I’ll be right back, just stay here okay?”
“Okay, okay…” Michael nodded, moving so his back was against the wall, he followed Jeremy with his one working eye, though without glasses or contacts, he couldn’t see much at all. He focused on breathing calmly until Jeremy came back, apparently there was a freezer with some water and ice in it, so he grabbed two water bottles, a wet cloth and ice, passing Michael the water and letting him drink it. Slowly he pressed the cloth to his forehead, making sure it didn’t hurt before gently scrubbing the dry blood off, and putting the ice in the cloth and letting Michael rest it against his eye. Jeremy kissed Michael’s lips softly, wiping the little bit of, something, off of his cheek, making him take another sip of water.
“You need it baby,”
“I know… I’m so glad you’re okay,”
“I’m glad you’re okay, well, to a degree. I’m tired, we should sleep Michael,”
“Mhm… Hold me?” Michael put the cloth down on the small dresser next to the bed, before Jeremy laid down behind him and wrapped his arms around him, kissing the back of his head before closing his eyes.
“I love you Michael.”
“I love you too Jeremy.”
When Michael woke up, Jeremy was gone. There was a tray with, what looked to be food on the floor beside the door, and just looking at it made him sick. His stomach churned as he got up and walked to the bathroom, stumbling over things, still getting used to being blind in one eye, before glaring at himself in the mirror. Michael had a black eye, on the one he couldn't see out of, the gash was mostly healed, it had stopped bleeding at least, and his whole body hurt. He groaned, turning the tap on, cringing as it squeaked before taking handfuls of cold water and splashing it on his face. That woke him up. Quickly, Michael rinsed his mouth with water, taking a gulp of it and dumping the rest on his head, to semi-wash his hair. He didn't want to know what they were going to do to him today. Michael screamed when there was a knock at the door, and it swung open. Someone different was there, and he looked familiar but something was different, whoever he was, he didn’t look right. Silently he grabbed Michael by the arm, leading him back down the many halls and passages, before coming to a wide open room, with a sheet covering one wall that was a mirror. So, like the screens used in interrogation rooms, at least that was his guess. The boy lead him to a table, an operating table? Michael blinked in confusion, before sitting down like they told him to.
People in white coats came in through another door, with masks covering their noses and mouths. They were doing some kind of surgery on him. Fuck. This was bad. They made him take off his sweater, and a few of them pointed out the scars covering Michael’s arms. He just hissed at them. A woman strapped him down to the table with restraints, just to make sure he couldn’t get up, or hit them. Someone else took a large needle, and put it in the same spot that the needle had been in on his arm the day before, or really, earlier that day? He had no clue what time it was.
“Now, you’ll be in a non responsive state for this, how shall I say, procedure? But you will feel the pain of it. Be prepared, because your muscles will not activate at all no matter how much you want to cry, scream or hit us, you can’t.”
“There’s also a small possibility that it’ll kill you! That’s only happened once though, it was cool!”
“Robin be quiet. Now, close your eyes. This’ll hurt a lot.”
And that’s when Michael’s entire body lit up in white hot pain. Coming from his face..? It felt like his nerves were on fire, and something was being ripped out- his blind eye.