The Human Lab Rat by Gillian, Ryan, Courtney, Michael, and Abby
By Gillian (NIU), Ryan (Sycamore High School), Courtney (Sycamore High School), and Michael (Sycamore High School),Abby (red_ant_628)
Here I am, alone in my little five by five cell. I went from being the most painfully normal seventeen year old in the world to the world’s most observed human lab rat. The room I’m in is just small enough that I can’t stretch out. It’s probably a test. Everything is a test. The way I eat or don’t eat the trays of food that come through the slot in the wall three times a day, the way I comb or don’t comb my straggly hair, the way I hum the same few songs over and over—its all part of the test.
I signed up for this experiment as a way to pay for college. One month’s work would put me through all four years. Tuition and textbooks. Those attractive doctors made the whole experiment sound like a vacation. But now, fourteen days in, or was it twelve, or was it twenty, or was it nine… I don’t know if I’m going to make it. The worst part is, I’m not locked in. I could leave this little room at any time, walk out with my sanity intact and receive a big fat nothing for my paycheck. But I won’t cave, not when I’m this close to making it.
I keep thinking back to the doctors. Who are they really? I remember the first time we talked, the way they made me feel like I would be saving the world.
“It’s a great opportunity,” they said “We’re trying to save the world froma worldwide disease that is spreading like wild fire. Its killed 15,000 people in the last week and a half”. “You’re one of the few people who have blood that has not been contaminated”.
I’ve heard that phrase so many times, I’m not sure if it’s real or if it’s just a script. This whole operation made sense when I agreed to doing so, but now it seems that everything I thought I knew before is the complete opposite from what is reality. That’s what drives me crazy. It’s the fact of knowing and not knowing all at the same time that sends me to the brink of insanity. I need help. More so, I need to get out of here.
I look out between the steel bars of my cage, peering relentlessly into the darkness. It was mostly quiet, except for the low humming noises of the scientific equipment throughout the room. I have no clue what time it is, neither do I really care. Out of the darkness beyond the door keeping me and this prison inside, the subtle click of high heels begin to sound. I look in the direction of the noises, only seeing the faint outline of a large steel door, covered with all sorts of security devices.
The door was opened quickly, followed by the sigh of an irritated woman’s voice. The overhead lights turned on, sending visibility throughout the entire room. The woman was none other than Doctor Annie Trent, according to her name tag. Her hair was a soft black, and the majority of it was tied up in a perfectly messy ponytail. Her bangs cascaded down the sides of her thin face, which often sported very serious emotions. This time, however, there is something different about her. She walks with her head tilted downwards. Her eyes are filled with an unpleasant emotion and she seems a bit restless.
“Excuse me.” I hear myself say with the slightest bit of attitude.
Dr. Trent shot up, her eyes widening in sudden shock.
“Oh! Uh-yes, Mr. _____?” She replied, as if she hadn’t anticipated for me to talk at all while she was in the room, “I’m just getting something, sir. It’s nothing to be concerned about.”
I held back a conservative chuckle when she finished. Even though she was telling me to not be worried, I could almost hear her talking to herself instead of me.
But as I walked away I could hear her in my head to come back and return to her as I have known her since the beggining. As if destiny has drawn us together. As a life we shared will last a lifetime.
I suddenly want to scream to Dr. Trent to let me out, but I bite my tongue as she walks to the far end of the room, out of my sight. I wonder if it’s actually worth it, four years of college for one month of this madness. I try to comfort myself by thinking of how fun college is going to be, and how I’ll get such a great education for free, and how proud my parents will be.
My parents. Thinking about it makes me homesick. I wonder what my parents are doing right now, and my little sister who I make fun of a lot, even though I actually couldn’t live without her. I think about my friends too, the friends I’d love to go hangout with right now. I miss them, but the doctors fed them the same information as they did to me, so my family and friends probably aren’t worrying about me as much as I’m worrying about myself.
What would my parents think about what’s actually happening here? They probably wouldn’t approve, but I have no way of contacting them except going home. After the days I’ve already been here, I don’t see the point in doing that because I’m probably at least half way done. Or maybe a third. Or maybe a quarter. I can’t tell. I promise myself to ask one of the doctors how many days have passed the next time one of them comes in the room, because Dr. Trent has already left. I just didn’t notice because of my silent ranting.