The boy, no older than ten years old, if even, lied in his bed surrounded by darkness, surrounded by silence, only the sound of a regulated beeping coming from the nearby machine–it was a monitoring system, it kept an eye on his progress and his development, though he had never really understood why they needed to do such things. He couldn’t even trace back to how he’d ended up in the white room, trimmed with green and covered with strange images on the walls. Some he had drawn, some were placed there by those people, those men in white coats.
He had been at the amusement park that day, with his parents and having fun. But… somehow, they’d become separated, he’d become lost in the crowd, and that was the last time little Shintaro had ever seen his parents. Kindly, an older woman had escorted him to the Lost Child’s Centre in the far corner of the park–surely, she only had innocent intentions of helping him find his parents, but the things that occurred there were the farthest thing from innocent.
All the boy knew was that there was a needle, a long needle that had him nearly peeing his pants, but everything after that was just darkness. He had no memories of what had happened, or why, only that he never saw his mother’s pretty face again, and never heard the strong encouragements in his father’s comforting voice again. No, he awoke in this same bed, surrounded by those same strange men, hearing nothing but that same regulated beeping each day onward. He had become their toy, their experiment, though he himself was unaware of this because he was far too young to understand.
CTA scans, strange injections and physical examinations had become custom for the young boy, who never knew anything else. By now, he could no longer remember the faces of his parents, their gentle voices or the warmth of their embrace. Instead, there was the feelings of cold metal, sheets too thin to keep one warm, and old, ratty teddy bears. Toys were scattered across the floor, not too far off from where he slept, just beyond the curtain of privacy. A washing station, some small shelves and a locked door. This was the only home he knew, those people were the only family he had.
Sometimes, he heard the sound of crying from the locked room next to his. A little girl, a little girl who hated the needles, no matter how many they gave her, a little girl who screamed for her mother in the wee hours of the night, a little girl who was probably younger than himself. And then would enter that man, that scientist who would always yawn with groggy-looking eyes, hardly aware of what he was doing as he injected children with strange substances, as he did the physical examinations, as he gave them their scans. But he always seemed to do so with such accuracy, and he always had a teddy bear close at hand; in the event that a child should begin to cry, it was an effective source of comfort.
Shintaro didn’t know how many years he’d spent in confinement, being tested on and experimented with like some kind of subject, like he was not a human child, like he was some lesser being. But he was unaware of his rights–not that they meant a thing in such a place. Instead, he had come to learn this as everyday life, this was his life and this would always be his life. At some point in this life, he became unable to walk, lost the use of his legs, and came to rely on the scientists. They did not discard him after this, but rather, became more interested in experimentation on whether or not the actions could be reversed.
Now, the boy, no older than ten years, if even, laid all alone under those sheets too thin to protect anyone from the cold. That man, the lazy one with the unshaven face, no longer came by. It had been days since the boy had seen signs of anyone at all, trapped in his bed for lack of working legs and left all alone. He had not bathed in days, he had not been fed in days, his painkillers were wearing off, tests going unmonitored. Not even a teddy bear was within arm’s grasp for the young boy.
As he stared up at the ceiling, his eyes slowly slipped shut. The sound of the regulated beeping slowly fell off into the distance, growing fainter, and fainter yet.