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  • Writer's pictureWhitney Pearl

Intelligent Design (Excerpt 2)

Number eleven was screaming again. Her shrieking reverberated off of the cold tiles, and echoed under the slit of number fifty six’s door. Fifty six clutched her hands to her ears, trying to block out the racket. There was nothing to absorb the noise in her room- the unadorned walls and sleek furnishings created an echo chamber for any sound. Even the running of the faucet from her sink in the corner was deafening. She’d learned to combat this problem by softly humming for most of the day, but even that couldn’t cut through the sound of Eleven's screams. Fifty six had no blanket, no mattress, no art-- just smooth white walls, a toilet and sink. The room was kept at a steady 76 degrees, warm enough that her body would survive just fine, but cold enough that the absence of blankets and clothing was keenly felt. She had no window, but sometimes when they led her to the growing room, she caught a glimpse outside through the hallway’s slitted windows.

Trees one of the overseers had called them- those great looming beasts outside the window: green and red and brown and yellow, with soft fluttering tendrils and wisps growing from their many arms. Trees. Fifty six wanted to study them most of all. She’d had an education of course. Even if only so she could fill out survey after survey about her abilities. She’d never understood, though, because really… she just was. Still, upon her awakening, they’d taught her to read, taught her colors, numbers, and the history of their world. They’d taught her of her role: the honor of her creation- that she would be the vessel for their continued civilization, to create a better world… a world without the violence of the ones from which they’d derived the initial strands of her code… a world in which the beings were invulnerable to the harsh realities of the outside. Fifty six shuddered to think of it- the danger that lurked outside this place. But still….

She’d like to know more about the trees.

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