A Little Box

Eyebrows raised, Andrew slowly unfolded the small slip of paper with his good hand. He glanced up at the surgeon, who just stared blankly ahead, “05887” it said in the top left corner. The rest of the paper was unreadable, it looked almost holographic. He wondered how he could figure out what it said. “How would I-” he stammered, but the surgeon was gone. He was alone in the cold blank room which suddenly felt eerie. He had the sense that he had done something wrong. He looked at the box again, turning it over and over in his hand. The letters, “DOPR” were stamped into the side. It was a hard stone-like material he had never seen before.

Suddenly the door opened and a man in a black suit stepped in, closing the door curtly behind him. “You’re going to have to come with me, Sir.” Andrew just blinked, “Why? What have I done?”

“I’m not cleared to speak with you about this, I’m only responsible for your transport.” the man replied.

“Woah, dude, I’m just here for my broken wrist, man. Here, take the box, I don’t want it, I don’t even know what it’s for.” He pushed the box and paper at the man in the suit, and they fell to the ground.

“I’m not cleared to speak with you about this,” the man repeated, “I’m only responsible for your transport.”

Andrew stood quickly and tried to move to the door, but the anesthesia hadn’t worn off as quickly as he thought, he fell against the table, slamming his broken wrist, he yelled in pain, profanities escaping from his lips. Then he smelled it. It was a sickeningly sweet aroma coming from the man in the suit. Andrew stumbled backward and leaned against the wall. The lights were dimming slowly, “Wait I-” and then it was dark and quiet.

 

When Andrew opened his eyes, he was laying  in the back of a car. He saw the man from the hospital in the front passanger seat and another guy in the same suit in the driver’s seat. He quickly closed his eyes again, getting the feeling he wasn’t supposed to be “awake” yet. He strained to hear any sounds from outside the car. Nothing. Where was he? There was silence in the front seat and he wondered, “What the hell was on that paper?” He cracked an eye open and peered down at his clothes, they weren’t his. Where were his clothes? His shoes? Suddenly the car lurched as they turned up over what seemed to be a large curb. He squeezed his eyes shut again and was instantly aware of his throbbing wrist. He bit his tongue, holding back a groan. The car stopped and he heard the window being rolled down, “What’s his ID?” a voice asked. “05887” was the reply from the front seat. So that was his “ID number”. He wondered what the DOPR meant. The car started forward again and the voices in the front seat spoke, “Is he still out?” Andrew tried to fake sleep as best he could. He began to panic as the other voice said, “Yeah we’re clear. You can just pull up here and they’ll take it from here.”  The car came to a stop and the door near his head opened, “Where is he going to?” a new voice asked. “He’s headed over to Sector 5.” another voice said dryly. Andrew was pulled from the backseat and heaved onto gurney. He bit his tongue again to keep from crying out as his wrist was slammed into the side and then tossed up next to him. Whoever was pushing his gurney was quiet as a set of doors opened and then closed behind them. Andrew wanted to badly to open his eyes and see where he was, but he didn’t trust whoever was there, so he kept his eyes shut and tried to calm his breathing. He hoped he would be able to keep from having an asthma attack. His inhaler had been in the pants he wearing at the hospital. Suddenly, he stopped moving and he heard footsteps walking away, doors opening, and then closing. Then empty silence. It was frigid in the room where he was and he was thirsty. He dared to open one eye slowly. Someone was there. Back turned, they were looking at a computer screen. He quickly shut his eye again and then he heard a pleasant female voice, “It’s alright, you can open your eyes now, they are gone.” Confused, he opened his eyes to see a woman standing in front of him. She looked…clean. Hair was neatly pulled back into a bun on the back of her head and she looked to be about 30 or so. He asked, “Where am I?” Suddenly, she looked panicked, as a set of doors opened. She shook her head quickly and turned around. A man strode around from behind Andrew and stood for a minute, looking at him before saying, “Citizen 05887 appears flustered, breathing is shallow,” he pulled the stethoscope from around his neck and put the other end up to Andrew’s chest. Andrew flinched. “Heartbeat rapid, pulse is strong.” He looked disapprovingly over the top of his glasses at Andrew, “A trip to neuro will tell us more.” The woman nodded and turned around and began typing hurriedly. Then as quickly as he had appeared, the man was gone, the doors whooshing closed behind him. The woman turned around again and whispered, “There’s isn’t much time, I’m going to give you this serum and get you to a different Sector. Stay still and don’t say a word to anyone until you see me again.” Then he felt a sharp pain in his leg followed by a warm fuzzy feeling that spread over his whole body. He tried to sit up and speak, but the words weren’t coming out. He glanced at her badge “Department of Population Regulation.” Then everything went black again.