I am hope, p.1

I am Hope, page 1


I am Hope

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I am Hope

  I am Hope

  Mycheille Norvell

  Copyright 2014 Mycheille Norvell

  I Am Hope

  “…Emotionless…” the voices seemed distant and scratchy as my eyes worked to open. “…These…manufactures of real life… not disappoint.” The voices managed to say though blotched out. “Assassins bred to…” then the voices scratched out completely and my eyes opened as if it were not my choice. Everything was bright—too bright to see. Suddenly my feet were hurting, and I didn’t understand why until my eyes began to adjust to the light around me and I realized I was running across a gravel road. I stopped as I looked all around, trying to give myself some idea of where I was.

  My ears perked up as I heard feet scuffing against the rocky terrain after me. “Hope 19241! Come back!” shouted a man’s voice. I turned towards him—he was wearing a white lab coat.

  I tried to speak to him, but my words came out garbled. Fear struck me. Why couldn’t I speak? What had happened to me? Suddenly I realized that I couldn’t remember anything before waking up, and I was overwhelmed with uncertainty. The man came over to me with hands up in a soothing manner. My ears were ringing too loudly for me to even hear what he was saying. That was the moment the world went black.

  I woke up again later with my arms tied down to a cold slab of polished rock. I panicked as I tried to pull myself up. Doctors stood around me holding sharp utensils. “Hold her down!” one woman said.

  “She isn’t an animal!” called out a familiar voice—the doctor that had helped me before.

  “If we don’t train her mind right now she will be just like an animal. If we do not give them a purpose, they will be capable of everything but with no understanding of anything.” The woman said with authority.

  I felt the panic rush through me along with the thick liquids they pumped through my veins. I didn’t understand anything. I didn’t know my name. I didn’t know where I was from. I just knew that I was about to be stabbed with sharp scalpels to ‘program’ something in me. Had I done something wrong in the past that I could not remember? Maybe I had been a criminal?

  “Just give me a moment with her.” The man shouted with his eyes focused on me. The woman looked at me and then turned her attention back to him as she dropped her hand.

  “Fine. You have five minutes. She can’t replace her, though, Connor.”

  He sighed, not meeting my needy gaze, “I just need to talk to her.” He whispered.

  The woman nodded as she and the other doctors left the room, and ‘Connor’ came over to me and began unstrapping me from the table. I sat up slowly, watching him in fear that he would cut me just as quickly as the others would have. He sat beside me, “I know you don’t understand… and I know you are scared, but there is little time for me to tell you something very important…” I stared into his eyes and he seemed so familiar to me, but I didn’t know why. My heart fluttered at his gaze and his voice, and I knew I could trust him. “I didn’t get to tell her… but I know she is still in you a little bit…” his honest blue eyes softened as he looked into my eyes hopefully, searching for a mystery I didn’t understand, “I love you Sarah…” he said as he quickly kissed my lips and pulled away.

  I stared at him in surprise, wishing he would kiss me again, but I somehow knew that this kiss had not been meant for me, “Who am I?” I muttered quietly.

  He looked back to me with sorrow, “A mistake that I made… I thought I was helping her. I thought I was saving her.” He said with a pained laugh, “Instead I gave these people the ability to create monsters… now one of them has the face of a woman I can never be with again.” He said standing as he walked to the same door the others had left from.

  “But who am I?!” I shouted, standing also. He looked at me with compassion, a small smile on his face,

  “You are Hope. And I think you are the only one who can defy them. Just remember that, my Hope.” He said kindly as he was pulled from the room forcibly. I listened with care—people were shouting.

  “She may be ruined now, Connor!”

  “She isn’t ruined now, she was ruined the moment I allowed you to make her into a clone.”

  A woman scoffed, “She isn’t Sarah, Connor! This is someone else…”

  “But it was! She isn’t just another face… you are going to use her face to destroy this world. You are tainting the very memory of my Sarah!”

  She put a hand on Connor’s shoulder, “Sarah is dead. We gave you what you wanted—we gave you another Sarah. What makes this particular ‘Hope’ so much more important than the others? We gave you Sarah’s very first clone to replace her. Are you not happy with the one we gave you?” the woman said unfazed as if Connor was just a client.

  I could hear the strain in his voice as he spoke to her, as if he were hiding something, “I don’t want Sarah’s face to be the face of terrorism… of lies… of death. But there is nothing I can do now but watch what I created in horror.” He said as he walked away.

  The doctors swarmed back into the room, “Alright. Now its time to make her perfect.” The woman said, the men forcing me back onto the table into my restraints. I didn’t fight this time, I was too curious. I watched as they put the wires back in my arms and began pumping fluid into me. The woman looked into my eyes again, “What did he say that suddenly has you so calm and obedient?” she said with slight concern.

  “Who is Sarah?” I replied simply.

  Every single doctor stopped moving as they looked at the woman in shock, “Indra… how does she…”

  After he spoke, a sharp pain came to the back of my head, and the world went white.

  I woke up later in an apartment with cherry wood walls and beams. I looked around the room in confusion, not understanding what I had seen before and what I was seeing now. As I shifted, I felt the bed move behind me. I turned lightly in fear of what I would see when a strong hand came to my shoulder, caressing my arm, “Hey baby. Time to get up already?”

  I stared at the half-naked man next to me in confusion. I looked down at my own body to realize I was only wearing a thin pink nightdress. “Who…” I began in the quietest whisper.

  “What, baby?” he said as he pulled me close and kissed my cheek.

  I closed my eyes, “I don’t know who…” then all at once I was flooded with memories. The man with the dark brown eyes smiling as he came up to me for the first time. He had asked me for coffee, and when he brought it to me it spilled over my lap. We laughed. The next memory flooded past me with extreme emotion as we kissed for the first time, and then the memory jumped to the moment he asked me to move in with him. Then I was put right back where I was at that moment. “I never answered you?” I asked with confusion.

  He smiled delicately, “No you haven’t. Not that you ever do.” He said with a laugh, “You always just say, ‘We’ll talk about it later.’ And then you kiss me and we always end up back at your place.” He laughed as he stood and put on his wrinkled button-up shirt, “I just always hope one of these days you’ll say yes.” He shook his head as he pulled on his dark slacks, “But deep down, I know you won’t.”

  I stared out the large bay window, the sun shining in joyfully with warmth, “Then why do you always try?” I asked cautiously, still trying to understand the world around me that didn’t make sense. I felt like what was happening was not really happening to me.

  He leaned over and kissed my forehead, “Because I always hope one day you’ll surprise me.” He said with a tender grin. “Well I have to head to work, Beautiful. I’ll see you later tonight.” He said as he kissed my lips softly and went out the door.

  I was so lost. Who was that man? How could I have all these memories of him, but not really remember him or I together at all? It all seemed as
if I had been strategically placed into the man’s life. “Hope.” A voice called to me distantly. I searched around before being surprised by a face staring at me through my glass door leading to the roof. I let out a gasp of surprise as they opened the door and quickly entered. The girl was about 15 years old, but her maturity seemed as if she were about fifty. She carried a large pad of paper with a pen tucked safely behind her ear.

  “What do you remember?” the young girl asked meticulously as she pushed a few books off of the couch and sat down. She readied her pen as she pushed her glasses up her nose and waited for me to speak.

  My confusion reigned as I watched her, “I remember waking up in a white room and running away… and a man.”

  “Jesse.” She replied like it was the only obvious response as she wrote down my words on the paper.

  I shook my head, “No… his name was…” I remembered back to the man with the sad blue eyes. He kept calling me Sarah, “His name was Connor.” The girl looked up at me in pure shock, taking her glasses off cautiously.

  She thumbed through her thick book of notes and found one of the first entries. She tried to calm her shock as she held a finger at one page while going back to her current page to write, “Do you remember anything more recent?”

  “What do you mean ‘more recent’? That just happened. At least… I thought it did. But then I wake up this morning next to a man I thought I’d never seen, when suddenly memories flooded past me like I was watching a movie of someone else’s life. Those memories knew the man, but I was still lost.”

  The girl nodded again as she quickly wrote in her notebook, ‘Glitches back to previous memories…’ I saw the words on the page, and fury struck me.

  “I’m not glitching!” I shouted as I stood, “I remember… he said I wasn’t real. He said that I was special. He called me Sarah… he kept calling me Sarah.” I smiled back to the man who had captured my heart so quickly, “He kissed me.” I said as if I felt his lips still kissing me then.

  The girl watched in surprise, “He’s dead, Hope. We went through this over five months ago.” She closed her notebook and risked stepping towards me, “What else did he tell you, Hope?” She asked curiously, and suddenly I realized I had shared the exact thing Connor had not wanted me to share. I wanted to cry, but tears would not come from my eyes.

  “I’m on some sort of mission, aren’t I?” I said, trying to put Connor behind me for the moment.

  The girl sat back down and opened her notebook, “Yes. Have you forgotten your mission?”

  “Please just refresh me.”

  “The man who was here, Jesse, he is the mission. He is gaining political strength, and soon will be one of the top candidates for senator. You were his mistake, but instead of hurting his political ambitions you have helped. You are the prize that Nevada sees. Has he asked you to marry him yet?”

  “No. I guess he has asked if I would move in with him multiple times, but I always say no.”

  The girl nodded, suddenly feeling normal again, “Good, you are just making him fall more in love with you. The next time he asks, say yes.” She said simply as she slammed her book shut. I stared at her in shock. My body knew this man, and some part of my mind must have also, but the real me, Hope, didn’t know him, yet I was supposed to live with him? And then what? Marry him? Panic settled in my chest, and the girl seemed to sense it as she clutched her notebook and tilted her head at me, “Hope, what is the problem? Part of this mission was that you would go to whatever lengths it took to catch him.”

  “What exactly is my… purpose?” I dared to ask her, my throat felt dry as the words tripped off my lips.

  She glared at me in concentration, “Your purpose? You do what we tell you to do.” She replied too simply for my liking. I gave a single nod, “What more do you need?” she asked, flipping her book back to the newest page.

  I thought back to Connor, “Nothing. I just forgot what my mission was entirely. I guess I wondered why I was supposed to someday ‘catch’ him?”

  She scribbled a few notes in her book that she hid from my sight, “You want to know why?”

  “Yes. Is that wrong?”

  The girl pursed her lips as she glanced out the window and then quickly back to me, “Have you forgotten your training, Hope?”

  I was about to answer when my mind was flooded with memories: another white room filled with girls who looked like me. I stared at them in wonderment as they all spoke in unison, “We are strong. We are beautiful. We are perfection.” When I didn’t speak with the others, a woman pulled my chin to face forward and a harsh shock went throughout my body. “We do not question. We always do what we are told. We are strong.” Another shockwave traveled through my arms to my heart until I spoke with the others.

  I shook my head as I tried to push the horrible memory away… I wasn’t real. “I am strong. I am beautiful. I am perfection.” I recited the vows to her and she seemed to let out the fearful breath she was holding in. She erased something on the paper, “I’m sorry… I didn’t mean to question you, or my mission.”

  The girl nodded again, “Well I will be back tomorrow to make sure you are reintegrating properly. If you are still having issues remembering tomorrow, I will take you in for an adjustment.” She said like a robot as she stood, shook my hand and wandered back up the stairs to my roof.

  Once she left, I could not stop myself from hyperventilating. What had just happened? How could I have all of these conflicting memories? Or were they all 100% real, and therefore important. There must be some reason I didn’t listen in the past the same way the others did, and was glitching now. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do except sit in my apartment and wait for the next memories to remind me who I was.

  I finally let my memories slide away as I lay my head on a pillow and let my mind drift into slumber. I woke up next to Jesse kissing my lips gently, “Wake up sweetie.” He said as he brushed my hair away from my forehead. I jumped at his touch and hit my head on the headboard.

  “Ouch!” I said as I rubbed the sore spot.

  He laughed with pity as he touched the spot with soft strokes, and as I looked into his kind eyes I understood how I could love him. “Are you ok, Hope?” I forced a pained smile,

  “I’m sure I’ll be fine. I just need some ice.” I said as I began to stand. He pushed me back on the bed, though he barely touched my shoulders. He smiled,

  “I’ll get it.” I looked down at my clothes to see if any more time had gone by, but I was still wearing my nightdress from earlier and Jesse was still wearing the clothes he had put on that morning. When he came back, he placed the pink icepack on my head, “So, you aren’t dressed.”

  I nodded, “Didn’t feel like going anywhere today.”

  He smiled, “We missed you today, sleepy head.” He said as he kissed my forehead.

  I rubbed the ice on the back of my head, “We?”

  He tilted his head at me, “The guys at the office? How hard did you hit your head?”

  I considered him carefully, “Pretty hard. Just remind me.” I said with what I hoped was a flirty look. He beamed at me,

  “You are my secretary, honey. And we missed our little cheerleader.”

  I smirked back at him, “Just wanted to make sure I was missed even though I’m only your secretary.”

  He gave me an odd look, “Why are you trying so hard?” he asked quietly.

  I stared at the ground, “What do you mean?”

  He sat beside me, “You don’t seem like yourself.”

  Crap… I thought as I tried to meet his gaze. How could I truly lose myself so much that one minute he was falling in love, and the next, he was stuck with the girl who barely recognized him? My mind just kept running back to Connor, who my heart longed for… who was dead now. I shook my head, “Don’t feel like myself today for some reason.” I said with a small smile and a shrug.

  He kissed my forehead, and I waited hopefully for the other Ho
pe to take charge and fill my place, but she wasn’t coming. Had this ever happened before? Had I ever acted out of place? Jesse leaned over, taking me in his arms, and kissed my cheek delicately, “Well I can help you feel more like yourself.” He said softly. He began to kiss my bare shoulder, and my body shivered from the awkwardness of the feeling.

  He ran his hands down my arms, but I couldn’t hide the distance. He felt it instantly as he pulled away, “Hope, what’s the problem?”

  “I…” He seemed so concerned as he gazed into my eyes, and I could see how much he cared about me. I stared at my hands, “I just don’t know how to say it…”

  He pulled away, almost in fear, “Say what, Hope?”

  I thought back to Connor, to the feelings he stirred in me when he had kissed me, “I’m falling in love with you.” Jesse grinned happily, embracing me tenderly, kissing my lips passionately.

  “I’ve fallen in love with you too.” He said lovingly, caressing my cheek. I tried not to shudder again at his touch, “I’m going to ask you one last time, Hope…”

  I shook my head, and put my hand over his lips, “Ask me in a week.” I said with a knowing smile. He grinned back and nodded. “Well would you like to do something else?”

  I tilted my head at him, “Would you be willing to try something with me?”

  He sat next to me with care, “Anything.”

  “For one week, let’s act like we have never met… let’s act like we are meeting for the first time.”

  He watched me, “Hmm sounds interesting. I’d love to. How do we start this?”

  I smiled, “We will meet in one hour at the coffee shop down the street.” He laughed.

  “Alright, stranger.” He said, going to the door. As he left, I took in a deep breath, letting my defenses drop. I found myself asking the same question I had asked Connor so many months ago: Who am I? My stomach began to churn as I thought about my helplessness in the life I was leading as I thought about the seven months my body had enjoyed, and my mind had somehow missed.

  My stomach lurched and I found my feet running to the bathroom, my face over the toilet. I was supposed to meet Jesse in an hour, but I didn’t know how I could possibly meet him when I felt so horrible. I picked my body off the ground and looked into the mirror, seeing myself for the first
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