I Found A Letter By Kristen Strassel
Today’s Brew: Caramel Vanilla Cream
We shouldn’t have broken into the asylum, but we weren’t the first. We followed the fresh tracks in the snow and dipped below the opening in the door. It looked like someone had kicked their way in, or out. As soon as we were inside, we knew no one was meant to be here anymore. The hospital green paint meant to soothe peeled away from the walls, revealing the gray aura that fell over the hallways. No one cared about the debris left behind. Stretchers lay on their sides, broken jars littered the floor, surrounded by the decay that spilled out of them. Rusty chains and dark stains snaked out of the walls, the only thing that still looked alive.
Walking along the corridor, I noticed something that looked new. A piece of paper. I picked it up to see what it said.
To Whom It May Concern:
It was all fun and games until the equations added up to something. Then we had to go into hiding.
If you’re reading this, we had to leave in a hurry. Please be careful with this letter. It’s the only record of what has happened. Hopefully we’ll be able to keep them off our trail. There’s still so much more to discover.
You might have heard about some of our work in the news. The little girl that was cured of AIDS? That was based on our findings. The treatments that are making some cancers obsolete? We figured that out, too. We found other things that no one talks about as well. Such as the molecular compounds that are being added to food to make you sick, tired, and fat. We couldn’t keep our mouths shut about that. Even now that we’re in hiding. You need to know. The government is in the killing business. They want to keep you just sick enough that you need their medicines forever. It’s how they pay for things they find important, like wars.
Here’s how I got involved: I was a foster kid way too long. No one wants you when you’re not little and cute. Once you get to be in the double digits, the general public renders you “damaged” and doesn’t want to adopt you no matter how badly they want a baby. I was like an old black cat in a kill shelter. The clock ticked loudly and not in my favor. The government figured out what to do with the orphans past their prime. They created The Program just for kids like us. I don’t know when it started and why. But they told us we were special, and that they chose us to do important work no one else could do. All of the kids in The Program desperately needed to hear that.
They dressed us all the same, so no one thought they were better than anyone else. Personality was discouraged. Nobody was better than anyone else. They replaced our names with numbers. I whispered my name to myself over and over so I wouldn’t forget. They ran endless tests on us to measure strength and intelligence. I tested into the intelligence group. They gave us all injections that burned our veins and left painful welts all over our bodies. They fed us things that made us sick, when they fed us at all. They deprived us of sleep and ran experiments on us. They asked us how it made it us feel. It was hard to feel anything at all.
Sometimes, they just let us be. I did my best to remember what it was like to be human.
After we got used to the routine, and our bodies learned to tolerate the injections, we started our training. The Instructors threw a dizzying combination of numbers and letters at us to solve. As soon as we found the answers, boiling the data down to one absolute, we were rewarded with another puzzle to decipher. They never bothered to tell us what the equations represented. We were not on a need to know basis.
What The Instructors didn’t realize was not only did our raw abilities with math and science strengthen with the injections, but so did our intuitions. We figured out what we worked towards. Our equations cured cancer and AIDS. We also helped create the compounds responsible for making these same diseases leaner, meaner, easier to contract, and more deadly as we created stronger compounds to fight them.
How could we keep quiet? We used our computer expertise to leak information about The Program on the internet. Our work was too dangerous for the public not to know about. The Instructors punished us when they discovered our betrayal with painful electric shocks to wipe the incident from our memories. They wiped the information from your memory too. You might have seen it, but no one will believe you. You have no proof besides this letter. Remember the day all the search engines went down at the same time? That was the last day our website existed.
The Agency wasn’t able to destroy the evidence of our rebellion before the food and drug companies responsible for our research caught wind of what we did. We needed to be destroyed as well.
Too much time and energy had been invested in us to completely start over completely. To appease The Sponsors, The Agency eliminated the weakest members of The Program. They sequestered the rest of us here, in this old abandoned asylum. We didn’t need much. The Agency and The Sponsors didn’t want us to have any access to unsupervised technology. All they needed were the locks and shackles. They might have been rusted out, but they still worked.
What we learned in The Program is too important to be kept in the shadows, buried in ruins. If we made it out of here alive, our plan to escape the asylum and spread the word of our findings to the public worked. I hope. We aren’t the only rats in the maze. You all are.
Please question all that you believe to be true. But don’t question this letter. I swear to you, all of it is true.
Student 38NQ498, but I’d rather you called me Rebecca