The office room was painted white, with no windows, and one door that was password protected. There was a large green board on its left wall. The board had some photographs pinned on it. Some of the pictures were labelled, and others were red crossed. But the office had something that makes it stand apart from the rest of the rooms, its odour. The air inside isn’t merely the mixture of gases, it comprises of the pent-up emotions, and silent cries of the targeted people.
Jona was leaning against a high back swivel chair with serious expressions, while Stapsa was sitting in front of him.
Jona cleared his throat and said, “did he sign?”
“No”, said Stapsa without looking up at his face.
“Listen to me”, Jona stepped forward towards her, “he has made his choice.”
Stapsa and Cazzive have been together for five years. But things changed drastically between them in the past few months. After Stapsa joined the research centre, their views on humanity and survival began to diverge.
“I won’t sign”, Stapsa spoke in a low tone, “not without him.”
“This thing is bigger than your relationship issue”, Jona raised his voice and said, “do you understand?”
“I do, sir”, she nodded.
“Cazzive had a choice”, Jona grumbled, putting his nose close to hers “but you don’t”.
Though Stapsa was pretending to listen to what her Boss has to say, her mind was consumed, analysing the result of her next decision. Her hearing sense was lost temporarily, and she could only see Jona’s lips moving through her narrowed vision.
After regaining control of her senses, she said, “I’m officially in”. Then she took the pen and signed on the paper which was lying in front of her on the table.
She pulled herself up from the chair to stand, but it took her some time to feel the ground under her feet. Stapsa realised she has grown heavy due to the weight of her undefined actions. Nevertheless, she walked out of the office, leaving her boss inside in perplexed emotions. This sudden change in her attitude made Jona speechless.
As she moved through the passage, she could hear the echo of her footsteps. When she was about to unlock the door of her lab, her cell phone vibrated in her pocket. For a minute, she was rooted to her spot.
Then Stapsa took a deep breath and stopped her tears from falling. She picked up the phone and spoke with an affectionless tone, “Cazzive, have you changed your mind?”
“Why is it costing our relationship?” Cazzive said in a trembling voice.
“This thing is bigger than our relationship issue”, she said and wiped her face with her sleeve.
Stapsa gasped for breath, as she couldn’t let her emotions take over mindful decisions and then continued, “this is supposed to be our last talk”.
“Stapsa…”, Cazzive said in a quivering voice, “you will regret this decision”.
Stapsa could hear him taking heavy breaths, and it felt like his face was right on her shoulder.
“Then don’t make me regret it.”
At last, Cazzive spoke distinctly, “I’ll make sure you do”.
Cazzive put the phone down on her, this is how they waved their goodbyes.
Stapsa finally made it to her laboratory. In the middle of the lab, there was a cylindrical glass chamber. An unconscious man was placed inside it. And, the details are horrifying for first-time visitors. His feet were not touching the floor as they were lifted in ankle cuffs; his hands were also cuffed. Above all, his head was pricked with many needles which were further attached to thin wires. Moreover, the heart rate monitor was displaying a sinus rhythm, indicating that the man is alive. Next to it was another monitor, which was tracking his brain activity.
There were three researchers in the lab, each sitting in front of a desktop computer. Their eyes were straight on the computer screen, monitoring even the slightest change. One of them was a pretty young and agile lady.
Stapsa walked towards the lady with specs and said, “Caima, can I have a word?”
Caima stopped typing and turned towards Stapsa with an expressionless face.