Updated: May 19, 2021
I opened my eyes wide and held my breath waiting to hear it again. Nothing. Just the wind outside and the hum of the heater kicking on in the house. I could have sworn I'd heard voices, it had even woken me up. I finally let out my breath, slow and shaky as I attempted to stay quiet. My eyes began to adjust to the darkness, the furniture in the room taking shape in the shadows. Nothing appeared out of place or strange.
I waited a few moments longer before my eyes began to grow heavy again. I closed my eyes and took a mouthful of air in with a big yawn, then there it was- the voices! I froze, eyes shooting open again while the air stayed trapped in my lungs. I could hear the distinct sound of hushed voices, low but frantic. I strained my ears but the pounding of my heart beat was making it difficult to hear what they were saying. One thing I was certain of, however, was that they were coming from the room.
I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand and my lungs began to scream and burn for oxygen, but I didn't dare make a sound. Where could they be? My eyes darted to the only logical place– the closet. But the door stood open and was stuffed with clothes falling off hangers, crumpled on the floor, and protruding out from the rack. Doubtful one person let alone two could fit in there. The voices continued talking in low hurried whispers. I glanced at the door of my bedroom, wondering if I could convince my legs to make a run for it. But I was frozen in fear and on the verge of passing out if I didn't take a breath.
I tried to slowly exhale through my nose, my hand trembling as it pressed tightly against my mouth. I'd held my breath too long and it came out shaky and loud. The voices paused.
"Did you hear that?"
"No, what was it?"
"Is she awake?"
The voices waited for a moment as I held my breath again squeezing my eyes shut tightly.
"I don't hear anything."
"Hmmmm, I guess not. Anyways, look, I know orders are orders, but do you really feel comfortable with this? I mean, really?"
"I guess not, but do we really have an option? I'm not disagreeing with you but you know what happens if we don't do it. They just bring in someone who will. And you and me? We get the boot. It wouldn't change nothin'."
"Or would it? I know a lot of others that don't like the way things are done now. They want a change, but nobody knows how to do it. Maybe you and I are just what everyone needs! You know, to get the ball rolling!"
"What about the girl?"
"What about her?"
"Well, she's still got the probe in her for one."
"Right. I say we just leave it. It doesn't hurt 'em."
"I'm just thinking, if we started removing the probes and chips from the hosts, that would really send a message wouldn't it? It wouldn't be so easy to just replace us to get somebody else down here to collect the data."
"Yeah, but isn't that kind of dangerous?"
"Eh, it's not so bad if you know what you're doing. I watched my Mum do it loads of times. Their internals are a lot more finicky than ours, but if you're careful, there's not much damage done on a removal."
"And you think you could do that?"
"I think I could."
"Alright, I say let's do it."
My heart was trying to beat its way out of my body but I stayed completely still waiting to hear more. Nothing but silence. Somehow this was worse, and I began to quietly cry. I could feel that they were closer to me now, perhaps the foot of my bed. But I didn't want to open my eyes to be sure, so instead I began to pray the only prayer I knew. The one I'd heard my grandmother say so many times:
"Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me. Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger..."
"Told you she was awake."
"Sorry, hold on."
"Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger. I bind unto myself the Name, The strong Name of the Trinity..."
Then I heard a soft clicking noise before my body began to feel warm and tingly, my brows relaxed and the tears stopped. I felt myself falling back to sleep slowly like I was lowering myself into a warm bath. Oh this felt so good. I needed sleep. I really did. I hadn't realized how very very tired I was. I yawned and rolled over, pulling my pillow closer to me and burying my eyes into it.
"Good night," I said.