“C’mon, Carsten, wake up already!”
A young girl knelt over the motionless figure of a boy, hot tears staining her face; her electric green eyes were darkened. Carsten was recumbent on a tattered grey couch. The girl draped a finger across his slack jaw, trailed up to his glazed eyes. She looked furiously around the room for something to awaken him with. Her eyes darted to the blank TV screen. Turning on the awful machine would wake up his body, she knew, but what would it do to his mind? The girl hovered for a moment longer before deciding it was much too risky.
A delicate glittering bouncing on the kitchen counter sparked the young blonde’s attention. A navy blue lighter.
“Perfect!” She sprang from the couch over to the counter. Twisting the lighter through her fingers, she flicked the cap opened and attempted to start the lighter. A flame greeted her hungry gaze. Rushing back to the body, the girl positioned it directly in front of Carsten’s eyes. Psht! The fire flickered to life again, and Carsten’s body jolted. The blonde smirked.
“They can wash away our conciousness,” she mused. “But they can’t suppress our primitive instincts.”
The gaze over Carsten’s eyes was fading, and he blinked once, twice, three times.
“Carsten!” The girl wrapped her legs around his waist and her arms around his neck to push her lips to his. Overtaken by her warm radiance, her familiar touch and scent, Carsten was wrenched out of his lingering stupor.
“Gloria,” he whispered breathlessly. “Gloria, what’s happening?”
“It’s a conspiracy, it’s-”
Helicopters and gunfire. Gloria unwrapped herself from Carsten and bolted to the window. Forty-five blue and yellow houses lined Carsten’s street, each with a big yard and a maple tree. Outside of every home stood its glazed, motionless residents. Gloria watched helplessly as a young man broke out of formation and began to run.
The man fell to the ground with the rest whose minds’ had remained independent. A voice boomed through a loudspeaker.
“All conscious residents: please exit your homes and make your way the intersection of Sutton Drive and Oakwood Boulevard.” Gloria felt a tentative hand on her shoulder.
“Should we…?” Carsten’s semi-cloudy eyes were fearful.
“No!” Gloria snapped back from the window. She was not so credulous. She heard the gun play in her mind. Flipping around to scan the room, Gloria noticed the lack of action by the back door. Footsteps on the front porch and the sharp tap of a knock lurched her into gear.