Lily Wazl Hearity 2015

Alone Together

175 years, 2 months, 3 days and 6 hours. That is how long the Annex ceremony has been going on. It was quite simple really, prink on the finger and you put it in a plastic glove. All of my sisters had done it, my Ini had done it, and everyone in my family, my town, my country had done it.

 

It was what happened afterwards that scared me most, losing who I was. My memories, my personality, being wiped from the system to join with another stranger I didn’t know. I was scared of losing myself.

 

My leg jumped up and down nervously as I sat and waited in the sterile waiting room, the boy next to me plucked disinteresting at a hole in his washed out grey jeans, I give him a sidelong look.

 

Is he the one I will fuse with? He looks okay…

 

The boy takes out a cigarette from his pocket, lighting it up.

 

“Excuse me Sir, smoking is prohibited in this facility,” The receptionist says with a thin set to her lips.

 

The boy pulls the cigarette out of his mouth, tipping his head back to blow the smoke slowly out through his nose, it reminded me of a dragon.

 

He butted out the smoke out on the heel of his hand not even batting an eyelid when the smell of burnt skin filled the room.

 

On second thought I hope he’s not the one I fuse with.

 

“Halima” The receptionist calls out my name. We don’t have last names, no point really when we just fuse when we turn 18 and have to change our name anyway, we are a new person after all.

 

I feel the boy’s eyes on my back as I walk through the frosted glass doors, so he was thinking the exact same thing I was.

 

“We are named Peyton” The lady in front of me says, their voice is soft meant to sooth peoples nerves. It grates on mine.

 

“By now you probably know how the process works, but we have an informative video to show you anyway”

 

I nod taking a seat on the black plastic chair in the middle of the room.

 

They click a button on the remote that they hold, the wall behind them becomes a video.

 

“Man was alone” An announcers voice booms, “They survived, though barely, in a every man for themselves system. Countless wars broke out, cities were destroyed families turned against each other, and millions of lives were lost” Images of demolished buildings, begging children and pits filled with dead corpses flittered across the screen, “The world was divided, mankind was on the brink of wiping themselves out. Until one scientist came up with a plan, that man was named Samuel Annex…”

 

“Samuel Annex found out the only way for peace to come about our planet was if we understood each other. That was where the idea of fusion was born. Two subconsciouses, melded together to make one. They would share the same body but have two minds” The screen showed smiling politicians shaking hands, “With this new law in place peace came throughout the land. Countries came together with an agreement, and that agreement is still in place today 175 years later…”

 

I knew the rest, had heard my Ini talking about it with other adults. Our country was in alignment with what used to be Sweden so when I turned 18 I would fuse with a boy from that country.

 

A smiling teenager appeared on the screen “I’m never alone when I’m a fusion” She said the line so fake and rehearsed that Halima almost believed she was happy being a fusion.

 

Peyton clicked a button, the screen disappeared.

 

“If you will come with us now Halima,” She said taking my hand to lead me though a narrow corridor.

 

I wonder if I will still look at my family the same after I fuse… what will it be like looking at a person and not remembering who they are to me. I’m scared, I don’t want to change.

 

I don’t realize I’m shaking until I am seated in a black recliner, the light above me is too bright it stings my eyes making them water, it’s not because I’m scared.

 

A man I don’t recognize walks over to me, he doesn’t introduce himself, just holds out my hand and pricks my finger.

 

I jerk, watching with a disconnected feeling as he places it in the glove.

 

I panic. I don’t want to leave I don’t want to be replaced I don’t want to-

 

“I don’t want to go,” I whisper as the man presses a button.

 

~

 

I hear the ocean, even though I’ve never been there.

 

I open my eyes, I’m standing upright on a beach I feel the sand in-between my toes and can taste the salt in the air.

 

I can feel that I am not alone.

 

“Who are you?” a boy says, I turn towards the voice. It’s him; it’s the boy from the waiting room. He looks panicked, why does he look panicked?

 

“I asked you a question,” The boy shouts walking towards me.

 

“My name is Halima,” I say calmly. The boy stutters obviously taken aback by the response I find it strange, he was expecting an answer after all.

 

“Where are we?” He says menacingly, I realize the anger in his voice for what it really is. Fear. He is being angry to cover up his fear at how scared he is being somewhere foreign.

 

I smile softly, now I understand.

 

“I don’t know… I’ve never seen the ocean”

 

The boy stares at me for a long time I stare back at him. I should be panicking like him but all I feel is a lapping calm that is like the waves in front of me.

 

“Aren’t we supposed to be, I don’t know fused or something…”

 

“I suppose so,” I say frowning.

 

“Why aren’t you freaking out?”

 

“What? Like you are”

 

The boy turns red I can see his fists clenched in anger. I laugh the sound startling the boy making him blush out of embarrassment.

 

“Your weird” He says still blushing.

 

“I’ve been told that before” I say still smiling.

 

“My names Gage by the way” Gage says.

 

“Gage” I say. I like the name, strong and to the point like his character.

 

“What are we going to call ourselves Gage?” I ask.

 

Gage stares at me like I was out of my mind.

 

“We are supposed to be fused, may as well agree on a name”

 

“Huh” is all Gage says.

 

I look at him expectantly.

 

“Oh right name yeah, I don’t know you make it up. You’re a girl don’t girls think about those kind of things”

 

I smile, Gage is a funny person.

 

I turn to the ocean thinking about my siblings, my Ini. Did they have to go through this process? Or are we just different.

 

“Selby” Gage says out of the blue. I turn to look at him.

 

“We should call ourselves Selby” He clarifies.

 

~

 

I wake up. Or more so we wake up.

 

“Selby” we say.

 

I can feel Gage inside my head with me, his memories and my memories together fill my head; I can’t move my arm unless we both agree on it. It’s a funny feeling, us both being used to just moving our body independently not having to think about it very hard about it.

 

I don’t notice any of the other new fused having the same trouble as we are, they all move fluidly while our steps are clunky and uncoordinated.

 

I don’t think fusing was supposed to go like this…

 

 I say to Gage in my head

 

Maybe were different an abnormality.

 

A fusion next to us introduces themselves.

 

“Our name is Kai.”

 

Quick! Say something Halima

 

I feel Gages worry and pressure in my head. I start to panic.

 

No you think of something to say!

 

Kai stands there, looking at us expectantly.

 

“O-Our name is Selby,” We stutter out I feel a wave of relief wash through my mind from Gage.

 

“Selby” Kai says, “What an unusual name”

 

God we suck at being fused.

 

I flick at Gage mentally through our fusion link.

 

I had a dreaded feeling being fused wasn’t supposed to be like this.