Touching Eternity (Touch Series 1.5)
was white. The people who entered and left were dressed in white. The only color was her hair, falling in copper tangles over the lip of the metal slab. Above her, brighter, hotter than the sun, the only light in the room poured its rays down over her face like acid. Chains fused to the base of the table shackled her wrists and her ankles, the unyielding leather sliced her skin, bruised her flesh.
     
    There was nothing calming about the room in Amalie’s mind. There was nothing tranquil about the hungry eyes peeling her apart from behind goggles, as if whatever she has may be contagious. She wasn’t stupid enough to believe what her father did in that room was legal. She knew his methods were outdated and barbaric and cruel. But he never stopped. He always hoped that this time, this attempt, this method would be the one to solve the mysteries of the brain. She never knew what he would do next. She never knew what torture he would pick next. There were times he would only take her blood, check her temperature and let her return to the security of her room. Other times…other times they would carry her out unconscious, sometimes bleeding, sometimes covered in her own filth. There was nothing worse than not knowing.
     
    From across the room, rusted wheels squealed their protest as something was dragged over to the foot of the table. Water sloshing against its confines filled the air.
     
    “You won’t fuss!” her father warned. “It will only be harder for you if you fight, do you understand? It will not be pleasant if I have to sedate you.”
     
    Nothing you do is pleasant! She wanted to hiss at him, but wisely kept her mouth shut. Any shows of anger, fear, confusion, distress, or sadness…any emotion at all would only earn her more pain.
     
    At her sides, her fingers danced a tattoo against the table beneath her. Her foot twitched. She willed both to stop, but the longer her father stood there watching her, studying her, examining her every breath, the harder it became to focus on keeping her guard in place. He couldn’t know that she saw them behind him, bobbing and weaving through concentrated shadows. He couldn’t know she was so close, one step to his right and he would walk right into her.
     
    Oh God…oh God…not now, please not now!
     
    Other swirling vapors of smoke coiled from the ground, rising into the darkness. They breathed through the air, twisting amongst the lab coat-wearing group busy at work taking her apart.
     
    “ Amalie! Amalie!” She felt the cool words slip over her bare skin, raising goose bumps in their wake. A shiver was elicited and ran through her.
     
    Faces peered at her from the dark mist. Blank eyes, cold, empty, yet oddly pleading stabbed through her, hot and fierce, refusing to be ignored. But ignore she had to.
     
    You’re not there! I don’t see you! You’re not there! I don’t see you! You’re not there! You’re not! You’re not! I don’t! I’m not sick!
     
    The willowy figure swaddled in white swayed forward from behind her father’s back. Amalie’s heart forgot a beat. It tripped. Icy fingers fisted around her gut.
     
    I don’t see you! I don’t see you! God, please, I don’t see you!
     
    Her lungs dropped into a vat of acid. Every inhale burned in her chest. Inside, she slammed every protective barrier closed on her mother’s weeping face.
     
    “We’re ready, sir,” said the short, plump man with thinning hair and enormous glasses that sat crooked on his fat nose. He adjusted the thick frames higher over his squinty eyes.
     
    “Get the chains,” her father said, taking a step back to allow the man to untether her.
     
    Her mother’s shadow flittered away when her father got to close. It hissed and zipped around the room like an unbalanced rocket to stop at Amalie’s other side.
     
    “ Don’t touch her!” Fingers that had once been warm and lily soft, passed through Amalie’s shackled wrists. “Don’t touch her!”
     
    “What are you

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