Kell sat in her little room, knees brought up to her as she shook. Or, better put, K311 did that. She had a nickname from her sisters, Smile as they would call her, but they weren’t there anymore. None of them were there anymore except for the one built to be beaten, K267. The mute. The mother.
And it was her tail that told K311 that she needed to look up. Look around. That there was a man there. Somehow.
“Her… tail told you?”
“K267 made a language for us. A language the scientists couldn’t read made up of morse code and a version of sign language with our tails. Often times, we learned how to speak like that before we actually began to speak.”
K311 did as she was told though, looking at the man in the corner. The man in a black suit, and a fedora that he tilted towards her as she saw him. She didn’t know what to make of him then. After all, she had never seen someone outside of her sisters and the scientists, so this was unknown to her. Even worse, for some reason the scientists weren’t stopping him from being there, which usually meant bad things for K311 and her…
She shut her eyes, curling back up as the tears came back. As the pain came back. She didn’t deserve to be there after all. Not after what had happened.
The man knew though, scaring K311 even more as he walked towards her, speaking in a low, calm voice. “They’re gone. They saved you after you disappointed them by not being willing to kill. You’ve never wanted to though, have you? You’ve just always wanted to be a little angel, haven’t you?”
K311 first used her tail to say yes, before looking down. Words wouldn’t come at the moment, and she didn’t understand that it was the pain that tore them away, not when the experiments had never done such a thing to her.
He didn’t seem to require it though as he put a small black pad in front of her, and a stylus. “I can let you out though. Make it so that you never have to kill for them again. That you can have your freedom. The one catch I ask for is that you submit yourself to a curse. A curse of my own making.”
“Kell… I don’t like the sounds of this.”
“Don’t worry, Sarah. It isn’t as bad as he makes it out to be. It was simply-“
“When you need your strength most, when it is most required for your happiness, it will betray you, and leave you knowing only despair as you lose all control.”
K311 was silent at the words at first, unable to answer. Her brain saw the flaw, but she couldn’t voice it. Besides, it didn’t matter. He promised the impossible. There was no way out.
Or… was there, she thought as she saw a hole open in the wall, but it didn’t lead to the outside corridor. It led to the outside. Period.
“You won’t need your strength to leave. Just your speed. Besides, what fun would it be to have you sign this now and then leave you here under their control?”
K311 stared at him, before understanding what he wanted. Her time in accelerated aging meant she knew how to write, even if for much of her conscious life she’d never known what the symbols burned into her brain meant. Not that it was clean, but it was enough for the man, who then picked up the pad and stylus before gesturing to the outside. “Go.”
And K311 did. She ran hard and fast, knowing that Mother wouldn’t come with her. She was needed for the eventual next batch like Kell, but K311… She could be free. She could finally feel grass and dirt where it belonged, instead of just some simulation in the lab. She could roll around, bounce, and dig, though most of those things would need to wait.
The first thing she needed to do, was get away, and get safe.
Which led her to the lights. First the lights of the big houses near the edge of town, after she ran for so long. So very long, but that didn’t matter. She had found a city, and she knew what she could do in a city.
And she knew the look of a restaurant on the edge of the city. The first one she ran into, and she could smell the food.
Until, she found a girl in a black jacket sitting on the curb, a bag beside her as she looked almost ready to throw up from the coffee she drank. She gave K311 her first syrupy sandwich, and…
“K311 is me!”
“That’s stupid. I’ll just call you Kell instead.”
K311 blinked a few times, before looking at her hand and whispering, “Kell…” Before then jumping into the air as she screamed it again and again.