Memories came rushing back. What I had done leered up at me in full technicolour. My chest tightened; my insides wound themselves in painful knots as I struggled for air. Warmth spread frm the hands laying on my back. I could feel at least five of them. Until then, I had barely even registered there were people there.
Pain lanced through my head as I recalled more. I fought the instinct to leap up and run from them. They had made me do it. How? There was no way I would..? A sob lodged in my throat and I heard one of them make soothing noises. I daren’t move; my gaze fixed firmly on the floor beneath me as I tried to figure out what was going on.
“You need to keep an open mind,” Sam rolled his eyes at me as he spoke. I stared at the building skeptically. It stank of money. I couldn’t ignore the rumours I head heard and how the word cult had been thrown around. But Sam had assured me that that was nonsense and these people would help us live more fulfilled lives. My life was perfectly fine. Sam shook his head and hurried on ahead of me. He was the one who thought we needed more fulfilment.
I swallowed the tinge of resentment that I had been dragged here and stomped along behind him.
My body lurched back and I sat up straight in the chair as images of the event came filtering through. Faces loomed over me, staring down in concern. I recognised all of them. They had all been there to greet us and tell us about the Foundation. Drinks and nibbles, all very civilised. Until they suggested we sit in on a meeting.
“How do you feel?” The man was wearing grey, even his eyes were grey. His head cocked to one side as I realised I had been staring at him for too long.
“Thirsty,” was all I managed to come up with. The man smiled in relief – Thomas, that was his name. Someone else fetched a glass of water and handed it to me. I reached out tentatively but froze. My hands were sticky, they shone in the harsh bulb light of the room. It reminded me of the wine they had given us when we first went in to the meeting.
There was a funny taste the wine but I put it down to my complete lack of knowledge. I only drank beers and spirits so the sickly sweet taste was lost on me. Sam seemed to not like it either but who were we to complain to our gracious hosts and life coaches. I snorted, I thought to myself but a couple of heads turned. Sam giggled. I looked down at the wine. By the time I saw the powder dancing in the bottom of the glass it was too late.
Words swam in my mind as I stared at the concerned faces.
“Well done,” Thomas nodded. “We knew you would be right for us.”
“Right for you?” I barely recognised my own voice.
“Yes, for our mission,” murmurs went round the gathering as they all reacted to the mention of the mission. A shiver ran down my spine as a remnant of an involuntary response shuddered through me. A sudden wanting to join but it dulled quickly adn just left me feeling sick.
“You were chosen. The elixir only chooses those worthy.” The words dislodgedthe final memories from the back of my mind.
Sam was opposite me but I barely recognised him. It looked like him, but my mind was not my own. Something primal had taken over. The need to serve the mission. Sam was an obstacle. Only one of us was worthy, Thomas had decreed it. I bowed to the man in grey at the edge of the room.
When I turned back to Sam, his eyes were wide with fear. His mouth twitched but no words came out. The mission needed to be carried out.
“You will help us with the Mission,” Thomas spoke again, drawing me back to the present. I found myself started to nod but again the urge died, like an engine misfiring. Thomas’ eyes narrowed. “How are you feeling?” He was asking again. How was I supposed to be feeling? Something was very wrong. I stared down at my hands.
A few whispers went around the group and some men moved away. All the hands lifted from my back. The atmosphere changed in an instant.
“The elixir, it has failed,” Thomas sounded disappointed. he sighed and withdrew to the edge to the room. Everyone else pulled back further. That was when I saw Sam lying at the edge of the room. I fixed my eyes on him as tears rolled down my face. I heard a clang of metal behind me.
I would be with Sam again soon.
Written in response to a picture prompt on Creative Writing Ink’s prompt pages. Feb 28th. https://creativewritingink.co.uk/writing-prompts/