Deviants, ch. 2
Posted September 26th, 2020 by katchyboo
in Subcon Forest
Artemis’ breath was shaky, her hands doubly so, as she walked through the door to Icarus Hall.
She’d known this was coming.
She’d known since she was old enough to understand.
She’d known that she was going to walk through this door, to the stage in the back of this hall, and she would be paired up with some boy she didn’t know. They would be Assigned a house, and they’d live there forever, happily ever after.
And this was the one day that it scared her.
She took a step, and then another, and another, feeling as if she was going farther underwater with each tiny move forward-
“Hello there, dearie! Getting our Assignment today, are we?” the receptionist asked, snapping Artemis out of her trance. She was a nice lady, kind, but her smile always made Artemis uneasy.
Pushing back the lump in her throat, Artemis nodded, plastering a smile on her face. “Yes, ma’am. Exciting.”
The receptionist smiled, then went back to her paperwork. Artemis sighed gently in relief - she hated acting. It always made her feel far too fake.
The crowd of teenagers filed in, slowly - their eyes shining bright with excitement, just like Spencer - to the Assignment Stage. In front of the stage sat what looked like nearly every adult in Elysium.
A woman walked out onto the stage, smiling. “Hello, everyone!”
Artemis’ heart stopped. She knew that voice.
Dr. Meredith. She’s here.
The woman - Dr. Meredith - continued. “You are gathered here today to witness the Assignment of Elysium’s newest new citizens.”
Artemis took a deep breath, trying to calm herself. She needed to figure out what exactly was going on in Elysium.
“I do hope you’ll forgive me that you need to wait a little while for the Assignment to truly begin,” Dr. Meredith said, laughing gently.
“First, we need to conduct a small checkup on our teenagers, to make sure that they’re completely healthy. Not that anything would be wrong - it’s just policy. Thank you for your patience.” Dr. Meredith smiled again, before walking backstage.
She continued, addressing the teenagers waiting there: “Now, I’ll call out names as we’re ready for them. First up: Artemis Chariot!”
“...fuck,” Artemis cursed under her breath. Why - out of all the people here - was she first?
“Perfect, child. Right this way.” Dr. Meredith’s constant, shining smile was starting to get on Artemis’ nerves. The doctor led her to a white room - Artemis assumed it must have been the checkup room.
She sat down in a chair, and was told to do all the ordinary things that people were normally told to do for a checkup; nothing seemed off. She was starting to think that maybe she had just been paranoid, and everything was normal.
But then, Dr. Meredith paused, and-
Dr. Meredith was chanting a spell under her breath, staring right into Artemis’ eyes.
Well, what the FUCK do I do now?! Artemis panicked internally as her eyes darted around the room, desperately searching for a way out. Whatever that spell did… well, Artemis wasn’t eager to find out.
There wasn’t much time left. Dr. Meredith was coming nearer, she was staring at Artemis, she was smiling, she was going to cast the spell and then who knew what was going to happen-
Artemis jumped out of the chair, and ran towards the door, but-
Suddenly, Artemis couldn’t move.
A stasis spell.
That was what Dr. Meredith had been chanting, although she certainly took the long version. Stars, I should’ve seen this coming…
“Well. Well. It’s been a little while since someone like you showed up,” Dr. Meredith said, her voice deceivingly calm, her face cold and expressionless. “This is unexpected.”
“Uh, how so?” Artemis asked, staring at the doctor, mind working at a thousand miles per minute. “And… what do you mean, people like me?”
“We call them Deviants. People who just won’t play by the rules, no matter what we do. And you’re certainly one.” The doctor sighed, then glanced in the young girl’s direction. “Oh, we saw you last night - it’s not as if we don’t have scrying spells in the Hall, do you think I’m stupid? - it was quite the stunt.”
Artemis giggled nervously, playing with her (rather short) hair.
“Actually,” Dr. Meredith continued, one eyebrow raised in question, “you’re the orphan girl, aren’t you?”
“Uh, yes…” Artemis replied cautiously. How exactly did this woman know so much about her?
“Do you know, I’ve never seen a case like yours? Simply… left on a doorstep with a note. It’s odd, something I’d expect to hear about in some fairy tale.” The doctor paced slowly around the room as she spoke.
“Yeah, I know, I’m a weirdo. No need to remind me, the other students do that quite often.” Sarcasm was dripping from every word. Artemis didn’t realize what she was saying until it was out of her mouth, though, and she cursed herself for letting herself say it.
“Anyway,” Dr. Meredith glared at Artemis while saying this, her tone icy, “I’ve gotten off track. The point of all this is, we have a… system for dealing with Deviants.”
Artemis didn’t know why, but she felt a stab of fear at the word system. Maybe it was the way Dr. Meredith said it, with that sadistic grin…
...stars, why was she so terrified…?
“Now. Are you ready, Artemis Chariot?” Dr. Meredith smiled, that relentlessly bright smile again.
“R-ready for what?” Artemis’ voice was shaky - she could see, now, why the person talking to Dr. Meredith last night had been scared.
The doctor laughed, a tinkling of bells. “Well, we can’t exactly let you stay in Elysium. After all, the spells simply don’t work on Deviants, and you’d completely shatter the harmony here. So, we’ll throw you outside.”
Outside the city walls.
Artemis had been taught that it was a wasteland, destroyed by countless generations of her distant, reckless ancestors. They’d brought their own end, with their oil and plastic and bad decisions and dark magic. Outside was deadly. Out there, she’d heard there were creatures that would kill you without so much as a sound.
And Dr. Meredith was going to leave her out there.
Oh, stars, no, Artemis thought desperately. Please, anything but this.
“Good luck, child,” Dr. Meredith said, though her tone suggested that she meant anything but. She started chanting another spell, a different one - it’s somnum she’s chanting, Artemis remembered vaguely, it’s a somnum spell - and Artemis tried to run, she really did, but sleep was just too tempting.
She heard herself cry out, though it sounded distant, and the world went black.
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