Acceptance

7

For the past few months, Malvyn had gotten into the habit of waking up at 5:30 in the morning. It gave him 30 minutes to relax and just think. Once Dr. Merrill walked into his room, Malvyn felt like he had a duty to go around the facility and help out any way he can. Although this was more of a lie Malvyn told himself so he didn’t feel selfish about literally craving attention.

Since the day he was “born”, Malvyn sought affection. The second he laid eyes on another person, he wanted to be friends with them. Unfortunately, the first group of people Malvyn encountered had no intention of being friends.

But that was 7 years ago. Since The Authority found him, Malvyn has had a much better quality of life. People went out of their way to interact with him, and he loved it, even if it was part of his “containment protocol”. But no matter the reason, for the longest time, Malvyn had felt truly cared for.

But for the last few months, Malvyn has had a wicked feeling nagging at him. He tried everything to keep it at bay, sleeping less, practically begging for work to do through out the day, anything to get his mind off it, but it wouldn’t leave him alone.

But no matter how hard he tried, Malvyn couldn’t exactly describe what this feeling was. It didn’t matter how many nightmares he had about being stalked around the facility by an unseen being, he couldn’t put a name to this ominous cloud that seemed to constantly hang over him.

Malvyn sat at the edge of his bed, the digital clock above the countdown to the next procedure read 5:45. Malvyn hopped out of bed and began his morning ritual of stretching his “body”. The ritual didn’t actually do anything, his vines never cramped up, but after seeing other people around the facility do it, seeing people on TV and in movies do it, Malvyn just unconsciously picked up the habit.

After his stretches, Malvyn stood in front of the mirror in the corner of his room, running his left “hand” (three smaller vines branching from a larger one) over the side of his head. Another day was beginning, and despite the dark feeling that still clung to him, Malvyn was happy.

“Hellooo Malvyn!” A singsongy voice came from outside his door.

Malvyn perked up and turned towards it, expecting his closest friend to burst through any minute, and that he did.

“Hello Dr. Merrill!” Malvyn said, feeling his face form into one of glee.

Dr. Roger Merrill has been the person Malvyn closest has felt closest to since the day he was brought in. He was the first one to do a physiology check after the MST brought him in, the one to step into Malvyn’s containment room when he had fallen into an immense depression due to isolation, the one who fought for Malvyn to be allowed to roam the facility, saying that he could be an asset to The Authority rather than another contained beast. No matter what Malvyn was, no matter whom he spawned from, Malvyn would look to Dr. Merrill for guidance before anyone else.

Dr. Merrill didn’t need to say anything, Malvyn had mastered Procedure-M 3 months after he first arrived at the facility, and it hadn’t changed since then. As Dr. Merrill pulled out his vinyl gloves and metal-mesh baggie, Malvyn hobbled over to him. Malvyn closed his eyes as the top of his head was opened. Hands rummaging around his head never hurt, but depending on who was doing it, would cause Malvyn immense discomfort, but Dr. Merrill was the gentlest. In 30 seconds, it was over. Dr. Merrill smiled down at him and walked out of the room, with Malvyn in tow.

“Okay, so at 8, I would like you to head to The monastery to help out some of the construction workers. Although nobody will fess up to how it happened, a large hole was punched in one of the common room’s walls.”

“Uhh ok” Malvyn muttered under his breath. Malvyn didn’t like going to the monastery, every single person in there, no matter what religion they subscribed to, looked at him with a sort of hesitation. As if they constantly wanted to say something to him, but held it back.

Once the two had arrived at Dr. Merrill’s office, Malvyn went to his corner of the room like he always did. He plopped down on the small couch, grabbed the remote, and turned on the TV. Malvyn was halfway through his first episode of his favorite fantasy crime procedural of the day, when he smelled roses and cinnamon, perfume, but not just any perfume, it was Katherine’s perfume.

Katherine was an “Authority Employee Psychiatrist”, someone whom workers from a facility go to if they’re dealing with mental issues due to the nature of their job. She is also the subject of a different kind of Dr. Merrill’s affection. When they first started seeing each other, Katherine was obviously uncomfortable around Malvyn. Katherine rarely interacted with RPC’s through out her day, even the rare ones that roamed the facility. But eventually, after Malvyn buttered her up a bit, she relaxed around him, and they even became decent friends.

The second she walked into Dr. Merrill’s office, Malvyn smirked as he shot up, and frantically began fixing his semi-long blonde hair, making sure the middle part was just perfect.

Katherine hollered a pleasant hello, to which Malvyn responded by raising his hand, having turned his attention back to the TV. Malvyn heard the two kiss, and put his full focus back into his show. Two monster hunters were going after a coven of witches that had been tricking sorority girls into “tainting their souls”. Malvyn met a real witch once, she was nothing but rude to him, so he was going to enjoy the ending of this episode much more.

Malvyn began to imagine himself in the hunter’s shoes, being a hero, but it was interrupted by a sound he had only heard a handful of times, wall shaking sirens, breach sirens. Before Malvyn could even stand up from the couch, the Level 4 (Malvyn and Dr. Merrill’s level) PA system squawked.

“ATTENTION! BREACH ATTEMPTS IN PROGRESS IN CONTAINMENT CELLS 454 AND 457, POSSIBLE COLLABORATION, ALL EMPLOYEES WITH FREE HANDS NEEDED. REPORT TO CHIEF GALTON FOR INSTRUCTION!”

Malvyn watched as Dr. Merrill jumped up and grabbed his coat as Katherine stepped towards the door in hesitation, glancing down at her clipboard.

“Malvyn, I need you to take this to Officer Salbini. He is currently stationed outside of containment cell Y3 in Subterranean level 2, please, this needed to get to him 30 minutes ago.” She said, trying to hide her panic.

Malvyn looked to Dr. Merrill for guidance, and was met with a nod. About 10 seconds later, Merrill and Katherine were off, running towards danger like heroes. Malvyn, dejected, grabbed the clipboard and headed towards his destination.

As he sulked towards the elevators, Malvyn watched as employees rushed by him, that creeping black mass began tugging at his mind. To keep his mind at ease, Malvyn began humming the theme to the show he had been watching.

About 20 minutes later, Malvyn was finally approaching cell Y3. Malvyn was happy that he had walked these halls before, because the subterranean levels of the facility were an absolute maze, although this was due to them housing a larger amount of Gamma anomalies than the upper floors.

Malvyn felt a twinge of excitement when he saw the Y3 sign come into view, an attached board read “063”. Malvyn opened the door to Y3, and stepped in.

Malvyn was first greeted by two sets of stairs on either side of him, and to his front, a large metal cube. Malvyn walked up the stairs to his left to find the employees scattered around the high rises. When Malvyn’s presence was known, all of the employees, a heavily guarded AST and a few researchers, gave him some faint smiles and waves.

“Uhh, I’m looking for an Officer Salbini!” Malvyn shouted, trying to make sure his voice carried in the large room.

A red headed bearded AST officer shuffled towards him with a half smile and quickly took the clipboard. It wasn’t until later on did Malvyn make the connection between that reaction and Katherine’s occupation.

But that reaction wasn’t the noteworthy part of this little expedition, it instead occurred as Malvyn turned back towards the staircase to leave.

Malvyn saw that the high rises were overlooking the metal box, and that the top of the box was actually transparent, reinforced glass or plastic, obviously radiating something extra like the other walls. Malvyn’s eyes were immediately drawn to the center of the room, a pitch black humanoid similar to Malvyn’s height stood in a defiant stance. Malvyn had guessed that its face would be turned towards the employees, glaring, to match the defiant stance, but instead, it was looking at Malvyn.

The second Malvyn’s eyes met those soulless, blank, white orbs, the feeling came back stronger than ever. But the feeling was followed by another emotion. Not happiness, brought upon by affection and interaction, not sadness, brought upon by isolation, not even fear. This little staring match brought upon a feeling of familiarity.

The 5-6 seconds both entities stared at each other felt like hours for Malvyn, he felt his whole life turning in on itself. Events that Malvyn remembered being present for, and events he simply…remembered, started playing in his head.

The second Malvyn walked forward, an intense understanding had been brought to his life. While he may not have known his prior actions, real name, or the horrible HORRIBLE stories attached to his name, Malvyn walked out of Y3 knowing what he was, and when he did, the feeling flowed across his body, and dissolved.

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