clamped his feet around the edges of the chair and extended an abnormally long arm in the direction of the elevator's control pane. He pointed to the brass buttons. Kara leaned over for a better view. The panel read: 1. Orientation 2. Operations 3. Miracles Divisions 4. Hall of Souls 5. Department of Defense 6. Council of Ministers 7. The Chief ―OUCH!‖ cried Kara, ―Hey— what the —?‖ Chimp 5M51 had picked a flake of dry scalp off Kara's head. He popped it in his mouth and swallowed. ―Mmmmh. My apologies, I couldn't help myself. I am a primate, after all.‖ ―Freak,‖ mumbled Kara crossly, as she rubbed her scalp. A feeling of dread slowly rose up inside her. She stared at the panel. ―This— this doesn't make sense. I — I'm dreaming. This is a dream!‖ Kara shut her eyes a nd pressed her back against the elevator wall, trembling. ―It can’t be happening. It just can't ! I need to wake up now!‖ ―You're dead, Miss.‖ Kara opened her eyes. The word dead echoed in her ears. The weight of his words started to pull her under. She fought against the sick feeling of panic. ―I'm not dead!‖ she hissed, ―I'm right here, you stupid BABOON!‖ ―—Chimpanzee!‖ Spat Chimp 5M51. ―Think what you must,‖ he said, as he lifted his chin. ―But, think about this. Can you remember the events before thi s elevator?‖ Kara floundered, trying desperately to remember. Bits and pieces flashed inside her brain: a white light …metal … darkness … The bus. Kara dropped to her knees. The city bus had hit her — pulverized her core and crushed her like a tomato. But t hen she remembered something else, something that didn‘t make any sense. It was coming back to her
now, like a faded memory sharpening into a clear picture. It flicked before her eyes. She saw an arm reach out and touch her during the bus crash. Someone tried to save me? ―See? You're dead,‖ said the chimp, matter -of-factly, and Kara detected a hint of amusement in his voice. She pressed her hand against the left side of her chest. Kara couldn't feel a heartbeat. She pressed down on her rib cage. Nothing. She clasped her wrist. No pulse. No beating. No movement at all. ―See. No beating. No heart—you're dead,‖ declared the chimp again. She felt herself wanting to punch him. But before she could start freaking out, she was thrown off balance as the elevator stopped abruptly. ―Level One. Orientation!‖ The chimp announced. ―Wait!‖ Kara pushed herself away from the elevator wall and wobbled up to the chimp. ―I don't understand. What's Orientation?‖ With his finger still on the button, he turned his head. ―Orienta tion is where all the new GAs are categorized.‖ Kara stared stupidly into chimp 5M51‘s yellow eyes. ―What are GAs?‖ ―Guardian Angels.‖ ―Huh?‖ Kara heard the swish of doors opening. A hint of a smile reached the chimp‘s lips. He raised his arm and pressed his hand on her back — She flew out the elevator.
Chapter 2 Orientation K ara belly-flopped onto a cold stony surface. Face glued to the floor, she raised an eyebrow. The floor vibrated
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- Fall '19