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MOMENT 05: DISTANT TRUTHS
Leaning against the wall, I glanced up to see Shannon. She wore the same green scrubs and still didn't have socks.
"Magna," she whispered and leaned forward. "I remember something."
"W-what?" I asked. "You do?"
"Quiet all of you!" Gary grumbled. "Save your chit-chat for the locker room."
He walked up and down the lines, inspecting each of us as if he expected someone to make some outlandish move. It couldn't be clearer that he hated his job.
Shannon leaned forward again after he passed. "I'll tell you outside!"
Gary spun on his heel to try and catch us talking, but both of our mouths were sealed shut.
He gave a great grizzly-chested harrumph and walked to the doors at the end of the hall. He reached for his security key cards and dropped them once again.
"Put those on a chain!" a guy quipped, drawing a giggle or chuckle from everyone. Gary straightened, his face burning red with anger or he maybe blushing. I didn't care to know, nor would he ever reveal the truth.
He swiped his security card and led us to the hall where various recreation rooms existed. We passed the first room, the art center, and then the second room, the classroom where teachers taught us basic English grammar and math. The third room may have been for storage. I'd never seen it open before.
Finally, we came to the gym. Once again, we waited for the process of Gary dropping and retrieving his cards. He swiped the appropriate one, and the doors opened outward into the gym.
We walked inside the basketball court-sized room with a carpeted floor.
"All right, everyone to the locker rooms," Gary said. "We're gong to play basketball today. Boys vs. girls."
The girls whined and complained; the guys just laughed. Shannon looked unconcerned and watched a door on the side of the gym. It had an exit sign above it. She nodded to it, and I cocked an eyebrow. Did she want to go outside the actual building?
"Everyone, move it!" Gary shouted.
The girls all turned to the left side of the gym and went to their locker room. Following Jeremy and the other guys, I followed them to our locker room. We walked inside, and the room smelled like dirty socks. Jeremy and I stood across the row from each other. These were the lockers where we kept our personal effects, including gym clothes and tennis shoes.
I pulled off my scrubs and quickly changed into a pair of gym shorts and a t-shirt.
Jeremy changed across from me. I opened my mouth to ask him a question when there came a loud slam from across the room. We both met eyes and rushed around the lockers to find a group of guys standing back and staring at one patient, who indeed did have anger issues. He punched his locker, denting it in.
"Why basketball? I hate basketball!" He shouted. But as he brought back his fist again, it sprouted thick black hair and doubled in size. No one else seemed to notice, but my eyes widened. He punched the locker again, and this time, the door broke clean off and clattered to the floor.
"H-how did I do that?" His eyes showed bewilderment.
He looked at his arm and shook it, then his eyes trailed up and landed on me. "You!" he said. "Strange World boy! Do you know how I broke the locker?"
I shrugged. "You punched it."
"H-How---" he tried to say, but Gary stormed through the group and approached the tough guy.
"You're in deep crap now," Gary said. "To the Quiet Room with you!"
"N-no! I don't want to go!" he pleaded as Gary grabbed his arm and dragged him out of the room.
"He acts like the Quiet Room is a death sentence," Jeremy said.
"It's like solitary confinement," I told him. "They make you spend hours in there and won't let you out, no matter what. Not until you're completely calm and deemed safe."
"I do wonder how he so easily broke the locker," Jeremy said as the rest of the guys changed and left.
"He had a gorilla arm."
"Strange World." Jeremy gasped. "It's affecting other patients now?"
"He still couldn't see his transformation. It's worrying me. But anyway, let's just go play basketball."
"I hate sports," Jeremy said.
"I hate them, too, but what choice do we have?"
We retreated to the gymnasium, and I spotted every one of the other patients, except Shannon.
"Where's your girlfriend number two?" Jeremy asked.