Recently I’ve been wondering if I made the right choice. Sleepless nights stalk me. When we’re lying in bed his breath fills the air, filling me with doubt. He inevitably rolls over toward me draping his arms and legs over me as if I were his possession. I haven’t gotten used to sleeping with someone else. His every move wakes me from my restless dreams. Dreams of white walls, white uniforms, and electric fences that hum a gentle lullaby. Sometimes I see their faces, the faces of friends I need to forget, but it’s only been a month. The blinds across our bedroom window haunt me. They look like bars I used to watch the sunrise through, the rays scattering light that sparkled like diamonds on the walls. Now neon lights throw a dancing kaleidoscope of colours on the ceiling, taunting me. I have to move on. I need to stop thinking of that place.

The day before I escaped the farm was like every other day. I woke in my bunk, showered, dressed and made my way down to breakfast. I sat with my friends Sweetie and Pip trying to make conversation, trying to pretend that everything was normal. I could tell by the way they looked at me, the sincerity in their voices when they asked me if everything was okay, that they knew it wasn’t.

I lied. By that point, I was getting used to lying.

“Come along CC01002567GF, you have a medical assessment.” Max’s voice stiff and formal boomed from behind me. I jumped in my seat, I’d been doing that a lot since the last time I had spoken to him. I smiled apologetically at the girls and got up and followed him. We walked through a maze of corridors, Max walked without looking back at me, like I didn’t exist. He opened a door and motioned for me to enter. He checked the hallway left and right before he followed me in, shut the door behind him, and locked it. His shoulders relaxed and he leaned against the door watching me. My own body was rigid with fear, mirroring the terror that his eyes belied.

“Is everything okay?” I asked. Blood was roaring through my veins, rushing to my clenched fists, filling my lips as I spoke.

“I have a plan,” he said. “I’m going to get you out of here. It has to happen tomorrow.”

“How?” I bit my lips surpressing the million and one questions I wanted to ask.

“I’ve got a security pass off one of the new people. I’ve been keeping an eye on the processors, they never check the pictures on the ID’s. There’s just one thing I need you to do.”

I waited for him to continue. He walked toward me purposefully in silence.

“You have a chip in your shoulder.” He gently pulled my shirt to the side and traced his fingers along my collarbone to the top of my shoulder. “Here.” He pulled out a pocketknife and instinctively I backed away. “We have to get it out, it’ll set off all of the security gates we go through.”

“Okay.” I took the knife in my hand. I trembled as I felt for the small rod under my flesh, it moved gently under my skin. It had been there this whole time without me knowing. That made me angry. Inhaling deeply I pushed the tip of the knife into my skin, but stopped short.

I turned to Max. “You have to do it. There’s no way.”

“Are you sure?” I nodded and closed my eyes, bracing myself for the pain. His fingers were on me again, stroking me gently across my chest to my shoulder. I felt it, the urge. The exact same urge I had felt the last time we spoke. The last time he had comforted me and I’d wanted more. When he had pushed me away and told me I was too young. I opened my eyes and he was looking at me, I could see my own hunger reflected in his.

“You okay?”

I nodded in response. He held the cold blade gently on my shoulder electrifying my skin. I could feel the steel as it tore at my flesh. My teeth ground, my fists clenched and I struggled to catch the breath I hadn’t known I was holding. It was done. My eyes pricked with tears. I don’t know if they were from the pain or from fear, but it didn’t matter.

Max wrapped his arms around me, just like last time, and he wiped away my tears. He held me close, his breath in my hair, his body against mine. I didn’t care if he was would push me away again. I leaned in to kiss him and this time he met me halfway. This time I felt the blood rushing through his body collide with mine as our bodies locked together. His lips were on my neck, then they were on my lips and our kisses were salty sips of fear. I pulled open his shirt and kissed his chest, but what I wanted was to kiss every part of him.

His lips traced the line of my collarbone ravenously, until he stopped at my shoulder. I was bleeding from the wound in my shoulder. I’d been bleeding the whole time, but his kisses had hit me like an anaesthetic. We watched as the blood trickled down the curve of my collarbone, dripping between my breasts. Fascination overcame me and I ran my finger up the trail of blood and looked at it. It had reminded me of the first time I met Max. I had fallen over and grazed my knees, sitting on the floor crying as my knees bled. Max came over and cradled me in his arms and told me everything would be okay.

He had lied to me, I knew that in this moment with his lips on my body, but I didn’t care. Max watched the blood trickle down my finger before he took my hand in his, unfazed by the blood. I wanted to ignore all of the things I had learned, but I wanted to learn everything I could about Max’s body. Sometimes not knowing was dangerous, but maybe it’s the danger that made it exciting. Like not knowing where he would put his hands next. Not knowing what I would find as I explored his body. Not knowing what tomorrow would bring.