I slowly opened my eyes and was immediately blinded by the light. So much light. And not the beautiful, enchanting light of the sun, but rather the depressing light you find in hospitals.

“She’s awake,” a masked person stated, leaning over me as her bright blue eyes bore into mine. “Welcome back, Lexie. Your full body alteration has been completed. It went perfectly.”

So my name is Lexie. There were two others, a tall man and a shorter bald one, both in masks just like the blue-eyed lady. They propped me up into a seated position, shining flashlights in my eyes and observing my every move.

“How are you feeling?” the bald one asked.

Before I had a chance to respond, the tall one pushed his finger against my right temple. I heard a scream and soon realized it was my own. Electricity jolted through my spine, igniting my insides as if they were on fire. And my head. Oh, my head. My brain felt like it was being squeezed and drilled through then hammered and cut open. Definitely the worse migraine I could ever experience. There had been something on his finger; it was cold and hard like metal.

“What are you doing to me?” I asked, my voice shaky and petrified.

“Shh, it will be alright soon,” the blue-eyed lady comforted. “This is the last segment of your transformation – the reconstruction of the mind. Try not to do too much. Let your brain wander from the pain, and think about how great your life will be in just a few minutes.”

In that moment, just as the words escaped her lips, I remembered everything. Julius Stone. He is the world’s one and only king, named after the great ruler Julius Caesar. His majesty had issued a decree half a century ago, in the year 5612, forcing everyone to get a chip implanted into their brains at the age of eighteen. With this chip, King Stone and his men will have access to all our thoughts and memories. And he will be able to alter them, to control our minds.

“Lexie, your transformation is almost complete. In five,” the blue-eyed lady counted down. “Four. Three. Two. One.”

“Welcome aboard!” The three masked people cheered.

My eyes felt like they had been opened. I felt as if I had finally been able to see.

The tall one, who had said nothing yet, finally spoke. “Congratulations. You are now truly a free being.”

My lips curved into a smile. I was free.

“Yes. I am free,” A voice that sounded exactly like mine said. I don’t think it was I who said it, though. I did not plan on saying anything.

“Did… Did I just say that?” I inquired. That was I speaking.

The blue-eyed lady replied with: “Yes. It may not feel as if it was you speaking, but let me assure you that it is. The chip implanted in your brain is helping you voice your true thoughts. It fills you with the good thoughts and rids you of the bad ones. King Stone does not approve of bad thoughts. Good thoughts are good. Bad thoughts are bad. And we want good.”

“May I be discharged? I want to glory in the true beauty of the world,” The voice that sounded like mine in every way requested.

“Yes, Lexie, you may leave, right after some verification. Place your finger here,” she held a scanner in under my hand and one right in front of my left eye, “and look into this little peephole.”

“Alright now, you may leave. Have a fantastic life!” said the short bald man as he proceeded to lead me out of the room.

I waved and smiled and continued to wave at the three masked people then exited through the door and went on my way. Walking through the hallways of this hospital was an odd experience. The building was extremely bright; there was not a shadow in a single corner. But it was a false type of brightness, just fluorescent lights. Thick curtains covered most of the rooms, but sometimes I could make out a few people from the gaps. For a second, as I peeked through a window’s curtains, I thought I saw a young woman like me screaming and writhing in pain. But that image had morphed into a young woman like me laughing and howling with great jubilation. I guess I just saw wrong.

As I wandered around, a nurse tapped my shoulder. “Hello, may I help you?” She smiled a wide smile. So wide I thought her lips were about to crack.

“Yes, please, I was looking for my way out,” I replied, noting the fact that she had meticulously observed my right temple.

Her face had turned suddenly fallen and became suspicious, but it just as quickly lightened up after stroking my temple. “Ah, right this way,” she led me to an elevator at the end of the hall. “Get off on the highest floor, the 185th. You will find a door right in front of you. Outside that door is the rest of the world.”

“Thank you.”

“Welcome to the real humanity,” she smiled so very widely once again.

Upon arriving back at my apartment, I instantly fell asleep on my bed. That was a wonderful first day.