You have the strange one-of-a-kind ability to know, just by looking at a sheet of paper, what is meant to be written on it. Growing up this helped you ace every school exam with no one the wiser, but as an adult you’ve found it has other advantages – and disadvantages.

I was Anne, once. Anne with an e, like in the old book. 

No-one here knows my name. Here, I am Rosetta. 

It seemed so harmless when I was younger. When I looked at a paper, any paper, I knew what should be written on it. It started with my diary, when I was very young. Then quizzes and tests at school, essays and reports and so on. 

It doesn’t work on blank paper. Blank paper is neutral. Uncommitted. It needs to be committed to something. A title or heading is often enough. Sometimes I need more specifics to get me started, maybe a short precis or something. Translation and code-breaking are easy – they put them on a form, with spaces for the translated words, and those come through very clearly. 

When the war started, I volunteered. Many of us, the ones with gifts, did. Our duty, we thought. For our people, for our country. So we came forward and admitted to our gifts, and put them at our country’s service. 

That was about sixteen years ago. I have not left this facility since. 

They don’t tell me much, but I don’t know why. It’s not as if they don’t give me every coded message to decode. I know more about the war – the current one – than most of them do. 

This is the second, or maybe the third. There was a break, but so short that it might just have been a cease-fire, or a temporary truce. They made an effort to pretend to me that the same war had lasted, but after a while I tactfully pointed out to one of my handlers that I spend more time reading top-secret communiques than they do. His angry embarrassment was very amusing. 

My days are monotonous, but not altogether unpleasant. I eat well – not fancy food, but wholesome, tasty food. Every day, I spend half an hour doing exercises, to keep my body in good condition.  I spend my evenings reading, watching movies, listening to music, whatever I feel like. If I’m unwell, a doctor attends me.

It took me some time to make it clear to my handlers that they would have to make me comfortable. That wasn’t a pleasant time, and I still have some scars. But eventually I was able to talk to someone capable of reason, not just obedience. My work takes concentration. It’s hard to concentrate if you’re uncomfortable. If I’m hungry, I can’t concentrate. If I’m in pain, I can’t concentrate. If I’m tired, I can’t concentrate. If I’m uncomfortable – too cold, bad chair, all the little discomforts they tried to use to break my will – I can’t concentrate. 

If I can’t concentrate, I can’t work fast… and I make mistakes.

I am very cooperative, if I’m comfortable.

Keep reading


#storytime #abuse cw #kidnapping cw #prison cw #war cw?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.