Don’t stand out. Blend in. Remain invisible. Those are the rules I lived by—the rules I thought would keep me alive.
I was wrong.
Wynter Reeves is a law-abiding citizen of the State, a willing conformist whose daily life is haunted by terrorism and oppression. With the constant threat of death hanging over her like a shadow, she forces herself to live by a strict set of rules, all in the hope of ensuring she is never noticed. However, on her twenty-first birthday, as she prepares to take the placement exam that will determine her future within society, she begins to show symptoms of a rare and debilitating illness—ultimately attracting the attention of the State. Taken into the custody of the feared research facility known as the DSD, her worst nightmare becomes reality.
Ripped away from the life she knew, Wynter is forced to become the test subject of the mysterious Dr. Richter. Through him, she learns the true and terrifying nature of her condition: a disease called Ultraxenopia.
“Her blood type,” she whispers in a hushed voice to the man. “It’s . . . changing.”
I may not know much about science, or anything medical having to do with the human body, but I know enough to be fairly certain that what she’s saying isn’t possible. Not naturally at least.
I gape at the man, but he doesn’t say anything. He doesn’t even seem to react to this news. His eyes simply follow the code for a while, his fingers rubbing his chin as if deep in thought.
When the process is finally complete, the sphere stops spinning and sinks back to the desktop, landing with a soft thud against the glass surface. Within seconds of touching down, the metal shifts until it’s once again nothing more than a silver bowl filled with blood.
The man straightens up, but his hand remains planted on his chin. Everyone in the room watches him in silence, as if waiting for him to speak.
“Fascinating,” is all he says.
Without warning, he looks over at me, and my heart rate increases when his lips curl into a smile. For some reason, his expression is unnerving.
He begins to move toward me, his footsteps echoing off the floor—the sound growing louder as the distance between us shrinks. His gaze never leaves mine.
Stopping just in front of me, he flashes a kind smile. “Hello, Wynter,” he murmurs. “My name is Dr. Richter. I’ll be taking care of you.”
Taking care of me?
“Why am I here?” I breathe. My voice is shaky, and the dryness in my throat is apparent in each raspy word. “What are you going to do to me?”
“Shh, hush now,” he whispers. “All of your questions will be answered in time.”
He smiles once again, only breaking eye contact with me to glance down at his hand. I follow his gaze, the fear re-emerging when I see him pull a syringe from the depths of his coat pocket. His eyes flash back to mine, and I know he can sense my fear as well as the piercing screams tightly lodged in my throat.
“But for now,” he croons as he injects the syringe into one of the tubes in my right arm, “you must sleep.”
He takes a step away from me, that disconcerting expression still plastered across his face. I try to say something, but I can barely get out a single word before I feel the effects of the liquid as it enters my system. It rushes through me like a cold chill.
I want to fight against it, but it’s hopeless.As the drowsiness returns to pull me under yet again, the doctor’s smile is all I can see.
M. A. Phipps is an American author who currently resides in the picturesque English West Country with her husband, daughter, and their Jack Russell, Milo. A lover of the written word, it has always been her dream to become a published author, and it is her hope to expand into multiple genres of fiction. When she isn’t writing, you can find her counting down the days until the new season of Game of Thrones.
You can visit her online at maphipps.com
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