The trip from Durai was only supposed to take half an hour, but to Miira it seemed interminable. She wanted the trip, and all the red-tape to be over so she could retreat to her ‘suite’ and mourn the loss of her home. Her lawyers had already checked and re-checked the reams of documentation, and she had signed all the prelimary waivers, however Innerscape insisted that the final documents must be signed just prior to admittance…
…they probably think I’ll change my mind…
In truth, she had come close to changing her mind after seeing the Catacombs. What a macabre sense of humour those medical doctors must have. And yet, in many ways, the ‘Catacombs’ was a kinder name than the one she would have chosen. Thinking of catacombs put her in mind of dark, musty niches filled with the remains of the long dead, and there was something peaceful about that. By contrast, the sterile, antiseptic corridors of Innerscape, filled with hundreds of coffin-sized containment modules, looked more like the refrigerated filing cabinets of a morgue. A place for the newly dead whose spirits had flown but whose bodies remained trapped in an icy limbo.
Once the initial shock wore off she had rallied, reminding herself that there would not be much of a body left to contain, once the doctors were finished with her, and that the part of her that really mattered would not be there. She would be free. Free of the pain that had been her constant companion for so long, and free of the fear of dying as well.
Besides, she had always enjoyed doing the unexpected and the looks on the faces of the Innerscape doctors had been priceless. They had been so sure she would run away and never come back! All except that young, Asian looking one. He had not looked surprised at all. If anything he had looked like a parent whose child had won first prize in a competition. He had been nice. What a pity she couldn’t remember his name…
“We’re almost there,” one of the paramedics said. “If you look down, you can see the administrative building just to the right of the landing pad.”
Miira had never enjoyed flying and had no interest in seeing the administrative building from the air, but she did not like being rude so she ignored the lurch of her stomach and looked down. At first she could see nothing but a glaring white square where the lights of the landing pad cut through the darkness, but then, out of the corner of her eye, she spied the outline of a house, its wide terracotta tiled roofs a gentle pink in the lights of the ambulance.
Unlike Durai, the building below was only a reproduction, and less than fifteen years old, but the designers had built with an attention to detail that made the structure look authentic, and very welcoming.
Despite knowing that the real facility lay underground, Miira felt a sense of relief on seeing the new-old building. If Innerscape paid as much attention to its medical procedures as it did to its buildings she would be in safe hands.
“Very pretty,” she murmured as the ambulance descended slowly onto the landing pad.