The girl with the ebony hair laid down on her makeshift bed in the old classroom.
Some nights she liked to imagine that she could hear the voices of the students.
Some would be laughing.
Some would be gossiping.
Others would be just like her.
But, unlike her, they would be silent by choice rather than by design.
Some nights she wondered what it would be like to talk.
What would it feel like? The thrum of the air vibrating her vocal cords and coming out as speech. She tried to imagine it, but failed so many nights in a row.
What would it sound like? High? Low? Nasally? Would it be a good voice?
Would she have an accent? Like Professor Hrashna, perhaps? She had a beautiful voice that came out in starts and stops and stammers and Scottish burrs.
Or would her voice be plain? Devoid of any accent. That’s what they had originally planned for her. Her voice had failed them and it had failed her too. So, they removed it before she could become too attached to it. Before she could even remember its feel, its sound, its wholeness.
She lay in her makeshift bed and stroked her neck, trying to find the place where her voice was supposed to be.
The room was dark.
And it was too dark.
Just like it had been back there.
She got out of bed and shuffled towards the light switches on the wall.
She flipped one. The universe and all of its constellations appeared in neon purple light.
She flipped the next one. Chemical formulations overlayed the constellations, creating a nonsensical pattern of hodgepodge.
She flipped the third one. Mathematical equations blended into the purple lit mix.
She went back to bed and laid down.
Purple lines streaked and colored her. Blurred words stretched across her skin.
She raised her arm into the equations, formulations, and constellations and wondered at it all.
She wondered where she fit in.
She wondered where she belonged.
She wondered if she should return to the Institute.
Maybe they would be kind this time.
Maybe they would welcome her back.
Maybe they would treat her well.
Maybe this time.
Maybe this time they would give her a voice.