The hallways were as he remembered them; long, boring, and practically devoid of life. Their footsteps echoed as they walked, Daniel couldn't help but wonder if there were more monsters hidden behind the doors. What he had seen was horrifying enough, and if something like that existed there had to be worse. The scientist sensed he was curious, but he was committed under oath to not let a single thing leak out. If he told the child he may very well tell his adoptive parents, who would further spread the truth until their carefully planned out structure crumbled underneath them. And he'd be out of a job at that point.
They approached a set of doors once the hall ended. They were metal, painted white which hardly surprised the boy, why should this particular feature stand out? And above them hung a sign that read "exit". Exit to where? The light coming from the windows hardly seemed real, it was so bright and so welcoming, which only stirred up more questions that buzzed around like bees in his head.
When they were pushed open the light that had before seemed so welcoming became harsh and painful, so much so that Daniel stepped back into the familiarity of the hallway where it was safe. Outside those doors was something he could have only DREAMED of. There was the sky he read so much about, a light blue that stretched on forever it seemed, only blotted out by a few lazy clouds that drifted by. And the green stuff on the ground must be grass. He bent over cautiously and touched it with one finger one to find it was not one thing but thousands upon thousands of little things that all stood together as one.
The large, blinding body of light must be the sun; authors in books described it as being bright but he never thought it would be painful to look at. He didn't like it at all, and refused to step out of the doors while it was still there.
The scientist chuckled softly and removed Danny's glasses from their place, holding them out to the boy. "That's what these are for, they make it a little more manageable to look at. Here, try it."
Danny took over and scowled, grabbing the glasses. What the scientist said was true, suddenly everything became darker and pleasantly bearable, but that didn't change the fact that he had invaded his personal space. "Thanks," he said sarcastically, a nasty little habit he had picked up from one of the female scientists he saw regularly, "I'll remember that."
While the man was in shock over something a seven year old said, Danny stepped onto the grass tentatively. He was barefoot and didn't understand why everyone else got things to wear on their feet, but in this moment he was glad, the grass felt wonderful. It was cool like the floors but uneven and kind of mushy. He walked along a straight line in a field that seemed to go on infinitely, and, caught up in this new and unusual world, hardly saw the fence until he ran into it.
And boy was it a shock.
He felt something run through his body that made him jump back and howl in pain. There was a wall standing between him and the horizon, but this one didn't look complete. There were holes in between bend pieces of wire that showed him what was beyond it but didn't let him through! And the pain... It felt almost like- "...an electric fence."
He jumped, forgetting the scientist had been trailing behind him the whole time.
"It's for keeping animals out," the scientist explained as they diverted their course and walked beside the fence, "when they touch it and try to climb over it shocks them and makes them go running."
Silently, Daniel wondered what animals he could possibly be referring to. And, more importantly, what exactly an animal was. He read of mysterious creatures called cats and dogs and bears, all animals, but so unique in their own respective ways. He settled on the definition Danny helped him formulate; an animal was simply a non-human being.
As he absorbed himself in wonder over the subject, they had stopped in front of a gate. He hardly noticed the ground beneath him had changed dramatically until the tiny rocks started to hurt. Snapping out of his reverie he took in his surroundings again; a long road went from the grand building into the distance, only blocked off by the fence. He watched as the scientist poked a tiny screen expertly which somehow opened the doors. They let out a horrible sound as they slid past each other, most likely from infrequent use. Daniel instantly disliked the sound and covered his ears until it was over and they both were at rest.
In the distance he was something coming. It was something strange yet captivating; it moved at a slow but steady pace, rumbling, and inside of it were... People? One of them waved.
As the... Thing... Stopped a few feet away from where the two were standing, Daniel was unable to tear his eyes away from it. What was it? He wanted to touch it... But feared it might eat him like it ate those poor people- to his surprise, there they were. Unscathed. They opened the sides of the contraption and walked out like it was no big deal.
There stood a woman. She was older, hunched slightly, her brown hair streaked with grey, but despite all of this she wore the most pleased, loving smile Daniel has ever seen. The man took his place beside her and placed a hand on her shoulder tenderly, leaning in to whisper something.
Finally, the woman spoke. She had a sweet, calm voice, as she addressed the child, "...my little darling, you must be Danny...~"
Daniel shook his head. "No ma'am."
Her eyes instantly met the scientist's as her smile wavered and was replaced by a confused frown. "...you... Aren't Danny? But we were told-"
"No ma'am," he interrupted, and then looked guilty for doing so, "...I-I'm Daniel."
"Daniel? Oh! Yes, yes, Daniel!" She said, going back to her sweet old self again. "Forgive me, darling, we haven't gotten used to your... Condition quite yet."
"...condition?" He asked naively, but felt himself be pulled back into their mind when Danny took over.
He pulled the glasses from his front pocket, folding Daniel's neatly, before speaking, "...we don't understand."
They had been raised on the notion that it was completely normal for a person to house two separate consciousnesses. To keep them in the dark they were told that everyone experienced it, but as a person grew they became better at keeping the recessive consciousness quiet so the dominant one could go about their life with ease. This, however, raised many questions. Who was supposed to be the recessive personality? Who was the dominant one destined to gain complete control of the body when the time was right? And, if this was the case, why would somebody be born with two consciousnesses if the sole purpose of one was to shut up and be obedient? This sparked arguments and hurt feelings, and the man with all the answers kept his mouth shut through it all.
The man and the woman exchanged glances before peering down at the small boy again. What were they supposed to say? It was a few moments before the man opened his mouth in an attempt to explain, but before he could the woman put a hand on his shoulder. The conversation was inevitable, but if they could put it off as long as they could, it would be for the better.
"Don't worry about it, darling. Come along, now, into the car. We have a lot to show you."
Together they ushered him towards the car, giving the scientist a friendly wave goodbye. Danny took one last look at the facility he spent his entire life at, wondering what awaited him beyond that field.