Chapter 7:

Chapter 07

The Warm World, My Cold World

Erias ran through the corridor after ascending the flight of stairs. He ran through any and every space he could find. He tried opening the doors but they wouldn’t open since they had red lights flashing on them. He was lost in the space and didn’t know where to go until he stumbled on a familiar sight.

He ended up in the same corridor he was in when they first saw those large doors. He followed the straight path he remembered from his memory and stumbled on a wall. He felt despondent but he remembered the button that opened it and luckily it was there by the side of the door. Without second thought, he ran to It and pushed it.

As it slightly opened, he ran out but was surprised by the fact that someone was there in that corridor. He couldn’t break in time and crashed into the person.

“Ouch!” A woman screamed. “The hell you doin’, Erias?” Esther shouted.

Erias apologised quickly and ran towards the exit. As his figure disappeared, so did the outline of the massive door in front of Esther. Once the doors closed, the edges seemed to disappear and become one with the wall. Or rather, it looked like a wall and never like it could open or split up.

“So, this was the door, huh?” She silently spoke to herself as she saw the door become a wall.


Erias evaded all the people going against his direction. They wondered why he ran but immediately ignored it. As he sprinted through the crowd, he made his way into the residential room. He opened his capsule bed, grabbed a pencil and paper, and wrote everything he saw.

He wrote how weary he was after failing to recruit even a single person in his age group. He wrote how they went through the day as normal, being injected with fluids and waking up late, missing the crowd and entering the wrong door. His small, unplanned adventure with Zsally into that storage-like place. And finally, he described in great detail what had happened, specifically finding a collar, the doors being locked and people with strange suits finding them, Zsally’s act of distraction, and his escape.

Before he started writing, someone saw him run in a panic and asked what had happened. Erias hadn’t answered him but just look at him with fear in his eyes and continued writing. The man who saw him, without even saying anything, understood what happened to Erias and just left him. He knew he would be cleaned sometimes soon, so he is writing the things he has seen.

For almost the whole day, he wrote, paper after paper. He was lucky the tip of the pencil didn’t break as he scribbled. Soon after he finished, he promptly hid his papers in small gaps within his capsule bed. He calmed down slowly, lying on his bed as he let his numb hands rest. But even that didn’t completely calm him down. The thought of whiteys going after him infringed on his mentality. Even more so when he thought of what happened to Zsally. They knew that there were two children who entered the area, and since they caught one of them, the other remains. From the discussions he was in for a month, he had learned that there are ways to trace the movements of residents, but it’s still limited. Once a year passes, then it would be practically impossible to move in secret.

All kinds of things floated in his mind. His body couldn’t keep up. So, his eyes felt heavy, he was weary, and as his breathing calmed, his eyes closed falling into a deep sleep almost immediately.


The day has already passed and a few other residents were up and about. Erias had awoken to only realise he had slept the whole day through. He thought it was midday since only a few were walking about. He got out of his bed and decided to speak to Esther. He had forgotten about it yesterday since he passed out and now that he ahs the time, he might as well inform her of the events that transpired personally.

But as soon as he exited the room, he had bumped into someone. He had rough and dishevelled hair and his looks were sloppy. He had no white coat on but he dressed very differently compared to whiteys or blackies. He was curious as to who he was, yet he was also frightful of him. And what sealed the deal of his suspicions were the man’s words.

“Hello, Erias. Care to take a walk with me?” He spoke but in a calm manner. 

He spoke mildly it didn’t fit with his haggard appearance. But that contrast quite terrified Erias.

“U-umm… I’m sorry, mister. I have to meet someone.” Erias tried to reject his offer.

“Oh? Too bad. Zsally wants you to come, so I invited you personally.” Erias’ mood and character instantly shifted.

“Zsally?!” He shouted but soon covered his mouth and reiterated his words. “Who are you? How do you know us?”

“I’m just your average whitey.” The man said while speaking in a very lazy tone. “Ah, just call me Kris. I’m a friendly guy.” He declared but Erias only furrowed his brows.

Without any more words spoken, Kristoff shrugged and started to walk. The other residents were wide-eyed to see someone following some strange man.

Was he another resident? But his clothes were different.

Is he a whitey? But where is his coat?

Then, a blackie? His trousers are black, but his shirt is teel.

His shoes are weird.

Whispers permeated everywhere and Erias could hear almost all of them. It was their first time seeing a man such as this. He looked so slovenly that even the residents looked more well-off compared to him. He was a mystery.

It hasn’t been long since they started walking and they somehow ended up in a corridor with no people around. It came as strange to Erias. He had been roaming the place past the residential rooms but only found a dead end with a gigantic wall. But Kristoff continued walking.

“Are you sure you know where you’re going, Mr. Kris?” Erias asked, slightly tense.

“Of course, I could never get lost in here. It’s like a straight path.” Kristoff replied indifferently.

Erias didn’t talk more than that and just followed. But as he followed, he noticed Kristoff walking straight for a wall. He wanted to speak up, but remained silent instead as it was a mystery who this man is. And as he followed, he was surprised by what happened next. Kristoff disappeared into the wall. Erias remained shocked with mouth agape.

“What’s up?” Kristoff’s head propped out from the wall and spoke. “Not coming?” He asked.

“W-w-what’s that?!” Erias couldn’t help but scream out his question and surprise.

“Oh, this? It’s a bit long to explain. Anyway, just come on in.” Kristoff spoke and his head disappeared once more into the wall.

Erias was having second thoughts. Should he enter or not? If he won’t, he would still be targeted, and worst-case scenario, he would be dragged against his will. He turned around and no one was behind him. The curved path made it look like as if no one was looking. He clenched his fists and stepped into the hole. Next was his arm, then his torso, and finally the entirety of his body. It was then silent.

Although it was silent, it didn’t mean it was empty. Behind the curved portion of the walls of the corridor, Esther’s back leaned against the wall and her mouth, too, was wide open. She didn’t believe what she saw. Their bodies disappeared?

She looked around to see if there were other people around, and once she confirmed that no one was there, she ran towards the place they disappeared. She walked closer to the corner of the wall and found nothing suspicious about it. No buttons, no signs, no writings, nothing unfamiliar or strange. With that, she took a deep breath and stepped into the wall with great confidence.


“Boiuwff!!!” Esther walked right into a solid wall. “What the hell?!” She screamed.

After her face hit the wall, she banged it again and again, hoping for it to open up, but nothing happened. She did the same for the surrounding walls, but again, nothing happened. If anything, she just made noises. She was disappointed after spending almost an hour trying to find an entry or some distortion. After wracking her brain to find no solution or answer, she left the scene.

She knew that Erias would be cleaned. She was worried but at the same time, hopeful. She remembered he bumped into her the previous day after coming out from that hidden door. And since he knew the drill, he would have written everything down. She placed her bets on any written information of what he saw, so she headed towards the residential rooms and search through his stuff.


Erias and Kristoff stepped into a lift and started moving. Erias was startled by the new contraption since it’s his first time being on one, let alone seeing one. As it moved, Kristoff broke the silence by talking and asking him questions.

“Are you not going to ask why you’re not being cleaned yet?”

“Cleaned?” Erias acted ignorant of the term.

“Come now, I know you know of it. After all, you and your little group caused us quite a problem. We can’t get work done if you always appear just to be cleaned.”

“Why and what do you clean anyway? What are you hiding from us? Why do we have to go through all those things like simulations.” Erias continued his barrage of questions. “And what-!”

“One question at a time, boy.” Kristoff brought his hand forward while stopping Erias mid-way. “Now, we clean you guys since it’s for your own safety. We are hiding a lot of things from everybody, even from the other whiteys. As for simulations and the NEWards, well, it’s for your safety as well.” Kristoff answered with a lax and lazy tone.

“Then, what are you planning to do in the future?”

“Quite the inquisitive you are.” Kristoff chuckled while Erias shouted. “Well, I don’t mind telling you.”

Erias was confused. Kristoff agreed to tell him the reason.

“I’m sure you know of the walled city.” Erias reacted. Although it may be a fairy tale, he still wanted to go out of the shelter and venture forth. “Of course, you do. Well, let’s say I’m preparing you for that.”

Erias didn’t quite understand what he meant by his words.

“Any more questions?” Kristoff asked him.

“Why are you telling me this when I ask. I won’t remember it anyway if I’ll be cleaned”

“I have reasons for telling you. And we can choose what you can remember and what to forget. But it’s a hassle to let you remember so we delete everything.”

Erias stood there confused. He didn’t understand half of what he said but he understood that he can be controlled. As soon as his barrage of questions ended, the lift stopped. Erias panicked slightly by the sudden G-force but he quickly regained his balance and composure.

When the door opened, there were a few more whiteys talking and walking about. As they walked past them, they all greeted Kristoff with respect and some with fear.

“Are you someone important?” Erias asked.

“You could say that.” Kristoff answered lightly.

While they walked, whiteys had eyes on the two of them, especially Erias. It was to be expected as they were all whiteys and he was the only resident in grey in the area. While he passed by, he noticed someone familiar in a room.

“Hmm? What’s wrong?” Kristoff asked. When he looked over to the place Erias was looking at, he saw Churche together with Karina. “You know them?”

“Yeah. I know Churche. He’s usually the one leading us in those rooms.” Erias answered.

Whilst he stared, Churche and Karina took notice of them waved. While shoving food into their mouths. He waved back but was told off by Kristoff.

“I see. Well, let’s go.” Kristoff started walking off on his own. “Zsally’s waiting for us.”

He quickened his steps as he trotted behind Kristoff. With great curiosity, he asked Kristoff what they were doing.

“Ah, probably a dinner date. “

“What’s that?”

“Well… it’s difficult to explain. Let’s just say you eat food with someone you’re close with.”


“Ah, this is where it gets complicated.” Kristoff scratched his head as he walked. “Let’s just say you don’t need it since we use nanomachines to take care of it.”


“It’s the things we inject inside you when you enter the NEWards. It’s to keep you safe and healthy.” Kristoff explained to him while beads of sweat formed on his head.


“The places where you go before and after the simulations. “He rubbed his eyes a bit as he answered.

“Okay, I see. I get it.” Erias indifferently spoke.

Did he really get it?

Those thoughts floated in Kristoff’s mind as they continued down the corridor. For quite some time, they have been silent and other whiteys had their eyes glued on them, especially the young boy near Kristoff. They wanted to ask, but couldn’t since it was Kristoff, their division head. They were scared but one.

“Kr. Koldner, what is this child doing here?” It was Kreija who had spoken.

“Oh Kreija. I have some business with him.” Kristoff scratched his head and started to walk away. “Well, I’ll be on my way.”

“Mr. Koldner, bringing a resident in, especially with no reason, is a violation of the shelter code of conduct.”

As she slowly raised her voice, Erias slowly backed away and felt fear in his heart.

“Oh, come now. I’m not breaking anything.” Kristoff walked closer to Erias and placed his hand on his shoulders. “Look, you’re scaring him. Now, let’s be on our way, far from this monster.”

“Mr. Koldner!” Kreija shouted his name and frightened Erias even more. “You can’t bring residents in without good reason, even if you are the First Division Commander.”

“Kreija, I have power. You could as well say I’m the CEO or even president of the divisions. But in the first place, I haven’t violated anything. I have business with him and someone else. He is to be a test subject for the use of the SIC-LCIC. Unless you can help me with coding the thing, I don’t mind you coming into the third level.”

Kreija was silent for a while. She wanted to say something but decided not to. She just shook her head and went on her way.

“Bye, Kreija!” Kristoff waved.

“Um, Mr. Kris. What’s that SIC-LCIC? And would Ms. Kreija be alright?”

“Don’t worry about Kreija. She’s a robust person. Might not be the best word to describe her, but she’s capable of doing things.” Kristoff lightly pushed Erias to walk as he spoke to him. “Also, the SIC-LCIC just means a bunch of gibberish that could potentially make you stronger.”

“Really?” Erias still looked very confused, and only understood the last bit. And Kristoff agreed with him.

As they walk, they entered a different room and into another lift. When they reached the last floor, another woman was standing beside it.

“Welcome back, Mr. Koldner.” Lisanna welcomed him. “This way. Zsally is waiting for the both of you.”

“Zsally!” Erias screamed as he remembered why he came here. It was for Zsally. “She’s not hurt, right?” He asked Lisanna and Kristoff.

“Of course not.” Kristoff lightly answered. But as he continued speaking, his tone got darker. “That is, if you cooperate.”

Erias felt a shiver down his spine.

They reached a certain door and before Lisanna opened it, Eris took one last glance at Kristoff and felt goosebumps all over his body. He saw him make a serious, chilling, and frightening expression. Now, Erias was more worried than ever and wondered what was going to happen.

Lisanna stepped in front of a large door and slowly pushed them from the handles. The light from the interior shone brightly on Erias’ face, slightly blinding him. And as his eyes adjusted, the view in front of him left him in awe.