They’d told her to avoid the green corridor. No one ever escaped that way, but a few had disappeared trying. Irina decided, though, that whatever waited for her there couldn’t be worse than the Experiments.
At first, they didn’t let the subjects sleep. It was like the way they tortured enemy spies in TV shows, locking them in a room and then turning on bright lights and horrible sounds at totally random intervals, so you could never rest and it eventually wore you down. But Irina didn’t know what she was being worn down for, none of them did, not for the first few weeks. As low-level research assistants at the Institute, participating in the Experiments was pitched as an opportunity, and, via subtext, as not really optional. And the weeks they’d spend in the special Experimental Annex would be given back as extra vacation time, so there’d been no reason to question…
Only after a few of them had formed a resistance had anyone found out a little history, that an endless stream of naive youngsters entered the Annex and either were never heard from again or appeared at work weeks later… different, somehow.
The pink dress they’d given her would have been ridiculous even at a dinner party, let alone for going fugitive, but Irina supposed the technicians who’d selected it hadn’t foreseen her spending the rest of the day (if it was day, it was impossible to tell the time in the Annex) creeping through narrow and badly-lit tunnels. It seemed like some kind of old industrial structure over which they’d built their ultramodern torture factory; the Annex was all stainless steel and spotless white, sliding glass doors that opened only for the technicians and not at all for the subjects, who were kept in windowless isolation cells and moved around seemingly at random.
When one of the techs whispered to Irina that she was a part of the resistance, pressed a keycard into the skinny girl’s shaky palm and told her to make for a particular Do Not Enter door that led to the substructure, the only guidance she could give was, “avoid the green corridor”. Irina had heard that before, in whispers, without really understanding what it meant; members of the resistance couldn’t readily exchange information, not without exposing themselves to their captors.
The green corridor wasn’t painted or anything, but it had a strikingly beautiful emerald glow from the strange liquid that half-filled it waist-deep. Irina would have stayed away, but, after hours of trying to move silently through the maze of old tunnels, she was weary and terrified of walking through a door back into the Annex, or of the collection team she was quite sure had descended into the tunnels to pursue her. The green corridor was the only distinguishing feature she’d seen down here, and some part of her brain sparked with the sure knowledge that this, at last, was the way out.
But they’d all told her to shun the green corridor. Halfway down, she thought she understood why. She’d tested the water carefully, not sure what caused the glow but readily convinced it wouldn’t be healthy. If it were radioactive, she figured, like green-glowing substances in the movies always were, she was probably doomed already; she didn’t have any hazmat gear, just a skimpy pink dress for whatever freakish Experiment they were planning on running her through that day.
She remembered when Sasha had been dragged past her cell in a similar getup and then, hours later, how she’d come clicking confidently back down the hallway from the Experiment in ridiculous come-fuck-me heels with her head held high, like she was prowling a red-light district instead of a whitewashed prison.
After that, Irina didn’t see Sasha again, but overheard from some of the techs that she was probably making the Institute a pretty good profit, with her looks and how eager she’d been after the Experiment.
Irina didn’t want a similar fate. If she ended up face-down in this green stuff, well, at least the Institute wouldn’t profit from her any further. She’d looked at the stream of scintillating fluid for a long time, smelled it, dipped a toe in… finally she’d taken a deep breath and made for the end of the corridor.
It had occurred to her that the glow could have been bioluminescence, some kind of algae or other thing in the water, and, indeed, a slimy film clung to her thighs after she’d taken a few steps. The water itself was warmer than room temperature, but after a few more steps she felt warmer still. In fact, Irina’s whole body was tingling, starting at the extremities and moving upward until even her intimate places were thrumming with heat. Halfway down the corridor, she leaned against the wall to catch her breath and mentally chide herself for the inappropriate response. Getting horny, now, in this sub-basement of the complex where she’d been confined and experimented on? What was wrong with her?
A moment’s thought made it obvious, of course; whatever was in the water was doing something to her. What it might be doing was… well, it was too hard to think to formulate hypotheses, but Irina still knew she had to escape, had to keep walking down the corridor, had to let the green film cover more and more of her body, feeling better and better, until…
The splash she made dropping down to her knees awoke her from her reverie. What was she doing? Irina shook her head, clawing at the soaked remnants of the skimpy dress that clung to her shoulders, and tried to stand up. She slipped, and her head went under the water for the first time. She popped back up, spluttering and spitting, and then dipping her lips back down so she could drink the green stuff in in deep, greedy gulps.
When the capture team found their way to the green corridor, a pale, slender figure was rising out of the water to meet them. Her naked curves gleamed with a slime that seemed to glow, and the way she moved was… undeniably erotic. The four-man team found it hard to move or look away as she approached, and, although fear uncurled in the pits of their stomachs at the blank, faraway look in her filmy eyes, they didn’t resist when she came closer, closer, drawing them into her embrace so she could share with them the endless pleasure she’d discovered.