Heroes aren’t born, they’re made. Welcome to Hero Incorporated.

That phrase was inscribed into every door, every hallway, every table, even in the bathroom stalls. The two guards didn’t let me linger for long enough to think about what it meant. They walked me out of the elevator an into an office. All I could feel was cold. The white light took color away from the people hunched over their desks. They didn’t look up as I walked past.

The guards stopped at a black door. I couldn’t read what it said over it, but I assumed it was the same phrase. They opened it. Inside, the room was black. The only light came from a yellow desk light. A man sat behind the desk with a black laptop opened and papers neatly stacked in front of him. An empty black chair was at the other side of the desk.

I walked in. The cold was even stronger inside the room. The man looked up and smiled at me. There was something chilling about it, something quite uneasy. “You must be the new client.” He said. I nodded. “Please, take a seat.”

I walked to the leather chair and sat. His eyes were deep black. “I was told the procedure was free.” I stated.

“It is. You’re not technically a client since you aren’t paying anything.” He explained, “But it’s better than calling you a volunteer. That sounds like it is still in testing phase, which is not.” He handed me a pen, “We do need you to sign some contracts, some consent forms, nothing too scary.”

I raised an eyebrow, “I was told this was anonymous.”

“It is. The information only gets released if something goes horribly wrong, which it never has.” He explained, “But we do need it for legal reasons.” He began to type in his laptop. “Now, while you read that over, let me pull up your file.”

I lifted the contracts off the table and read them slowly. I doubted there was anything there that could get me to leave, but I was still curious at what their best shot would be. “Death” was the only word that popped out at me, but it didn’t scare me. I thought for a moment about how I had come to a point in my life where death didn’t even make me shiver. I pressed the contract against the desk and signed it.

“It says here you’d like to be referred to as ‘Meela’. Is that correct?” He asked. I nodded, “It seems you did more than fine in the physical test. The medical examination does have some minor issues but it’s nothing we can’t work around. DNA study came back fine. The psychological test seems to show you still have some things you need to work out, but don’t we all? It seems there are no mayor issues so you’re good to go.” He closed his laptop and leaned over the desk, staring right into my eyes. “I need to tell you that the reason why the procedure is free is because it can cause mayor physical damage –“

“I have a high pain tolerance.”

“Psychological problems.”

“Probably already have some your tests didn’t detect.”

“Or even death.”

“Death is my next door neighbor.” I state, “I’ve been trying to scare myself out of this procedure for weeks, but I can’t. I’m ready to do this.”

“Alright. Let me check that your papers are in order and you can proceed.” I handed him the contract. He read it over in an instant and placed it in a folder. “Our security guards are right outside waiting for you.” I nodded and stood up. As I walked to the door, he called out, “Maila, are you sure you want to stick to that?”

I turned around, “Why?”

“It’s not really a hero name.”

“I’ll change it after.” I replied as I turned the doorknob. I was never going to be a hero, no matter what they pump into my system.

The two guards stood outside. They looked at me and shared a glance. They grabbed me by the shoulders and walked me back to the elevator. Is as if everyone else were afraid to look up at me.

They took me into the elevator and each pulled out a key. They stuck them into the slots next to the buttons on the elevator and turned them. It moved down rapidly.

I have no idea how far down we went. The only thing I know is that my ears popped a couple of times.

The doors opened into a white hallway. The smell of disinfectant filled my nose. The guards pushed me out of the elevator. White doors lined the hallway, all with the same line inscribed into them in silver. “Heroes aren’t born. They are made.”

We stop and the guards open a door. I step into it. There is nothing but a white bed with straps hanging from it. A blue cover and a white note laid on top of it. The guards closed the door behind me. There wasn’t even a table or a drawer.

I walked up to the bed and picked up the note. It read Dear Miss Meela, please undress completely and lie underneath the covers. Your doctor will be with you shortly. I placed the note on the floor and stripped down to nothing. I folded my worn out clothes and placed them in the corner of the room. Shivers ran through my spine from the cold. I climbed onto the bed and placed the blue cover over me.

The instant I did, a man walked into the room. He seemed a bit too young to be a doctor. He had soft peach fuzz and soft scars on his cheeks. He carried with him a small, white briefcase. “Good evening.” He said, “Are you comfortable?” I nodded. He walked over to me and placed his briefcase on the floor. “I hope you don’t mind, but I have to strap you down for surgery. It’s a safety issue.”

“Go ahead.” I replied. He grabbed the belts and strapped down my wrists. He grabbed the edge of the blue cover and slowly pulled it down until it reached my waist, my chest completely bare. I didn’t mind. He strapped my waist down and then my neck. “I’m going to have to give you a sedative so you fall asleep. I’m going to inject you and when I do, I need you to count back from ten, alright?”

“Sure.” I muttered. I couldn’t turn my head anymore. He knelt down and I heard a click beneath me. He stood back up and held a syringe up to my arm. I closed my eyes. It didn’t hurt when it went into my skin. Then, the fluid entered my blood and it burnt, but I didn’t mind it.

“Ten.” He began for me.

“Nine.” I continued. He pulled out the needle and the burning sensation ceased. “Eight, seven.” The world began to blur. “Six.” And everything went dark.