Okay so I don't have enough "credits" to post this in the review room, but I would like opinions because if it's crap, I'll change it now and not have to change the whole thing later. It's my first draft, no editing, and it's very rough, but it's the beginning of a story. Any comments/opinions are welcome! P.S. If this is somehow offensive to anyone, I'm sorry, but I swear I don't mean it to be! A pudgy man walked into the small, white room. The room itself was already little enough, but I felt constricted and claustrophobic as his corpulent body waddled its way through the door. I slouched farther down in my seat, trying my best to look unapproachable and uninterested in the man or anything else around me. I folded my arms and kicked my legs back and forth, displaying my impatience, if it wasn’t already clear enough. No one had spoken a word to me that I could remember, though I had interrogated the several nameless faces of the people around me as they escorted me to this unbearably tight white room. I had more questions than I could ask, and the only thing I was sure of was my name and age. My name is Raiden, I am nine years old, and that is what I know. The phrase had been going through my mind since I had woken up that morning, ringing in my ears like the echo of a suddenly ended dream. Of course I knew other things, things I had learned when I was very young, but for some reason I couldn’t focus on them. All I could remember was the same phrase, over and over. My name is Raiden, I am nine years old, and that is what I know. The stout man, rocking comfortably back and forth, heel to toe, hooked his thumbs in the pockets of his jacket and smiled down at me. His mouth was perfectly creased and his eyes crinkled, but it was a false smile. He wanted to see if I would return it, if I would be civil and polite. To hell with you, I thought bitterly. I’ll be as rude and uncivilized as I damn well please. I pictured myself, a rampaging wild child, throwing my chair at the man and running around in circles, screaming and thrashing. I toyed with the thought and then dropped it, realizing that I couldn’t carry out any sort of grand maneuver in such a small room, let alone such a small room with such a rotund man standing in it. With my luck, I would have ended up injuring myself instead. At this thought, an amused smirk tugged one corner of my mouth upward, and the man understood that this was as close to a returning smile as he would get from me. He stopped rocking but continued to stand before me, looking down at me with an inquisitive expression. “Raiden,” he began, raising his eyebrows, “do you know why you are here?” His voice reminded me of a tortoise, hard and dry and slow. “I assumed you were here to tell me,” I said. The man sat down in the chair across from me, though it creaked and groaned in protest. He situated himself and let out a gruff sigh of relief. “I’m here to see what you know,” he clarified. “Do you know what fulcia is?” It sounded very familiar, like a memory of what the word meant was far in the back of my mind, but as I tried to recollect it, a sharp twinge of pain surged through my head. It only lasted a few seconds, but it hurt enough to cut my train of thought. What was it he had asked again? “Fulcia,” the man repeated, as if he had read my mind. “What does it mean to you?” I pondered it again, but this time my thoughts were distant and unfocused. “Nothing,” I said. “What is it?” He shook his head. “It’s not important what it is, just whether or not you recognize it.” I didn’t trust this walrus of a man, and I didn’t want to pretend that I liked him. “I’m not interested in this,” I told him bluntly. “I don’t know anything besides what I was taught in school and that my name is Raiden and I am nine years old. Can I leave now?” He shook his head and laughed a hollow, forced laugh. “You’re definitely a spunky one,” he remarked. “Listen,” I said before he could degrade me anymore, “I’ve had several different people question me today, but every time I have something to say, everyone ignores me. I want to know what’s going on and I want to know where I am. Is that too much to ask?” The man leaned back in the already straining seat and drummed his fingertips on his chin, which was only defined by a barely visible patch of hair. His fingers curled like a cat’s, bending one by one at the knuckle to tap his face. “I can tell you that today is your last day here, Raiden, but I can’t tell you where you are. As for what’s going on, you’re being moved to a new home, a new family.” “But I don’t even know where I live now or where I came from,” I said. “Where is my old family? Can’t I see them before I leave?” He guffawed then, and though it was in an arrogant manner, it was the first authentic gesture I had seen from him since he entered the room. “Your old family? You were born and raised here, in this building.” He let the smile fade before continuing. “You’re being adopted today, Raiden. Your family is waiting outside for you. I just want to make sure that you’re in good condition before you leave. You don’t remember it, but you had quite a nasty fall a couple of days ago and have had trouble remembering things since then.” “What’s fulcia?” I asked him hopefully. “Maybe if you tell me, it will jog my memory and I’ll remember everything else.” He hesitated. “Fulcia was pumping through your veins while you were in the hospital. You seemed very interested in it at the time; I thought you might remember it.” The man stood up again and donned his smile, keeping a wary eye out for my reaction, though I still didn’t remember anything. “No worries, though,” he assured me. “Other than the amnesia, you seem to have recovered well. Are you ready to leave with your family?” I nodded absentmindedly, thinking about what he had said. It didn’t seem right; fulcia must be something else. I didn’t remember being in the hospital or falling or anything in between today and hazy memories of early schooling, really. Something else had to happen to me in order for me to forget everything. The headache came again, and by the time the pain had subsided, I was being escorted out of the room, down a hallway, and outside. A car was indeed waiting for me, with a kind-looking couple seated in front, their faces taut with emotions I couldn’t comprehend. Nervous, ecstatic, stressed, friendly—all of those expressions and more were fused into one and exemplified nearly identically on the couple’s faces. Later on I would find out that I had been manipulated and lied to for nine years, but for now I could only suspect what was happening. As I neared the car, I forced myself to push past the headache and continue my train of thought. I thought about Fulcia and pictured myself in a sterile bed, a tube running into my vein. A sudden glimpse of a broken memory raced through my mind. I was crying, and someone put a needle into my arm, injecting a clear liquid. The pain faded, I stopped crying, and I suddenly felt warm and tired. “Raiden!” the portly man gasped anxiously from behind me. I didn’t realize I was falling until I was on the ground. The pain from the headache was becoming dull, and all I wanted to do was sleep. The sounds around me grew muddled and my vision blurred as the walrus man, my new family, and two uniformed men gathered around me, panicked. My train of thought was long gone, and only one thing was going through my mind before I surrendered to the pull of unconsciousness. My name is Raiden, I am nine years old, and that is all I know.