Caleb’s world had organized itself into routine that almost bordered on normal. Get up in the morning around 7, eat breakfast, take a quick shower, work out, get a physical, lunch… it went on and on, day in and day out, wash, rinse and repeat. It had only really been six days, but it felt like more; time, he found, started to run together when there wasn’t much beyond routine. He was almost done with his book, though. The dog-eared pages he used to mark his place each night told him that it had been four days since he’d received it. It was as good a calendar as any, he supposed.
The second day in this new living situation, he had awakened upon the floor, abs and shoulders aching. After that, things had gotten slightly better. He was mostly a model subject, doing what he was supposed to when he was supposed to, or at least trying. And if he snuck in a snarky comment here and there to his cellmates during their joint training session, what of it? At least it was a change of pace.
When he had found out from the scientists--his “handlers,” he thought of them--that he was in fact a raven and not a crow, he had felt oddly cheated. Not that one bird was better than another. He was still a freak. But the fact was that if he ever saw Abel and Sabra again, he’d have to correct her...
In group training, he’d practiced flying and projecting thoughts, getting better at it until it was almost as simple as opening his mouth. Screening his audience was more difficult, but he was improving. And strangely enough, he found that he could almost read peoples’ emotions better now. When he was a bird, he could tell who was who in a room with his eyes shut; Caden, Heather, Jacinta. Mathews, and a few of the regular guards. People he’d been around while a raven had a certain mental… signature, though whether it was emotion or something else was beyond him. He still couldn’t read minds. Communication was one-sided. But at least his block-mates and he were beginning to figure out body language a bit better than they had at first.
On his own time, he had practiced the change. Shutting himself in his room and transforming from man to raven to man was painful but useful. Pain was both focusing and distracting at the same time. And after five days, it was easier. It still hurt like hell, but it was quicker now, and he was more used to the specific brand of agony it inflicted.
That, mixed with training and his morning workouts, left even his reasonably-fit body aching nightly.
We’ve been here… what, a week? He lay on his back, staring at the ceiling, book forgotten. Eventually, he hoped that he’d be able to find Rook in this facility. Maybe by then his screening would be good enough that he could talk to him, send him a message, or something. Maybe by then he could find out if his friend was even still alive. It was a line of thought he didn’t allow himself to indulge in much.
"Guuuuuyyys?" came Caden’s voice from the other room. Caleb had vacated the front room shortly after that McFarland guy had left. Lunch hadn’t taken him long; the food here was more utilitarian than delicious, and lingering over the food wasn’t something Caleb felt like doing today.
He considering ignoring Caden, but ultimately decided against it. There was something in his tone that was… different. When had he heard his block-mate’s voice sound like that? And so Caleb stood up and poked his head into the main room, eyebrows knit together in puzzled inquiry.
“Yeah?” He said. Caden was over by the main door, and it took Caleb a moment to see what, exactly, was wrong with this picture. His eyes widened in shock before narrowing again in sudden suspicion; was this another test from their captors, or was this real? “Wait. What...?”
He walked over to stand next to Caden, looking down at the door handle and the almost centimeter crack of light from the hallway. His eyes lifted to Caden’s face, and he frowned a bit. “...What do you think? Can we trust it?”