Written by: heartsoflead
"Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,' I said, art sure no craven.
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore -
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!’
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.’"
She couldn’t recall her name. All she could remember was being soaked in blood. She remembered being fed stale bread and water on an almost daily basis. Sunlight was a myth, as were birds, trees, the wind, the world in it’s entirety outside of the four white walls and a buzzing florescent lamp didn’t exist to her. Each time she figured it was night, she’d curl up in a small corner of the room, rocking herself to sleep. She’d wake up when the voices came back, screaming at her at one moment, then quietly whispering abusive words in her ears.
She felt like this was what death was- a loud speaking voice telling you what to think and four walls closing in on you at every angle. Sometimes she’d pull her hair just to feel pain and divert her mind from the voices. Other times, she resorted in holding her breath until she turned blue, gulping air at the last second just to remind herself that maybe she was alive after all.
Then, it stopped.
She spent a couple of quiet days, alone, humming a song to herself that she didn’t even recall the name to. Finally, the door opened, and inside walked two men wearing black outfits and metal faces. She was afraid, so long she had spent in that room, telling herself that human life didn’t exist. She was the only human in the world- her and the voice. Were these even humans?
“Who are you?” One asked. This shocked her. It had a voice, one that was different from THE voice. It was deep? much, much deeper than the voice.
“I-I don’t know.” She said, honestly. She wished she knew who she was. She wished that she could remember how she got there and why the voice loathed her so much. What was her life before white walls and stale bread? When she tried scrunching up her face to remember the past, the only thing she could see in her mind was white. White. White walls, white ceiling, white floor, being completely alone, the only time she wasn’t alone was when a spider had crawled in through a small crack in the door. She’d named it Bray. She didn’t know why she named it that, but it just seemed right. He died a day later.
“How can you not know?” The other metal face asked. His voice was a bit softer. He sounded young.
“If I could answer your question, I wouldn’t be in such a mess.” She replied, biting her lip out of nervousness. “Who? What are you?”
The metal faces looked at each other, and then back at her. Simultaneously, they grabbed each of her arms and dragged her out of the cell. She screamed, kicking and flailing about. They were going to eat her! They’d gobble her up and she’d never understand what she was doing there or what her name was. “STOP!” She cried. From her meager diet, she was so weak and skinny. These metal faces were strong, too strong. She felt as though their grasp on her arms would break them in two.
As they walked down the hallway, they stopped at a door. The one metal face opened it with his free hand, then the both of them drug her inside, shutting the door behind them. She managed to pull away from them, trying hard to open the door and free herself, but it was no use. The door wouldn’t budge and the metal faces just grabbed her again to face another metal face in a chair. This one had red spikes, like fire, in his hair. His chair was motorized, which startled her. He rolled closer to her, almost as though he were examining her. His breathing seemed a bit labored, as though he were sick. He smelled like gasoline and rubbing alcohol. “What is this?”
“We found her in the cell, my Lord.” The metal face to the right of her replied.
“Those stupid Zoot worshippers must have held her captive.” The metal face in the chair laughed, then went into coughing hysterics. She flinched a bit, scared of the sudden loud noises coming from him. He got really close to her face, and she felt as though she could almost taste the metal radiating from him. “What is your name?”
“I don’t know.”
He grabbed her face, which caused a yelp to escape her lips. “What do you mean ‘you don’t know’?” He was squeezing her cheeks together, causing her lips to pucker. It was beginning to hurt. “Obviously you were important to The Chosen if they kept you this long,” He paused for a moment, loosening his grip on her face. She turned her head so his sticky leather glove wasn’t touching her skin anymore.
“She’s been brainwashed,” He muttered, mostly to himself. The metal face in the chair turned away from her, rolling over to his computer. He began to type in a fury, then tapped the ear of the walkie talkie headset on his head. “I’m going to need someone here from the training department, please.” He turned back to her, a smile upturned on his lips.
She was scared. Brainwashed? What did that even mean? A panic swelled over her, causing her to breathe a bit faster.
Another metal face walked through the door, this one with blond hair poking out from the top of his metal head. He smelled different than the one in the chair, he smelled like fresh soap and aftershave. “You called for me?” He glanced down at her, then back at the metal face in the chair.
“Yes, take this girl to the training area. She was a left over from The Chosen, I think she could be quite valuable to us.” He tapped his fingers on the desk of his chair. That tapping, it felt like the screaming from the voice in her ears. She wished it would stop. She wished this would all just stop so she could figure out what was going on.
The metal face that just walked in nodded, grabbing her arm. The two holding her immediately let her go. The metal face with his hand on her arm didn’t have a grasp like the other two- his was a bit kinder and gentler. It felt like a relief to her to not have hands squeezing on her thinning arms. Despite the relief, she was scared to death and began crying. He looked down at her, a small smile on his lips. He pulled her along with him and she didn’t resist this time. He lead her down the hall to another room.
He had been the only one to show her great kindness. He sat her down in a comfortable chair and gave her left over beef stew from his lunch, along with ice water and a dinner roll. He even took his face off for her, revealing the human underneath. As she was gulping down the food, she couldn’t help but notice how handsome he was, he was unlike anyone she had ever seen before. Those brown eyes reminded her of someone, she couldn’t exactly put her finger on it, but either way they shined like diamonds. He seemed intimidating when he tightened his jaw back with the metal face in the chair, but now that he was relaxed and smiling a bit more, nothing about him was scary.
“You were quite hungry.” He commented as he took away the empty bowl and glass from her. He handed it to another metal face who then left the room. “When was the last time you’d eaten anyway?” To this, she just shrugged her shoulders. “Well, that’s not important anyway,” He smoothed out the back of her hair, which had been a bit messed up from being pulled around everywhere. “You realize you’ve been brainwashed by The Chosen, correct?”
“Basically, The Chosen tortured you, forcing you to forget who you were and what had happened to you before you were locked in that room.” When he mentioned the room, she couldn’t help but shudder. “Listen very carefully. This is your chance to be someone - join us and you can have another identity…” He got a bit closer to her. “Help us take over the city. Join us and you’ll have opportunities of a lifetime.”
She bit her lip. “And what if I don’t?”
“You know that guy back there? the one in the chair?” He asked. She nodded slightly. “His name is Ram. He has the temper of a tiger, and if I go back there and tell him that you refused, you might never have another shot at life.” She could remember when she was in that room and how she thought she was dead? knowing that she was alive was a great feeling. If she didn’t join, death would come again. She’d be stuck in that white room with the voice screaming at her like she did something wrong.
Violently, she shook her head. She began to cry. “No, please. I’ll join you, I swear.” She grabbed onto his hands. They were soft, just touching them made her heart cry even harder. She hadn’t touched human skin in a very long while. “I can’t go back there, I can’t.”
“Then that settles it.” He moved his hands away from hers and stood up. She stood along with him. “My brother will take you to a room to sleep in, you’re probably exhausted.” He motioned toward a metal face that looked very similar to him- blond hair sticking out from the top of his metal head, though he was a good bit shorter than his brother. “I’ll wake you tomorrow morning when we’re ready to train you.”
She nodded, walking out with the man’s brother.
He sighed, running a hand through his hair. He quickly got up and walked back to Ram’s room. Ram had been waiting for him, patiently. “Well, Jay, how did it go?”
“I threatened her a bit, scared the life out of her.” Jay smiled. “She’s very weak, though. The Chosen barely fed her and I don’t think she’s slept in a very long time. We’ll begin training tomorrow morning, I think she’ll be a very good candidate.”
“Excellent.” Ram mumbled, typing away again at the laptop before him.