Purple Alexandrite eyes, staring unblinking; peering into his soul. Love, kindness, or pity? “Julius, my name is” then a gunshot ripped through the silence with a thick splatter of blood. He sat bolt upright with a shriek. Beads of sweat running down his face and neck. He was served up on a metal bed which was glowing, ash covering him from what used to be blankets. The room was smoky, he looked around to see a dark unfamiliar room, empty save for his small metal rack bed, a bare metal sink, and metal toilet. The room was tiny, and he was in a strange white jumpsuit with two bullseye patches sewn one over the heart and one over the diaphragm. There came a laugh from the dark. A deep hefty laugh. Menacing and ominous, the sort of laugh that is followed by an axe murderer in movies.
“Morning sunshine, having sweet dreams? I bet you are, you depraved psychos’ always do.” A large man stepped out from the shadows, scarred face and hands, military high and tight hair that was more skin tone than anything else. The man stood at least eighty inches tall, with a thick square frame build of solid muscle.
“My names’ Woe, I’m your sector specter and if you wanna survive… you’d better learn how things work around here really quick. Or, I’ll teach ya what real misery is!” there was a loud buzz and the clanging of metal then he began walking slowly out of the tiny room. Julius leapt up and began to quickly fallow but fell to his knees as a pain he had never quite experienced before burned through his whole body. The crack of a whip echoed, and he looked up to see Woe rapping a nasty studded bull whip around his forearm while smiling like a fairy princes. Julius felt something hot running down his legs and looked to see both thighs were cut above the knee and crimson was running dark and heavy through the once white and ash stained fabric. There was another buzz and the door slammed shut with a deafening crash that thundered in Julius’ ears for hours. Burning hot the blood that fallowed was golden, mixing and steaming with the streaming crimson. The wounds were slow to mend but did so, Julius had never seen his blood turn golden before. Was it because of the magical whip?
Three days passed in silence, darkness, fear, sorrow. Pain that subsided and wounds that healed rather quickly gave way to the dull ache in his chest, days of it. The hallow feeling he feared most of all. No one to talk to, no one around that would understand what had really happened. Here, everyone just assumed he was a psycho, so maybe it was better that there was no one around. Yet the loneliness ate away at him. Not knowing what was going on he could not seriously be imprisoned for what had happened with his mother could he? Alone he broke on the fourth day starving and scared that he had truly been forgotten. Sure, he had water from the sink. But he would die here if he didn’t get food soon. Over and over again he called out for anyone. But there was no answer. It was then something caught his eye. Silvery and hidden in a corner just out of reach from his bared cell.
Reaching again and again he rubbed his chest and arms raw trying to get at it. He took off his jumpsuit and tied it in knots attempting to use it to lasso the small box. On the brink of tears and nearly crazy with grief and starvation he began wildly clawing and punching the walls and bars breaking nails and knuckles, tearing fingertip pads and bleeding everywhere. He had wanted to die but not like this, not this slow wasting away. His injuries were agony, screaming in pain he continued to punch and kick and claw with little effect. No fourteen-year-old should have to go through this, first his mom, then the bridge and those eyes. Now this misery?
“The sun sets for me and rises for everyone else.” Julius moaned as he glared at his shaking bloody hands, his stomach turned at the sight of the blood and he ran to the toilet dry heaving the whole way. Picturing his hands that night, his mother’s blood painting them almost black. Anger, rage, like a wild animal he snarled, “Why would you save me just to make me die slower? Why would you put me in the dark all alone only to let me waste away forgotten and condemned? Kill me! But not like this!” Julius screamed and then went silent as if his voice had left him too. He was exhausted and when he realized he was beginning to regenerate again he groaned feeling the immense heat overtaking him again burning hotter and hotter.
He curled up in a ball and cried, tears turning to steam right in front of his eyes. He was doomed to starve to death! Then he gasped and sat up in a flurry of movement. Remembering the bean pole burning his hand on the metal railing of his gurney he ran to the door and grabbed hold of the bars of his cell and thought long and hard trying to pull every ounce of strength he had to his hands and the bars. Maybe he could melt the bars? He had not touched the railing of the gurney, what could he do if he really tried. He remembered that feeling of burning heat waves coming off him like a supernova in the river and the clouds of steam billowing out from all around him.
“Come on! Come on! Burn, burn, burn!!!” he screamed and when he opened his eyes, nothing his heart sank. He meandered slowly back to his bunk, excepting his fate. He was doomed to starve to death and that was that. As he laid down he thought of that girl, wishing he would have heard her name. Wishing she had taken him with her. He dreamed about where they would have gone, what they would have done, the fugitive and the beauty on the run together. If only he could remember more than just her eyes. Unbenounced to him, the more he thought about her, how grateful he was to her for looking at him the way she did, for the kindness she showed him when the world had cast him away, the hotter the room became. He wondered if maybe there could have been a romance there in the making, but he laughed that off how could anyone like him? How could anyone love him when his own mother hated him. The more his thoughts fixated on those eyes the more his metal bed began to glow. Then he was snapped out of his daydream by the stone floor below his bed. The impact stunned him and sent all the air from his lungs. Once he could regain composure he looked around in bewilderment, completely stupefied by what just happened.
The metal support struts that bolted the bed to the wall were all that remained of his bunk and the stone wall was glowing and so was the floor around him. In fact, he was glowing and with every breath he took the flames within were stoked and grew brighter. He closed his eyes and saw those eyes again. Weather it was his imagination or not he saw the love in those eyes, the feelings of being important to someone, even a stranger, especially a stranger gave him the strangest feeling. A reason to live perhaps?
“I want to find her; I want to look into those eyes again! I want to matter to someone someday. I’m going to leave this place!” he stood up now with determination. Walking towards those unyielding black bars he reached out a hand and put it, with increasing pressure, through the lock on the door until it glowed white hot and began dripping. Then he slid the door open with a pop and stepped across the threshold. With a smile he closed his eyes and thought of how he felt before he jumped off the bridge. After a few moments he open his golden-brown eyes and looked at his own hands again, normal, cool. He looked to the box with triumph and as he lifted his foot to walk, he collapsed to the ground. Vision fading, he heard a gruff laugh and the clomping of heavy boots on the cold stone. The ring of metal off stone and a click of a box being opened. A wrapper being opened and then Woe sat next to him, so he could see Woe eating the contents of the box. Then, black…
Golden eyes open to a dark room again, he was strapped tightly to a soft spongy bed. I.V.s running into both arms. It was hell, faintly the smell of sterile cleaner and harsh chemical agents lingered in the sheets he laid helplessly in. A vague and distant memory of what had happened lingered, but it was more of a bad dream than anything else. As his eyes analyzed the bright flickering florescent lights and the cold white sheets and walls it all came rushing back in a way that could only be described as déjà vu. He looked around remembering the hopeless dungeon he had been trapped in. Even though the walls and sheets all glowed white the room had a dark ominous aura about it. Foreboding, it felt like the calm before the storm, perhaps it would have been more pleasant had his arms been able to move.
“I really, really have to stop passing out! Things just keep getting worse!” he muttered to himself as he tested his strength against the strength of his bonds. But they were absolutely not budging.
The bright room was almost homey and comfortable, a hospitable hospital room except for the forced occupancy part that is. But as the hours drug on it became apparent that there was a leaking water faucet somewhere in the room behind him. Drip, drip, drip was all that could be heard then, from no apparent hole in the sealing a drop of cold water hit him square in between his eyes. It was a shock and sent a shiver through him. Then another one came, then another. Hot water drop, cold water drop, warm, then it changed again. Mesmerized by the annoying and infuriating water leak he didn’t hear someone enter and it wasn’t until they spoke that Julius knew and shrieked with surprise.
“Hello young master, how are you enjoying your stay? Is your bedding comfortable enough for you?”
“What are you talking about? You have me strapped to this thing and I need to go to the restroom!”
“Oh deer, how unfortunate. I am not authorized to let you up from the bed. I mainly am here to check on your bedding and I.V. settings.”
“No, I need to get up please! And this leak in the ceiling is going to drive me insane!”
“Young master, there is no leak in the ceiling, and if you need to get up you’ll have to ask the doctor only he has the authority.”
“Well bring the doctor in here please! And what do you mean there is no leak look! My pillow is soaked and so is my face!” she smiled gently and felt his pillow. “Your pillow is quite dry except for the sweat ring under your head, you must be running a fever.” She removed a large case from here bag and began clicking things together just out of Julius’ site. When she came back into view she had a large drill and a clear plastic face shield. The hissing of the drill firing up made him forget all about the dripping water. Blood splattered everywhere and the pain of the drill pressing deep into his shin and grinding out a hole in both leg bones made Julius pass out after a brief stint of screaming bloody murder.
Julius awoke screaming to the sound of buzzing, frantically he looked around seeing only the nurse in the same sterile white uniform, no blood anywhere in site. Just a blender on a small roll away table where the nurse was making some fresh fruit smoothies with lots of ice. The crunching ice almost sounded like crunching bone as it echoed in the hallow prison of a room.
“Well good morning,” she smiled with such a warm and tender set of red lips. The red only reminded him of the spraying blood. “you have a fever and passed out, you suffer from the fever dreams and night terrors. Drink this it will cool you down, and make you feel better.” She walked slowly to his side and sat the bed up, so he could drink through a straw that she held to his lips. He choked when he saw the drill and mask clean as a whistle sitting on a nearby bench, screaming she dropped the plastic cup as she jumped back.
“What in heavens has gotten into you young master?” Exasperated she looked truly puzzled.
“You… that drill… hurt me!” He was in such a panic he could barely formulate words tears weld up in his eyes and he for a moment recalled the agony. She laughed in an almost insensitive way and strolled over to the drill.
“Oh you’re so silly, this is just for mixing plaster for casts.” Holding the thing in her hands she almost seemed to strain under the weight of the thing as if it were much too heavy for her to use.
“now, I’ll be right back let me clean up the mess and we can get you cleaned up after.”As she walked away, the sound of dripping water started up again. Drip, drip, drip, it continued on for what seemed like hours until finally the door opened once more. The nurse came in with two janitors and they cleaned the mess while she prepped him for a sponge bath. He squirmed and fought refusing to let a strange lady see him naked, it was just too embarrassing. But she won and once he was sufficiently stripped he heard chains rattle. Looking over the janitors’ mop heads were not normal, they were made from barbed chains. And as she smiled at him one of the janitors wound up and struck him with the horrid cat’o nine cutting deep into his bare skin. They hit him over and over while she gave him an ice-cold sponge bath with fresh lemon juice squeezed from the fruit next to the blender. When Julius awoke he was in new clothing clean and warm with a damp cloth on his forehead. Crying he tried to break free but was stuck. A deep warm voice soothed him almost cooing to him.
“Easy kiddo, easy, we don’t want you having another panic attack on us.” A tall handsome man stepped into view pushing the bright overhead light out from Julius’ eyes.
“my name is Doctor Leeroy Davidson.” Julius still in a panic pleaded
“Please sir, don’t hurt me, I don’t know what I’ve done wrong but please no more!”
“My god boy, I would never hurt you! I’m a doctor my job is helping sick people get better!” he ran his hand gently through Julius’ black hair.
“you are very sick indeed kiddo, I’m going to do my best to get you well again okay?” Julius just whimpered.
“Now drink this it will help you to get a good night’s sleep, you’ll have good dreams I promise.” Julius had no choice with the small cup pressed to his lips he obliged and felt light as a feather as the strange liquid flooded his veins.
Colors seemed brighter and sounds more vibrant. The sheets and cloths he wore felt so soft and smooth and even the doctor’s breath seamed so sweet and pleasant. Feeling like he was flying he closed his eyes and when next he opened them the nurse stood by him in a sheer silk nighty. He was strapped to an extravagant king size bed by crimson silk bindings. Rose petals scattered about the chamber reminded him of blood splatter against the pure white of everything else. She crawled in bed with him kissing his neck as she moved about. She was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen and the most naked. He closed his eyes telling himself that it was a dream until he felt her hands exploring places he had only every dreamed of, this had to be a dream. She slowly took a candy out from her silver lace panties and placed it in her mouth sucking on her finger just for a moment, then nudged him with her lips urging him to take the candy. Which he did and ate quickly so he could get to her. She teased him for a long while rubbing against his body and kissing his neck. She kissed him everywhere he had dreamed before whispering in his ear,
“obey the doctor he is good and wise. If you obey all will be well and things will be happy for you.” Then things got fuzzy and he was walking through strange hallways looking in through windows to see horrible brutal tortures being performed on people he did not know.
“You see, bad behavior and disobedience will earn you correctional work. Obey all we say.” He could not see faces but he knew people were standing around him. He could not speak, only watch in horror as boys and men alike were being brutalized. Women were raped and harvested.
“the Doctor is good, he will make you well.”
“Your magic is evil, we will teach you to control it and use it for only good.” Said a strangely familiar voice, gruff and deep. The sector specter? Weeks passed, or perhaps only hours? As Julius continued in this foggy daze, pain and pleasure, pain and pleasure! Trapped in Iron Maidens until he was forgiven, placed in deep holes filled with sharp things while completely naked. There was always a ladder in the hole but it was electrified until the command to climb up was given. This conditioning went on and on for what seemed like a life time and yet, in this haze there was no telling what time had passed. Just immense brutal pain, and immeasurable dark pleasure.
Tall sweet, silvery, silk grass waved in the gentle breeze. Piercing Alexandrite eyes stared lazily up at the clouds. Half-awake and half entranced by the glittering grass dancing with the listless clouds. The sing song humming of a perfect voice came from somewhere in the field beside her. The source of her pain and pleasure. Alexia looked to her aching hands which were slightly charred from the days channeling practice. She loved and hated the strange pulse she felt every time she dug deep into a ley line. Like a second heart beat in her she got such a rush off the boundless sums of energy at her finger tips however, it burned after just a few moments and then the next few hours were agony!
Upon her thirteenth birthday her mother had been more intense and unyielding in her practicing. Forcing her to channel harder for longer periods of time. She was already channeling five times that of other older children. It hurt and was exhausting but her mother was only getting more emphatic saying that she had until the summer of her fifteenth year to be ready and she was far behind. Tempers in the heat and pain had begun to flair more frequently and her dad was extra sweet to make up for it all. But what was she training for? What did she need to be ready for? That is what her mom always failed to mention, and her dad was always so tight lipped about the whole ordeal that it would send her to her room crying almost every day in frustration. Though she assumed it was important, Alexia’s mom would always say,
“Our people have high expectations for mages and our people have a responsibility to uphold in regard to nature. We must have vast pools of magic, so we can take care of all that depends on us. And soon you will have to make the biggest decision of your life, so you need to be ready.”
“Ready for what?” but the answer was always jumbled between oh look shiny, or smell this, or taste this. The latter of which she never minded; her mother was the best pastry chef known to man! At least Alexia thought so anyway…
“please answer the question, I need to know!”
“Sweetie, you will find out when the time is right, and the cookies will be done soon let’s get back home okay?” she sprung up with an agility and vibrancy that seemed strange for anyone as if she were always on a sugar high that never ended, ever!
“Mom! Why won’t you tell me? And why do you always tell me I’m such a special shining star but never let me wear any of my pretty cloths?” Her mother just hummed as if thinking nervously for a moment…
“Your father and I decided that you are just too pretty to unveil to the world yet. Much to special! Your father wants you to be a plain girl for a while that way you can see who a friend is truly and who is going to hurt you.”
“Mom, what am I getting ready for?” looking from her plain simple brown dress to her mother’s vibrant colored silks was always, well, unfair.
“why do I have to dress so plain, am I not pretty enough for silks?”
“Honey, you are much too pretty for silks! So, when you are ready you may grace the world with you unveiling and wear whatever you like, your dad will have his shotgun at the ready. Speaking of honey, there is a bee hive!” her eyes lit up and she skipped off in great heist towards an enormous hive swarming with bees. Alexia rolled her eyes as her mom danced with the bees until they parted and allowed her to fill a jar from one of her mom’s herbalist pouches with liquid gold. Then her mother came skipping back with an ear to ear grin.
“we made out like bandits today!” her mom always looked perpetually seventeen and with her goofy grin and peppy childlike mannerisms she drove the point home.
“I want to be pretty like you and dress in the cloths that are just collecting dust right now.”
“I clean them regularly they are just fine waiting for you to come of age. Until then, come along my ugly duckling you are not ready to catch the worlds eye just yet.” Her mother smiled and skipped in through the front door of their farm house calling back at her,
“besides, if you weren’t as pretty as I am your father would not have made that necklace glamour dulling your beauty for you! Dinner will be ready in five!” Alexia stayed outside looking at the clouds. Her hand tight around her necklace. A beautiful crystal fairy figurine dancing on a water lily.
Between her father’s wilderness survival training and her mother’s insane channeling practice she was worn out and wished she could just run away. School would be starting for new students soon and she wasn’t looking forward to living in such a crowded city for so long, but at least she could relax a bit more than she could at home. Alexia hated the city, she was uncertain as to why but something about the city made her home sick, just sick in general. So, she really was torn apart with her choices. Then it came to her, that poor boy must have felt the same, or maybe… she shuttered to think why that someone could feel worse, she wondered why that strange boy was so sad, miserable, what happened to him? It was two weeks ago but still she thought about him. She wondered if ‘Julius’ was still alive. What had happened to him. He was a magic user and a pretty powerful one at that, she never knew that such large amounts of water could be flash boiled. She was certain she would see him at school soon. Maybe she could make friends with him and they could help each other to not be so unhappy in the city. They would both be ahead of the curve, she was an experienced potions and healing mage and he was clearly some sort of fire elementalist.
With a sigh and a shrug, she turned on her heals and ran right into her father’s chest as he stood right behind her watching his daughter ponder things. She screamed, and he laughed his hands rapping around hers to steady her before she fell over. Then her hands felt cool, glowing with an aquamarine light. The feeling was a stark contrast to the burning pain she had been feeling before. Immediately her hands began to mend and the charred skin dissipated. She took a deep breath of relief as the pain went away completely in a few moments.
“Thanks daddy how was your day?” giving her tall, dark haired father a kiss on his scarred cheek.
“Better than yours apparently, she’s really a slave driver huh?” He made a feeble attempt to smile a cute reassuring grin. Alexia rolled her eyes,
“You married the woman, you could at least make it up to me by giving me some straight answers!” she glared at him and he laughed
“You’re still too young to have such a big attitude, I can’t wait until your seventeen. Good god woman!” he rubbed the back of his head exasperated and Alexia stuck her tongue out and ran off triumphantly. Stopping at the threshold of the house she looked back over her shoulder.
“Daddy, do you think that boy is okay?”
“What boy? Who do I need to shoot?” her father spun around to face her with a half grin but probably serious, more serious than she’d like.
“The boy at the park by the river like… three months ago!” she hissed through a fake smile, why were they never on the same page?
“Oh, you mean scuba boy? Yeah, I gave him a good healing charge and put those paramedics out of a job. He’s most likely going to be at school this fall so you’ll probably see him why?” Alexia smiled out of relief.
“Thinking about him makes me sad, he was so broken. I wonder why. Why did we have to leave him like that?” She bit her lower lip in contemplation and in the shadow of the doorway her eyes glowed a royal violet.
“Please be alright!” she whispered to herself she didn’t know why but that boys’ pain was palpable to her.
“Sweetie, you know we are safe outside of the city but if I were caught by the military police I would be done for, and so would you and your mother!”
“Well why? What did you do that got you into so much trouble daddy?”
“I committed the biggest crime of all Alexia…” he sighed as she looked on in a horrified festination.
“I fell in love with your mother, and we had you.” Alexia blinked in disbelief for a moment and then realized he was completely serious.
“How did you and mom meet? You two have always change the subject of told me a fairytale instead, why won’t you ever tell me?” he laughed and sighed,
“Well, I was out on patrol… I was one of the C092 Wild-men. A unit comprised entirely of solo operating snipers and scouts teams with automated attack drone escorts we called guardian angels.” He paused to see if his daughter was listening, which she was very intently.
“It was during a big battle known as the twelve years siege. My units’ job was simple, pin down enemy combatants for as long as possible, locate vulnerable supply lines and send back coordinates so larger forces could intercept them. I was wounded while in a thicket of wild flowers, near an old farm house, by the Twilight Kingdoms border. A lucky shot from an enemy counter sniper took out my scope and part of my face. I was truly lucky, your mother found me, half dead and all alone. Her family helped nurse me back to health. It took months, even with magic healing. There is only so much that can be done for the brain but I survived and I also happened to fall in love with your mother in that time. She was my savior, and my caretaker, I had to learn to walk again and she was there with me through it all.” He smiled and looked through the open kitchen window to hear his happy wife singing her heart out.
“Her family forbid the union because I was a C.U.S. soldier and so I left with the intent of going back out onto the battle field. But when I returned, they had a court-martial ready for me, saying that I was a mind-washed spy. I was due to be executed when lo-and-behold your mother had run away from home. She came to find me, and to my surprise found me in the nick of time. Together we escaped, we had a great many battles to fight and trials to endure and she made yet another sacrifice just for me after that. To solidify our union, then we had you.” He glanced over at his daughter who looked up at her nostalgic father with wonder and amazement.
“Why don’t we go to Twilight territory, its safe right?”
“No sweetie, the blockades are too tight for us to travel through right now, once you are an accomplished young mage we will all have a better chance of making it across the Mezmear Mountains. But I’m wanted by both sides for what I did during the war, I’m uncertain if Twilight will forgive and show me leniency. So if I’m rounded up by either side I need you to be strong enough to make it on your own. That’s why you need to study really hard okay?” she nodded and beamed, finally! A straight forward answer, and finally a reason for why her mother was always pushing her so hard!
Beautiful Violet eyes peered through a dark window, “please be alright”
Julius awoke in a cold sweat, screaming at the pain of the hooks in his flesh, suspending his body from the ceiling. Punishment for using his magic without authorization. Every night for three months the same two dreams had been haunting him always those beautiful, mournful purple eyes. Always crying for him, and the dream of dragon’s fire and agony.
“Perhaps I’m a narcissist?” he thought at times, thinking anyone could care for me is just stupid, she’s probably forgotten all about me by now! Everything was getting worse; they had removed him from the suicide watch and placed him in general maximum security where they were placing all the patients of the psych ward in small copper rooms and telling them to channel until the door was opened again. If they couldn’t fill a strange container with electrical energy after three days of meditation or ‘channeling magic energy’ their food rations were cut in half with each failure and increased with every success. Causing many of the patients to starve to death. He had tried to help a few people but was punished with hooks in his hamstrings for a night, then in his ribs the next time. Now he was hanging by his sides made to stare at a message painted on the wall saying, ‘Obey and I will feel no pain’. He had to keep chanting those words into a speaker that measured the decibels of his voice, if he dropped below a certain sound level for too long the hooks would start to vibrate causing immense pain.
Every broken rule resulted in being sent to the nurse’s office, where things hurt, and nightmares came more frequently. A great metal door slid open with a loud clang and Woe lumbered in like a bear in a cave.
“Morning sunshine, how’s our resident bleeding-heart psychopath doing?” Julius could only muster a whimper before Woe cut him down and ‘gently’ ripped the hooks out as instructed by the doctor.
“I dub thee, Oxy the moron!” blood splattered his smiling face clearly thinking himself cleaver as he yanked one hook free. Once Julius was awake again and his sides had regenerated Woe walked him past a wonderful smelling mess hall and into one of the channeling rooms. Julius’ desperate eyes pleaded for food in the wake of the path taken, he was happy that all this torture had made his regenerative abilities faster and stronger. As well as his pain tolerance vastly more developed, but it came at the cost of needing twice as much food to sustain it. The other down side is that regeneration and torture truly are the worst combination…ever! Or the best in Woes’ opinion.
“If you can fill six bottles in three days from now on the doc is willing to give you a few special privileges.”
“What do you mean? Why?” Julius was genuinely confused. “magic is bad isn’t it?”
“Well, with every bottle you fill innocent people are being saved and aided. So, the more you do the better atoned you are for your sins and the more leniency you will be given starting now.” Woe grabbed Julius by the scruff of his neck and threw him into the small room with six tanks twice the size of normal without another word spoken.
“Wait! You said six bottles these are tanks!” the door slammed mercilessly and with a fleeting glimmer of a smirk on Woes face. Julius settled in for the long haul knowing full well he had only, three days to complete this task or he would certainly starve to death. Holding one tank he closed his eyes and pictured those eyes, following their gaze to the most potent energy flow in the air. After months of practice at the cost of food or no food he had learned quickly how to channel magic energy and manifest it into something more. It was a long painstaking process made easier by the thought of his muse. Digging even deeper into the energy line than ever before he felt a click and a hot rush fill him. The life blood of the ley line flowed into him like an artery pulsing. This feeling was so strange and foreign, what was this endless power he held?
Pulling at the energies all around as hard as he could he felt a force pull back and then he was sucked into the ley line itself. Spiraling into a bright vortex he floated out of the room waving good bye to his stationary body. The hallway was dark, filled with black miserable energy. Woes’ figure could be made out, tall and made of solid shadow. His presence was almost nauseating, mean and nasty it rumbled with thunder ominously and a door opened in front of the figure. It was another meditation room where a boy younger than Julius was in rags and rail thin.
“What the hell are you doing boy? You fell asleep without charging a single bottle? You little free loading peace of shit!” a loud crack came off the tip of a black snake like beast held in Woes hand. It rippled with red hungry energy and a piece of the boy was drawn into it. The boy screamed, and the whip cracked over and over again until the boys light faded and the whip glowed with satisfaction.
“Look lively everyone, we have another one that starved to death! Make an announcement to the prisoners and remind them they have a duty to uphold or die in failure.”
“Sir, should I let the Doc. Know there is an available room open for the new boy?”
“Yeah, you go ahead and do that. Take the body with you, the chef is running low on mystery meat.” Julius screamed, and the figure turned to look at his door. Julius sunk into the swirling vortex of energy once more and opened his eyes. He was holding onto a tank with a bright green light reading full. But Julius didn’t care, crying he tried not to vomit but let go of what contents were in his stomach, mostly bile, but the horror of what he had just witnessed shook him to the core. He was now certain of it. He was in hell! Two days past by in a catatonic state of shock before he realized he had to do whatever it took to get out of this hell hole.
“I hope you’re alright!” his eyes shot open he had to fill as many tanks as he could to earn his freedom. Do whatever manual labor was necessary, obey the doctor came to mind and his stomach turned in on itself. Shaking with rage, disgust and fear he grabbed ahold of the nearest energy tank and closed his eyes. Refusing to go through the portal at first, he focused on just the tank and in moments had filled it. Astonished he grabbed ahold of the next then the next, and then two more curious to see how long it would take him to fill two at once. Ignoring the smell of burning bacon he filled them both and dug deeper after the six were filled. He stopped feeling hungry, he felt better than he had in four months if not more! Digging deeper he clung to the edge of the vortex which was growing steadily stronger and pulling harder. He opened his eyes to look at his body blistered and red, but he couldn’t go back to it yet. He was taken for a ride in this vortex swimming through the hallway this way and that until he came to a great mechanical door, it opened for him and inside was the sell he had first woken up in. the metal door was repaired but the sink and toilet were totally melted down. The slab of metal for a bed was there and a very dead body in a guard uniform lay peeled and toasty on the ground near the small metal box which was open and empty. The floor was covered in salt crystals and water and he heard the doctors voice from afar.
“What the hell happened?”
“Well sir, everything was going on as usual and then the kid started laughing. He turned on the faucet and clogged the drain. He plugged up the toilet and then both toilet and sink overflowed and exploded! The cameras went out and we lost visual, Vandelle went in to take a look and then…”
“You mean the kid did all of that by himself?”
“Yes sir.” The doctor growled something inaudible and then laughed.
“One of the few true psychopaths we get, he’s a natural born killer huh?”
“We think he’s a three-for-one sir. He’s gifted with three elemental natural abilities in one psychopathic package!”
“Well, that’s a gem! I’m glad we put him in a channeling room right away. We’ll keep him in a couple extra days to really wear him down, if he’s that gifted, he’s going to be a handful! Keep him alive though, but only just. We may be able to use him in the future.”
“What’s the boy’s name? What are the charges leveled against him?”
“Filipe Means Jr. sir. He cooked alive a husband and wife and their teen daughter. Fried them up well done sir, in cold blood. Premeditated, calculated murder. His victims were part of a very prominent aristocratic mage family, so his raw talent is unprecedented sir!”
“Shame, he comes from a prominent C.U.S. family too, this only complicates things. Regardless the master will know what to do with him. It’s our job to get him molded properly and ready for service.” Julius snapped back to his body now racked with pain. Opening his eyes, the room was glowing and the copper walls were arching like a Tesla-coil. But that’s not what concerned him. That name, where had he heard it before? Filipe, Filipe, somewhere Filipe. Then an image of a shoulder length head of sandy blonde hair and an obnoxious laugh. Means their last name, his older brother was chasing him that day… Filipe threw his hover board into a trash compactor, that’s where he knew the name from! But why was he here now and was he the one that cooked that guard? The door clicked and in a blast of thunder all the energy discharged out the door with a gruff booming voice roaring after it,
“You son of a dead bitch! I’ll teach you to booby trap the door!” Julius would have panicked had he been able to move but the most he could muster was a chuckle. The whip hissed through the air but stopped short hitting the floor right by Julius’ head followed by a,
“you’ve got to be kidding me! All the tanks? This has got to be a joke!” a looming figure hung over him shading his eyes from the harsh light of the ceiling bulbs.
“I’d say you’re about well-done, but you’ve done very well kiddo.”
“I want fresh fruits and vegetables from here on out, no meat ever!”
“I’ll run it by the Doc.”
“No, it’s already been approved remember? But if that was a lie then I guess I have no reason to believe my work is helping people and no reason to continue.” He closed his eyes triumphantly smiling ear to ear.
“Fine smart ass, you win. Fruits and vegies for the rabbit.”
“What was that?” Woe retorted with venom dripping from his lips. Julius spoke louder and slower to emphasize his point.
“I said fresh fruits and vegetables! And I’ll do another tank extra, seven total per meditation set; for never being put in this room again do we have a deal?” Woes’ grip tightened around the handle of his whip but said nothing for a long while.
“Fine, you’ve just sealed your death warrant boy. You have yourself a deal. But outside of this room you won’t be able to fill a bottle let alone one of these tanks.” Julius just smiled
“Challenge excepted.” He knew he was in for a lot of pain at that moment but didn’t care it was worth it, and as the whip connected with his temple, crack lingering in the metal room he continued smiling because he had beat Woe at his own game. This time…