Into Darkness: Part Three
Four Years Ago
The routine continued, everyday Mr. Neville would give me orders but now I obeyed them. Whenever the Nevilles would be away Roxanne would sneak down and give me something to drink and eat.
Out of spite or just to make sure I knew my place, they left me to rot without dosing me with the drug, letting me endure two days of pain, fever and vomiting before they administered a new dose. After a few hours, I’d stabilized enough that Mr. Neville came back down into the dungeon.
“Do you understand what will happen if do anything that makes you skip a dose?” He asked.
“We receive the doses for you and the others less than twenty-four hours before administration. The authorities have never encountered the compound, if you run to them, you’ll die before they synthesize an antidote.”
“Why are you doing this to me?” I’d asked the question a thousand time before but never had he bothered answering…
“Your kind are nothing but weapons masquerading as human. We simply reshape you to accept that fact and make you useful. Now, you can show me you understand your place or spend another few days in here without food. Your choice.”
“What do you want from me?”
He didn’t answer, unlocking the chains before ordering me to follow him. We left my cell and into another cell where a naked man was chained to the ceiling, eyes covered and his mouth gagged.
“Who is that?” I asked. At the sound of my voice the prisoner started lashing.
“I don’t know, I don’t care. He’s merely someone that needs to be disposed of. That will be your duty.”
“What did he do?”
“Doesn’t matter either. It’s not our job to question orders from higher up.” He opened a case and took out a knife, handing it to me holding it by the blade. I glared for a second at the weapon, my brain thinking a thousand different scenarios at once.
“You can kill me if you’d like but if you do that both you and Roxanne will die slowly from withdrawal.” He said without a hint of threat or fear in his voice. “Unless you kill yourself first, but I doubt it. You’re a survivor, it’s why we chose you.”
“Why should I care about Rox—”
“We know she’s been visiting you, feeding you even. You can do as I say or you’ll both share your cell as punishment.”
I took the knife and gripped it tightly, my palms moist and my hand shaking slightly. Mr. Neville took my hand and corrected my grip.
“Severing the carotid arteries on both side of the neck will result in rapid loss of consciousness.” he said casually like he was talking about some damn cooking tip. “You can also sever the spinal cord at the base of the skull. With the right kind of knife you can slip it right through the rib cage and right into the heart. If you had a gun, a point blank shot to the head or heart will do. Don’t bother with choking someone, getting the right hold to shut down the arteries can be very difficult and otherwise it takes a long time to take effect. It takes at least two minutes without oxygen for brain damage to begin, death much longer. Consciousness will resume as soon as blood flow is restored. Now you know what to do.”
I let the knife go and grabbed it with my powers.
“No powers.” Mr. Neville intoned. “You do this the old fashioned way.”
“You’ve already showed us your power, we’ve seen you kill people with it.” He said, the security guard at the facility coming back to mind. “But now, you have nothing to hide behind. Not your power to make it remote and no excuse for why you did it. It’s you or him.”
I stood there for a minute, frozen in place. My mind desperately trying to find a solution but finding none. Just to drive the last nail in the coffin, Mr. Neville took the knife and put it in my hand, forcibly closing my fingers around the hilt.
“You can go back in your cell or you can go upstairs; get a shower, change clothes and eat real food. It all depends on your choice here. Or you can do it for Roxanne, repay her kindness.” He whispered to me.
“For Roxanne…” I muttered. But deep down I knew I was lying, I just wanted the pain to stop…
“Carotid’s here.” He said, pointing to the right area of the neck on the prisoner.
I did it. First the right and then the left. The prisoner struggled for a moment, gargling blood before going limp. My fingers were covered in blood and I dropped the knife, feeling my stomach twist into a knot before ejecting what little was left inside.
“You did well.” He put a hand on my shoulder and I broke down, falling to my knee and crying.
He left me there. When the tears stopped I noticed the door was left open. I left the cell and saw that the door to the entrance had also been left open. I came up the stairs, my knees weak and shaking and came into a closet, behind a long rack of clothes. I walked out and into the kitchen where Ms. Neville was cooking, I recognized her making pancakes batter immediately. In the week before they’d revealed themselves as pure evil, she’d often made them in the morning…
“Good morning Jaime.” She said with a smile. “I’m so glad to see you. There’s a stack of freshly washed clothes waiting for you in the bathroom.”
I didn’t protest or question anything, dragging my feet to the downstairs bathroom and washing away the filth that caked my body after weeks of imprisonment… The clothes she’d left for me were like the softest thing I’d ever touched, still warm from the dryer and carrying the perfumed smell of fabric softener. When I came out, Ms. Neville didn’t break character, remaining that friendly maternal housewife even though I knew it was all an act. After breakfast, I excused myself upstairs and into my room. Roxanne was there, sitting on her bed with an ipod.
The moment she saw me, she practically ran toward me and hugged me tightly. I wanted to shove her away but I didn’t have the strength left in me to do so…
“They let you out?”
I weakly nodded.
“I killed someone…” I said, my voice shaking. “They said they’d punish you too if I didn’t…” My hands were shaking and I wanted to cry again.
She took my fingers in her hands and squeezed them hard.
“Stop it.” She ordered softly. “You did nothing wrong, you shouldn’t blame yourself.”
“How can I—”
“As much as they sound horrible and bigoted, they’re right about us. It’s easier if you think of yourself as nothing but a weapon like they want you to. A knife isn’t responsible for what the person who wield it does. We just focus on surviving and keep hope. It’s all we can do. We can find a way to become human again when we’re safe from here…”
That day, Roxanne held me tightly as I cried myself to sleep, still shaking from the things I’d done…