[4.27.11] It’s Just the beginning but also the end. – Chapter 1
The burn. He could feel it coarse through his veins, scorching his skin. It was like a gnat that he just couldn’t squash. It was the familiar burn of hunger. He didn’t know when he would eat or even the last time he had eaten. He didn’t even know where he was or why he was there. Four walls surrounded him and he was pretty sure that whatever prison he was in had bars. That’s right, he was a prisoner. For exactly how long, he wasn’t sure. It felt like weeks…months, but it could have just been days. His stomach growled for the second time since he had been awake. There had been periods of unconsciousness that saved him from reality. He had learned to ignore the want to eat long ago, to sleep without really sleeping. If he hadn’t felt the cold concrete floor underneath him, he would have thought he was dead—but he knew better. Not even death could help him escape from the unknown he was currently facing.
The sound of footsteps echoed down the hall, each step getting harder as it massacred the ground it hit. Maybe this was it, when they would finally kill him. He shook his head. The outcome of death was too optimistic. His coming fate was far worse than death. It was the torture of becoming a monster. He knew they were coming to get him. They would lead him down to some sort of lab and do tests on him. They would make him a monster. His hands wandered up to the barcode tattooed behind his right ear. Right now, he was a caged animal tagged for slaughter. Later, he would become one of them. He would become a—
“Get up.” The guard stood in front of him, a hulking blob of black. He–it–had no definite shape. It blended in with the darkness around it. Even its voice was inhuman; a gruff, scratchy sound that seemed to come out of its throat, its eyes nowhere to be found.
“Get up,” it said again, enforcing the command with a kick.
“OK. Calm down,” the prisoner stood to his feet and emitted a whimper. He hated that. That sign of weakness. It clamped its gloved hand on the back of his neck and guided him forward.
“Ever heard of handcuffs,” he joked. A sudden pain slammed into his brain. It had happened so fast he barely noticed it: the guard had squeezed tightly on his neck as if warning him that worse pain would be his next punishment.
After walking down winding corridors for what seemed like an hour, the guard pushed him into a room. The room was lit up like a shopping mall on Christmas Eve. The prisoner’s eyes drunk up the light so fast he had to blink to keep from fainting. He hadn’t seen light in…he didn’t know how long—in a long time. He forced himself to focus on things other than light. The room was a sterile white. A table sat in the middle, the majority of light focused there, and a wooden medical table sat beside it. A man stood off to the side, clear amusement lighting his features. There was another room that was connected to the room they stood in. A window made it so that people in the room—or maybe it was a lab—could view first-hand the agony they were causing. He could tell that the mutating poison they administered to their captives was made in that room.
The guard pushed him onto the table and placed brown leather straps over his arms and legs. He hadn’t noticed the straps before.
“Niko Ishida,” the man in the white lab coat announced as he glanced at a clipboard. He set it down on the medical table. “That is your name, right?”
Niko forced his gaze from the straps that constricted his limbs to the man’s eyes. He could tell the man was old. The crow’s feet, eye-bags, and drooping skin gave away his age easily. “How do you know my name?”
“Oh now you know the answer to that,” the man said, laughing quietly as he turned to the medical table. “I know all my subjects names before they are…improved.”
Niko scoffed and struggled fruitlessly against the restraints. “Improved? Is that what you call turning innocent people into monsters?”
“They’re far from innocent. It’s for the better, you know,” the man turned around, a large needle in his hand. “This will only hurt for a second.”
The man lied of course. It didn’t hurt for a second; the pain felt like it would never end. Niko could feel his blood boil as the serum worked its way to his heart. It was going to mutate him. He was sure that what they saw outside of the safe haven created in his mind was a man writhing in agony. His limbs were twitching, he could feel it. Niko was just an observer as his body was taken over. He wanted to slip away and die, but the poison that now coursed through his veins wouldn’t let him.
“Just kill me,” he faintly heard himself repeat over and over again. “Please…”
It had been—what he guessed—a month since he last saw light, since he was last human. He knew that he was now a monster. He was struggling to keep his emotions, his memories. These were things that monsters like him were made not to have. He wasn’t supposed to feel anything. He was supposed to be an empty shell, someone who just took orders and never thought for themselves. The monster part of him was slowly taking over every day, blocking everything that he tried to hide form it. Every day it chipped at a piece of the wall he had built in his mind. It would take over soon and he knew it. They—his captors—were now taking him somewhere. His mind instantly lashed out at the word captors. What could he call them then? Friends? Comrades?
He was suddenly pushed into a white room, a color that they seemed to love. It was the false sense of purity that the color gave people. They were far from pure. The guard was guiding him to something on the wall: a mirror. When Niko saw his reflection in the mirror he knew it was truly over. He really had become one of them, something that he had been fighting with since the day he woke up as one of them. His eyes were devoid of emotion, just a blank mask. The black irises used to twinkle in the light, now they were dull pieces of coal. His skin was paler than it was before and his lips had no color. Even the way he stood showed no emotion. The only emotion that was able to escape the tight control of the monster in him was the surprised part of his lips. Niko had to face the truth…he was now one of them.