Riptide

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Chapter 29

My head throbbed as I awoke on the floor of a dark claustrophobic space, the smell of mildew hitting me like a ton of bricks. My hands were bound behind my back with some kind of technologically advanced set of handcuffs which emanated a blue light and seemed to drain my life force for every moment they were wrapped around my wrists. I realized with absolute terror that my world was silent. I couldn’t hear what was happening beyond the space I was in now. The handcuffs weren’t draining my life force, they were draining my powers, which were now a part of me as much as my bones were. I squirmed to push myself up against a wall, realizing with annoyance how much I took having my hands for granted. By the time I found the cold, damp surface, my eyes had adjusted to the darkness and I could see the outline of the room I was in. It looked like small concrete confinement with nothing but a mattress which looked older than I and as if it would probably ooze something out of it, should I put any weight on the ancient bedpiece. I noticed a thin grey blanket which had been folded nicely in the corner of the cell before turning my eyes to the glowing outline of a tiny rectangular trapdoor I had presumably been dropped through. I pushed myself against the awful moss-covered wall and used it to help me stand, deeply regretting wearing my favorite t-shirt. When I had finally managed to stand, I began to pace the room, thinking of a way out of the prison cell. There was a small tray which had six small, circular crackers, three bits of ancient cheese, a tiny cup, and a large container filled with water.

“Food,” I thought. It was presumably enough to last the rest of the week. Clearly, wherever I was spared much expense when it came to the food they fed their prisoners. I sighed and took a single cracker.

After what felt like years, the door burst open and flooded the dark room with the light of a thousand suns which burned into my eyes like branding on cattle. A rusted latter dropped down. “Up,” someone demanded from outside the room. I looked at the latter and turned around to motion that I was unable to climb it in the state I was in, a sudden burst of pure pain was delivered straight through my veins. I gasped and lost the ability to stand within a matter of seconds. “Up,” the voice said again. Unwilling to feel that instant pain again, I followed the order, turning around and climbing the ladder with my hands bound as I held tightly onto each step. Once I reached the top, a man with a buzz-cut mouse-brown head of hair, a shaggy beginning to a beard and large muscles which bulged from his grey uniform yanked me off the latter and threw me down onto my feet. I was then aggressively shoved into a chair, where a white light shined brightly into my face. I squinted and tried to look away but it seemed that no matter where I looked, I stared straight into the light. “Who are you?” he shouted.

“The light seems a bit extreme, don’t you think?” I asked without thinking of what he might think or do.

I knew it was coming long before he pushed the button, knowing what I had said to challenge his dominance was wrong. Another burst of pure pain ran through my veins. I bit my lip, “don’t give him the pleasure-” I thought to myself but was unable to finish my words, as he pushed the button once more and another bust was delivered immediately.

“Now,” he repeated, leaning in extremely close, his breath smelling of grilled fish. “Would you like to answer the question or do you need another reminder of who’s in charge here?” he asked patronizingly.

I glared at him and answered the question. “My name is Olivia James and I am just a regular high-school student.”

“Oh yeah, little umnik?” he asked. “And what school do you go to?”

I sighed, unable to recall the names of the regular schools in my area. I looked down at my shoes, which were now moss-covered and soaking wet. He hovered his finger over the button menacingly. “G.A.T Education High School,” I mumbled.

He laughed wholeheartedly as if enjoying every second of this terrible conversation to no end. “Now that doesn’t sound like a ‘normal high school,’ what does it stand for?” he asked. I could tell he knew the answer to his own question but simply wanted to see how I would answer.

“It stands for Gifted and Talented.”

“Did you go there before you were injected with the serum or after?” he asked.

I was unsure of how he knew about the serum but decided it was pointless to lie to the man who A, could send instant pain through my system, and B, was probably so well-studied on human traits when lying he would be able to tell if I said anything but the truth. “Before,” I said. He seemed surprised as if expecting me to tell him I had gone there after. I watched him flick a green switch which read the word “before” on tape underneath the piece of machinery.

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