Riptide

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Chapter 40

“Well that’s going to leave a mark,” I said aloud, completely ignoring the possibility of another shock of pain at my “disrespectful” comment. Yet, the strange agent with the buzz-cut mouse-brown hair and measly attempt at a beard ignored what I had said with a simple roll of his eyes and instead pulled out a rusted cattle prod from under a sheet.

“So,” he said. “A little umnik like yourself clearly doesn’t respond to asking nicely,” he explained. “Therefore we, unfortunately, have to refer to… more intense measures,” he told me patronizingly. “Unless you’d like to tell me what it was you dreamt of last night?”

“Unicorns,” I said matter-of-factly. He smirked with great pleasure as he held up the cattle prod and rocked it between his middle and first fingers simply to taunt me. I glared up and him and tightened every muscle in my body, preparing for the pain. “Do what you want with me,” I told him. “But I’m not saying anything,” I said.

He smiled as if hoping I would say this. I clenched my teeth and allowed the harsh pain to flow through me. “It will be over soon,” I thought to myself as he made his finger flip the trigger and send a jolt unlike anything I had ever felt before straight through my nervous system and unlike the instant pain from before, I knew just where it had come from. He laughed at my pain and shocked me again, and again, and again, it seemed endless. Each time his evil laughter echoed in my head as he continued to enjoy the despair I had been descending into slowly over the course of the past few months. It was all I could do to keep myself from screaming out in pain each time, but I kept my quiet, suffering in absolute silence.

Finally, he decided I had had enough and opened the small trap door which lead into my mildew-filled, murky confinement. I stood, exhausted, in pain, and burning with anger. “No,” he yelled. “Stay seated.”

I was too tired to protest and instead did as I was told. He nodded and left the room from the plain white door which I had walked through on both sides so many times either on my way to Dr. Brown or returning from him, tired, in pain, and broken. He had installed me with false hope by opening my door as one last cruel “joke.” I sighed when a tan woman with a dyed blond ponytail and an Italian accent just shorter than Charlie stepped into the room holding the cattle prod.

She glanced about nervously before whispering, “say nothing, we have about two minutes to talk before the entire system is rebooted and we are monitored once more,” she told me and put her hand over my mouth. “My name is Elizabeth De Luca, I’m the head of the Mythic Struggles Union and have been working to destroy this operation from the inside for thirteen years,” she told me. “We have been waiting for more than two decades for you to arrive,” she said. “But more about that later. “You have probably received a cloth bag with some strange items inside, those are the key to your escape, we are relying on you here,” she said, her voice beginning to speed. “We can only take you so far,” she finished and glanced at the security cameras which I had only recently noticed. They seemed to have just begun to reawaken from her presumable remote disconnect. She quickly removed her hand and gave me a look of apology, which I nodded at subtly, telling her that I understood what she had to do. At such point, she raised the cattle prod and shocked me once more. Then she shocked me again, and again until I could feel myself beginning to lose consciousness. I fought to stay alert. I clawed at my slipping consciousness as it was falling away like someone might claw at the ground as they fell into their grave. Through my struggles, I didn’t notice the strange feeling of being slipped a small, folded piece of paper into my dimming and unresponsive hands as I began to drift off, as although I fought valiantly and treated the functioning of my brain as if it were my last chance to escape, I now could rest assured that it wasn’t. Knowing this, I allowed myself to rest, my last thought being the names of the people I missed the most recited until I could no longer sense my surroundings and fell into a semi-peaceful rest.

“Mom, Dad, Charlie, Zuri, Chloe, Peter,” I recited. “Mom, Dad, Charlie, Zuri, Chloe, Peter.”

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