Michal opened his eyes and stared for a moment at the wall. ‘Kill or be killed’ painted on every spare peace of wall and ceiling across his cell. He sighed, climbed out of bed and staggering to the toilet in the corner to start his morning rituals. As he sat there he scratched a little mark into the wall. It had been just over two years since he’d been taken. That day walking home from school in the pouring rain, soaked through and freezing, desperate to just get home and get warm. So desperate in fact that he hadn’t notice the van following him until it pulled up alongside him and he was pulled in side.
Every day since then he’d spent at the camp, some rich psychopath’s idea of fun. Kidnapped children and young teens forced to train and forced to fight. Kill or be killed. Every now and then some new combatants would refuse, their shock collars would go off and they’d be hung by the neck above the arena, as a reminder to everyone else. If you don’t fight, you all die. Michal stepped into the shower and closed his eyes as the water ran over him, trying to imagine he was still just walking home in the rain.
Each cell was self-contained, the Psycho didn’t let the kids see or talk to each other outside the arena, for fear of an uprising. There was a bang at his cell door and the sound of a tray sliding against concrete. It was fight day for him which meant no training and better food. He had a knack for fighting and had managed to survive a lot longer than anyone else. A rumour had started that he couldn’t be beaten and so the announcers started calling him The Demon, and he’d started having to fight more than one kid at once. Tonight he had to fight four in a weapons match, and wasn’t looking forward to it. A part of him just thought about giving up, letting the other kids win and just letting it be over. But he always thought that the morning of a fight, and when he stepped into the arena and saw the Psycho sitting in his throne looking down at them, he just couldn’t do it. He had to survive; he couldn’t let that bastard break him. So he fought and he won and went back to his cell and let the cycle continued. With each win he got a little bit more wiggle room. It had started simply with a mattress, then a blanket. A bit more food here, and bit more hot water there. Eventually he got to keep his weapons and armour and make modifications so they suited him better. Every show of loyalty brought him one step closer to the man himself and once he got close enough he planned to rip out his heart with his bare hands.
The fight ended quickly as usual, three of kids were already so scared of him that it didn’t seem fair. He’d seen them fight with much more skill in the past but when they were up against him it was different. One of them held his nerve though and actually did himself proud, but not proud enough. With a quick flick of his sword, the point opened the boys main vain and warm wet blood erupted like a fountain, covering Michal and even reaching as high as the Psycho, who stood up and clapped his approval. Michal bowed graciously as usual and then stood patiently waiting for the doors to open so he could just return to his cell.
“Well Done Michal, you are the most skilled fighter I have ever had come through here and I’m so proud of you.”
Michal looked up in shock, he’d never heard the Psycho speak before.
“So I have a special reward for you, it’s waiting back in your cell. I hope you like it and we will see you tomorrow, because you will be fighting every day this week.”
Michal arched an eyebrow, the Psycho wasn’t nice or kind and everything he said sent a cold shiver down his spine, but the doors opened and he was led back to his cell. There lying on his bed was his ‘reward.’ She looked in her mid to late 20s, a bit too thin and pale but had a pretty face.
“You must be The Demon.”
Her voice was shaky and her eyes kept tracing down his body reminding him that he was covered in blood.
“I’m your reward.”
She stood up and let her dress slip to the floor, leaving her totally naked. At 14 when he’d been taken, girls were still a mystery, and 2 years in death camp had offered no extra insight. But he knew that as much as his body pushed towards her, that this was wrong. He closed his eyes and turned his head away.
“I… I… you, we don’t have to do that.”
“You don’t like what you see?”
She stepped up closer to him and ran a hand down his face.
“You can look, I don’t mind, I like it.”
Michal opened his eyes again but forced himself to look into her face.
“I need to shower.”
“Oh now we’re getting somewhere.”
She let her hands start trying to undo his amour but he caught her by the wrist.
“I’m not doing this.”
Fear crept into her eyes.
“If you don’t, they’ll kill me. Please, I-I don’t want to die.”
He stared at her for a long minute and watched as the tears welled up in her eyes and slowly began running down her face. He let her go and then whispered.
“Ok… ok, ok, but uummm… But I’ve never done this before.”
She forced a smile.
“That’s ok honey, I’ll show you.”
She helped him remove his armour, and the rest of his clothes, before they stepped into the shower. She couldn’t help but stare at the scars that cover over half his body, and he tried not to notice as he washed the blood out of his hair. Still dropping from the shower she led him back to the bed and took his virginity.
In the morning when Michal opened his eyes and read the walls again he wondered if it wasn’t just a dream.