Mens rea

Red

The guards retrieved a quiet Robin late in the evening, prying the boy off of the bars. Dripping wet, Kyle, in a clean set of prison garb clambered up to his cot, sent a raised eyebrow at Curt. The madman shrugged before rolling his eyes and swaying side to side. Sitting his aching bones from the intense all-day shoveling in the mines, the mafia hit-man continued to watch the activity below. Robin was a bit paler and drawn in the face then the last time he saw the boy.

Finally breaking the boy's hold, Carl and Ben quickly regripped their hands on the boy's slim upper arms when the boy's legs buckled together. Robin bit back a moan. It was clear that hunger was running rampant in the boy's system. It was sheer stubbornness of the boy that he was able to retain his position throughout the hours.

"Say goodbye, boy. You won't be seeing your cellmates for awhile." Half leading, half dragging Robin out of the cell, Robin glanced up at the two prisoners.

Curt grinned and waved. "Have fun 99.9 of the time!"

Kyle scoffed and leaned down onto his bed, staring up at the ceiling. He had warned the boy that there was no escape from this place. But no, he didn't listen. And now, he was weakening fast, starving and from Curt's impression drugged as well. He had interrogated men like the boy, stubborn until their dying breath. And what did it prove? Nothing.

Sensing Kyle's indifference, Robin returned his gaze on the floor and allowed himself to be held between the men. It seemed that he wasn't going to be getting any help from those two. He was in this alone. Eyes still downcast, Robin remained quiet memorizing everything from the number of steps it took to turn a corner and the direction of wherever he was heading. His stomach was a mass of tightened muscles, sapping his energy. His legs buckled slightly below him. His thumb and forefinger rubbed in circles against each other was now an activity for his weak body. Somehow it gave him comfort, not that his conscience registered the act.

The trio reached the ground level, in which they turn and entered the southern corridor. The corridor was short and Robin could already spot the opening of another large, hollow cavern. Halting, Ben opened up a small door that led to a small corridor. Pulling him inside, they continued in silence until they reached a small dorm size room. Faucets scattered throughout the room dripping water, the rivers running in a spiral towards the drain. Fumio was off to in another room that split off from the hallway. The psychiatrist had his back turned towards him, working on something on the table, while a tray of leftovers sat untouched next to him. On the left side of the room, there was another door. Carl pushed Robin into the room.

"Sit down for a minute, Robin and have some food," spoke Fumio in a welcoming voice.

Ben, who had already grabbed the tray, placed it in front of the boy.

Remember his manners, Robin nodded, "Thanks." His voice croaked and suddenly the glass of ice-tea looked wonderful. Taking a sip, he winced at the slight sulfuric taste. With no utensils, he gazed at the plate trying to see which to eat.

"I would hurry up, if I were you."

Robin frowned. The man must have eyes on the back of his head or be a mind reader, or just plain freaky. Grabbing the chicken leg, Robin ate in silence wondering where the chicken came from, before moving onto the cold mush, which seemed colder than the one he had last time. Despite the meal not tasting that great, Robin regretted complaining about the cold mush, cause the stuff seemed more disgusting as it got older. Finished, he took the final gulp of tea and set the cup down.

"You know I had a revelation a few days ago. And I must say, you were my inspiration." Fumio started. Actually, he came up with the idea a few hours ago in the meeting, but Robin did not need to know. Telling him the wrong time span was part of the process of the Threesome. "I always wanted to know what colors sparked off certain traits within criminals. Now, I know that some studies have been done on that, but those tests were conducted on normal folks."

Turning his head, Fumio gave a tiny nod. Ben and Carl grabbed Robin and hauled him to his feet.

"Hey!" Robin shouted before starting to struggle. Ben grabbed a tight hold on Robin's tunic and ripped it off the boy. Carl had a bit more trouble and ripped off the legs from the pants. Pushing the boy inside the shower room, Robin was quickly drowned by the high-pressure ice water. "Hey—cough—what—cough" Robin spit out another mouth full and covered his face with his arms, trying to survive the onslaught.

As quickly as it began, the water was turned off and Robin was left panting, dripping wet and shivering in the room. Fumio joined Carl and Ben in the hallway and tossed the boy a towel. "Dry up quick so you don't catch a cold."

Grabbing the towel, Robin worked quickly over his body. His teeth began to chatter as he moved down to his feet. Ruffling his hair, he saw Ben point to the other room. A frown set onto his face. No way was he—

Carl calmly pulled out a semi-automatic and pointed it at Robin. "We're not in the mood."

Robin felt color begin to drain in his face. The situation had just taken a plunge for the worse. "Fine," snarled Robin as he trudged to join Fumio.

His masked eyes were greeted with Fumio holding out a new prison uniform but it was completely red. "What?"

Fumio smiled coldly, his black eyes narrowing behind the glasses. "Simple. Your uniform was the perfect three colors I decided to test out first. Red, Yellow and Green. You'll wear a uniform of each color every week and interact with the other fellow prisoners. Someone will be watching overhead to make sure things don't go…too out of hand."

Tossing the boy the red uniform, he ordered, "Change."

"Right here?"

"Yes."

"But-" A blush began to rise to his cheeks.

Fumio chuckled. "Please boy, the one thing we've all lost here is our dignity. Now do it before Carl or Ben do it for you."

Robin swallowed and pulled off his pants. Draped in only his boxers, Robin quickly redressed in the new uniform. Thankfully, this time it seemed to fit his small body. Fumio must have sensed his gratefulness. "I made some alterations with the colored uniforms. We wouldn't want you tripping over your own legs."

Walking over, Fumio placed a hand on Robin's shoulder and steered him back to the shower room. Ben walked ahead and opened the other door. It led out to a small corridor and then to what appeared to be the cavern. Fumio leaned down and whispered into his ear, "Now, play nice Robin. And do live. See you in a couple of hours."

With that, Fumio pushed Robin into the corridor, Ben shutting it loudly behind him. Grateful that Fumio's hands were no longer on him, Robin shrugged his shoulders and dusted them off as if the man had a disease. That whole situation reminded him of-

"No, stay focused. Who knows what the crazy four-eyed man is planning? And here I thought he just wanted a one-to-one chat over tea," scoffed Robin. Since his meal, Robin had felt his energy return and did not feel as weak as earlier. He actually felt a bit cleaner and awake after the drowning. It was amazing what food and water could do to a person. Stepping now without any buckling knees, Robin made his way to the end of the corridor. Leaning in, he gazed into the cavern.

This time, he was on the bottom and no upper ledges were apparent like the last cavern. But there were what appeared to be windows. Gazing now into the cavern itself, he was surprised to see a bunch of criminals lounging around, sitting on stones or broken benches chatting amongst themselves. Some criminals where in open areas, engaged in push-ups, arm-wrestling or other physical activities.

"Must be the common room slash gym," muttered Robin. This wasn't good.

He was about to shrink back in and just chill in the corridor when a prisoner spat out in what sounded Chinese. A man in a heavy Australian accent translated, "Hey, lookey here mates! We got a new buddy."

Mumblings rumbled, criminals stopped their conversations and games to peer over at the small face that peeped out of the corridor. Robin frowned, his cheeks feeling a burn. This was humiliating. Gathering up his courage, the boy stepped out into the cavern. Most of these men were giants. Bulky, tall and broad shoulder, the bodies of miners and weight lifters. The others were lighter built, skinny with the poor meals but their muscles were in top shape due to all the hard work. Yet, they all were covered in grim, their once tan skin losing itself to a pale complexion due to not being out under natural sun but instead under regular voltage.

"Look, I…" Robin lost his thought when one of the men was starting at him with black eyes starting to haze over.

Licking his lips the man shuddered, "…the last time…I saw red…"

Warning sirens blared in Robin's head. His mind flashed quickly to something he learned surprisingly in his English class. They were discussing the symbolism of certain colors and how people reacted to them. Red was always related to something of passion. "Ok, so that's normal people. Fumio said he wanted to know how criminals respond. Think Rob, what does red represent? Love, no. Blood, yeah…" masked eyes widened, Kyle's voice piercing his mind, "'You don't want me to smell blood. It turns me on.'"

"Oh fudge."

But it was too late; the crazy man had already lunged at Robin, eyes blazed with blood lust. Robin easily danced away from the claws but bumped into another criminal. He peered up as the man sent him a toothy grin and slammed his fist down. But Robin's body was pumped with adrenaline and the seasoned warrior spun to the side, driving a kick to the man's stomach. The man crashed to his knees in pain, blue almost violet eyes wide and gasping for air.

"He hurt Tom!"

A roar lit up the room. "Great, now besides the lunatics I have to deal with his sane buddies." And that was Robin's last sarcastic remark as the crowd descended on him.

Punches flew by him, scrapped across his lithe body and landing hard on his body. Kicks were sent, but Robin somehow was able to dance between them. Tripping over stalled feet, Robin rolled onto the ground before leaping to the side as another body crashed over him. No longer was this fight just him and the prisoners. It was a free for all. Lunatics still lunged at him, wanting to pound away the red that stained his pale skin. The other prisoners were fighting just to uphold their group's honor and others fought just for the sake of fighting.

A scream erupted from Robin's throat, tears spring to his eyes. Twisting around, he spotted one of the lunatics biting his leg, his emerald eyes wide with satisfaction. The disturbing sight burned into his mind. The man must have crawled through the crowd to avoid detection. Robin had been more concerned with the fists raining down that he forgot about the area below.

The man sank his teeth in more and Robin screamed but this time in anger. Something snapped in him and that fiery rush turned his eyesight red. It was like before, when he was fighting the blue-inked criminal. Hand scrabbling out, his hand found a rock that had fallen during the fight. A huge criminal stumbled backwards over his fallen form, stepping onto his hand. Biting back a scream, Robin tightened his grip on the rock before pushing the man off his hand with his arm. The foot eased off and the aching hand jerked away. The pain only fueled him further. Throwing the rock, it hit the man straight in the face. Nose busted open, blood split forth. A high-pitch scream roared into the cavern as the man's mouth opened. With his uninjured leg, Robin set a powerful kick to the man's head, sending him tumbling into the feet of the other prisoners.

Sliding into a crouch, Robin ripped a strip of cloth from his already tattered uniform with his teeth. Tying the strip around the bite mark, he had enough time to dodge to the side as a fist flew by his fast. Masked eyes narrowed and a cold look fell upon his face. The prisoner felt his mouth crack open before a small fist slammed into his face, breaking teeth. Stumbling back, arms flaying, Robin did a scissor-kick to the man's chin. Another man lunged at him. But the Boy Wonder grabbed the massive forearm, propelling himself upwards and kicking the man in the chest. Spinning into the air over the falling man, Robin landed onto his feet crouched as another man tried to punch him. Yet, the man was inexperienced and the momentum of the punch sent him flying forward over Robin's back. Realizing his advantage, Robin let the man fly over his back before shifting his body and tossing the man easily into a foursome that were rushing at him.

He loved physics. A grin danced his face for a second. The adrenaline was pounding in his head; pain laced his bleeding leg, hand and numerous other bruises and cuts that he did not know where there. He was the middle of a runner's high. Lost in the moment, Robin's eyes caught the flying massive shape flying at him too late. The balding man collided with him, sending the smaller body slamming into the rough volcanic rock.

Sliding onto the ground, Robin's head rolled to the side, supernovas bursting into the existence. "Wh-at?"

"Finally, there you are."

A familiar bald Asian man towered over his body. Robin growled, "Katarou, here for another beating?"

The villain laughed, cracking his knuckles, the bare muscular arms rippling. Blood dripped down from his cracked lip but it seemed otherwise the man was uninjured. "Not this time." Not wasting another moment, Katarou lunged forward to punch the boy into the wall.

Robin slide to the side as the fist slammed into the wall instead, sending shards of rock exploding into the air. Crouching Robin sprinted forward to give him some distance to kick the man in the back, but Katarou grabbed the back of his collar, chocking him. Slamming the boy back into the wall, Katarou drove his fist into the bite mark and almost breaking bone. The man had been working out and his strength had improved.

Another scream erupted into the air but it was shorted lived when a fist slammed into his forehead. His right eye immediately closed and he felt the swelling begin. His left hand rose to punch back but another arm had joined in the beating twisting it backwards. Instinct kicked in and Robin began to kick widely, his eyes unfocused but still could make out hazy shapes and Katarou's smirking face. Grabbing him in the front, Katarou yanked him into the air, twirling his small frame around before throwing him into the middle of the cavern. Colliding with other prisoners, they cushioned his fall if only slightly. Staggering to his feet, he slide into a defensive pose as Katarou and three of his henchmen stalked towards him. Yet before Robin could attack them, another man spotted his red uniform and lunged at him. Distracted momentarily as he suckered punched the man, Katarou and the others leapt forward and pummeled the boy to the opposite wall.

Maura stood watching the chaos below in the cavern. A guard stood by her door and another was stationed at the entrance of the southern corridor. But otherwise, that was all. She would let these men fight to exhaustion. The sound of a pen scratching at paper was the only sound in the small room. Fumio sat next to her, scribbling furiously as he jolted down his notes from the activity below.

"You know, they're going to kill him if you don't end this soon."

"He'll just have to live up to his name then," responded Maura as she watched Katarou throw Robin into the air sending him flying into the crowd.

Fumio shook his head; "Egyed will need to look at his wounds so he won't bleed to death."

Maura sent an annoyed glare at him. She did not like being lectured at and the man who was doing it was her subordinate. He must have caught her look in the reflection of his glasses, for he quickly shut up and continued to write. Prisoners ganged up on the boy, but despite his injuries Robin danced nimbly between the fighters. She could tell that his energy was beginning to dwindle from both using up all little food he ate and the concussion he probably received when he slammed into the wall. To her amazement, he fought with a ferocity that both scared and awed her. Robin could…was…a human weapon. If tweaked the right way, he would be an ideal killing machine. But, something kept him from flipping the switch. Something prevented him from crossing the line from fighter to killer, hero to villain. Sure the story of his crime was an exception, but deep down she believed Robin. Yet most of all, she hoped that the threesome would work on him, otherwise she would have no ideas on how to make the boy talk.

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