Mens rea

Kaleidoscope

An hour of sleep was all he got. His brain was able to shut off for once and his body was relaxed and warm when those guards came in and hauled him back the changing room. Weaving back and forth, he let Ben undress him and slide over a green uniform. Stumbling into the chamber, Robin tried to fight the hands that gripped at him. One large man held him close to his chest, fighting off the others yelling how the money was his now and if anyone wanted it, he would kill them.

Yet, the criminals were spurred on with the calming color and wanted to have it in their possession. Laying Robin down on the ground gently, he lunged forward to protect his prize. In a drug haze, Robin sat on the ground and watched the criminals shed for blood over him. One unfortunate soul plopped on the ground, dull eyes staring straight ahead. Robin stared down at the man like seeing a dead body was common. But, he jerked slightly when warm blood tickled underneath his bare feet. Instead of freaking out over the red liquid, his numb mind asked itself a question. When had his shoes been removed? Oh, that was right, the big man pulled them off before hugging him like a teddy bear.

"He's my money! Mine!"

More bone-crunching punches were heard. Robin stopped rubbing his hands and began to rub on his arms, rocking ever so slightly. Green, he should have know it would have a twisted meaning for the psychopaths. Green was suppose to be fertility and calmness. Instead, all they saw was money and the need to hold him. Hands grabbed out to touch him from behind and Robin flinched, trying to push them away. If the big man didn't see them then they would live.

"Please, go away." Robin's eyes blackened out for a moment. He was tired and it didn't help the drug was working it's magic. When he came too, the big man was petting his hair. Robin growled and began to struggle in the man's grip. "Let go."

"No, money."

Robin felt his temper flare. The drug's warmth was beginning to dwindle. He was tired. He was cold. He didn't want people dying over him. And he wanted people to stop touching him. "I'm warning you…"

"N0!"

Robin's thin temper snapped. Doing a scissor-kick, he slammed his foot into the man's face. The man grunt and staggered backwards dropping Robin. Bolting away, the boy tried to make it to his safe place but the other criminals were already after him, pulling at his hair, arms and clothes. Fighting back, Robin tried to break free, kicking, punching and even biting sometimes but they were too many. Screaming, Robin yelled his voice raw. "LET ME GO!" Knowing that his words were not being heed, he turned to where he knew Maura was watching. And there she stood in all her cold glory.

"I'll speak just make them quite!"

Maura blinked. Guards burst into the chamber, firing a round into the air. The prisoners scattered like mice. Robin sighed with relief and ran over to where Ben and Carl were waiting for him. Once he was led out, the men pulled him into a private room where he changed back into regular clothes.

Questioning happened shortly after. But not on the questions he suspected since his little breakdown.

"Why Jump City?"

"It was a short ride from Gotham."

"Why did you leave Gotham?"

"Got shot by the Joker."

"Why the Titans?"

"Just happened."

"Colors?"

Silence.

The response led him back to the small box. Alone in the darkness, Robin was grateful and dozed off. He waited but they didn't come when an hour passed, then the next. Figuring he was given a longer time to rest, Robin drifted off. And just like that it began all over again.

A cold shower knocked the much-needed sleep out of him followed by a meager meal and questioning by Fumio.

"How did they react to green?"

"Touchy. Greedy."

"How did they see you?"

"I was money to them, an object."

"Interesting."

"Not if you're the object."

And that was that. Forced to wear red again, Robin fought for his life. By the time he walked away, one eye was swollen shut, his bottom lip was busted open and the shivers and stomach cramps had returned. He half-suspected to be brought back to the box, but instead he was forced to stand in the corner in the doc's small cell.

Egyed moved back and forth with ease within the cramped medical bay. A line of prisoners from the chamber waited patiently outside for their time with the doc, who would be able to fix them up. Robin leaned against the wall, his eyes drifting shut. Only to be awakened once more when Carl yelled into his ear, jerking him into a straight position. Hours passed and finally it was his time, the injection a welcomed relief.

Walking back down the familiar corridor, Robin caught Kyle marching into the mines. The man shot him a look, the mouth thinning slightly. Robin frowned in return. If the hit man was worried about him, then things were turning for the worse. In the shower room, Robin waited to change clothes, but nothing happened.

"What-"

A blast of ice water drowned him for a couple minutes. When the pressured was withdrawn, he heard Fumio's voice.

"Why are you hero?"

"Because I chose to!" snapped Robin, spitting out water to the side. He was getting a bit tired off these games, espically that one question.

"Not the truth." Maura's voice pulled Robin's eyes to lock on her form in the doorway. It was strange having her here.

"It is." The conviction in his voice surprised Robin.

Disappointment seeped into those gray eyes. "Green and don't get him, even when he calls."

The cycle began again. Green. Shower. Meager meal. Questions. Red. Box. Shower. Box. Yellow. Questions. Meal. Red. Red. Green. Drug. Yellow. Again and again the cycle repeated non-stop.

Robin couldn't find a pattern to their work. All he knew was that he had to survive, to answer in brief, concise statements: give them what they wanted to hear, no more. The few meals he was given, Robin ate in sections, not knowing when the next meal would come. The same was for sleep. Sometimes it was ten minutes, other times it seemed longer. He lost track of time amidst the kaleidoscope of events. Images were flashes, no longer in a running, continual fashion. The cycles only existed, there was nothing of the outside world. The feeling of sunshine, a restful night sleep and his friends' faces became gray. Time ceased to exist, but from what Fumio or Egyed or the woman would say he had been here for months, that there was no escape. Gritting his teeth, Robin slapped himself hard, clearing his mind. He was going to get out of here!

Sitting in the darkness during one of the box intervals, Robin laughed quietly when he looked back at the cycles. Questioning he handled with breeze. The colors took a bit more and he felt himself begin to grow anxious whenever he saw yellow, red and green. Yet the worst part was enduring the drug withdrawal. Every time, they waited till he pretty much screamed in pain, his shaking hands reaching out to grab the vile Egyed dangled in front him cruelly. It sickened him how much his body had become addicted to the drug. In the darkness of the cell, when memories and nightmares reared their ugly heads, he found himself afraid of something new. He was beginning to become afraid of escaping, because if he did escape where would he get his next fix. And he did not feel like going through another round of withdrawal. Not to the point where blinding light flashed before his eyes and his body cramped up into a certain position, where his heartbeat was all he heard. And all he could see between the flashes of light was one single gray eye staring down at him.


Egyed collapsed on the operator table. "I thought we were suppose to do this in shifts."

"I can't believe I'm saying this, but he's right," snapped Fumio who was rubbing the bridge of his nose. "This has gone on too freakin' long."

"It must be if we're agreeing," sneered Egyed.

The threesome where taking a break in the medical cell, waiting for the next round to begin. Maura leaned against the desk, staring out of the cell. Wearyness was tugging at her face, but she refusted to show it. "It's going to happen, soon."

"You said that last time," groaned the doctor.

"I'm certain."

Fumio sent a dark, unconvinced look at his boss. "You're so certain that you got him figured out."

Maura sent him a cold smile. "Just half of him."

Footsteps echoed and Carl skidded to a halt in front of the cell. "We got a problem, Boss."

"Oh."

"The Titans are coming."

Egyed sat straight up, fear in his eyes, "Here?"

"Yes."

The men took a step back as Maura's eyes darkened. "Start putting the drug in Robin's food. Keep him docile, the leash we have on him is getting stronger each day. He is going to stay in that room till they leave. Let's go people." Snapping her fingers, everyone jumped to work.


Silence filled the prison. The dripping of water was all one heard. Kyle and Curt gazed out of the bars into the vast emptiness. No guards were roaming around. All prisoners were locked in their cells. The mines were quiet for the first time in years.

"What's the problem?" whispered Curt, afraid to speak any louder than he was ordered to.

"Got me, I'm guessing we don't want to be found," whispered Kyle, but his main focus was on Robin. The boy was gone. Could the silence be linked to him?

"Hear that?"

Kyle shot Curt a confused glance, but then he heard it. It was a boom, almost sonic like. The rattling came closer and closer. Dirt rained down on the pair. A few coughs echoed from neighboring cells, yet all held their breaths. No one wanted to anger the Boss. But on a deeper level, each convict had accepted their existence down here. Their wish to return to the surface an ancient dream.

The bombing passed. Minutes trickled by when another round was launched. Kyle couldn't help but grin, as the rattling felt stronger. The ground beneath him shook from a nearby blast. He almost pictured himself in a U-boat in one of those WWII submarine movies, the depth charges trying to find the enemy.

Yet, no matter how much force they used, nothing could penetrate the hard rock. Kyle knew the volcano and her texture like the back of his hand from all the time he spent in the mines. She wouldn't let a measly bomb penetrate her secret. It was strange but he had come to respect the prison like an engineer respected his ship. He had a feeling that the Boss felt the same way, like a captain trusting her ship and cargo.

"Ten minute intervals," calculated Curt, "They're searching for something."

"Us, genius."

The final round ended and silence filled the prison once more. Realizing the action had ceased for now, Kyle stretched his arms and flopped on the ground to begin his push-ups. Curt returned to scribbling invisible numbers on the wall next to his cot, figuring out the latest mathematical problem. Sometime later, Carl walked by and informed them that they had the rest of the day off and dinner would be served in their cell.

Kyle nodded and felt the sudden urge to ask a question, but Curt beat him to it. "Where's the boy?"

Carl seemed caught off by the question, his eyes widening for a minute. Coughing the man smirked, "Don't tell me ya miss the brat." With that he left the pair, almost chuckling at the thought that two mass murderers would miss a boy they hardly knew.


Maura sighed in relief when the bombing ceased. Flickering her gaze to the radar, she allowed a small smile when the white dot moved beyond range. A few minutes she heard from the outposts on nearby islands radio in that the Titan's jet as gone, traveling southbound towards Australia.

She congratulated them and signed off. The small victory of slipping away from the Titan's scans was proof to the prison's devotion of staying hidden. The last thing she wanted was a bunch of self-righteous people marching in here and telling her what to do. Scoffing, she bit at her thumb's fingernail, pondering over her next move. How the Titan's knew where to look was beyond her. The article in the ad pointed to an island resort 700 miles away, with dozens of multiple islands in between. It was impossible to know which island to search for. It was like looking for a needle in a haystack. Unless, the Titans were scanning each and every island, which would be time consuming and frustrating. And considering if the teenagers had done each island between the resort and here revealed to the woman the depth of their loyalty to their leader.

Snarling, Maura rose up from her chair and kicked the chair back. Crossing her arms, the boss began to pace chewing on her thumb. If the Titans were this devoted, then they would be back after they swept every island. That or return to the resort and try to gather more information. Which led her to conclude that someone must have told them about their hideout on some island.

"Well then, you'll just have to remove the leak then," muttered Maura.

A knock interrupted her train of thought. "Come in."

Carl peeked his head in, "Done delivering the message. Anything else?"

"Yes. Tell the old retrieval team to get geared up, we're leaving in next shipment. I'm going to visit the resort and remove any contacts who might know about this place."

The prison guard swallowed, "Wipe them out, all our contacts?"

"Yes," snapped Maura, spinning around to face Carl. "We'll just set up a new port somewhere else."

Carl nodded.

Maura narrowed her eyes in frustration, "What?"

"What about Robin?"

"Ah, yes Robin." Maura glanced down at her desk where his report laid open to the whole world. She needed the boy broken quickly before the Titans did their next flyby, "Keep him in solitary confinement till I say so."

"Yes ma'am."

The door clicked softly behind Carl. Left alone, Maura allowed herself to vent in the silence. Maura was tired but she was so close to getting her answers that she could taste it. The woman knew she was right about Robin hiding something, some major sin. And once he revealed that sin, everything else would pour out him. He was a dam on the verge of breaking and if ten days in solitary confinement did not do the job, then for once in her life Maura would not know where to go next. And it frightened her like no other.

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