I shuddered as I shift in my sleep. No. Please no more nightmares!

The girl and the boy who would be our squad leaders stood there. Eventually, Jason, Raajii and I were placed under Joshua and Toni, Gerrard and Aafiya were placed under Rebecca. Raajii started to cry the moment he found out that he wasn’t going to be with his sister but she quickly knelt down in front of him a promised him that she would return for him. The three kids walked off as soon as Rebecca introduced herself in a deep and serious voice. The boy, Gerrard looked back at us once as the door shut behind them. The three of us left turned and shied away from Joshua, as his heavy footsteps resounded. He then knealt in front of us. “Hello guys, don’t worry, I’m not going to hurt you. Follow me, I’ll show you to your new rooms.” We smiled softly and followed after Joshua. I snuck a glance at the woman to find that she was staring at me intensely. I hugged my bunny to my chest and looked down scurrying after Joshua. A few minutes later we arrived at a large room filled with a few bunk beds, a window overlooking a garden, a dining room and one table in the middle. “Pick a spot guys, and don’t worry about clothes, they’ll be provided for you tomorrow during wash up. I’ll teach you to take care of them so you can at least have a few things to wear.” Joshua said in a soft tone as he hoisted himself up on the bunk bed with a smile.

The three of us looked around the room before we decided to explore it a little more. Joshua kept an eye on us from the top bunk, as he wrote down all of our names on a sheet of paper that asked for the date and time. A few minutes later there was a knock on the door, and a kid that was a few years older than us opened the door and looked around the room. “Mertens would like to have a conversation with a Fionna.” He asked in a deep and steady tone. My eyes widened as I recognized my last name. I pulled at my dog tag and raised my hand. “That’s me!” I shouted. The soldier on the other end looked at me with a level gaze, but his eyes gleamed with amusement. “Well then Hop to it soldier.” He held the door for me as I walked outside. I turned back around to nod to my friends in assurance before leaving. I followed the tall boy down the hallway until he opened a door. “He’s inside,” he said gently. I nodded and smiled in thanks before walking into the room. The door shut behind me. I looked to find my Papa sitting near the window. “Papa! I shouted before running up to him and hugging him. He looked startled as I cried into his shoulder. “Papa I missed you I was so scared! The mean men in lab coats! They burned me and gave me a shot, and I really I want to go home I miss Mama!” I cried and he gently pat my hair as he nodded. “I know sweetheart. I miss her too. But you can’t go home.” His tone darkened at this and I looked at him blinking away tears. “What? But..Why?” I asked holding onto his shirt. Papa gave me a stern gaze that was practically devoid of any emotion.

"I see that you are alive and well, that's good I'll come and check on you every month or so to see how your progressing with your training. Make Papa proud alright Fionna sweetheart? You be a good girl and learn to be a good soldier." He asked setting me down on my feet. I shook my head no. "No...Papa...please! I don't want to do it!" I started to cry again as he walked towards the door. "Fionna you will do as I say" He said trying to maintain his patience. "Why do you keep calling me that? Papa my name is Marceline! I want to go home! I want to see Momma!" I cried as I balled my hands into fists. He crouched down to my eye level. I took a step back at his cold expression. "You can't go home darling. Forget what you had with Mama out on the prairie. You are a blank canvas. You are a part of this organization. This is your new home. And your name is Fionna. It's Fionna now." My bottom lip trembled as Papa pushed me towards the door. "Papa! Papa wait!" I stumbled outside and the soldier boy looked at me confused as I cried. I banged on the door begging for Papa to take me home. The soldier boy then looked to me with pity as I sniffled. He gently grabbed my shoulder and led me to my room. "Come on Cadet...let's get you h-..back to your dorm" He finished softly. When I got back to my room, I couldn't even look my room mates in the eye. I just sat at the corner and stared at the wall. After twenty minutes Raajii approached me. "M..Marcy?" I looked at my feet and didn't respond. "Marcy are you ok?" he inquired softly. "Fionna." I said softly. "Call me...Fionna" A tear softly rolled down my cheek.

Three years have passed and I only saw my Father one other time after that. I managed to finish my training, and my squad and I were placed under our first charge. I stood at the end of a hallway. I was up against a wall with six other seven year olds as we were forced to stare straight ahead. The girl we were charged with protecting. She was the daughter of a wealthy merchant who traded the agency an import ship, in exchange for child bodyguards to serve as loyal companions to his ‘precious daughter’ Veronica. From the moment we were introduced...she hated me. She made me and my friends suffer..she laughed at us. “Here comes the queen bitch” the boy next to me muttered darkly. Simon...that was what we were supposed to call him. I still didn’t really understand it, his real name was Raajii..but..they said that our old life must be forgotten. ‘We are a blank canvas’ that is what they used to tell us.

I stood straight as Veronica walked down the hall with her nose high in the air. It was her cousin’s birthday party, so music could be heard from the main hall...and yet she was here. This must be what hell feels like. Her brunette hair was curled and had ribbons of crystal woven into braids that ended in corkscrew curls. Her pale blue eyes mocked us as she stared at each of us, her dark red lips were pulled taught, and stood in contrast with her pale skin. Her dark purple dress ended at her knees where white stockings and shiny black buckle shoes began. She held something behind her back.

I wonder what it was like? While she had tea parties, I was forced to fight and harm my friends in combat training. While she was read bedtime stories by her Papa, I struggled to stay awake during bomb disarment training. I had every reason to resent her, yet she resented me. Her eyes settled on me and held eye contact. She lowered her eyes to take in the simple black dress and combat boots I was forced to wear. The boys in the group wore short sleeved dress shirts, simple pants and combat boots as well. All of us had hidden weapons on our person. Afterall, we had to protect the ‘precious’ Veronica with our lives. She snorted and raised her nose high, she took a breath. “Fionna~” she rolled the name on her tongue as I tensed my jaw. That’s not my real name. But according to the records... I took a deep breath and folded my hands in front of me.

“Yes mistress,” I nodded respectfully. She smiled, a dimple appeared on her smooth pink cheeks as white pearly teeth showed. A demon with the face of an angel. She rocked on the heels of her shiny shoes. Shoes that I envied as I tried not to notice my dull blunt ones. She clicked her toes together as if she knew my thoughts all along .

“You’ll never guess what Daddy gave me. Oops, well that’s obvious because you’re dumber than the crap that comes out of my poodle’s ass.” she giggled, her eyes cold. I suppressed the urge to roll my eyes. “Very good mistress.” I turned my head to look down the right corridor hoping for another snob of a family member to come and take her away from here. I saw Simon out of the corner of my eye inhale as he continued to stare straight ahead. We were all weary of the ‘I’m richer and better than You’ act she put on every time she got. “Hey! Look at me while I am talking to you I’m not finished with you yet you blonde troll!” She slapped me across the face, my blue eyes grew bright with fury and bloodlust before I tried to push it down. She grabbed me by the jaw and turned my face towards her.

She peered down at me as a smile grew. Simon spoke softly as he stared straight ahead. “Mistress, I do not think that is necessary-” She cut him off as she snapped her head towards him. The scent of sugar plums and cherry blossoms wafted from her scalp. “Shut Up ‘Snot-man’ you speak when spoken to or SO HELP ME I WILL FORCE YOU TO SHOOT YOURSELF!” she screeched. Simon flinched at her nickname muttering a quick “Yes Mistress,” before looking at his feet intensely. Poor kid, he was never made for this kind of job. I should know, I was practically born for it.

Her voice soon became dark and sinister. “In fact, this is something I should show to all of you,” With a flick of her wrist she released my jaw and I stumbled forward a little before quickly righting myself. She brought a slim wrist with a diamond bracelet from behind her back and dangled an object from a chain. Both the object and her bracelet reflected the light from a chandelier and I squinted, my jaw set. “Look, it’s a whistle! Papa says that your jobs have been slack lately, so now I can just blow this and you’ll have to come running!” She put one hand on her hip as the object swayed in her fingernail a cruel smile on her face. “You have to do as I say whether it’s throwing your pathetic body in front of a bullet to licking the shit off of my boots! If I SAY SO YOU DO IT!” She levelled her gaze at me. “ Or there will be consequences. Am I understood? ...Fionna?” she blinked rapidly and I have never felt the was so strong would be so easy. “Yes...Mistress.” I said quietly. She snorted and leaned back giggling. “Funny don’t you think? A fitting tool for loyal dogs.” she laughed harshly as we all clenched our jaws shut tight. Simon clenched his fists and bit his lip, his eyes moist as he continued to stare at his shoes. I hated her for it, and I wanted to make her suffer. She sighed in satisfaction and walked away as she spoke. “You here that? The right to have don’t belong to livestock.” Soon she disappeared. The ten of us sat in silence as ‘Simon’ sniffed. ‘Peter’ snarled “Hey! Don’t let her get to you Simon! It’s not true.” the corridor was filled with the sound of ‘Simon’s soft cries as we all felt it. Truth was that her words rung too true in our ears and said what we knew all along.

~End of flashback~

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