Her eyes fluttered open under the blindfold, stiff muscles refusing to move. Through the blindfold she could tell her surroundings were dark, and she could feel that her limbs were immobile. Then, everything that had happened in the past few days came trickling back to her, like a movie flashback. She realized she was in a sitting position against the wall, arms held out to the side by metal cuffs at her wrists. A sole tear slid down her cheek and left a track through the grime as she recalled that day, four years ago, when all of this had started.
The quiet peace in her town was shattered as a military type vehicle rolled to a stop outside the gates. The demon winged morphs began spilling out of the back doors of the tank, holding up tranquilizers and machine guns. Finally, the flow of enemy soldiers stopped and their leader stepped out of the passenger seat in the front cabin of the tank.
"We have conquered your country, and we are now taking you to a holding prison camp, where you will remain until we either kill you or find a suitable use for you."
He then gestured to an officer, who began to sort the men from the women.
"Any boys or men who would like to join our ranks and save yourselves some misery, please step to the other side of the gate."
A few ran over quickly, casting guilty looks at the rest of the angel morphs. One of them was a young boy with jet black hair and startling gray eyes. She knew him to be just fourteen years old; one year older than she was. His slender frame shook from fear, and he locked gazes with her. The rest seemed frozen in place, shock paralyzing them until further prompting. The leader grinned a nasty grin and nodded.
"Now, the rest of you can resist, with obvious results, or you can come quietly."
But, without waiting for an answer, the morphs opened fire. Those with tranquilizers shot first, knocking out as many to take prisoner as possible. She watched as those around her, her closest friends and townspeople, slumped to the ground where they stood, darts impaled in their legs, arms, and bodies alike. All of a sudden, her own mother fell into a heap, nearly crushing her under the weight. She began to cry softly as the morphs tranquilized every last angel morph in her town, save for the children.
The leader of the demon morphs walked around, inspecting each child like he would a horse, lifting the chin and prying the mouth open to check the teeth. When he got to her, his eyes hardened and she heard him hiss under his breath. Her breath hitched, as terror began taking over. He stared at her for a long moment, as if he couldn't believe his eyes. There was something about his gaze that made her think she was somehow a defect, or different somehow.
"I think I'll take this one for my own. Cuff her and put her in the middle seat."
The officer who had separated them by sex now took her arms and cuffed them behind her back and roughly shoved her into the tank. The last thing she saw was the gray-eyed boy meeting her eyes once more before the leader closed his door and they were driven away.
Now, at seventeen, she was still trapped in this place and had been tortured miserably for all four years since. It wasn't just physical torture; no, that would have been easy. Angel morphs had very high tolerance to pain. It was the mentality of her position that had taken its toll on her and caused her to mistrust any she came into contact with. Every day, it was the same routine, with varying results at the end of the day. She always dreaded the sound of the door opening.
As she sat, head dragging and bangs hanging in her eyes, the door clicked open quietly, admitting soft footsteps. She didn't move from her exhausted posture, but her heart began racing wildly, reacting to the change in the routine. The steps stopped in front of her, and she could see the figure crouch to her level.
"Morning, fellow Fylissian."
She silently processed this greeting. The male's voice was kind and gentle; she immediately distrusted him. It was almost silky in quality, like a cat's purr, and seemed to belong to a very graceful owner, someone of a dancer's physique. The male sighed, then brushed aside a strand of her long, nearly chin-length bangs. She immediately jerked away from his touch and his hand grazed her cheekbone.
"Quiet, are we. Then maybe a look at me will help."
She began to panic mentally. Fylissians, the enslaved Angel morphs, were not allowed to look at Tyradelians, the demon morphs, or any of their recruited Fylissian army ranks. If they did, even a brief glance, the price would be 100 lashes across their back. As the male began to slide off the blindfold, she squeezed her eyes shut and struggled against his touch.
"Calm, my girl."
She turned her face away, shaking from the sobs that had begun to wrack her thin, malnourished frame. She heard the male sit, then unfold his wings and relax his shoulders. Her mistrust of all morphs in general stemmed from the false kindness that her handler, as he had called himself, had shown the first day. He had walked in, on the pretense of gently breaking her to the life she would lead from then on. Instead, she had been introduced to the harsh realities of this life with no rest whatsoever.
"Let me explain. I am one of the Fylissian recruits from four years ago. I had been working with the others that went from town to town capturing the angel morphs for the demon morphs. Just this morning, I was reassigned with the help of the lieutenant of the demon morphs."
He chuckled grimly, then sighed before continuing.
"The demon lieutenant and I have a small rebel force gathering, and we recruit new members as we see fit. I am part of that rebel force. In fact, I am the leader of the rebels. We intend to break out of here and escape to the farthest town in Fylissia we can."
She reluctantly turned her head back forward, keeping it bowed with exhaustion. The male shifted closer and lifted her chin to look at him, but her jaw clenched as she squeezed her eyes shut. She refused to open her eyes, as she knew she would face an extended punishment. She was the demon leader's personal plaything, and if she was caught doing something she should not have been doing, her consequences may very well kill her.
"For now, I am your new handler, though I don't like the word. I prefer escort."
He unchained her from the wall, lifting her to her feet and helping her stretch her legs. As soon as she was presentable, he marched her down to the room she dreaded most, the room of the leader, the room that was inhabited by the vilest man on the planet of Sicilus, the leader of the demon morphs; his name was Exodiss. She shuddered once his face popped into mind.
"We'll be breaking out in a few weeks, I promise."
A few weeks would be too long, she thought to herself. even after all these years, having to wait another few weeks – if it was true – would be terribly agonizing. The odd pair finally reached the doorway, and that's when he let her go.
"I'll try to get to you again tomorrow. For now, goodbye, Aviva."