Chapter 5: Deal or No Deal?
My eyes fluttered open only to witness the dull metal bed frame above me. The same thing I woke up to everyday. But something seemed a bit off. I rubbed my eyes sleepily, sighing. I sat up, letting the bed creak underneath me. It was only when I heard the raspy breathing closer to my ear than necessary that I looked to my right, where Arrow was creepily perched.
"YOU LITTLE SHIT!" I cursed, kicking him dead center in the chest. He was sent flying backwards, smashing into the wall, looking dazed. Blinking, he kept his eyes fixed on me. I curled into the back corner of my bed, raising my rock pillow as defense and breathing heavily.
"Explain to me," I panted. "Why you were staring at me while I was sleeping."
He paused for a moment, deep in thought. "I really don't know." He finally answered.
"Don't know?!" I snapped. "I call bull, tell me what the-"
A loud bang thundered on the door interrupting me mid-sentence.
"Keep it down in there! We wouldn't want to have to move you to a different cell."
I scoffed, irritated. Arrow cowered down, but I was still fired up.
"Yeah? Try me! I'd be glad to get out of this idiotic place! Why don't you take me out right here, right now!" I raged. I hadn't felt so angry in... Well, ever. A few seconds passed by with nothing, but then a cruel voice answered my prayer.
"As you wish." Footsteps echoed from outside, getting fainter by the second. His words sank into my skin, seeping into the wound I had just made.
"You shouldn't have done that," Arrow gazed at me with a troublesome look. "You have no idea what you just got yourself into. Dare I say you'll me dead by next morning if we stretch it."
"Shut it," I growled through gritted teeth. "They'll only put me through another doctor episode or something. Besides, all I did was lash out once." I sat adjacent to the wall by Arrow.
He shook his head. "You don't know what happens when you rebel in a place like this. Tell me, have you seen any other people in here besides us?"
"Should I?" I rested my head on my hand.
"I've had three other roommates, not including you. They're all dead because they decided to take a stand or escape. The punishment is brutal. The 'doctors' always wonder why they haven't managed to kill me yet. And what about you? You cried and howled when they took a sample chunk from you. You're a dead girl, Karen. A vulture among ravens."
I stared at him, entranced not only because he never bothered to tell me about these other roommates, but the fact that he used my real name made the message feel more... Threatening.
"Did any of them escape?" I asked seriously.
"No. Though Flicker came the closest to us all. She was outside, breathing fresh air. Free. Next thing she was being mutilated right before my eyes. Flesh torn, life taken. Bye-bye, birdy." He grinned psychotically, looking so unlike the boy I thought I knew. Then again, we were in an asylum.
"Let's make a deal then," I said. Arrow turned one of his eyes on me. "I'm listening."
"If I live through whatever hell awaits me, you have to tell me everything. About you, this place, everything."
"And if you die...?"
"Another one bites the dust."
Arrow frowned. "There's not much in it for me."
"I'll tell you everything about me."
He smiled. "All that you remember?"
I gulped. "All of it." He waited a second, thinking. Then Arrow smiled again, his face stretching larger than it should have. "Then we have an agreement. Good luck."
"I'll need it." I breathed, running my fingers through the bit of hair I had.
"Stand back, woman." The guard from before had returned and was grinning from ear to ear, as if he had won something. I scowled, crossing my arms in annoyance. The metal door creaked open, and a thin man with a hollow face stared at me with cold, grey eyes.
"So you're the one who made an outburst." His shoes clunked on the floor as he approached me. I noticed how long his blonde hair was, perhaps longer than Arrow's, and straight like an uncooked spaghetti noodle.
"Yeah, and?" I raised an eyebrow.
He smirked. "Is your roommate troubling you? We can move you somewhere...more comfortable."
"No, he's fine," I lied. "It's the guy behind you that started it. I'm just starting to lose it a bit, maybe the air is getting to me. There isn't any way that I could go outside or-"
"That, my dear, is forbidden." he narrowed his eyes. I took a step closer to him. "And why is that?" I challenged. "Besides, who are you to make the rules?!" I mentally slapped myself for not controlling my emotions, and should have slapped myself again when I saw the man's grin.
"How ironic, dear, is that I run this civilization. All I merely do is take those who society is disgusted with and put them somewhere where they can live freely."
I couldn't stop from laughing at his words. "Live freely? You practically keep us in cages! And this 'doctor' you send us too only inflicts pain! What kind of civilization is that?"
"Karen." Arrow warned. I ignored him. "Huh? Tell me!" It felt like time moved extra slow, and even then the man just smiled his cruel smirk.
"I think we're done here," He nodded towards the guard and turned back to me. "It was good talking with you. I expect we'll see great things from you, Karen. Great things. Ciao." He left only a stale feeling in my chest. The feeling that I should not have done that.
"Guess you don't need me to tell you I told you so." Arrow mumbled after the unsettling silence came back.
"But I won the bet. I'm still alive. So tell me about your other roommates." I had to push away the thoughts on what just happened. And Like I just said, I was alive. Actually I shouldn't say that. That is not something I want to be remembered for. That never happened.
"For now," Arrow sighed. "Fine. Remember the one who got outside? Flicker? She was great. A lot more positive about her situation than you. She was always thinking of these weird plans to escape, and would constantly be trying each one out. None worked, obviously. Her last plan, when we got outside, was the only one that had gotten her anywhere. I actually had to be her realist on that though, but she wanted to take me out with her. You would've done the same thing. We waited until after they took the straight jacket off, knocked all the guards out, messed with the wiring enough to cause a blackout, and ran. Once we were outside good ol' hair extensions stopped us form getting any further. He killed Flicker with his own hands and I was subjected to weeks of torture." he stopped for a moment. But one thing about his story bothered me.
"What do you mean 'after they took the straight jacket off'?" I questioned. His feeling would have to wait until later, I needed to know this.
"Oh yeah, you haven't gotten there yet. I expect you will be soon. It's exactly as you think it would be. They wrap you in one of those self-huggers and sometimes put you through some 'tests', as they call it. I call bull, though. Just imagine one of those horror movie people, and place yourself in there instead. There's a lot of ups and downs, but it's not as bad as the other experiments they do."
I nodded. "So how did you find Flicker if you were in a straight jacket?"
"Luck. Nothing more." he scowled. "Can we move on?"
I bit my lip. "No. How did Flicker die? What did you see outside?" I fired any question I could think of at him. Arrow's face darkened.
"We're in the middle of nowhere. Now tell me about you."
"Enough." he glowered at me. I held my hands up in defeat. "Fine, I'll tell you what I remember." He was obviously hiding something from me. Could he really just not want to talk about it? I wanted the answers. Hell, I didn't even know his real name! It was like everyone here had a code name or no name at all!
"Having fun?" A voice whispered into my ear. I jumped, looking everywhere for who could have said that. Arrow simply gave me a confused glance. His lips were sealed, as far as I could tell.
"I have a plan, even now you could escape this dreadful place..." I had to bite down on my tongue to keep quiet. This voice character sure didn't make his appearances at good times, however seldom they may be.
"Go on." Arrow kept his eyes glued to me like a hawk, though the tone of his voice could have said otherwise.
I gulped. "Right. Well, you heard what Alexia said. Apparently that was my life before, but all I can remember from before I woke up in the back of a moving truck are small pieces about me." I felt a small breeze ruffle my hair. Uncomfortable, I patted it down flat. Clearing my throat, I continued. "I enjoy reading and architecture. Uh, I don't do sports that well. I'm not that sociable as it goes. And...I don't like unanswered questions."
There was a long moment of silence, in which I saw Arrow nod slightly to himself, and the voice covering the silence.
"It's rude to not answer my questions, you know."
"Suppose that's it, huh?" Arrow huffed a sigh. "Don't know why I expected more. Or why I agreed to tell you what happened to her. It was kind of stupid, looking back on it."
"Not really," I tried giving him some life. "I feel more comfortable around you."
"Are you sure about that?" Arrow said softly. My smile faded. "Thought so." He chuckled to himself. I stared at the ground. He was right. If anything I felt on edge just thinking of all the things that had been done to him. Is that why he was so psychotic now? Or was he always like this?
"Maybe if I were to answer all your questions you would fear me." His almost callous demeanor seemed to change everyday. When I first met him he was boisterous, always happy and nice. Am I uncovering who he really is? Or is this just an act? This is idiotic, I mean, why should be stressing over this?
"I doubt it." I sat in my bed, and delved into my own thoughts. Why was I being so circumspect when it came to Arrow? Maybe I should try an avoid him, it could do me well. But then who do I have that knows a damn about this place? Perhaps I should get a notebook to write down all my theories in. If you can call them theories. Speculations? Whatever. I might just have to go by what these people keep saying. I could have been a church girl. Does amnesia change someones entire personality? I hope not. Who am I? That's the biggest unanswered question I have right now.
"I can answer that question, too. Just give me a chance, Karen. I'm only here to help."
"Yeah, right." I scoffed, and immediately wanted to hit myself for talking aloud. I heard no response from Arrow and felt slightly relieved. At least I got to avoid that awkward scene.
"So, will you join forces with me or not? I promise I'm not being equivocate." It almost felt like this voice was trying to empathize with me. Eugh.
"Fine," I whispered as low as I could. "But don't expect any promises out of me. We're in the same booth for now." What choice did I have? I wasn't going to get anywhere by hiding, that was clear.
"Excellent. See you tomorrow, then."
"Wait, what?" I blinked. Clenching my fist, I wondered if this was a stupid decision. It probably was. I suppose the only thing I can do is wait- again. I needed to get some sort of game to occupy me. Maybe the head of this place would let me get Connect Four or a deck of cards. ...If only. I stared at the wall, and allowed my mind to wander wherever it pleased.
Hazzah! Mystery! Progress! Somewhat! Unanswered questions! That's all for this chapter, anyhow. Yes, Arrow is a bit weird. Yes, Karen has started talking to herself. And yes, the guy with said hair extensions is the head of the asylum. You're welcome. Now I couldn't find out where the image used in this chapter was found, but I found it on Google. So kudos to you, creator-of-picture guy! Or girl. Maybe alien. Close enough. So, what did you think of this longish chapter? Tell me in the comments. Please. I don't really know if anyone reads these things or not. It's a little unnerving. (That's how you guilt trip people into commenting, folks.) But really, anything is nice. I freak out when someone favourites a story. Like really bad. It's a little scary. I'm horrible in reality. Yeah okay I'm just gonna go now. See all of you invisible readers soon.
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