Chapter Fifty Eight
My father had returned and he now held my arm in a tight grip and walked me out onto the stadium field.
I could see row upon row of computers with orange lights lit up on them. On the stands of the stadium there were many more computers that didn’t have any lights on but could still be heard whirring away as if they were awaiting instructions. It looked like a computer was located in every seat of the stadium, with many more on ground level.
“Just do exactly what I say,” said my father. He gripped my arm so tightly that it seemed more of a threat than comforting.
Around the running track of the stadium were hundreds of satellite dishes aimed up to the sky. Thousands upon thousands of wires criss-crossed around the stadium connecting the satellites to computers but there was one destination every wire seemed to flow to.
In the centre of the stadium was a large chair that connected up to thousands of wires. In the seat sat Tobias. He was held in place with a tight harness across his chest and a helmet on his head. From the helmet ran small wires that circled around his chair and the harness.
It was a more high tech version of the machine I had seen in the video. The machine that Tobias had been subjected to when he was younger. It was horrific to think what had happened to him then and why he would want to subject himself to it again. Yet, the most horrific image of all was not Tobias but the chair that sat next to him. Unoccupied.
“It that chair for me?” I asked my father.
“Yes,” he replied. Tobias would no doubt be able to hear us by now so there was no more time for questions. I hoped what the man who claimed to be my father had told me was true. If he was my father, then I hoped I could trust him after all this time.
“I have her,” said my father.
Tobias did not move from his chair. His eyes remained motionless and he did not look at me. His gaze remained fixed at a point in the distance slightly upwards to the sky.
“Welcome Emmie,” said Rex, who stood next to Tobias with Rufus. Tobias did not move and did not speak, he continued to use Rex as his voice and as his puppet.
“Do you like everything I have shown you today?” he asked.
“Why are you doing this to yourself?” I replied. “You hated the people who did this to you. Why would you return to the chair?”
He didn’t reply for a moment as if his attention was elsewhere. I could hear shouting coming from outside of the stadium. Some of the voices sounded familiar.
“What … they did … to me,” he replied, his voice breaking and trailing off every few words. “It cannot go … unpunished. I need to get revenge… and I need … you to do it.”
“Me?” I asked. “But why?”
“I’ve seen enough,” I replied, as Rex started to walk towards me, an arm held out to escort me.
My father held one hand in the air in front of him. “I’ll do it,” he stated. He gripped tightly on my arm again and walked me towards the chair. I could see where we were heading and I tried to fight him. I’d seen what the chair could do and how it had destroyed a man. I couldn’t let that happen to me.
“Trust me,” he whispered into my ear. As I looked at how Tobias was mesmerised at the distance, I started to trust my father even less. I tried to fight him but he yanked me forwards. “Emmie, you have to do this. If you fight me then it will ruin everything.”
Rex looked at me with intrigue. I hoped my father hadn’t said too much. He was right, if I exposed him now then Rex, Rufus and my father would all be killed.
He placed me into the chair and I was close enough now to hear Tobias groan. There was a low groaning sound coming from him which gradually increased in volume every so often and then died down again. It was like watching someone experience a dream, although this very clearly wasn’t one.
My father placed the helmet onto my head and started to connect something into the back of it.
“This is taking too long,” stated Rex and he walked in front of me, pulling my shirt upwards and ripping it slightly. He applied a silver gel to my stomach. Just like the video, I thought. He then drew wires from the harness and injected them into my chest and arms.
Each injection gave off a burning sensation as it went into my skin. A sensation that did not stop even when the needle was all the way in. I could still feel it inside me, scraping inside my body and the burning sensation spread around the needle’s entry point.
My arms were bound to the sides of the chair and the harness was placed around my chest. It was tight and made me gasp for air from the impact of it being tightened in place. Rex was not gentle in any way.
“Ready,” said Rex and he held up a thumb in the air.
“Ready,” said my father, although I could not see him behind me.
For two minutes there was nothing but the pain of the needles in my body. Not a word was said and all I could hear were the mysterious shouts from outside the stadium and the groans of Tobias. The tension built up inside me. Rufus and Rex stood perfectly still, not giving any signs of what would happen.
I could no longer see my father and I hoped that he truly was working on my side.
Then without warning the burning sensation spread throughout my body. It snaked down nerve pathways and I could feel it travel down my arms and legs. By the time it reached my neck every inch of my body was tingling and warm.
The tingling feeling worked upwards and as it passed my throat I felt like I was going to be sick. The sensation reached my nose and I could smell burning. By the time it had reached my brain my body started to shake in an attempt to remove the sensation but it was too late. It was a part of me now.
Rows of computers on the edge of stadium started to flicker and the harness in front of me gave off the same groan as Tobias. Then I realised that he wasn’t making the groaning noise, it was the sound of electricity crackling and the same thing was happening to me. I was being electrocuted from the inside. The burning I smelt was my insides being burned away. The sick feeling I felt, was my stomach acid being heated and forced upwards.
My father dashed in front of me. “Fight it!” he shouted, no longer seeming to care about giving away his identity. “I know you can do this.”
I didn’t know what to do. He hadn’t told me any of this or what would happen. I wasn’t sure how to fight.
He tilted my head backwards and said “This will relieve the pain.”
It did help slightly. It forced the sensation away from my head and took away some of the sick feeling. Yet the burning feeling remained and the points where the needles were in me now felt incredibly hot. I could feel my skin around them starting to burn on the outside.
“Think about your centre,” said my father.
Suddenly in-between the burning I started to feel a cool spot within me. It felt like a desert oasis and a momentary break from my pain. A small smile formed on my face as I felt a brief moment of peace that quickly faded as the heat raged back over me.
“That’s it,” said my father. “Focus on that place.”
“Don’t lose her!” said Tobias through Rex. It sounded like a threat.
For my father’s sake I tried to find that peace again. I could feel it slightly around my belly where the grey coating had been applied but deep inside of me rather than on the outside. As I focused on that point I could feel the fire inside my body being pulled into that point.
My neck felt cool and I felt like I was winning. The fire started to push back and I tried to focus even harder on that single point; just above my belly button. I could feel it there. It felt safe and it was all I could think about. For a moment I forgot that I was in the chair. I forgot about everyone. The only feeling in my body was that of the cool relief that spot offered.
From that singular spot I felt a wave of cool wash over my body. The warm feeling was gone, yet something else had gone with it.
I tried to open my eyes by all I could see was darkness. I couldn’t move my arms or feel my body. I felt motionless.
For a second I wondered if I had died but then a familiar voice comforted me.
“You did it,” said my father. He brought me back to reality but I could still not see or move. All of my senses had gone and there was nothing but darkness.