Thursday, September 13, 2012

[short story based on dream]

He was looking for everyone to die. Every single person trapped in the white-walled rooms each awaited a unique method of death designed especially for each individual; what determined this, however, was unknown to all but him. Each room contained a screen, which forced each victim to watch the other deaths until it was their turn. Cameras peered through each corner and across all hallways as he sauntered down through his vicinity. His dreaded footsteps made it to room after room—when one heard his approach, their time was up. He went in order by room number, which he assigned randomly. This, at least, was known fact. He enjoyed letting Luck decide things for herself.

The first died by gunshot. The victim was an aspiring actor. The big man knew this and allowed his hostage to perform one final dramatic grovel before bullets entered the boy’s head. The corpse remained in the lopsided pose of a beggar kissing his master’s feet. This amused the big man. He laughed it off as he kicked the body to the side and he ambled his way to the next cell. The fated one this time was a woman with an intense stomach illness. She stared into the mastermind’s face with red, watery eyes. Almost bloodshot. She had her side clutched in agony and she moaned, but the big man was no longer satisfied with her low wails of pain. Instantly he clasped her gut with strong fingers. He twisted and twisted until her screams ceased. He left mangled entrails and blood behind him. The third victim awaited asphyxiation.


Suddenly, the third victim is blurred from view. The focus falls onto an empty room—number seven. The prisoner has somehow escaped. He wants to help people. In his mind, the only thing is freeing others, regardless of his fate. Somehow he reaches room six, and the debater is freed. Number six runs through the great wide stage before he vanishes from the view of the cameras. Seven scuttles to room eight, but it is empty. The door is ajar. The hallway ends.
Number seven does not know how he will die. He is the only one who does not know. All victims were privately told their method of death through speakerphone. Seven fears the worst. Seven fears that he may be subjected to a lifetime of torture. Dying through escape attempt outweighed being a slave forever. He knows this and trudges on.
More important, though, is eight. He cares much for eight. He worries that the big man may have taken her away because of his escape. Quickly he cuts into another hallway. Cameras apathetically watch his descent into the deepest depths. They know what awaits him. Seven thinks he might know, but he continues on regardless through blind faith.
Eventually, he spots her through a window—she sits sadly on a cot in the middle of a wide, empty room. In fact, the only thing in the room is the bed. She does not notice her friend at first; instead she gazes downward with melancholic eyes. Seven places one hand on the glass window and in a split second she snaps to attention. Her startled expression pierces the soundproof glass through to seven’s heart. Seven puts both hands on the glass and bites his lip. He desires badly to get her out of the frightening room, and he resolves that he will. He begins to mouth comforting words to her, though oddly she is not consoled. Tears brim her eyes and she looks away. Seven steps away from the glass, defeated, but only for a moment, because he sees an air vent. Initially he is skeptical—it seemed too easy—but he rushes and immediately gets to work on it.
Hope is bright. He believes he can allow her to flee. He jostles himself into the room with relative ease. They embrace in a tender moment that does not last long. She has news to tell him. She does not wait. But she, too, does not know how seven will die.


Hours passed and five people lie dead in their respective rooms. The man enjoyed the fifth for the longest time. When he reached room number six to discover it empty, all he could do was smile; when he found that seven was the same, he barely contained his exultation. He knew six would perish from terminal illness. He trailed along through the second hallway towards the secluded room. His strength was inhuman: with a single fist he shattered the glass that once separated seven and eight. He found them both dead at the foot of the bed.

Except that seven still had some strength left. The man used the opportunity to fill in the last piece of the puzzle. His complacent stare shattered what will seven may still have had.
Behind him, a piece of paper was nailed to the wall unevenly. “Subject #8 to slow-acting poison. #7 will watch her fade and die of a broken heart. Experiment #347—prove people die this way.”

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