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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Chapter 14 - Whips

Torture spoke to the three prisoners as they wandered back through the labyrinth of tunnels that was the subway system. No one said a word for a while, thinking only of their conversation with Leader.

About halfway back to the camp, Torture spoke again. “Right then, it’s time you three learn your lots in life. You’ll be taken to the labor center and put to work, like slugs like you deserve.”

The three prisoners looked at each other in despair but said nothing. Each was feeling their own individual pain and the communal pain of the horror of where they were.

Some time later, after passing through the camp, Torture led them above ground. It was the first time they had seen light in days, and they flinched as their eyes adjusted. As they looked around, they saw their fellow inmates working to strip metal from buildings and collect things left in them. Standing over them were members of the Order, their harsh whips doing more than encouraging the slaves to work.

“Right then, I think you’ll get to work. Your job is to strip as much metal from the buildings as you possible can. Oh, and don’t even think about fleeing. We have dogs trained to search you down, and you’ll die tied to the tracks if you run and get caught.” Torture smiled, then knocked Krynn to the ground. “Now get to work!”

Krynn stood back up, wincing in pain from his knee which was now scratched and bloody. The three prisoners walked obediently over to the nearest building that was being worked on, and using wrenches that had been provided by the members of the Order, they began to pry metal off of the buildings.

The work was long and hard. All three were surprised that they did not sustain cuts on their hands from the sharp metal, although the other prisoners did have numerous scars across their palms.

About half an hour after the three had arrived, the members of the Order left, knowing full well that the prisoners would not try to escape over fear of death.
However, the prisoners did begin to talk to one another, and one of them, a tall blonde female, walked over and began talking to Relik.

“Greetings,” she said, her voice emphasizing her sad expression on her face. “My name Kysandra. What’s yours?”

Relik, unsure of her intentions, responded simply by saying, “My name is Relik.”
Holding out her scarred and worn hand to shake with Relik, she responded by saying, “Well met, Relik. And who are these other two, do they travel with you?”

Relik reached out his hand hesitantly and shook, but his grip grew firmer every second. “Yes, they are my companions. Their names are Krynn and Tyra. We fled our village after it was destroyed - by kryons, we believe, though we never actually saw the attackers. We were captured just a few days ago by the Order.”

Returning to the sheet of metal that she was working on Kysandra addressed all three of them simultaneously. “Do you have a leader among yourselves?”

All three shook their heads in silence. No leader had been necessary to keep the order among such a small group.

“I see. Don’t fear, we have a leader here among us. His name is Pulse. See him, over there?” She pointed her finger to a nearby group working on a piece of metal. One man, much older than the rest but also much stronger, was carrying a piece of metal by himself. “He received his name after the war. He survived through it. He was taken for dead, until a pulse was found by a pirate organization. He refused to work for them, and has since spent his life in captivity under one group or another.
“If anyone will get us out of here, it will be him.”

All four turned their heads towards Pulse again. Looking at him, he looked to be about the same age as Survivor was before he perished.

Tyra turned back and faced Kysandra. “Listen, is there any way, any possible way at all that we could escape from this place and not be caught?”

Kysandra shook her head and replied, “No, we do not know of a way. We would have to fight the dogs that track us in order to escape. And plenty of people have tried, and all were caught and killed. You don’t want to flee.”

Relik cursed and spit on the ground. All four people went back to work, and continued to work for the next few hours.

As the sun was beginning to set, the slaves were all growing exhausted from their labors. The members of the Order returned, brandishing whips.

They went around to the different slaves, looking to see how much work each had done, based entirely off of the amount of sweat pouring off of them.

Walking around and observing, Torture was the one who acted the most randomly, and seemed to inflict the most pain with his lashings. He walked past the three new prisoners without stopping, but suddenly turned on a single foot and whipped Relik in the face.

Relik collapsed to the ground, blood oozing out of a gash in his forehead. He did not make a sound, but the pain was obvious in his wincing and thrashing.

Torture continued on, paying no attention to Relik’s pain. Some steps later, he hit Pulse twice: once in the back, and once in the neck. He bled from the back, but fortunately, the hit on his neck had not been strong and did not cause any visible damage to his jugular.

Satisfied, Torture called out to the prisoners. "All right, you slugs, its time to head inside and back to your cells! Get your act together and get inside!"

The slaves obediently listened to Torture, and filed back into the subway.

And so they were locked back up in their cells, and told to wait for their oppressor's return.


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