Monday, November 3, 2008

Betrayal and a Kiss

Betrayal and a Kiss

I can't believe I've missed the whole election thing this year. Being from San Fransisco, you can imagine how I'd vote in the election tomorrow. People take this stuff for granted, but just having a vote is such an important part of being a citizen. I miss arguing over which candidate is a bigger idiot. Most of the time it feels like the bigger idiot wins.

A few days after the incident in the courtyard, I found something wrong with my workstation. By late afternoon, I felt something was deeply amiss, and I had fallen way behind on my daily assignments. I worked feverishly on finding the cause, but I couldn't both try to catch up and diagnose the issue at the same time. I felt the cold beads of sweat form on my forehead, and at one point Misty messaged me "what's wrong" but I couldn't stop to answer. As the final bell sounded I let out a shriek. The guards quickly caught me and dragged me into the quad. I didn't know how or who, but given some of the looks that followed me, I knew I had been set up.

General Khanan laughed with a deep rumble when he read my output report. "Finally, the Hero has fallen," he chuckled. He grabbed me by the neck. "Not so heroic now, are we?" He threw me to the ground where the guards held me down. One of them produced the electric prod and handed it to the General.

"I've been waiting for this for a long time, Hero," he said with glee. He punched the business end of the staff into my back, with exploded with pain and convulsions. I screamed and nearly blacked as the piercing electric worms coursed through my body.

"Stop it! Stop it!" screamed a voice in the distance. Misty!

"Bring her here," ordered the General, pointing a fat finger at Misty. I rolled over in pain as Misty was dragged mostly by her dark hair.

The General grinned evilly at her. Misty wrapped her thin arms around herself against the cold wind that ripped through the Quad. "So, the Hero has a Heroine. Ahh are the girl he saved that day. You've done fairly well since. Very well...better than your peers even. Perhaps he's given you so help, no?"

Misty shivered in the clutches of the harsh men. "A little," she admitted. "He's a good person!"

"Hmm." The barbarian ran his greasy fingers through his greasy long beard. "You like him, no? Friends? Lovers?"

Misty refused to respond.

"Do you love this man?" he barked at her.

She hesitated, and looked into my eyes for a moment. "No!"

"Fine. Then you won't mind if I kill him." He whipped out his pistol.

Misty dropped to her knees and clutched at General Khanan's pants. "No! Please! OK! I love him! Just don't hurt him any more! He's ten times the man of anyone here. He's smarter and braver than any of you! He's being punished for not completing the work that most of you worthless shits can't even approach!"

"Ha ha. Well, young lady, then I won't hurt him."

"Oh thank you, thank you," said Misty, still clinging to his pants in supplication.

The General cruelly slapped her away onto the ground, then glowered over her. "But you will. You give him the prods until I tell you to stop. If you hesitate, I will kill him! I will shoot him in the gut and he will lie dying out here for hours, maybe even days, while his cried of pain pierce your sleep. Now do it! DO IT!"

He shoved the prod in Misty's hands and pushed her towards me. She shook her head and tears streamed down her face. The General shouted in ear and waved the gun at me.

"Misty, please, just do it," I begged. I grabbed the prod and placed it on my stomach. "Do it!"

She closed her eyes and pulled the trigger. Once again I convulsed in pain as my guts thrashed around my belly.

"Again! Again!" I think I got ten shots but I really don't remember much after the third. I hear by the tenth my body barely responded as I lost consciousness. I came to as a couple of the prisoners were dragging me to mess hall, not caring whether my head bounced against the stones or my shoulders hit the corners. Right before we arrived at the entrance the prisoners stopped and threw me on the floor.

"Fucking Hero," said one of them close to my face. "Fucking show-off. You will get us all killed. You think you're smarter and tougher than us? We'll fucking show you."

"Let's finish the job Klingon started." I felt fists pummel my face and kicks landed all over my body. I curled into a fetal position to try to avoid them.

"Stop! You fucking animals! Get the fuck off him." Misty jumped into the fray brandishing some kitchen utensils. She slashed at a couple of the men and they backed off. "Get the fuck out of here!"

I don't know if it was her ferocity or the imminent arrival of the guards that startled them but they slunk off like startled hyenas. Misty wrapped her arms around me and helped me get up on my shaky feet. My head swam, my body ached, and I think I had soiled myself a bit.

"I'm so sorry, Alex," she said to me. "I'm so sorry. I didn't know what to do. I shouldn't have said anything."

"No," I said through split lips. "No, if I was getting the prod, I'd rather it be from you. Those don't hurt as much." She helped me collapse at a table. My stomach hurt too much to eat, but she helped me drink some water, then walked me back to my dorm, technically a rule violation since women weren't allowed in the dorm, but the guards sometimes looked the other way. None of them liked the General much either.

She helped me clean myself up, a delicate and somewhat unpleasant task, keeping a kitchen knife handy in case the gang jumped me again. She helped me into my room and into my cot. She turned to leave but instead turned off the light and pulled the empty cot over next to mine. For moment I thought about how much trouble she would be in, but then I realized that if this was to be our last moments on Earth before the guards noticed her missing and broke down our door, then this was how I'd like to live them, with her.

For the first time we just started talking, about our lives before China. What we'd like to do if we ever escaped this horrible place. We talked about how much she missed New York, about how much I missed San Francisco. We talked about which movies we loved, which songs are our favorites, which restaurants we would kill to visit just once more. We drew quiet at every sound we heard in the hall, but the quiets seemed even more intense than the conversation as I looked into her dark Asian eyes in the dim light coming in from under the door. I knew she hadn't told her whole story, especially how she came to be here, but I felt such a strong connection to her.

I must have dozed off as one point, because when I woke up she had left. I prayed that she would arrive back at her dorm without incident. In a moment I heard someone at the door and I froze. Had she been discovered? The door opened and Misty slipped back in.

"Sorry, Nature called," she giggled.

"I was afraid you had left," I said.

"No, but how am I going to get out of here in the morning?"

I thought for a moment. "I think you should wait here until wakeup, then sneak out while everyone's in the shower. Just head directly to the mess hall. If a guard stops you just say you're on some errand but you forgot something. They'll check for you, then say they don't need you or something. If you're caught, I'll figure out something to keep them occupied. I've added some programs to my scripts that will take out our office and corrupt everyone's box. I'm still working on something to take out the firewall. But first I need to figure out who messed up my workstation."

"Let me take care of that," said Misty with determination. "It was one of the jackals who jumped you in the mess hall. I'll find something on their computers and send it to you, then you can trace it and remove it."

I smiled. "You're getting the hanging of this hacking thing, aren't you?"

"Yeah, well, I have a great teacher. Besides, you can code those guys under the table. In fact, you should take their program and turn it against them. Make then get the prod."

"No," I replied firmly. "No one gets the prod. Those guys are just scared."

Misty sat up. "Are you serious? How long have you been here? If you have enemies you need to eliminate them. If people think you're weak then they'll be all over you."

I nodded. "Yeah, I see that. But I'll do it in my way, in my time. I want to get out of here. I need to start winning more friends."

"People will be friends with whoever they perceive is the strongest. Alex, you need to show them that you run things. You need to be the top dog. You need to show them that you can't be crossed without serious repercussions. If it were me I'd find a way to have them all before the firing line."

"Jesus," I gasped. "I don't want anyone to die. Except Klingon. But these guys are just prisoners, just like me."

"It doesn't matter," countered Misty. "I don't like the idea. I don't want any deaths either. But the less of them, the more they need us. They can't do this without us. They've let us slide so far, but they can't let obvious fuck ups like today go by. You need to show them you're the meanest and toughest of them all. Hell you survived interrogation, you survived a beating by Klingon and by a gang of thugs, you're in a great position now. Do not back down now. This is when you stick in the knife and turn it. Get those guys killed, and make sure everyone else knows you did it and there's nothing they can do."

Her chest heaved up and down in excitement and bloodlust. I was part turned on and part repulsed. The aching in my bones and the stirring in my loins began talking to me. I rubbed my face, trying to restore a sense of reality. It was close to 4am, only minutes before wake-up.

We heard someone stirring in the hall and Misty placed a hand on my lips. I felt her soft fingers trace the contours of my face. My hand rose to her face as I sought her warmth. She pressed her lips against my palm then my wrist. I wanted to kiss her right then but instead I pressed her close to me to feel her warmth.

"Alex," she said huskily. "God, Alex." She drew back and her lips found mine, just for a moment.

We heard more stirring in the hall. Some of the early risers had started making their way to the showers which lay pretty much directly across the hall. I knew any moment a guard would knock on my door and discover us.

We hid Misty under the cot and draped the covers to conceal her.

As I left her I wondered if we'd ever be this close again.

Posted: Monday, November 3, 2008 @ 10:11 PM

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comments. I'll get back to you as soon as I'm able.