The Machinist - Conditions
I wanted to shudder but instead, I blinked and continued smiling. Surveyed the room. I think they will kill the doctor who did it. I hope they do at least. I’d want to kill her if I were Joe. But at the moment, he’s too high to do anything but drool and pass out.
I’m glad it’s not like last time; Joe almost ripped Pete’s arm off. Trying to get to me. He was yelling something about me being evil, unnatural. He saw something in my face, my smile. I wish I could’ve had the guts to laugh. But I know my place. I don’t change this look from my face. Apparently, it stays like this even when I sleep. I hear them talking about it when they take me away. He was screaming and yelling something about me being a demon. Honestly, me? I’m too…something.
Too weak, too scared, too young. I’m not old enough to be evil. I don’t know enough to be evil. I just know survival. That’s it.
But no. It’s not like last time, Joe is tame and drowsy. Tabatha is curled up next to him against Pete’s approval, twirling the small piece of what used to be a saxophone in between her fingers. He thinks she’s going to catch something. I don’t doubt it. All the drugs he gets. I feel like I should be wearing a decontamination suit; it’s probably airborne by now.
I wonder why they just don’t kill him? I would. He doesn’t seem very useful. Aside from the experiment, of course.
I tilted my head to the side, trying to figure him out. Trying to find the secret behind his sweaty, pale, blonde hair, the private meaning to his survival in the ice-blue eyes, dazed and high, his breath ragged. Tabatha looked worried, her hand at the pulse in his neck and her ear against his chest.
I tuned out her voice, trying to understand without hearing, going on facial expressions alone.
Voices lie. Expressions don’t.
Pete nodded his head, squatting down on his thighs and brushing his hand thoughtfully against his stubble that was growing into a full-fledged beard. His eyes were rutted in confusion as Tabatha’s mouth opened and closed rapidly, a string of words flying from her mouth.
She was breathing heavily as well. Her eyes were tearful as she clutched at Joe’s wrist. Pete shook his head at something she said and held his hand out to her but she smacked it away, glaring fiercely. She spoke again.
I started noticing the lies.
I let my ears fill with sound again, guessing what the problem was but not interested enough in analyzing their moves. Not when there were people doing it to them already.
“Our parents were stronger than this.” Her pinkie finger twitched slightly. Lie.
“We are stronger than this!” Lie.
The fears in her eyes were screaming something completely different. Tabatha’s voice was on the brink of hysteria as she spoke. That only convinced me more.
“Tabbie, listen to me,” Pete said softly, sternly before hesitating, “Joe is not one of our parents. He might not be able to—”
“He can and he will!” Tabatha snarled, “His heart is just beating a little irregularly, that’s all. It’ll get better. It’s happened before.”
“Tabatha, he’s been through so much…if he goes…we will know it was because he was a-”
“What was he, Pete, a martyr? A martyr without a cause, without a plan, without a choice? That’s not a martyr! It’s murder! We don’t have a cause, a point, a reason to live anymore!”
“We have each other,” Pete said softly, whispering it, hoping it would soothe her. I didn’t soothe me. It was a lie.
We don’t have each other anymore; we don’t have anyone save ourselves, our memories, our lies. We don’t even exist anymore, do we? No. We can’t exist. Not with Humans.
For some reason, I wonder why I never thought to end it all before this really began. Quick, painless, free.
But no. I chose this torture, this hell, to endure until I am killed.
I should have done it when the deaths started. My parents, my friends, their parents.
I remember each time I heard of their death in vivid detail. I remember my emotion, my tears, and my pain. My sorrow. Sorrow that bled through my eyes because it seeped through my soul. I couldn’t feel angry, I was too weak. Too tired. Too sick and tired. Too afraid of the loss, too afraid of the pain.
I was being lied to my entire life. Set up by their party line and half truths, misinformation and propaganda. You see posters for it all over the underground:
Everyone loves Humans!
Dracula loves humans, you should too!
Human Tolerance: The true ways of the vampires.
Any good person would tolerate all people for good people don’t tolerate badness.
You are either for the Humans or against the world order.
Who knew that this was the beginning of a new world order? A world where vampires did not exist? I always assumed it was to cut back on the always looming “mysterious deaths” of humans.
This propaganda, was a ploy from the devious minds of the Humans. How did they infiltrate us? How did they get that strong? After thousands of years of their ignorance, they figured us out and annihilated us in a mere year’s worth of time?
I blinked. Still smiling. Never faltering, never fading.
If I ever saw a Human, I swear on my mother’s grave I would kill them. Kill them for killing me. Eye for an Eye. That’s what I say.
They don’t deserve to live. No, not when I am supposedly less than them. Not when I’m better, faster, stronger, smarter. I simmered in my minor irritation. My smile was still strong, for now.
I sucked in a large breath through my nose, causing my nostrils to flare up slightly. I tilted my head to the right; I haven’t even glanced at Andy and Patrick in awhile. Pete, Tabatha, and Joe are normally the important ones to watch here. No one really looks at Patrick.
Why? I’m not sure. Patrick sat cross-legged, fidgeting. I could hear his stomach growling softly but he paid it no mind. He and I both knew that we wouldn’t be fed tonight, maybe in the morning. Joe might get a meal, though; the rest of us can’t.
I kept watching Patrick with my lackluster brown eyes, gazing at his clumpy brown/blonde hair.
Patrick’s dreary green eyes met my own and he visibly shuddered and pulled his legs up to him. I can only imagine how I look to him. Crazy, psychotic, and apparently demonic from the way that he’s closing his eyes and murmuring to himself.
Who’s he got to pray to? No one.
I let my head fall against the concrete stone and close my eyes, breathing in deep, refreshing breaths through my nose. Hoping that one day, someone resilient enough can get revenge. Someone can be strong enough to rip apart the Humans and let us, the vampires, regain our rightful place at the top of the food chain, where we belong.
I glanced back at Patrick; he was pressed against the wall, still staring at me. I think I scare him more than the Humans. I don’t know why. People shouldn’t fear me. Don’t they see my smile? My happiness? My sheer joy of being here?
Don’t they see it?
I can. I wonder if I’m worse than Andy.
I turned my happy gaze away from Patrick and onto Andy. I saw him crouching against the door, sniffing the air. He seemed excited, if animals could be excited. He looked like a dangerous animal. More of a rabid dog than a tame lion, more of a hungry piranha than a full shark, deadly.
I wanted to give him a treat. Just for his role. Just because people treated him like
what he pretended or thought he was. Psychotic, they call me.
But I think they have me confused. I wouldn’t eat another…human or vampire. Andy? He might.
But they feed him more often. Probably because they know he will.
I closed my eyes briefly, listening. Andy was always excited when they came. His masters.
Seconds later, I could hear the locks being undone. Loud clicking sounds and levers being pulled to open the cell, something spun and a series clicking began, only to stop. The door pushed open, slowly and heavily.
Andy’s eyes were bright with anticipation. I could only imagine the thoughts running through his head. He was an animal. He could be thinking about playing fetch with the severed arm of a past classmate for all I know.
Pete growled and motioned for Patrick to stand in front of Tabatha and Joe while he stood in front of me. He caged me in with his arms, sitting down next to me and wrapping his cold arms against my skin. I shivered but did not stop smiling. I knew what he was doing; he’d done it so many times before. I know not to kill him.
But if Joe were to do this…
I could only hope that Tabatha would forgive me for killing her mate.
I watched as two doctors strode inside the room, haughty and dignified. Yet they held a distinct air of caution. I continued to smile.
Following the doctors, four soldiers entered behind them. The soldiers wore camouflaged field jackets and trousers, two wore cypress green berets and the other two wore lovat green.
When I first came here, I foolishly thought the hats were adorable little uniforms. How wrong I was.
Those hats, excuse me, berets show what section they are from. I eyed the cypress wearers cautiously, fearfully. Sometimes, I wonder if this was an inquisition. Maybe it was.
I just don’t trust the cypress wearers. One of them eyed me and my smile, nudging the other slightly.
I simmered again with anger but it dulled slightly as one of the doctors spoke, “Major Duvallon and Sarvin, take Number 81011 to room 324. Doctor Harris will be with him in a few moments.”
Pete, Patrick, and Tabatha stopped breathing. I, on the other hand, let out a sigh of sweet relief. It wasn’t me going to 324. I don’t give a damn about Pete. I held back my inner glee as he tensed beside me.
Room 324, better known as hell’s bedroom in Joe’s perspective. He’s been there once. He attacked the wrong guard, landed up in the torture chamber.
So it was an inquisition.
He mentioned that they wouldn’t call it torture. But it hurt more than anything he could imagine. Of course, that was when he started his injections. And ever since then it’s been an ‘experiment’ that he has always been the subject for.
Maybe that’s how Andy got the way he was. He ended up going to room 324.
The room changes with each visit. They threaten us, or should I say them, with it. I don’t get into trouble. I don’t do anything.
I don’t plan escapes or try to outsmart the people who spend every second of every day watching our movements, listening to our voices, recording our thoughts and feelings in fine detail.
I don’t give them that. So they don’t give me threats. They don’t have anything to say that I am going to start a riot but there’s nothing to say that I won’t.
They leave me alone. For the most part.
The cypress soldiers walked over to Pete and gripped him roughly around the shoulders, ripping his arms from around my waist. The heels of his dirty, ripped trainers scraped against the floor as they hooked his arms and dragged him backwards toward the door. For a second, he did nothing, nothing but stare at me. At my smile.
He startled me when he screamed. It was so loud, piercing, dying. He must’ve realized that he’s not coming back. That he’s going to die. That they were going to murder him. The cypress green tried to pull him out of the room. I could see the bruises beginning to form on his pale arms from where their fingernails dug into his skin purposely.
“No! Don’t take me!” I heard him cry, “I’m not the one you want! I haven’t done anything! We haven’t done anything! We aren’t evil! You’re murderers! Murderers!”
His feet were kicking, trying to catch something against his foot to stop this inevitable death. But his feet could not grip the smooth concrete. Tabatha cried and Patrick stared on fearfully, unsure what to do. Whether to try and attack or stay and console Tabatha.
Joe was still half-dead and Andy snarled at the struggling form of his older brother an eager look at his eye. A hungry look in his eye.
I was still smiling.
The cypress soldiers called out into the hallway and three more cypress berets entered the room. One punched Pete in the throat; he gagged and coughed, trying to catch his breath. He paused in his kicking and the soldiers were able to hoist him up, three grabbed his legs, while the original two held steadily onto his arms.
“Let him go!” Tabatha cried, her sobs loud as she let go of Joe, trying to run to Pete’s side, but Patrick held her back. “Please!” Her voice was mesmerizing in a way that her pain was written plainly across her words. If she wasn’t a prisoner, I think they would’ve listened to her.
“I’ll take care of her,” Patrick said, the strength in his voice growing, “Go with peace. You’ve done your best, Pete. I’ll protect her for as long as I can.”
I couldn’t tell if he was talking about Tabatha or me.
Pete was looking straight in my eyes, straight into my smiling, happy eyes. Once Pete's voice came back, he must’ve realized and accepted his defeat.
I can only imagine what last thoughts a dead man would have.
But then when he spoke, I realized that only Pete would have these thoughts. Because he was Peter Wentz, chivalrous, daring,
“Fuck you, PJ."
I continued to smile and they took him away.
“Now,” the doctor said, I forgot he was still there. He clapped his hands together. “You are coming with me.”
I stood to my feet, one lovat green in front of me and the other behind me, the doctor stood beside me, smiling.
I heard the large concrete door slam behind me but I did not turn around.
For a second, I wondered if I was going to come back.
And then I realized that it didn’t matter.
My smile began to falter.
I followed the lovat green beret through the halls. The man kept glancing back at me, smirking. The halls were pure white and blinding compared to the dingy grey concrete that turned black with time. My eyes burned slightly and watered. I didn’t like this light, fierce like the sun that I never saw anymore. I breathed in a sharp, crisp scent that burned my nose but had a light lemony aura that trailed slowly up my nostrils. I wracked my brain for a second and realized it was a cleaner. I hadn’t smelled a cleaner in months. I don’t like it. The smell of something fresh and clean reminded me of my own scent, my muskiness, grime.
I wrinkled my nose as my own stench rose to my nose and I seethed in anger. Smelling my own body was torture enough. But my smiled stayed.
I heard a mysterious ticking and looked forward toward the top of the long hallway and noticed a…I paused, thinking long and hard about what the object was…
I recognized the numbers, one through twelve. I remembered the hands, the circular shape. But I was unable to identify what exactly I was looking at. I tilted my head slightly, with the way that my lips were angled, an ugly grimace seemed to take place on my features. The lovat Green Beret looked back at me again and his eyes widen, facing forward again quickly. I could smell his fear.
Tick. Tick. Tick.
The sound was scratching against my brain, clawing at me until I wanted to scream.
Tick. Tick. Tick.
I winced, but thankfully, it went unnoticed. Everything sounded louder. And I crave silence now.
Step. Step. Step.
Tick. Tick. Tick.
Beat. Beat. Beat.
Ah…the heartbeat. I closed my eyes to block out the sounds again and just…felt. I could envision the vibration of the heartbeats, pulsating against my chest, pressing into me. Ticks, steps, breaths…I could feel their lives flowing through me. I shut myself off harder from the world. I could feel heartbeats of those behind the six foot deep concrete walls. I could taste their vibrated screams.
My smile continued to falter, but it did not fade.
I opened my eyes again; the lovat green stared at me strangely. Fearfully. But he moved to the side of the large, white door. It blended in with the walls and floors. The lovat green soldiers stood out against the brilliant walls but I was positive that I was the dark mark in the room. The doctor came up from behind me, pulling out a key from his back pocket and inserting it into the keyhole, twisting. Everyone heard the click of the unlocked door but no one moved. The lovat green soldiers turned toward the door, ready to enter but the doctor held up his hand, halting them. I watched as one of the lovet green berets started up in protest,
“She’s dangerous. We can’t trust any of these mutated freaks. She could kill you, you need protection.”
I watched as the doctor glared, “Do you realize who you are addressing? Do not make me call- ”
“Please sir, Doctor—Master. Please, forgive my insubordination.” He bowed his head quickly, terror crossing his face, “Forgive me.”
The doctor smiled evilly and I recoiled slightly, the dusty gears in my brain beginning to click. Almost like the gears of a—
Tick. Tick. Tick.
“No. You will receive your punishment.” The doctor snarled, “At ease soldiers and return to your barracks, you have no business here.”
The lovat green berets glanced at each other nervously and nodded, letting their guns hang over their shoulders and walked back down the hall. Their footsteps vibrating.
Step. Step. Step.
The doctor wetted his lips and let them curl upward in a menacing smile, detached from emotion but constricted by the snake of Eden.
“Enter now,” the doctor commanded, “It’s time for your evaluation, number 01249. We have a few tests to run.”
I did not nod or acknowledge him, but I proceeded to enter the room. Unlike Patrick, I am not their servant or jester. Unlike Pete, I am not a rebel. Unlike Joe and Tabatha I am not a plaything.
But I am obedient.
I walked passed him without so much as a glance and entered.
The room was black, silent, and ominous. There were no shadows for everything was shrouded in original darkness, not the poor excuse of an imitation. No, the room was black from top to bottom. But I was not afraid. Who should fear the darkness? No one. For in the darkness, we are protected. The dark is where the fragile, broken vampires hide. I feel at one here. At ease, at peace. In the darkness, my smile does not matter. No one can seem me. My fear, my anger, my wrath.
But that’s something different.
For now, I’m at ease, for now.
I stood silently, unsure of myself so I let my eyes fall shut, letting my body feel and my mind to stop. But then, nothing.
I could feel no footsteps, voices, heartbeats, breaths.
I was cut off from the world, my world. I was just like everyone else.
My smile feel a bit further, but it was still a smile.
I reopened my eyes.
“Would you like the lights on?” a voice I recognized to be the doctor’s said next to me, “wouldn’t it be more comfortable?”
Silence met our ears.
I could feel his breath against my cheek. I tensed. My heartbeat accelerated.
“The darkness will make you squirm will it not? I won’t change a thing until you speak. You will live, if you speak.”
His hands rested against my hips. I shut my eyes tightly.
Dying to fight. Too recoil. Too cry. Too run.
But in the darkness, I had nowhere to go.
I shuddered as he pressed his cheek against mine and began to whisper again, “I know you’ve killed men before, but not a man like me. So don’t even think about it.”
I could hear the threat in his voice. My smile dropped further.
I was no longer smiling.
“Do you know why I’m holding you like this?” the doctor laughed, “Not because I am attracted too you, God no. You’re repulsive. Disgusting. Inferior. But because I know you will crack. Physical contact is your weakness. Right?”
I did not speak.
He chuckled deviously, “But you have another weakness, you filthy leech, don’t you?”
Once again, my blank face did not move. My lips did not open. I inhaled instead, quietly, calmly.
I could feel his smile against my neck and one of his hands slid away from my waist. I stood still, curious. I closed my eyes, trying to feel, but I felt nothing.
I furrowed my eyebrows openly when I saw a spark of light and heard the doctor laughing. “You don’t like pain do you?”
I felt my face drain of the little color left in it. Unsure of what to brace myself for, I stood in the darkness. Wide-eyed. Afraid.
“No answer?” I could hear the smile in his voice, “One more chance. Say something, make this easy. Don’t end up killing yourself over something as stupid as not talking.” I could feel the tears prickling at the back of my eyes but I refused. Not out of defiance but out of anxiety. I had no need to speak, why were they making me?
The doctor waited a few seconds and sighed, “Very well then.”
His footsteps trailed away from me, back to the heavy concrete door, slamming it shut.
In the hallway, the lights remained bright and blinding, the clock continued to tick on the wall. The vampires were still being held captive, some with food, some without. Some of them were worshipped like gods, while others treated like brutes.
But one vampire, in the entire building, held the remnants of a smile on her face. Through the concrete door, just under the clock, a shrill cry rang throughout the air. A mournful cry, a cry of the nations, of the world, of a people.
A cry that shouted to the heavens that with each pulling back of the trigger, with each hit and droplet of blood, somewhere in the world, there would be a change.
Devolution of power would occur, resolution, revolution, and apocalypse.
Laughter floated from under the door, manically, alienated from humanity.
“Is the little mutant hurt?” he muttered in a mock baby voice. I continued to cry, weakly. Pathetically.
My breath turned ragged as I gasped for breath, coughing and choking on every few gulps of air, snot slowly dripped down my lips as my tears began to dry, my body convulsed with each great sob.
I was squirming like a worm. Like the lowly worm that I am.
Tears continued down my face.
“Are you ready to talk?”
I did not answer.
The doctor did not laugh this time.
I swallowed nervously.
“Do you know what this is?” He answered his own question as he went on, “Of course not, this is a new invention, more of a remake than an invention. You may not have heard of it, but the original name for it was a taser. With this new modified version, it is much more than just an electro-muscle disrupter. No, much more. This taser just gave you 500 volts, rendering your body completely useless.” He paused dramatically, pressing his hand to his chest in mock concern, “That pain your feeling, is from an internal burn. Sixteen volts can kill a man and I just struck you with 500. Do you know what that means?”
He paused, as if waiting for me to answer, smirking.
“No, it does not mean you are special, maggot.” He smiled cruelly as if he made a joke, “I chose not to kill you…at that moment. If I pressed this,” He held up the weapon to my face again, “an inch upward, you would’ve died of electric shock. But I spared you but at the same time, condemned you, there’s a present in the darts.”
A reverent smile for himself glided across his face, “I am merciful aren’t I?”
He waited for me to speak. Once again, I refused.
His smile transformed into one of abhorrence as he continued, “It can be removed in two ways: Choice number one, I can remove it pain-free with the proper equipment. Or I can rip it out. What do you want?”
Tears were still trailing down my cheeks; my body still quaked with pain. But at that moment, I couldn’t speak, not even if I wanted to. I was too afraid to open my mouth. I couldn’t do anything.
He waited. Seconds passed, a minute. No words.
Tears were flying down my cheeks as I waited in dread.
Soldiers walked through the halls, stalking them, weapons ready to fire. Filled with ammunition, ready to attack. One man flinched as his troops passed down a peculiarly long hallway, a high pitched scream echoing in his thoughts as he passed the hall. But his face showed nothing but cool indifference.
“Speak to me” He muttered from what seemed to be a far away distance.
I looked up at his face, distorted and magnified, evil radiating from his smile, his lips, his eyes, and his soul.
I could barely make out a vial with my blurred eyes, “The antidote. Do you want it?” I kept coughing, sputtering, dying.
I crawled across the floor, toward the door. I could hear him laughing at me.
“You’re wasting your energy, fool. Don’t be a black sheep. Don’t rock the boat. Submit. They all submit one day. This is your time.”
I continued to crawl, trying to ignore him, ignore everything.
I just want to live.
His voice was rising now, “Say something, damn you!”
His footsteps raced across the floor, he picked up my limp body and threw it back toward the ground. Like a ragdoll. Useless. “Say something!” he screamed, “Say something!”
Deep down, I knew I wanted to live. I wanted to speak, yell, and scream. I wanted all these things. But I couldn’t do it.
My mouth couldn’t form words.
My eyes began to flutter close, my heart slowed down painfully in my chest, almost to a stop.
I gasped loudly, trying to crawl again.
Like a turtle kicked across a valley, trying to make its way across again, useless.
I closed my eyes, fighting death.
But accepting it at the same time.
Fearful yet Confident.
Dead yet alive.
Battling with fate.
My heart weakened, fluttering uselessly in my chest. A sharp pain pierced my arm and I knew I was dead.
I closed my eyes, letting it happen.
Tick. Tick. Tick.
Goddamn, this was a hard one. (bahahaha that's what she said.)
ok onto reviews (which make me feel good so thanks guys! :D)
Apparently ficwad either attracts people fascinated with the holocaust and other disasters, or it's not as weird as everyone thinks. Cause I'm like that too :|
YO REVIEWS GOT CUT OFF SO I'LL ANSWER THEM WITH THAT RESPOND BUTTON THING SORRY