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[WP] You’re a prisoner in a special facility for violent criminals. Today the latest prisoner arrived – a little girl. “That’s cruel,” you tell the guard. “I agree,” he says. “Guess no one cares what happens to the rest of you.” |TTI

[WP] You’re a prisoner in a special facility for violent criminals. Today the latest prisoner arrived – a little girl. “That’s cruel,” you tell the guard. “I agree,” he says. “Guess no one cares what happens to the rest of you.”

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  2. The system beeped.

    “This is an interview relating to incident number K-23 within Extra-Max facility 120. Please state your name, inmate number, charges and sentence for the benefit of the recording” said one of the officers. He was the taller of the two, a pencil thin mustache cresting his top lip and a thin dusting of salt and pepper hair on top of his head. Before Al-Si answered, the shorter (and fatter, by a wide margin) officer broke out into a coughing fit. The taller officer gave him a glare and silence once again fell.

    Now they both turned expectantly to Al-Si.

    “Al-Si Nib Dar, Inmate number 746583, charged with 18 counts of inter-planetary arms trafficking and one of evading arrest via violent means. Sentence was originally 35 years, but I successfully appealed three of the arms charges due to the mishandling of evidence and got it reduced to 29. Have served 15 so far.”

    “Thank you, Mr Nib Dar. Now, to the best of your recollection could you please explain the events leading to the incident last week?”

    Al-Si shifted uncomfortably in his seat. He’d been taken from his cell, taken from the prison proper for the first time in 10 years (since his last trip to court to appeal the charges) and unusually for transfers between the prison proper and other areas, he had not had any of his cybernetic augmentations disabled. While avoiding the painful procedure of having the augs shut down was a good thing, he knew he could do nothing with them and the itching caused by having his left eye suddenly working again, free from the prison proper’s blanket disabling field, was sending him crazy.

    “Well we heard in the morning that the new crop was coming in. Old Cleaver was taking bets on the first to crack and call a guard as usual. Then the bell rang and we all went to our cells.”
    “Cleaver. This would be Pat Cleaver, yes?” the shorter officer interjected.

    Al-Si nodded, continuing. “Umm, then they walked in.”

    “They being the new inmates?” the tall officer prompted, when Al-Si paused.

    “Yes. Most of them were the normal fare, but I noticed her instantly. She couldn’t have been more than 13.”

    Now it was the tall officer’s turn to shift uncomfortably. “She’s 11, actually.”

    Al-Si shuddered. “She went to her cell silently, same as all of them, and we stayed in our cells till yard time. When the guards came round for checks, I mentioned her to Officer Bright.”

    The shorter officer took a note in his little pad.

    “What exactly did you say to Officer Bright, and what did he respond, Mr Nib Dar?”

    “I said “Jesus Christ Bright, what are they playing at sticking a girl like that in a place like this?” and he looked at me like he wanted to be sick. “I know. They must really not give a shit what happens to the rest of you.” He muttered.”

    The short officer coughed again, but thankfully only once.
    “And what was the next significant moment in the lead up to the incident, Mr Nib Dar?”

    “Si, please. Um, the next moment was yard time. We were walking out as normal-“

    “Mr N-Si, who exactly were you with as you left for the yard?”

    Al-Si hesitated. The memory was painful.
    “Um, I was walking with Galfar and Bones, uh Galfar Zem and Vice Vickers. We didn’t get 5 steps out the door
    before everyone we could see in front of us broke into a sprint.”

    “So, when you saw this rush, what did the three of you do?”

    “Galfar shrugged and went inside. He took a plasma bolt to the hip in the last riot and he still gets spasms in his foot so he didn’t want any part of anything. Me and Vice ran too, out of curiosity.”

    “Okay then Si, and when you reached the source of the disturbance what did you witness?” The tall officer asked, as his short companion flipped to a new page in the notebook and poised his pencil.

    “It was horrible.”

    Neither Officer spoke immediately, but after a moment the short officer piped up.

    “Please state exactly what you saw. I know it was distressing.”

    Al-Si scoffed. Distressing? He had been an interplanetary arms dealer for 14 years, and a bloody good one. So good, in fact, that he ended up with 15 charges for an offence he’d committed hundreds of times and one lesser charge than deserved for rigging a booby trap that took out three of the four officers sent to apprehend him. Death, violence, blood, gore, none of it phased him. He was no psycho, but he was no pussy. What that girl had done…it was beyond distressing.

    “It wasn’t her actions. I mean…they were bad enough.” He managed to choke out.

    “It…it was the glee on her face. I’ve never seen anyone so happy. It was like…like a child who’d never seen a present before on his first Christmas. She…she tore that guy’s arm off and she took a bite out of it as though it was a chocolate cake. And the whole time, the whole time, she giggled and grinned.”

    The shorter officer looked a little sick. He was lucky. He’d seen the pictures, probably. Maybe the footage if there was any that wasn’t obscured by the mass of bodies watching the carnage. But he hadn’t had to witness it. Hadn’t had to be within 5 metres of that monster as she murdered her way through 14 of the worst, most violent and unremorseful criminals that the entire planetary system had to offer with the euphoria of someone indulging in the absolute most enjoyable activity they can conceive of. Hadn’t had to look into her eyes for that brief second as she’d glanced at him.

    “And then what happened, Si?” Tall prompted.

    “We understand if you need a moment.” Short added.

    “The second she looked at me I knew it was too late to run. How…how did her augs still work?”

    Short and Tall exchanged a look.

    “We’re still working that out.”

    Al-Si laughed sardonically, his jaw tightening. He was sat there, leg missing, traumatised after they had put that monster in a prison unfit to hold her, and they were “still working out” how she’d managed to activate several military grade augmentations inside a supposedly secure facility.

    “She came for me and that was it. Next thing I remember is waking up in the Infirmary, one leg down.”
    He slumped. Tall, in a display of emotion that even in the short time they’d spent together, Al-Si could tell was rare, placed a hand on Al-Si’s shoulder.

    “As the only survivor of the incident, you may not feel particularly lucky. However, due to the extreme nature of the circumstances, and the fact that you survived the onslaught only by sheer luck, we have received orders that your remaining sentence is to be halved and you are to be placed in a minimum security virtual facility for its duration. The Council of Planets Interplanetary Prison Complex apologises for its failings in your circumstance.”

    Al-Si nodded, his heart lifting somewhat. Virtual prisons were cushy, you just sat in a room being drip fed while a digital chip presented you with a virtual city. You got a job, spent your free time on whatever self-improving pursuits you desired, and you proved you were rehabilitated. He’d have an easy time getting early release after the strict rules of EM 120. Couldn’t bring back his leg. Couldn’t heal the scars on his psyche. Couldn’t stop him vomiting anytime he thought about the look on Cleaver’s face as that girl had bitten through his throat. But it was something, at least.

    “Interview terminated.”

    The system beeped.

  3. The guard chuckled as he continued down the cell block, leading the little girl to an empty cell. Neither of the neighboring cells were occupied. “We’ll keep her away from you lot,” he said as her door shut and locked with a buzz. “For your safety.”

    I know everyone here. Murderers, rapists, you name it, they’re here. It’s a modern day Alcatraz, just without the great view. I don’t have many lines I wont cross, but to put a little girl here along with scum like me is just wrong. Hell I’ve probably been in this joint longer than she’s been alive. These guards must be more demented than I realized.

    That night I could hear faint sobbing echoing off the concrete walls. These monsters.

    We woke the next morning to an alarm, which wasn’t unusual. Sometimes they’ll do a drill before wake up just to piss us off. Other times a guard fell asleep and missed shift change. I usually stay on my cot until an overweight prick yells at me to get up.

    This morning, however, an overweight prick was jogging down the block, huffing as he went. It made me briefly think how easy it would be to overrun this jail if those damn guards weren’t loaded with live rounds all the time. Then two more ran past, calling in on their radio.

    “Officer down in Block D.”

    A few minutes later word began spreading down the block. Officer Johnson, the one who led the girl to her cell the day before, had missed his shift change and was found dead in front of the girl’s cell. We found out later Johnson had died from asphyxiation, as if someone had grabbed him from behind and choked the life out of him. He was also missing a few fingers. They made us skip breakfast while they accounted for everyone in their cells. No one was missing.

    Later that day I walked out toward the yard to play some basketball. I passed by the girl’s cell and peeked in to see how she was holding up. Poor thing must have been shaken up by what had happened nearby.

    She was just sitting upright on her cot, starring at the wall. Then, she saw me, and reached behind and pulled out something from under her pillow to show me. I leaned closer and nearly lost my shit. She, smiling sweetly, was holding Johnson’s severed fingers.

    Edit: autocorrect fail

  4. At lunch, the other inmates gave her a wide berth as she skipped – yes, *skipped* – to an empty table and set her tray down.

    Still in the lunch line, I turned to the inmate behind me and asked, “What’s up with that little girl? Who is she?” But the man avoided eye contact and didn’t want to talk.

    Same with the inmate ahead of me. It seemed that whenever I mentioned her, the other inmates became sullen and withdrawn, seemingly wanting to avoid the subject of the girl altogether.

    I was worried for her. Though I hadn’t yet seen any leers, she was the only female in a facility of full-grown men – some of whom were imprisoned on charges where little girls like her were victim. So after I got my tray, I made my way towards her.

    I had only taken two steps when a strong hand grabbed my shoulder. It was the inmate from behind me in the line. He shook his head and whispered, “Don’t do it.”

    “Why not?”

    But apparently, he had said too much already. He let go of me and walked away.

    I continued on to the table and hovered over the seat opposite her. “Is anybody sitting here?” I asked.

    She had been humming and kicking her feet, but at the sound of my voice she looked up and smiled. She was a pretty girl, with two blonde pigtails, and two huge, blue eyes. “I’m sorry,” she said. “But the table is full.”

    “But…” I made a point of looking around to emphasize that…there was nobody there…

    “I’m sorry,” she repeated – smile thinning as she lost her patience, “but the *table* is *full.*”

    I laughed and sat down anyway.

    I felt somebody’s – some*thing’s* – legs under mine, like I was sitting in an invisible creature’s lap.

    Startled, I jumped back up, leaving my tray behind as I backed away.

    The girl was no longer smiling. Her eyes watched me the entire time I backed away to another table. No one else made eye contact with me as I sat down.

  5. **Day 3**

    I sat down at one end of the long, metal table in the dining hall, close to the wall. Even though it was lunch time, there was noone else around. The other inmates had quickly learnt the health value of staying hungry now and again. I opened my juice box and looked carefully at the girl across from me.

    “How do you feel today?”

    “Okay.”

    After waiting, silently, for about a minute, I continued quietly:

    “Is the voice still there?”

    She nodded.

    “Only the female one. I think she kept the rest away so I can sleep.”

    “And did you?”, I asked.

    “Yes.” The young girl just kept staring down at her plate, saying nothing more. Her dark brown hair was hiding her expression.

    “That’s good.” I added simply. “That’s good for you”, I repeated, this time a bit more loudly and more confidently.

    “And I dreamt.” She said. This was new. The first time she decided to share something on her own accord. Or say anything without me asking, for that matter. But she didn’t keep going, so I gathered up my courage and enquired further.

    “Do you remember the dream, what was it about?”

    “Yes.” She paused. “It was dark, before sunrise. There was a forest. And a mountain behind it. And… and the trees were on fire, and the mountain too. It was everywhere, and I could see the crackling wood, and smell the thick smokes. And wind, strong wind, like a tornado amid the inferno. There was rumbling, as if the earth itself was moving, trying to escape, to run away.”

    Another pause.

    “The screams were the worst. They were everywhere. I couldn’t tell where they were coming from, no matter how hard I looked. And I did look everywhere. It was a funny thing.”

    “Why did you think it was funny?” I thought I had to ask, after brief consideration.

    “Because everyone was already dead, of course.” She finally started eating and we spoke no more.

    **Day 8**

    She was already waiting in front of my cell by the time I was ready to go outside. That was a first. I’ve never been much of a morning person, it was usually the guards who kept prodding me to leave. So I was surprised to see her there, staying couple of feet away from the door, looking at the floor. Considering they must have unlocked the blocks not five minutes ago, I wondered if she had ran all the way here. Or maybe they didn’t even bother locking her in the first place? I wasn’t going to ask. But even if I wanted to, she spoke first.

    “Did you mean what you said to me? Yesterday?”

    “Yes.”

    “If not mine, then whose fault is it?”

    “I do not know. But not yours.”

    “I… I dont understand it. It’s so loud. They won’t stop, she can’t keep them quiet all the time. But if they are only inside *my* head, inside me, then they are *part* of me, aren’t they? It’s me, it’s only me, it’s always been me…”

    “Those men made their choices and they did so a long time ago. What happened to them had nothing to do with you.” I was never the philosiphical type, but I felt I was supposed to say something. Nothing good could come from her being upset. “You are the choices you make, and it was not your choice to start or do anything. No matter what the voices say, they are not you. Not all of you, not even a tiny bit.”

    She nodded. I still couldn’t read her reactions, but I didn’t know what else I could say, so I remained silent.

    “There are still five more stories left.” She pulled her old book with fairy tales from her jacket.

    “Ok, let’s go read one.” I gently took her hand and lead the way to the dining hall.

    **Day 12, shortly before midnight**

    “LISTEN TO ME”, I shouted. “HEAR MY VOICE. DO YOU HEAR ME.” Now I was screaming at the top of my lungs.

    “They are so loud. They are so loud. They are so loud.” She was almost crying, with hands on her ears, her eyes closed, rocking her head back and forth. “Make them stop. Please make them stop.”

    “THEY ARE NOT YOU. THEY ARE NOT YOU” I knew I should have said something distinguishable, something she could recognize me with ony from the souds. I was frantically trying to remember which was her favourite story.

    “Stop. Stop. Stop. Don’t talk to me. Don’t talk to me. Don’t talk to me.”

    There was a subtle rumbling, coming from beneath the prison. I didn’t hear it.

    A window nearby cracked, and a strong wind started whistling through. I didn’t notice.

    **Day 13, just after midnight**

    “Shut up. Shut up. *SHUT UP.*”

    Outside, in the forest before the mountain, a spark flickered.

    And then there was fire.

  6. Psychological review and weekly therapy for inmate #7771, Edgar Baenlin, aka Heartbreak. Preformed by Dr. Alia Ashworth.

    “Hello, Edgar. How are you today? Are your wounds healing well?”

    Heya, Doc Ashworth. Yeah, Black Canary did a number on me, but I’m healing fine. Damn fishnets were what got me knocked out. Only time anyone’s ever done that. Thanks for askin though.

    “You’re going to stay as calm and compliant as usual, right?”

    Yeah. Of course. Not trying to increase my sentence. Anywho, my buddy Rico from the security team said something that got me wanting to chat though.

    “Do you have questions for me?”

    Yeah. Ya know I don’t think I’m particularly evil, certainly not as evil as the rest of these guys. I read comic books as kid, just like most people. I used to wonder what Arkham Asylum and that weird space prison the Justice League used were like. Now that I’m sitting in said space prison, I can see that it’s just like any other one. Boring, lot of rules, boring, food tastes bad, so on and so on. You work here, you know.

    Anyway, like I said, I ain’t evil, I just don’t like normal humans like you trying to boss me around. I’m only here because its so hard for you guys to keep a hold of me, at least till you put me in here.

    “Mr. Baenlin, please. We’ve gone over this. Your choices put you here, not the Justice League. They apprehended you, sure, but you chose to kill, destroy, and plunder. Now, you said something was bothering you. Tell me about it. Something about the new inmate, I presume?”

    Yeah, yeah, I got it. I’m not arguing with you about that again. The kid. I know how this place is, I figured she’s a superhuman like the rest of us. But they’ve got her in The Hole. They usually only put the heavy hitters there. Doomsday, Brainiac, those guys. Why a kid? I know somethings not right about her though, I can tell that. Joker actually shut his mouth for once when she walked by and Bizarro damn near shit himself. I want information, because they’re being real tight lipped.

    *Dr.Ashworth steps away from the table to activate additional security measures*

    The hell you do that for?

    “She’s in solitary confinement, bit after reading her file, I’m not taking any chances. She can apparently hear anyone, anywhere who talks about her. Thankfully, Batman and Dr. Fate have worked with our science division to discover how to nullify this ability. Their work is always invaluable when it comes to holding-“

    Villains.
    *Dr.Ashworth notes sarcasm and eye-rolling*

    “We don’t like to use that term, but yes. Anyway, since you have proven to be less violent towards me and the security staff than most of the others, I’ll tell you about her. But I expect less of that sarcasm as payment.”

    Yeah, I can do that, doc. I’m already here, might as well not cause a ruckus. Serve my time and whatnot.

    “Good. That’s what I like to hear from you. From what I’ve read in her file, she’s called The Waif. Seeing her, talking about her, thinking about her, all these things draw her closer to you. The file says her presence weakens and sickens all living things within a certain distance, similar to what your ability does. But hers is far more potent and far reaching. Dr. Fate had to lock her in a pocket dimension just to keep her from exterminating the whole prison. According to the research he conducted, she creeps into you like an old memory. Not just your mind, you heart, you soul, your every fiber. She takes it all. Everything you’ve ever been or will be. Seen or will see. Felt or will feel. The report said that she just appeared in the forests of Montana and walked towards the city. It took them a long time to track her down, because no one was left alive to report the incident.”

    She supposed to be Pestilence or something? How many did she kill?

    “The report says that she leaves the body a shriveled husk of its former self. They were unable to tell the difference between human and animals for the most part.”

    Ya know, my ability could probably stop hers. I’ve had a nuke dropped on me before. Didn’t even make me sick. I can volunteer if y’all are willing to let me outta here.

    “I’m aware of your ability. I’m sure the Justice League will look into that.”

    Not even gonna worry about her killing me, huh? I thought we had something, doc.

    “Nothing past a doctor/patient relationship. You have to remember that I’m a scientist as well. An experiment is an experiment. I’ll leave a note for the members of the science division. I’ve seen the footage of your capture, you might do well.”

    Not like I’m afraid to die. Bored to death in here anyway, not like I’m going anywhere.

    “Is what I’ve told you enough? Or do you want me to describe the husks to you?”

    Nah, I’m fine. That’s all I had, doc Ashworth. You can have them put me back whenever you’re ready. Thanks for the chat.

    Session end.

  7. Her eyes were totally devoid of all life. She stared ahead of her seeing nothing at all… just kept walking to the cell with about 50 high powered rifles pointed at her. This was by far the weirdest thing I had ever seen in this place. The Frozen Lake maximum security prison has seen its fair share of weird and horrible things over the last 20 years I have resided here, but this was beyond anything I had ever seen.

    At about 3am this morning, the sirens went off, waking everyone in the facility. Of course it wasn’t part of the guard’s routine to tell us what was going on, so we all sat in our cells trying to block out the ear piercing scream of the sirens. After about 30 minutes, the alarms were silenced and the door at the end of the cell block was violently thrown open. In walked a little girl, she couldn’t have been more than 12. Her curly brown hair bounced with every step and yet, not a single strand looked out of place… but her eyes. They were the most vibrant shade of green I had ever seen, but there was something wrong with them that I couldn’t put my finger on. They just looked empty, like she was a walking shell.

    She entered the cell block on her own, without any restraints. She was followed by at least 50 heavily armed men in SWAT body armor, each with their weapon trained on her. I watched her quietly walking down the middle of the block, the eerie silence of the block was like a weight on my chest. There wasn’t a single sound from anyone, even the girls footsteps were swallowed by the silence. When she got in front of my cell, she stopped and looked at me. I felt all the hair on my body stand on end and a chill ran down my spine. She just looked at me with those empty eyes and smiled. My heart was pounding out of control, my breath caught in my chest, I couldn’t look away from her eyes. What seemed like an eternity was probably just a few seconds when she turned away and continued towards the only empty cell on the block.

    Once she arrived in the cell, the door slid shut with a satisfying clang of steel on steel. I couldn’t see her anymore due to the positioning of the cells, but it felt as if her dead eyes were still on me, I couldn’t shake the feeling. The cell block remained absolutely silent for the rest of the day, no one even complained when the guards didn’t bring our food. The silence was uncomfortable, normally you couldn’t even hear yourself think with all the noise and chaos in the block, but now… it just felt wrong.

    That night, as the sun set on my cell block, we all heard it start. Singing…

    *Sleep little one*

    *Sleep already*

    *Or the Nictis Maganti will come and take you away.*

    The cell block became noticeably darker….

    *Sleep little one*

    *Sleep already*

    *Or the Nictis Maganti will come and eat you up.*

    She kept singing. The more she sang, the darker it became. It was so dark you could almost feel it. I could feel the chill and electricity in the air. This was not right. The darkness surrounded me. Finally, the moon escaped the clouds and I was able to get some of my vision back. I looked out of my cell and saw what looked like a black stain on the middle of the floor in front of my cell. There wasn’t any reflection of the light off of the stain, it was just a black void. It was as if the stain absorbed all of the light that touched it, yet it appeared to shimmer.

    That’s when the girl stopped singing…. There wasn’t any sound for at least 3 minutes. I kept staring at the black stain trying to figure out what it was. Then she started to giggle… and the stain on the floor started sliding towards my cell. A shiver ran up my spine as the stain dragged itself towards me, I wanted to scream but was paralyzed with fear. I could only look on in horror as the thing got closer and closer. The guy in the cell next to mine didn’t seem to be affected by this because he began to absolutely freak out. He started screaming for the guards or anyone. I was shocked when it seemed like the shadow heard him, it reached out with a long tentacle like arm of shadow into his cell. His panic immediately worsened. His pleas to the guards for help fell on deaf ears. His screams grew into something that sounded like an animal that knew it was about to be torn apart by a much larger predator. He screamed and screamed for what seemed like an eternity before his voice was ripped away and the silence returned.

    *Edit:* Adding more….

  8. Oh my god.

    It’s been three days. Three days. I’m no hardened killer, but I’m not ashamed to say I’ve thrown up every hour on the hour. Not cause of the usual prison slop, mind you. This is about what I’ve seen, what I’ve heard.

    I got lucky. Started a fight in courtyard, got the hole for three days. Hate the hole. Hole means darkness, solitude, fear. That was two minutes before it started. She started. Now, now the hole is paradise, the hole is heaven.

    I only saw her once. She brushed past the cell, fingers whispering against the bar, leaving a red trail. She wasn’t supposed to be here. No one was, not even guards come by for a chat.

    “What you doing down here, girly?” I yelled, putting my best brave face on, holding my shaking hands behind my back. “What’s going on up top?”

    She turned her face to me, and I swear, my heart stopped. Those eyes. You could have seen arsonist, murders, rapists with kinder eyes than the black holes pouring out her head.

    I threw myself against the back wall, putting as much space as possible. She pushed her face up to the bars, and bared her teeth. I don’t know if it was a smile or what, but I couldn’t get far enough away from it.

    Hands outstretched, she reached for me, like the devil reaching for his favorite sinner. Something under her reached out too, clawed and dark, skimming across the ground. It was coming for me, oh god! It was coming for me!

    Tears poured out my face. I couldn’t even beg for my worthless life. All I could do, a grown man with more blood on his hands than I’ll ever admit, and I cried as I felt her cold little fingers on my face, clawing into my skin. Into my soul. The blood was pouring and all I could do was scream.

    Don’t know what happened. Woke in the infirm of the prison next county over. Doctors tell me, I’m the only one out. They checked the bodies. No little girl, not even a little dwarf. Only proof to my story is the hand print. Doc says it matches to a girly’s but the claws. No little girl comes with claws.

  9. “The worst part is they’re giving her a cellmate”
    “Who?”
    “You”
    A minute later and the barred door slammed shut.
    “So, waddid you do?”
    I ask this kid of 10.
    “None of your business”
    She coldly hissed.
    “Which bunk do you sleep in?”
    “Top one”
    She immediately jumped up on my bunk and propped her feet up. This brat was walking all over me. So i made a plan. That night, i’d cut her throat.

    As midnight rolled around, I clutched my shiv, waiting to do it. Then, i heard her praying. Did she know my plan? I hadn’t had a chance or the inclination to tell anyone else. The whole plan was in my head. I listened to her prayer:
    Lucifer, father, bearer of light, imbue me with the strength to strike down my enemies. In sin and degradation, hail”

    I crept up and as i came to the side of the top bunk, she was staring at me.
    “What do you think you’re doing, Morris?”
    I shook and dropped my shiv. She knew my name.
    “What the fuck?”
    “I know what you did Morris”
    Suddenly, her eyes began bleeding and her fingers curled into claws, her teeth sprouting into fangs. Before i had time to pick up my shiv, she plunged her hand into my abdomen, ripping out my guts.

    I jumped out of bed in a cold sweat. I felt my stomach to make sure my innards were still there. It was still midnight. From the top bunk I hear her: “Have good dreams, Morris?”

  10. When she first walked by, I thought there was a gap in the chain between the prisoners. I did a double-take, discovering that the line of condemned was not broken, but that the missing link was in fact a person, of about half-size, wearing the chain that was much too large for her small frame. At first, I thought it was some kind of dwarf-sized person, but on closer inspection it appeared that it was a child. The chain designed to prevent prisoners from lifting their arms above their chest was somewhat moot on her; the little girl could easily have stretched her arms all the way up with slack to spare.

    But she didn’t. She looked frightened, a terrified child in the wrong place – unlike most prisoners who knew better, she kept casting pleading glances at her captors, who ignored her gleaming eyes and continued to process in the new batch of prisoners.

    It was a rather comical and melancholic sight, her jumpsuit reaching her ankles and the short sleeve short reaching her elbows. Without tatoos or scars like most of the prisoners here, she looked like a porcelain doll in human clothes.

    “That’s cruel,” I tell the guard, “What crime has she committed to warrant a sentence here?”

    “Shut up prisoner. Guess no one cares what happens to the rest of you,” he retorts. A sharp blow to the head reinforces the ‘shut up’ part of the brief reprise.

    Distanced from the hum-drum of the every day world, it has been many months and years since we’ve had access to anything from the outside world other than menial entertainment in the form of sitcoms and books. Likely this child had been born long after the atrocities that had found my unfortunate soul behind these iron walls.

    Yes, me and my unfortunate soul; it never passed through my lips, but the unequivocal evidence of the passioned crime; a crime which had me leave logic and restraint at the door – and blood over every surface in the house.

    EDIT, NOT YET COMPLETE

  11. The Talissa Complex. Tartarus to the more educated residents, simply The Pit to those not as interested in the classics. A century ago it had been meant to protect the central command of its country from the most advanced WMDs of the tome, while they could order the launch of their own from safety. Now it housed “Category 31d”. Category 31 are those prisoners with intense augmentations, whether bionic, genetic or something else, that either could not safely be removed or they had refused to have them removed, as is their right by UN Bodily Sovereignty Resolution 31. So instead they were buried somewhere far out of sight. The “c” referred to prisoners whose crimes were so severe that they would never see daylight again, and extreme violent tendencies made them unsuitable to walk amongst more civilized inmates. Together, these two definitions designated the people that society feared so much that they didn’t feel safe unless they buried them under a mountain, hoping that we would kill each other off when the guards were just a bit late to intervene.

    When I arrived here there were six inmates, and three more have come during my 30 years here. Mathias is the veteran, an nonagenarian who had spent 70 of his 92 years here. Most of the skin in his faced had died of, leaving the bare metal-infused skull. When he would finally die off his endoskeletal augments would proabably be donated to a museum, along with his ancient combat stimulant glands. He had apparently been an enforcer for some big corporate gangster in Lagos and had single-handedly caused the Bifröst tragedy when he massacred the construction crew of what was becoming the first space elevator and then blew its anchor, killing hundred of thousands more when the nanotube cable crashed into the city. His boss made a fortune on the stock market until it was traced back to him.

    Alex is his distant second, with fifty years on his back. After being locked away in his twenties for rape he accepted to undergo an experimental rehabilitative treatment for reduced sentence. He was released 10 years later and lived the next 30 years as a model citizen and a renowned doctor, until someone found the “pet” he kept in the basement, an amalgam of countless human body parts, stitched together and kept alive by some mad science. I dunno what hardware he has in his head, but when he looks at you he sees into your mind, and soul, and the looks he gives you seems to say he wants to eat it.

    Vera and Theodora are both war criminals, the last survivors of the infamous “Iskander squad”. They would infiltrate the Coalition army by killing members and wearing their skin, perfectly mimicking both their voice and mannerisms, before detonating their microwave implants. I’ve heard that the stench of burning flesh still lingers in some places although 30 years have passed. Trevor also committed war crimes, and the fact that he was locked up despite being on the winning side should tell you how badly he behaved. On full charge the man can run through tanks, so softer targets barely leave remains.

    Elisa was the heiress to the Genolution Corporation, until the Albion scandal led to it being forcibly liquidated, and her family got life sentences. She spent her remaining wealth on combat augs and went on a revenge spree against the investigators that destroyed her family. Apparently the collateral damage was in the thousands. She came here twenty years ago, just a month before me.

    Don’t know much about the new guys but apparently William is a satyr. A product of a primitive surgery you can get amongst the high-end back alley surgeons in Paradise City that cuts out all inhibitions. They fear nothing and they’re all masochists that act immediately on any of their desires, which are always violent and perverse even beyond the grasp of the most insane inmates. Outside of Paradise they are shot on sight so I barely understand how they got him alive and not at all why they did it. Karl was probably a merc, and augmented enough to tear an arm of William, who of course just became more excited by that. But the last one is a puzzle.

    Alma arrived here two weeks ago. She barely looks eight years old. But when Alex looked at her he saw something in her that scared him enough to decide to lock himself in the bathroom, where he has stayed since. She mostly stays in her room and cries so loudly that it echoes all over the complex. Matthias went to shut her up and the next moment guards are rushing in and drag HIM off to infirmary, his legs gone. To complicate things, no one knows where his legs are now. William of course wanted to “have some fun” with her. He was found unconscious in a puddle of his own blood. The crying reminded Vera of a daughter or a sister or something, and she decided to comfort her. She is now in a coma in the infirmary, missing half her torso. Everyone decided to stay away after that. Which did not save Trevor whose vitals suddenly went critical while in his cell, and was found there torn to pieces, barely clinging to life, with her sitting on the bed, still crying. Two days ago William woke up. He has been unable to speak but he avoids her at all cost, which does not make sense as he is incapable of feeling fear. But she got him this afternoon anyway. Yet I never heard the crying in her cell stop, so how she got to his cell is beyond me. He probably won’t make the night. I’ve been reading the news trying to find anything about her. There is nothing. According to the net she doesn’t exist.

  12. I was in the School Yard among the other kids who were playing as usual, but today I wasn’t in the mood. It was a nice day, really––the sun was out and it was warm with a nice breeze. Because it was the rainy season, we had been mostly kept inside for what seemed like an eternity and worse, there had been no n00bs for some weeks. I had been bored for a while now and I was still feeling some leftover affects from my “SADness” (some sort of disorder with moods and weather it was explained to me).

    I was staring up at the clouds overhead, looking for different animal forms when the ugly yellow cheese bus grumbled to a halt at the gate on the far side of The Playground. “n00bs!” I thought to myself as I ran to the gate for a better look. The other kids had also noticed and most swarmed the gate like flies to a carcass, the others were indifferent to anything but their own thoughts. I squeezed my way through the crowd to the front, wincing at their deafening cheers in anticipation. I had to admit, I was also excited to see who would be joining us. We stood around for a few minutes as our enthusiasm began to dwindle. The doors of the bus had opened but only the driver had exited. He walked to the rear of the bus, accompanied by the Guardians which had arrived to meet him. I counted the unusual number of them present––at least two dozen which was unusual but I thought nothing more of it. The driver opened the back door of the bus, allowing the three Guardians that stepped in to lower what looked like a metal case. I shuddered; something about it was reminiscent of a coffin. A child’s coffin. By now, most of the crowd of kids had dispersed, disappointed to see nothing but a box. But along with a few others, I stayed, curious at the sight. The driver seemed to be saying something, making large exaggerated gestures but I couldn’t make anything of it. The Guardians all gathered around looking at it for a few moments before wheeling it into the facility. “that was it? a stupid metal box?” I thought as the disappointment began to make me feel even worse than before as I walked away.

    Later that day in the cafeteria when dinner time came around, there was more buzz than usual. Some of the kids that stayed to watch the cheese bus delivery were circulating rumors about what was in the mysterious metal box, claiming that it contained new toys for The Playground. I was beginning to grow annoyed when Guardian Jenny walked in; my face lit up and I skipped my way over to her. “Mommy!” She hated that I called her that but was flattered by the term of endearment, though she tried to conceal it. She scolded me lightly as she did every time. “I told you not to refer to me as your mom, especially in front of anyone…” I ignored her and began walking with her as she did the usual laps around the cafeteria, keeping an eye on everyone. We had developed a bond over the years. How many years has it been? I couldn’t remember, but I’ve been here for a while.

    “How are you doing?” she asked as I had been silent for a while. “meh,” I replied. “well I was excited earlier when I saw the n00b bus show up, but no one came out.” She stopped suddenly, staring into nothingness for a few moments. I tugged her sleeve, snapping her out of the trance. “what was in box anyway?” I asked. She didn’t reply and she didn’t look at me. We continued doing laps in silence until the cafeteria bell dinged signaling that dinner time was over. The sound visibly started her for some reason but I pretended not to notice. “ok, I guess I’ll see you later mom…” I said, turning to exit the cafeteria behind the crowd of kids. “Wait…” she said in a soft tone, grasping my shoulder a bit strongly. I expected her to scold me as usual. “It was a girl,” she whispered. “what was a girl?” I replied, puzzled. “In the box… It was a girl.” “what!? that’s cruel!” She shushed me as my voice caught the attention of a few kids still lingering in the cafeteria. “I know, I guess no one cares what happens to the rest of you…” she said, tears beginning to well up in her eyes. “Listen to me, avoid her. Do not look at her, do not speak to her. Treat her like she has cooties.” She shoved me towards the exit before I could reply and I couldn’t turn back; I had less than two minutes to make it to my Happy Place, No. 107.

    I sat on my cot angry and confused. “does she think I’m stupid? a girl?? cooties???” Unlike the other kids who were delusional about this entire facade, I wasn’t. I knew “The Playground” was the name of this prison. I knew the “School Yard” wasn’t actually a school yard. I knew the “Guardians” were the prison guards, my “Happy Place” a reinforced ballistic glass prison cell, and us, the kids, prisoners. I know its not their fault that they don’t know and that they can’t remember any of the internecine events that happened here, or even their lives before coming here. But I remember it all. I remember Cultist “Suicide Suziii” who was known for starting cults among her classmates and would have them commit ritualistic suicides as she watched in entertainment. It took until 6th grade for her to be discovered mid plot, after she escaped suspicion of her involvement in the 4th and 5th grade incidents prior. Or Macho Mike who, in the 5th grade, had already grown to the size of a pro-wrestler. He was notorious for having a really short temper, making him a danger to his classmates, and was finally sent here after shattering the skull of the school principal with his bare fists because “he got on his nerves.” And I’ll never forget Charles Chemist, the incredibly skinny kid with glasses who was known for mixing chemical explosives. Who knows where he found the supplies to do it but he had detonated one in the cafeteria during lunch one day here at The Playground; eight kids died and a dozen more injured, including myself. He was never seen again, sent off to “Special Ed.” Oddly, I can’t remember what landed *me* here but the other kids avoid me, out of some instinct.

    I couldn’t sleep that night, worried at the imagined horrors of what the new girl could be, while Jenny’s warnings repeated in my head. It must’ve been the middle of the night when I heard multiple footsteps and shuffling, and got up to see who it was. On the lower level, eyes adjusted to the dim lighting, I could see a dozen or so Guardians surrounding a small girl. “that’s her!” I whispered to myself. Her head immediately snapped in my direction, as if she heard me. I ducked, heart pounding in my chest, hoping she didn’t notice me, but I could sense her eyes still on me. I gathered myself after a few moments and dared to take another peek. To my horror, the Guardians, their body parts and innards, had been strewn around the lower level like a Jackson Pollock painting. Mutilated in silence. The girl was gone. I scrambled into the corner of my room, trembling, crying, terrified. “Was Jenny one of them down there?!” I frantically thought wishing she were by my side. My mind raced, wondering the girl’s whereabouts when suddenly she appeared, slowly walking in front my cell, carrying a dismembered head. Jenny’s head. She stopped and turned to me. “Will you play with me?” she said with a wry smile. Half of her face looked limp, the nerves and feeling in it dead, while the other half smiled emotively. I could only scream “no! this is my Happy Place!”

    note: pardon any grammatical errors and feedback is appreciated!

  13. “It’s tea time when I say it’s tea time, Mr Apples.”

    The strange little girl Samantha sat with Jake Applebaum, me, and her disgusting stuffed bear Lick-licks in the deserted prison kitchen. Of course it was deserted at this time of night. There were strict rules on when inmates had to be in their cells, after all. The bigger question was why the guards seemed to see this little nine year old girl as the exception to every rule. Why the girl was here at all had baffled me at first. Not anymore.

    Jake Applebaum was a pretty good guy, despite the fact that he was covered in white supremacy tattoos. You couldn’t exactly be picky with your allies in the supermax prison for the worst violent criminals in the nation. Jake was a good block leader. He never gave his cellmates trouble, even the black ones, and only used his authority to settle disputes and grunges, never to start them. You could do a lot worse than lining up with Jake, as long as you could stand to listen to his long tirades about the inferiority of the negro race.

    I didn’t belong here with scum like him. I was a normal guy. A good guy, even. But when you hear the words “white man kills three black teenagers” that’s the part of the story that you tend to latch onto. You sit with your morning coffee and say, “Did you hear about the evil racist murderer?” And you’re proud of yourself for correctly identifying that racism is wrong. It didn’t matter to nobody what they had done to my family not two months earlier. That’s the kind of story that you just don’t bring up over breakfast.

    “Would you be so kind as to pour Lick-licks some tea, Mr. Apples?”

    Jake hated being reminded of his last name, Applebaum. He thought it might be Jewish. It wasn’t. Dumbass.

    “I’m afraid I can’t do that ma’am,” said Jake.

    “Oh, and why-ever not?” asked the girl is a sweet, sing-song voice.

    “I was raised to serve the lady at the table first,” said Jake. Clever. He had probably just bought himself a few more moments of life.

    “Oh, very well then,” said Samantha, and thanked him graciously when he filled her cup with fruit punch from a pink plastic tea kettle.

    “Now Lick-licks,” she ordered.

    Jake hesitated for a long moment, then moved to poor a cup for Lick-licks. And then there was a table leg sticking out of his forehead. I had been watching them both, and Samantha had almost moved faster than my eyes could follow, stabbing Jake through the skull, and sitting back down in her chair, all without spilling her juice.

    It was a clean hit. Somehow the table leg was stuck in tight enough that only a small trickle of blood escaped the wound. Jake stood for several seconds before finally collapsing on the ground, where he lay gasping and twitching.

    “How…?”

    Samantha leaned forward and cupped one hand over her mouth, “The secret is to keep it blunt.”

    Her big brown eyes sparkled with delight. I just grunted. What else was there to say?

    She giggled, and it went on quite a while, turning into a throaty laugh. She banged the table with her fists, causing her fork to fall to the ground. She bent to pick it up, and I slapped her hand.

    Her eyes went wide in shock.

    “Oh no you don’t,” I said, “We don’t eat with forks that fall on the floor. Not this floor. Let me get you a new one.”

    I quickly fetched another fork from a drawer.

    “I like you. You’re not like the others.”

    “I like you, too,” I said.

    “Ah ah ah, no lies!” she sang.

    “It’s true,” I said, “You remind me of my daughter. She had that same wicked little smile. Sometimes I think she might have grown up to be just like you. It makes me feel like it’s for the best that she’s dead.”

    Samantha laughed with pure delight, and I smiled along. I had been joking. Mostly. She did remind me of my daughter a little. They both had the same little sparkle in their eyes when they were playing a trick. I was definitely not going to poor that tea.

    “Ok. Now *you* pour Lick-licks some tea,” she said.

    “No.” I said.

    “And why not?” she asked.

    “Because Lick-licks doesn’t like tea,” I said. I’m not exactly a genius, but seeing three men other men die the exact same way had given me some clue.

    “Then fetch something that he will like,” she said.

    I glanced at Jake’s body. Once again, I’m not overly intelligent, but what else could it be? The secret would be utilizing gravity. I managed to lay him over his chair, so that his head was hanging down. I needn’t have bothered. Pulling up on the table led caused the blood to squirt out as if from a hose. I filled the tea cup and placed it in front of Lick-licks.

    “Well done,” said Samantha, helping Lick-licks drink his tea, “You can go.”

    “You go on ahead little lady. It’s past your bedtime and I need to fix the table you took that leg from.”

    Samantha glared, and that was all the warning I needed. I caught her hand, stopping the shank inches away from my face. She might be fast, but she always struck in exactly the same place, so I managed to get my hand in place in time. Still, I was surprised at the force behind her blow. It was much more than should be possible for a girl that looked to be not more than 9 years old.

    I pulled her over my knee and gave her a spanking. Ten times. I was firm, but careful not to let any of my anger into my blows.

    After standing back up, Samantha gave me a look of pure hatred. I was certain I was dead. Then her expression broke and she convulsed in great heaving sobs.

    I gave her a hug, and let her cry into my shoulder.

    “There there, I’m not mad. You need to learn not to stab me. That’s all. It’s over.” I murmured. Eventually she calmed down, and I carried her, curled up in my arms with her bloody bear, back to her cell.

  14. “Guess no one cares what happens to the rest of you.”

    “Yeah, no kidding.”

    I took my usual seat in the prison cafeteria. Donny on my right, Marge on my left. Big Rhino, Tomfoolery, and Sampson in front of me. Six to a table. Prison life isn’t so bad, we all get along pretty well here. Those of us who act tough do, at least. After all, no one wants to talk to those rude bastards who don’t.

    Looking at her made me want to vomit. Now, I’ve seen some terrifying shit but this took the cake. She had a frilly pink dress on, a sparkly princess lunch-box, and these big, adorable, sad eyes. What kind of disgusting freak dresses like that? The guards escorting her in were pale-faced and nervous as hell. Their tattooed faces were caked with tears, their bulky arms were shaking, and their green mohawks seemed to droop. Honestly, I felt bad for them. It’s been a long time since our prison has seen someone this evil.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m no average convict. None of us are. I’m in for mass-murder. I keep with my ilk, we call ourselves the Altruists. We kill with kindness; it’s a heinous crime. Still though, I do my best to fit in. When I first got here, I was the nicest guy around. It got lonely, being on top. So I grew my hair out, tore off my sleeves, and filled my skin with ink. No one’s afraid of me, but at least I have friends.

    When that little girl approached our table, I had no idea what to do. She’s just on a whole other level from me. Sure, I was a pretty nice guy once, but everything about her was just too much. I turned to Donny for advice, but he was gone. I realized then that my buddies had run away. All of them. It was just me, and this little girl.

    “E-excuse me, mister? I’m really s-scared, can you, um, help me, pwease?”

    That was the last thing I heard before I passed out.

  15. As the time passes night falls the ringing of a bell and the usual shouting orders you to return to your cells.

    Today is quieter than usual. Lights got out and you find yourself laying in bed wondering who she might be and what atrocities she had committed, a voice reaches out with similar questions. The man next cell starts narrating what you end up finding the most cruel mass homicide you’ve ever dreamt of imagining, apparently even though she looked like a 9 year old kid had been alive for quite some time and mentored the biggest mass murderers in recent history. Her name?

    Albert Einstein.

    sidenote: just wanted to make a good ol’ joke bue ended up giving half way through and rushing the buildup. sry about my english too

  16. As it always happens the lights are all switched on all at once blinding everyone for a minute or so. There is no sunlight here and more often then not we can’t even tell what time it is without the room clocks. We haven’t had a new prisoner here in months considering the limited amount of criminals that are a violent as those contained here. We know we aren’t getting released unless we are dead so new prisoners are always a treat.
    After being rolled called and lined up the Boss Warden strolls in. Trailing him is a child. A child that already looks half dead, lumbering like someone who’s been forced into a room for stretches of time. “that’s cruel” I whisper to a guard. “I agree” and then he mumbles “Guess no one cares what happens to the rest of you.”Confused, I simply stare at the child rather unsure if it really beings here with us serial offenders.
    When we turn to roll back into our hellhole pits line up in front of our doors waiting for them to slide open when we here a struggle happening between the guards and the child.
    Eyes flashing all of the prisoners in the room tense up sensing the child’s intent. Swiftly she sweeps the guard holding her slamming him into the ground. To the side of him now she grapples for his handcuff key and effortlessly unlocks her chains on her hands and ankles. Now she pops up quickly surmising an escape route in her mind but before she can dash off one of the other prisoners grabs onto her. I blink stunned to startled to move condition by this prison to not act unless given the order to do so. To stop it would only heighten the violence because her the usually don’t hold you, they kill you. Right on time, we hear shots nail holes into space around the child’s feet. It’s holding a knife painted with blood, a knife I assumed she stole from the officer who was now also lying dead. Eyes glinting like marbles it stands up and runs straight at me.

    Oh shit, are my final thoughts as I feel the blade slice through my abdomen.

  17. The doors opened, and a little girl walked in.

    They shut, the guards at the doors looked in, but didn’t say anything, there was nothing to say. They knew what was coming, heard it from other guards, at other prisons. They couldn’t stop it, no one could, but the judge said her sentence was to be carried out, so it would be, as much as it could be.

    When the doors shut, the cafeteria went silent, even more silent than it usually was, dead silent. The men and women with their scars and missing limbs stared at the girl as she walked towards the food counter. She was short, barely came up to the knees of the shortest human. Three inches above the knee, as her people would say. Her ears were a bit pointy, and she definitely wasn’t a child, her body proportions were that of an adult; a very short adult.

    She hopped towards the food counter, humming as she wen, “hmm hmm hmm hm hm hm hm, la la la la de do da da”, piled a heap of greasy meat onto a paper disk, and went to find a seat. She didn’t notice the stares, didn’t hear the silence, didn’t care, she was too cute to care.

    Killer, that wasn’t his name, but it may as well have been. He was huge, over eight feet tall, and all muscle, he saw the little shit, heard her too, couldn’t stand the humming. He crunched his hands into a fist, everybody else knew that wasn’t good, they knew he’d pop her head off if she didn’t stop. Knew, because he’d done it before, several times.

    She stopped, on the other side of his table, hopped up onto the bench, slammed her food onto the table, and started chowing into it, loudly, while talking, with her mouth open, full of food, gravy dripping out of her mouth.

    “Hi, I’m Zewwy, wh aw you?” Sluuuhuurp, his face deepens into a frown, turns red “wut happened to yo face, dat scaw wooks punny.” He straitens up, tightens his muscles. Munch munch “Aw you oK?”

    “La leee la leee la, whooOOOooo.”

    Wham, his fist shoots across the table, right into her gut, and sends her flying across the room into a wall. She didn’t flinch from the hit, got stuck to the wall for a bit, then slides down, like she’s used to it, she’s angry, mad, furious, you can tell, because she’s silent.

    She walks to the food counter, climbs up onto it with practiced ease, picks up a food bin and sticks it upside down on her head, like a helmet, the food spills out all over her, makes a mess on the floor, she picks up a plastic rubberized serving spatula, it looks giant in her tiny hands, and starts to rant at the top of her lungs, aimed at the giant in the corner.

    “WHY YOU WITTL FWEAK, WUT DA ‘ELL WUZ DAT FOW.” Flecks of spittle fly out of her mouth, her voice cascades across the room like a shockwave, the whole room jumped, nobody was expecting this. She pumps her arms up and down like a psycho, screaming now, no words, growling, then noise. “AAAHHGRGAGGHHAGAHGR!!!!”

    She stops, sucks in a breathe of air, lets it out, she’s calm now, deceptively so, she reaches down and grabs a chunk of supposedly edible foodstuff “take dis you giant fweak” and hurls it across the room.

    It lands on the giant, right in his face, he isn’t happy, he never was, but now he’s angry too. He stands up and shoves a dozen people out of the way. He rushes towards the girl, howling, reaches out to grab her, but she’s gone.

    She’s standing at his feet, kicks him in the leg as he steps in, he’s knocked over and sent plowing straight into the food, it explodes into the air, lands on other inmates nearby. They don’t like it, not one bit, there’s almost complete silence, “Wow, you made da pood aspolddie good, I wike spwodies” she ran around in circles and let loose the kind of high pitched squeal that only a little girl could.

    The room exploded, fists exploded into faces, someone tore a bench off and sent it flying through the air, it tore through a neck and pinned a body to the wall, blood sloshed across the floor like a tsunami.

    Hands and arms and feet and fist tore at bodies and faces and limbs, and at the center danced the girl. Kind of like the potty dance, except that this was like a spring suddenly let loose. She hopped back and forth, side to side, ran through the crowd, throwing kicks and punches into knees and calves, shins and ankles. Screaming at the top of her lungs, she picked up forks and knives and spoons, whatever she could a hold of, even dismembered limbs, and wielded them like weapons as only an expert could.

    Inmates lucky enough to be near the doors found themselves not so lucky, there were dozens of guards there, holding the door shut, they knew better than to let the little girl out. They tried to fight back, but the girl bounced back and forth to fast to catch, they had their balls torn off and held up like trophies, died screaming.

    When the last body hit the floor, only the little girl remained. Splattered in blood, covered in organs and food, her now dented helmet lay trashed in a corner, makeshift weapons strewn across the floor, the little girl stood. She stood their, completely naked, dropped the broken bit of bench she was holding as a shield onto the floor, put a plastic knife into someones hand, pointed at him and said “he stawted it” stepped to the side “I didn’t do nuffin, I sweawsies!” crossed her heart “honest!, cwoss my poow wittle heawt, hope to die, I didn’t do nuffin.”

    After a few seconds, the guards opened the door, they marched her, carefully, silently, didn’t dare to touch her, down to solitary.

    It was a tiny gray cell, full of nothing but a piss hole, she sat on the floor, looked left, looked right, didn’t have anything to do, whistled for a bit, sat their waiting, nothing happened, the silence clawed at her mind.

    She was screaming, clawing at the walls and the door, banging her head into the concrete, screaming and screaming and screaming, she couldn’t take it, hadn’t even been a minute.

    Outside the prison, a few days later, a chunk of concrete fell free, the little girl was chewing on the wall, eating the concrete, as a member of the only known species to be able to digest anything, she thought it tasted pretty good, for concrete. After nom-nomming on the last bit in her way, she jumped out, but never hit the ground.

    A hand gloved in black, belonging to a nine foot tall elf, who was dressed completely in black, complete with black lenses, grabbed the little girl by the face, and lifted her up, to eye level. She had long pointy ears and a sword strapped to her back, guns of every sort hanging on the inside of her long black trench coat.

    “Hi Vwana, it’s nice to see you again” she tittered, “I swear I didn’t just bweak out ob a high max secuwity pwison, dis idn’t wat it wooks wike, pinky pwomise” she squeaked, offering her pinky to the woman holding her head in a death grip.

    “Zelly, what the fuck is wrong with you?” she growled in a low voice. “Don’t answer that, I’ve been looking all over the bloody universe for you, and here you are in the middle of nowhere getting tossed from prison to prison, and carving inmates up like an uncontrollable little shit.”

    “Weeeeeww —” her head crushed into the wall “Urk” felt her body crunch under Vrana’s fist.

    “I don’t wanna fucking hear it, Zelly, I almost want to throw you out an airlock and leave you to die, but–”

    “Dat won’t kiw me, you know daaaat” In a sing songy voice.

    “Whatever, we’ve got a job I need you for” she dragged the girl across the ground, towards her ship, black of course, strapped her into a seat more tightly than was strictly necessary with crash webbing, stuffed a sock into her mouth to stifle the unbearably discordant humming, and lifted off the barren wasteland of a planet that only barely deserved the title.

  18. I couldn’t believe that a little girl was put in with adult prisoners, even if she committed a serious crime. I mean, I’m no innocent, but I’ve still got standards. I watched as Adrianne Williams was escorted past my cell.

    “What did she do?” I asked the guard.

    “Hacked an old lady to death,” he said. My eyes widened, and I searched my brain looking for a reason someone who wasn’t even in their double digits would do that.

    “Why?”

    “Dunno. But she scared everybody at her trial. When she got the sentence, she threatened to dismember everyone in the courtroom.”

    “Wow.”

    “Yeah.” I heard a cell door close. *How bad can she be?* I wondered.

    During breakfast, I couldn’t help but look at Adrianne. She was clad in a small orange jumpsuit, and ate the slop like she didn’t have a care in the world. It was bizarre seeing a little girl act like this in a prison, even if she had been a homicidal maniac. What also struck me was how her entire table was empty besides her. I got up, but before I could walk anywhere, John Livingston grabbed my arm.

    “What are you doing?”

    “I was gonna go see Adrianne Williams.”

    “*Are you crazy*?” he whispered. “I talked to Morse, the guy who’s cellmates with her, and he freaked out.”

    “He did? I didn’t see it.”

    “It was quiet, but he was scared.”

    “Morse? Didn’t he beat a guy to death with his bare hands?”

    “That’s why I remembered it. He didn’t say what she told him, but if a guy like him could freak out over a 9-year-old, then I figured it’s best not to talk about it.” I looked at her once more, and she looked back. Her stare drilled into me, and I could see that if she had the chance, she would kill me. I sat back down, and I tried not to look, but curiosity got the better of me. When I looked up again, she pulled her finger across her neck, and mouthed, “You.”

  19. Imprisoned, against our will, just waiting to be summoned and forced to fight to the death for the entertainment of those above. This is our existence.

    The funniest part? We could die, up there in their world, but it never stuck. We were seemingly trapped in this cycle for eternity.

    They call us champions, but in reality, we are slaves. Sometimes they forced us to fight in a costume, if the one summoning us could afford it.

    There’s a lot of us prisoners down here, and the number constantly grows.. What started as a few has turned into well over a hundred.

    Every few months or so, a new face is thrown down here. Hailing from some unknown land, supposedly possessing some unique ability to be exploited for the entertainment of those above.
    I had never seen those who we are compelled to fight for, and entertain. But I’ve heard unpleasant whispers.

    Life down here between summons was dull, I spent most of my time sharpening my blades.

    Death could not enter the prison that held us, so fights were usually a rarity.

    Except last week there was an incident, a pretty interesting one in fact.

    Yeah, the other day I was woken up by the loud sound of the prison door slamming shut. This only meant one thing, a new “champion” was joining us.

    I got up and looked towards the door, as my eyes cleared, I couldn’t believe my eyes..

    A young human girl stood in the corner. She couldn’t of been more than 8 years old. Had they gone mad? This was egregious, even for them. What place could a young human girl have amongst our violent bunch?

    But there she stood, clutching a teddy bear in fear. Eyes glued at the ground.

    It wasn’t long before another prisoner approached her, probably sensing her vulnerability.

    I stood and observed.

    It was prisoner 556, some “soldier” from Bandle City, or so he called himself. I had not faced him in battle yet, but he was an annoying little twat.

    “Hi!” He greeted her in what appeared to be a friendly manner, but from the rumors I’ve heard about this prisoner, his appearance was not to be taken lightly.

    “Where are you from!?” He continued, circling the young human, who despite her young age was slightly taller than he was.

    “Why so quiet?” He poked her, her expression did not change, but she slowly backed further into the corner.

    “Whatcha got there!?” He pointed toward the one eyed teddy bear, she was clutching for dear life.

    “Can I see it?” Still she offered no response. His frustration grew.

    “Fine, if that’s how you’re going to be.” He reached for the bear, grabbing it by it’s hand.

    “No!!!” She looked up, with a tear in her eye.

    “I just want to see your toy!” He yanked the bear.

    “No!” She commanded back.

    They quickly devolved into a tug of war. The rat’s strength began to overpower the young girls. I unsheathed my dagger, I’m no hero, but she was helpless.

    “Let go of tibbers.” She yanked with all her might, but it wasn’t enough, she was losing her grip.

    “What was that?” The little rodent soldier laughed and pulled harder on the bear. The young girl was losing her grip.

    “LET! GO! OF! TIBBERS!”

    The scream was piercing, I couldn’t believe my eyes. IN A BALL OF FIRE THE BEAR GREW 10 TIMES IN SIZE. IT PICKED UP THE RODENT SOLDIER. THE YOUNG GIRL, NOW WITH A BALL OF FIRE IN HER HAND, BLASTED THE RODENT ACROSS THE ROOM.

    His helmet made a *clank* as it hit the wall, he scurried to his feet and retreated back towards his cell.

    As quickly as the bear grew, it shrank and flew back into her hand. She gave the bear a kiss and she skipped down the hall…

    I made a mental note, never touch her bear…

  20. Double taking, I glanced at the guard. Wondering when he was gonna drop the punch line.
    “Is it April? It’s April 1st isn’t it!” I muttered quietly, knowing It wasn’t, but asking anyways.
    My mind just couldn’t get a lock on this. It scrabbled for an explanation, but couldn’t find one. This was something that just shouldn’t be, an impossibility.
    But there she was. A real live, pony tail wearing fragment of the impossible. Defying reason and being lead across the mess hall in a rediculously over sized jump suit and shackles, surrounded by no less than 8 guards in full riot gear.
    *Jesus, What the hell did they think she was capable off!?*
    I realised then just how quiet the place had gotten, how id forgotten to breath myself at some point.
    Correctional officer Paterson seemed just as shaken, perhaps more so.
    “We just had Christmas….” he whispered. “I… I thought they were joking!… This is….” He trailed off, shooting me a couple of quick glances, shaking his head in disbelief.
    The insane procession below had made its way across the hall to the east security door by now and had just disapeared through it. The loud click and boom of the giant door sealing shut. echoeing in their wake, fracturing the silence, but not yet breaking it.
    After a while, From across the room, senior officer Jenson wrapped his baton hard on one of the tables and called out
    ” let’s go, you bunch of animals! Nothing else to see… Lunch is over in 15 and Danniel’s wants those plates licked clean! Quit your day dreaming and get to it”
    And like the bursting of a bubble, The room exploded. Cries ofAnger and disbelief mixing together with the clangs and crashes of plates and cups being banged or thrown. A few tables were flipped over and fights broke out.
    That’s the funny thing about prisons, i thought. There was still a delicate order at play. A silent understanding amongst the demons trapped here that defied all else.
    As violent and evil as these souls were, however tough or what ever greivances they had. There were a few things that touched a nerve in even the coldest of hearts.
    That little girl just shouldn’t be here! This was wrong, there was a huge mistake here, someone needed to fix this!
    So many of the inmates here had children on the outside. This little girl could be one of their daughters. I myself had a little girl somewhere, nodoubt sitting in class right now, learning her numbers.
    “What just happened?” I asked Paterson, my mind finally recovering some traction.
    “And what did you mean before? With the comment about them not caring about what happens to the rest of us?”
    Paterson just stared mutely at the pandemonium below as though I’d not spoken at all.
    “Paterson, what the hell! What the hell just happened! Who was that little girl!?”
    He turned his eyes upon me and I could see the horror in them.
    Holy mother of God, but he looked frightened!
    This man dealt with the most dangerous people on the planet on a daily basis. Hell, i’d seen him stare down serial killers without flinching. Tackle the biggest and meanest bullies in this place as though they were nothing special. You needed nerves of steel to even consider working in a place like this. What could possibly be bad enough to warrant that haunted look in his eyes?
    When at last he spoke, his tone was flat.
    “I thought they were messing with me, they said they’d seen it on the news… But… It can’t be…” Paterson, shook himself and seemed to regain his composure some.
    “Look… I should get down there, its getting ugly…” He said, turning to leave.
    “Paterson! Wait! Who was that girl?!” I demanded, the man’s fear infecting me.
    He stopped and said over his shoulder.
    ” They say she… She killed everyone at her school… 107 people!.. With her… with her bare hands…!” He trailed off for a moment as though stunned by his own words. How rediculous they sounded. He resumed again, his voice shaking
    “They found her family, Torn apart…blood and parts everywhere… The family pets…”
    He trailed off. Just standing their with his back to me.
    “Bullshit!” I said, thinking that clearly he was pulling my leg. Wondering again when the punch line would fall.
    “Ain’t no way a little girl of what… 9 years old? Ain’t no way a 9 year old little girl did any of that stuff… Stop messing with me and tell me what’s going on!”
    Paterson turned back to me but couldn’t look me in the eyes.
    “Didn’t you recognise her?” He whispered.
    I felt my blood freeze.
    “What do you mean…. Recognise…”
    Patterson’s eyes met mine.
    “She’s your daughter, Mitchel. That little girl is your daughter!”

  21. “That’s cruel.” *I commented to Pete. My handler.*

    “I agree.” *He shook his head, his hand cautiously on his baton as he tracked her with his eyes.* “Guess no one upstairs cares what happens to the rest of you.”

    *I gave him a look. He wasn’t joking by how stiff he looked.*

    “What’s the story?” *I asked. He seemed to shudder at that bit.*

    “I don’t want to talk about it.” *Pete withheld. Walking off as she stepped into her cell. I caught a glimpse of her name tag: Kona N.* “I’m just glad I’m changing posts Bruce.”

    *I returned to my bunk inside my cell and retrieved my earpiece from my false molar, putting it in my ear.*

    “Alfred, you there?”

    “Master Wane.” *Alfred responded.* “I do hope you have a plan to get out of this mess.”

    “Do we have any files on a Kona N?” *I ignored his worrying.*

    “Let me check.” *Alfred said as his keystrokes on the bat-computer indicated his search.* “Kona Nox, thirty years old, born in Hong Kong. Killed her parents only after she… ugh, combined their bodies with advanced surgical techniques at the ripe age of fifteen.”

    “What details do we have on her since then?” *I inquired.*

    “A lot of information locked away by China.”

    “But we have it.” *I pressed*

    “…yes.” *Alfred responded.* “I can’t say I like hacking a foreign country. following the event, she joined up a group of criminal anarchists as they tore across the Chinese countryside before dropping off the map a few years following a major defeat and reappeared in Texas where she Cadmus chased her up near Gotham and separated her from her group, leading to her incarceration today.”

    *I knew that last bit. Cadmus had called in a favor. Waller hated calling in favors unless they were desperate. They hadn’t been very forthcoming about the whole situation.*

    “Alfred who were the other members of her group?” *I queried.*

    “Do you want names? Descriptions?”

    “Alfred.”

    “A. Ostrum, of Zurich Germany fifty eight. Allegedly chopped himself into pieces and encased himself in a porcelain shell of sorts. This the name porcelain. The last reports of him described him in literal pieces.

    “An unknown who looks remarkably like killer croc… if he had eyes along his body and a mess of limbs. No confirmed age or origin. Alleged regenerative abilities have earned him the title scab. Supposedly he was turned to glass by some Cadmus weapon, and put of the picture.

    “Ciera, no last name or origin. Wears a pvc bodysuit and is frequently referred to as mute rider for the silent motorcycle she drives. The reports are conflicting but there is mention of having no head. Has been rumored to be a courier in Texas.

    “Haruna wantanabe, Japan thirty six. Has the paranormal ability to light herself on fire and become living flame. Supposedly takes joy in sharing her ‘beauty’ with others. Aliased firestarter.

    “Yui kinsuo, also Japan, thirty three. Has a voice which can resonate with silicon to manipulate it similar to telekinesis. By the looks of her outfit made of glass, she has fairly fine control. She’s Heralded as songbird.

    “And finally Mao Nox, Kona’s cousin forty, born in Japan. I can’t read a lot of this or get much information that doesn’t conflict, but he is frequently placed as the head of the group. Referred to as the hyaena. He’s the most normal looking of them all.”

    *A scream of terror from across the prison distracted me, and I stood to see what the matter was, the inmates nearby were throwing up as I looked on at the result.*

    *an inmate who had wandered into her cell wasn’t dead. Worse. His insides were neatly rearranged outside of his body. His intestines wrapped around his neck and stretched over his oral cavity, his jaw split into mandibles split to make more room. His lungs now hung from his eye sockets as his eyes dangled from the liver that hung like a tie from his trachea.*

    *The girl, who looked no older than fifteen giggled with lidless eyes as she spun a crudely made plastic shiv in one hand, and a splinter with a thread trailing from the inmates shirt.*

    *In the time I had been talking to Alfred, this girl had rearranged the man’s organs. I understood why Alfred was being a bit unsettled by the history. Waller was right to call in batman, but I wasn’t confident I could save everyone.*

  22. The holding cell was small enough for the four of us, but Terrance had heard whispers that a fifth was on their way. Regardless of what we said in court, we’d all done something to earn our way here. I didn’t know what the other men’s crimes were, and quite frankly, I didn’t care to. This facility was for especially violent criminals, it made prison look like a damn day at the spa.

    I won’t say I was innocent, because I definitely wasn’t. But I hadn’t meant for things to go the way they had… I hadn’t known they’d show up with so much back up. There’d been so much blood… at the very least, I took grim satisfaction in the fact that none of the blood had been mine, and so what if there was blood–lives–on my hands? The life of a man, even mine, was nothing compared to that of my daughter. And if we never met again? Well, she’d be a better woman without me.

    “The new inmate is coming,” Said Terrance, sitting down on a hard bench against one of the concrete walls. Everything about this place was hard–the walls, the people, the mattresses.

    “What do you know about him?” I asked the other three men.

    “All I know is that I heard the guards talking about him the other day… they said this inmate’s got a past. That the other prisoner’s he’s been with have either killed themselves or confessed just to get away from him.” A chill set over the holding cell at Janus’ words.

    This facility didn’t hold tax evaders or petty theft. We were the big dogs. An inmate who could make other prisoners confess in fear? I eyed Janus. He was the biggest guy in the cell by far. Russian to the core, a he had a scar practically dividing his face from, he said, a man who “didn’t try hard enough” to kill him.

    From the hallway came the heavy shuffling of the guards’ industrial-grade boots and the always eerie sound of clanking chains.

    After what felt like a prison sentence by itself, they finally came into view.

    In the center of the muscled mass of four guards was a girl. A little girl. Maybe 12. She didn’t have the aura of the usual prisoners–beaten down and depressed. Instead, she bounced on the balls of her feet, her long dark hair, split into pigtails, skipping on her shoulders. Her prison-issued tunic and pants were the kind of drab everything in this hellhole was, and though our garb was spotted with conspicuous sweat stains and the odd food spillage, hers was spotless but for a two mishappen rust-colored patches on knees–like she’d been kneeling in blood.

    Her skin was sallow, like she hadn’t seen sunlight in days, if not weeks, but her eyes were the same warm brown as my daughter’s, and they danced all over our small cell. She was as delicate as a bird, all joints and sharp angles with a sharp intelligence behind her eyes.

    “That’s cruel,” I murmured to the guard.

    His eyes flicked up to meet mine, “I agree. I guess no one cares what happens to the rest of you.”

    Not for the first time that day, I felt shivers crawl up my spine.

    With a hasty shove, the guards pushed the girl into our holding cell. We all gave her a wide berth as she approached one of the lower bunks. With a hop, she found herself sitting cross-legged in its center, her slight weight not even bowing the mattress.

    It was Janus who broke first. Maybe he had a little girl at home, maybe he had a sliver of humanity left in him, I don’t know. He knelt before her, not touching her, and said, “You’re going to be okay, little bird.”

    What she said next would be the end of all of us, the word spilling from her lips easily–if only we’d known it wouldn’t stop.

    The girl tilted her head, locking eyes with Janus, and said, “Why?”

    The girl has been with us for two weeks. I guess I shouldn’t say “us” anymore. I’m the only one left. I wish I’d realized her eyes were nothing like my sweet daughter’s, no, this demon’s eyes were endless holes leading to hell itself. I wanted to say I’d lasted this long by thinking of my family, staying strong for them, but the reality of it is that I’d lasted this long because of the cotton pillow filling stuffed into my ears.

    Ever since Janus had first spoken to her, the girl hadn’t stopped speaking. Maybe it wouldn’t have been so bad if she’d said coherent sentences, but the only word she spoke was “Why.” Sometimes whispered, sometimes screamed, but it was always coming–in response to anything from if she was hungry to the utter silence of the holding cell.

    Janus was the first to go. He killed himself in the night. He knew that even if he confessed, he’d forever be stuck in this prison, no jury in heaven or hell would set him back into the world. His death was the worst. Until the day I day, I will never forget the sound of a human skull willingly being struck onto concrete.

    Next were Terrance and Peter. They confessed to everything. For Terrance, his death was inevitable, he told us as he willingly went into the guards’ arms that he’d take the chair over the girl any day.

    Now it just was me and the litte bird girl. With the stuffing in my ears it wasn’t so bad. My arraignment was only a month away, if I could last until then… maybe I’d stand a chance at being placed in a different cell, at the very least.

    Tears streamed down my face as the guards walked me back to the cell shared by the little bird. I’d pled guilty. I had cried, begged, and screamed to be placed anywhere but here. Hell would be a respite. I’d been denied.

    “No one has ever lasted as long as you… and based on your crimes,” The judge had shrugged here. “Last two years, maybe one, if you behave, and this will have been sentence enough.”

  23. “What is Kapu Kuialua?” Dyson asked as he stared at the giant list of strange text listed under the girl’s skills.

    “Ahh, that’s a Hawaiian martial art which specializes in bone breaking.” VonHolt responded from his workstation.

    “And kyusho-jitsu?”

    VonHolt typed things up on his monitor. “That’s the Japanese art of striking pressure points, especially lethal ones.”

    “The next five on this list all look similar.”

    “Various Shaolin martial art styles.”

    Dyson grimaced in unease. “At least she’s not a Ninja.”

    “Actually her list of skills include Tokagure Ryu, which is a Ninja style.”

    “Jesus.” Dyson looked dismal. “She looks like she’s thirteen.”

    “Fifteen, but she looks younger due to her Asian heritage.”

    “She’s capable of extreme levels of violence, but how… why is she here?”

    VonHolt pushed his horn rimmed glasses up. “Those two questions are tied together with her history.” His fingers danced across his keyboard and Dyson could see the refelction of text scroll across the lenses. “She’s been trained since she was five years old by an ancient order called the Dark Lotus to do some extremely bad things.”

    Dyson looked over from where he was manacled against the wall. He was in the most secretive and secure prison which was ever built. No one ever escaped. He was surrounded by twelve heavily armored and armed officers. They watched him closely. They paid attention to the clipboard he held. “What type of bad things? My level bad?”

    “Dyson, this girl murdered world rulers, killed a highly trained SWAT team, and murdered the members of her own secret society when they refused her request.”

    “She sounds like a pure psychopath. Takes one to know one right? Did this Dark Lotus just pick her for that quality?”

    VonHolt smirked. “I brought you here so that you could help evaluate new prisoners. How do you rate her?” He turned a monitor around to show Dyson video footage compiled from body and security cameras. The girl in question killed over fourty police including SWAT team members before she sat down and quietly surrended. She was lethality and grace. Half the dead were by her bare hands, the other half from various weapons.

    “Well I do love Asian girls, but she’s a bit young. And she’s probably the most lethal of any of your prisoners. I wouldn’t want to tangle with her.”

    “What you do isn’t love, it’s murder.” VonHolt dropped all pretense of being cordial.

    “Got it. I’m supposed to stay away from this one, otherwise she’ll kill me. I see why you’ve got me up here now, Warden.”

    “As to your question. The Dark Lotus didn’t just grab her to train her because they knew she’d be a psychopath. They also trained her because her lineage is full of geniuses, her personal I.Q., and the fact that at the young age of five she witnessed the savage and bloody murder of her mother and two aunts at the hand of a deranged individual by the name of Claude Dyson. She let herself get caught so she could get in. She’s here for you.”

  24. ACCESSING DATABASE…

    DATA BASE ACCESSED INPUT SECURITY CREDENTIALS…

    OMEGA EPSILON SECURITY CLEARANCE RECOGNIZED PULLING EVENT LOG: INCIDENT A39 HALCYON…

    [ *The following is the interview log of prisoner D2758, one of the survivors of incident A39 Halcyon. Accessing, transferring, or disseminating this information without proper clearance is punishable by immediate termination* ]

    Interviewer: Please state your prisoner number and reason for incarceration.

    D2758: Prisoner number D2578, incarcerated at [REDACTED] enhanced containment center on 7 counts of espionage, 4 counts of assassination of a political figure, 1 count of being an unshackled AMP.

    Interviewer: Please state your AMP designation for the record.

    D2758: B29 Vitriol.

    Interviewer: Please state the events of 1/X/XXXX as clearly as you can remember them beging with that morning if you can.

    D2758: It started off as a normal day in the AMP wing, guards seemed a little on edge but that’s what happens when you watch over a bunch of atrocities for a living. Then they brought “her” in.

    Interviewer: You mean A39 Halcyon?

    D2758: Yes. She was small, no more that 4 1/2 feet tall, short hair, small frame, hunched posture, like she was trying to hide her face. At first I thought it was a joke or maybe another mind fuck to try and get us to snap. After all why the hell would anyone put a kid in a place like this. I looked over at one of the guards and he had this….look on his face like he felt sorry.

    Interviewer: For A39?

    D2578: For us, didn’t take long to figure out why.

    Interviewer: What happened next.

    D2578: ( *four second delay in response followed by a one second spike in local [REDACTED] levels. After spike subsides D2578 begins to speak* ) Sorry, it…it’s been touchy lately. They didn’t even get that thing to its cell before it went berserk. I remember the guard that was closest to her, the whole right side of his body was just gone, not ripped off, not crushed, just like it was never even there. The way she took down those guards, at least 3 she didn’t even touch. And it wasn’t just guards, R35, L22, G106, all of them, dead. And R35 wasn’t a pushover.

    Interviewer: What were you doing the incident?

    D2578:I hid. Or at least I tried to, I was built to kill sure but not in a stand up fight. Last thing I remember was screaming followed by a flash of purple-ish light and the next thing I knew my [REDACTED] kicked back on and revived me. I tired to [REDACTED] but fortunately I was gone. I surrendered to your recovery team and they brought me here.

    Interviewer: Thank you D2578 that will be all.

    [END LOG]

  25. Cold floor, loud voices, constantly being pushed forward by brutal uncaring shepherds bent on driving their herd. A low whisper, this one is confused. Never seen a child in such a place. Will remember him. Lock eyes. Yes. Will remember him well. Ill-placed concern. Do think it will fare better?
    Shoved hard, quick glance, interloper thinks a toy… we’ll see. In time. Cuffs tearing arms, almost time. “What is a child doing in the sarcophagus Phil?”. Hmmf, so that’s where I am, the most secure prison in the 13 realities. Guess the other 12 were afraid….good. “I know what you mean Nah-Zin, it’s almost like they intend to kill everyone here, better hope the pall stays lit.”
    The pall, is that it? Not enough. Shoved again, guard is brave. Respect that. Teach lesson later. Soon.

    “So they actually recovered a cube? How did anything survive that, let alone a cube?” I don’t know, Gim, I just don’t know. The pall should’ve kept the exers in line.” Do they know how many died, Tov?” “No, the report said they haven’t gotten a full account since it shattered the rift entirely. No real way to tell if anyone survived.” “Maybe the cube was left behind so someone can fix it.” “Or…. as a warning…”

  26. Nearly everyone had come to watch her as she was admitted. She was kept separate from the other inmates, with a transport entirely to herself loaded with special countermeasures. There was a morbid kind of silence over the yard as she was brought in, the kind that came from knowing we had all been sentenced to death.

    “This is cruel,” I muttered, horrified. I was not the only one speaking. A wave of whispers was traveling through the crowd. All of our hearts thudded in our chests. Any minute now and the bloodbath would start. Had it already started? With her, there was no way to be sure until it was too late.

    “They don’t care what happens to the rest of us,” someone nearby said. One of the guards, I think. I’d done my best to keep myself against one of the walls – maybe if I were lucky she’d get to me last? She would probably be bored at that point anyway and just use me for parts. Not like the women at the front of the crowd. I shuttered to even imagine what she was going to do to them. “How is she even here?” the same voice asked in disbelief.’

    The crowd went silent again as the girl herself appeared. After minutes of terrified anticipation, it was almost disappointing. There was none of the perfect blond ringlets and cheerful smiles the news reports had shown sporadically the last few years. Her hair had been cut short into a messy bob, the ends ragged and uneven as if she had done it herself. She was certainly not smiling, her mouth was set into a hard line. Instead of the eerily intent gaze she had before, her blue eyes were vague and focused on the ground. The orange jumpsuit was baggy and pinned in places, many sizes too big for her. She had dark circles under her eyes and looked thinner and bonier than she had in any of the newsreels.

    There was a very long moment while the crowd waited for her to act, for the blood to start flowing, for people to start dropping. Instead of stopping, addressing the crowd, or ending this charade and starting the slaughter her group had been named for, the girl kept walking, her eyes fixed on the pavement in front of her. The crowd parted noiselessly before her as she moved across the yard. No one dared to speak, in fear that it would earn them her attention.

    My mind was filled with the guard’s last question, endlessly repeating. How was she even here? The prison was designed to hold capes, of course, though most of us were just normal violent offenders. But people like her, like her little ‘family,’ they weren’t the kind of capes you put in prison. Any prison. They were the kind of person you killed on sight and got hundreds of thousand dollars bounty and a pat on the back from the government for making the world a better place.

    She didn’t look like a killer. She looked like the kind of pathetic, obviously abused homeless girl you saw all the time in the bad cities, especially after the Morning. Or maybe she looked more like a killer now? I knew from experience, it was all too easy to go from broken teenager to violent criminal if you fell in with the wrong group, or made a friend with the wrong sort of power. That was always what had been so unsettling about her. You expected people like Grahm or the clown to join the Nine. But a cute little white girl who looked like she had been ripped straight from a family-friendly sitcom? In a way it was easier to believe someone that looked like she did now had done what she had done. Even with all the changes, though, her rosy young face was still utterly recognizable.

    “Bonesaw,” I whispered and she stopped. I almost didn’t realize that I was the one who had spoken. When I did, my hands found my mouth and I tried to shove the word back down my throat. It was too late. She had heard. Somehow, all the way across the yard, she had heard me whisper her name. I backed up until I was pressed tight against the wall.

    She turned slowly to look at me, her eyes meeting mine. I sunk down to the ground as the crowd surged away from me. What was she going to do? Would I explode? Would she dissect me? Would I turn mindlessly on the other inmates in some sort of plague of blind violence? She had done all of them and worse before.

    Instead she took a deep breath and said, “I prefer ‘Riley.'” Her voice was clear over the complete silence of the yard. Then she turned to look back down at the ground and continued her walk over to a bench where she sat and did not move until it was time to return to our cells.

    _____________________________________________________

    Mostly written because of how many people mentioned Bonesaw without there being an actually story featuring her. For those interested, Bonesaw is a character from the mind-blowing webserial [Worm](https://parahumans.wordpress.com/).

  27. We had all seen her come in, and none of us had believed it. It was surreal, this little girl in with all of these gnarled old prisoners. When I asked a guard and he’d said no one cared what happened to us, I almost laughed in his face.

    But I want laughing anymore.

    This first couple days had been mostly normal, except everyone gave her a wide berth. But night 3, her cellmate hung himself.

    This shocked all of us, but we knew Jack had been losing his grip for weeks so we all shrugged it off. Next night, the new cellmate hung himself. He’d only been here a couple weeks and seemed to have his shit together. His death raised eyebrows.

    Over the next two weeks, another 8 inmates committed suicide, always the first or second night as her cellmate. One guy made it 3 nights before he had to be dragged out in a straight jacket, babbling nonsensically with a crazed look in his eyes.

    And here I stood looking into her cell, ever the picture of childlike innocence. Gap-toothed but beaming smile, adorable blond pigtails, feet swinging lazily over the edge of the bed. It was like a dream, or a horror movie.

    “You gotta go in Mack.” There was a gentle push of a nightstick in my back.

    “Guess I do, don’t I” and I stepped in as the door clanged shut behind me.

    I lay my few personal effects on the bunk and sat down. Her feet began swinging faster overhead and thumping against the steel frame.

    **”Could you please… not do that?”**

    *Why?*

    **Umm, I don’t know. It’s just kinda repetitive and annoying**

    *What’s repetitive?*

    **It’s, like, something that happens over and over again**

    *Oh, like how a faucet goes drip drip drip drip drip drip drip drip-*

    **YES** I took a deep breath and rubbed my eyes **Exactly like that**

    We sat in silence for a few minutes as she hummed softly to herself.

    *What’s your name?*

    **Mark, but everyone calls me Mack**

    *Like the cheeseburger?*

    **What?! No, not like the… Sure, kid. Like the cheeseburger.**

    *That’s really silly* she giggled histerically.

    After she settled down, the interrogation began anew.

    *Where are you from?*

    **Boston**

    *Where’s that?*

    **On the East Coast**

    *What’s a coast?*

    I took a deep breath and unclenched my fists, surprised I hadn’t realized they’d tightened in the first place.

    **It’s the edge of a country where it says water, like an ocean or a lake**

    *Oh, cool. Thanks Mack*

    **Sure kid, no problem**

    The buzzer sounded, and the lights began to snap off along the cell block until only a few dim “night lights” remained. The block was would quiet for several seconds.

    *Why is it dark?*

    **Because it’s bedtime.**

    *Why?*

    **Because it’s the end of the day.**

    *But why are some lights still on?*

    **Because some people are afraid of the dark.**

    *Why?*

    Sigh

    **Lots of reasons. It’s time to be quiet and go to sleep**

    *Will you tell me a story?*

    **No.**

    *Why not?*

    **Because it’s too late and I’m tired.**

    *Please?*

    **No.**

    *PLEASE!*

    **Not tonight, kid, geez!**

    *Please please please please please please please please please please please please please please-*

    From up the block a guard bellowed “shut the hell up!”

    *Ooooh, he said a bad word*

    Silence reigned, finally. Alone with my thoughts, a realization dawned on me. I was stuck here. With her. Tomorrow. And the next day. And the day after that. Suddenly I want tired. So I could hear was her small voice, questioning everything ceaselessly.

    *Mack?*

    **What, kid?**

    *I’m thirsty*

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as the winter Olympics begin….never forget about Surya Bonaly, a French figure skater who did a backflip and landed on one blade. she was so damn good at the trick, they made it illegal. she is the only Olympic figure skater in HISTORY to ever successfully complete the move. |TTI

ELI5: why is dry skin itchy? What specifically causes dry skin to be itchy? |TTI