Sunday, January 9, 2011

A late post

So, this week has been kind of hard for me. Without going into much detail, I've been trapped inside my mind throughout it all without hope of escape. What's so wrong about that? If any of you would ever see what's inside my mind, you would commend me solely for being able to cope with it each day.

Anyways, like usual Saturdays mean a new chapter of Ankoku no Ki. This weeks installment takes place about a week from the last chapter, just to keep you informed.
So, without boring you any longer, here it is....

Chapter 5
Breaking Point

            “AAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!” Rachel’s voice echoed against the walls of the dark room around her, much more a prison now than when she had first awoke to its confining walls. Sitting up in her bed, she exchanged her piercing scream for heavy breathing to work with the small beads of sweat upon her skin to signify the stress of her dream. Her eyes peered out into the surrounding darkness. The pain just keeps getting worse. Why is she doing this to me?
A ceiling light in the center of the ceiling suddenly burst into life as the room’s only door slammed hard against the adjacent wall, revealing a scene of the worried colonel. Rachel shut her eyes quickly to shield herself from the sudden onslaught of light.
“What’s wrong? What happened??” Col. John Stroyer asked quickly, his words drenched in concern.
“Nothing…” Rachel responded softly, her eyes finally adjusting to the light enough to gain a view of John’s white shirt, printed with a small Army’s logo over its breast pocket and a pair of beige khakis. His two guns had disappeared somewhere in the week between then and their first meeting.
“It sure as hell didn’t sound like noth—!”
“It was just a dream!” she snapped. “There’s nothing to worry about…” John sat down upon the bed, next to Rachel. He stared deeply into her tired, blue eyes. Why do I suddenly get the feeling that he’s staring into my soul?
“Do you want to talk about it?” he asked, his expression strange—wedged between compassion and uncertainty.
“No, I’m fine.”
“You know that we’re here to help you, right?”
“Yes, I’m aware of that.” I would sooner trust a convicted rapist… John sighed heavily and stood up sharply from his seat on the bed.
“Well, since it was obviously nothing,” he smiled down at her, “maybe we should start today’s exercises. That sounds fun, doesn’t it?” She scoffed at the colonel ruefully and drew her knees up, capturing them with her elbows.
“Will I have to run another two hours this time?” she asked sarcastically.
“Am I going to be strapped to more machines?” she continued without any notice of John’s words. “Or will I be forced to eat foods I don’t like. Or shown—”
“No, Rachel, I assure you, this time will be different. I promise you, if today goes well things will be better without those needless tests. You might even get a bigger room.” He laughed—his happy smile intent upon persuading her. Rachel let go of her knees and swung her legs drop over the side of the bed. After a disappointed sigh, she stood up slowly.
“None of that really matters anyways,” she said softly. “A prison is still a prison, no matter how big the bars are.”
* * * * * *
            “Where are we going?” asked Rachel, blinded by the heavy, black bag over her head. Along with the bag, restraints had been placed on her wrists—heavy metal shackles—which bounced lightly in front of her with each step. The only way she moved forward was by the colonel’s aide as he pushed her back lightly, slowly guiding her forward.
            “I told you when we left your room,” he responded lightly. “Today’s test involves you having ignorance to the situation until the time is right.”
            “But, why—?”
            “Oh, c’mon, life’s no fun without a few surprises. Am I right?” he chuckled loudly.
            Why do I have such a bad feeling about all of this? A small click collided with Rachel’s eardrum. “What was that??”
            “It was just the click of a door. We’re in a room now.”
            “Oh…Oka—” Suddenly, she felt the bottom of her shirt lifting up and a warm hand enter the new opening. Rachel tried to squirm away. “What the hell are you doing?!”
            “Relax, relax. I just need to put a small sensor over your heart. As always, it’s strictly part of the test, I promise.”
            Do I have a choice otherwise? “Alright, do it,” she said with a defeated sigh. Lifting her arms as far as her shackles would allow, she made room for the colonel to affix his sensor to the skin just above her left breast. She shuddered at the cold touch of the object.”
            “Alright, you’re good to go.” After a small click she felt her restraints drop from her wrists, followed by the click of the door as it closed loudly behind her.
            “John?” she asked, drawing no response from the empty air. With newly freed hands, she lifted the bag from over her head and stared at the dimly lit room around her. Suddenly she noticed the two sleeping timber wolves at the opposite end of the room. “What’s going on?!” she blurted out unthinkingly. The ears of one of the wolves perked up, causing Rachel’s skin to crawl with the fear flashing through her mind.  
Immediately, she spun around and tried the door, only to find it locked. Furiously, she began to pound on the hard surface of the door with her tightened fists with her heart pounding in double time to the frantic rhythm. “Let me out! Let me out!”  She yelled at the top of her lungs, her hands beginning to turn bright red and radiate with pain. “PLEASE! LET ME OUT!!!” After a few seconds, tiredness forced her hands to become still. Tears cascaded down her cheeks as she attempted to catch her breath. Slowly, a low growl rose above the audible beating of her heart. Timidly, she turned around to see both wolves snarling at her viciously, their sharp fangs dripping with saliva. More rapidly, her heart began to pound, shocks of pain spreading outward from her chest over her body. Her right hand went to her chest, clutching it as she began to hyperventilate.
The wolves began to advance forward, forcing Rachel to back up hard into the door and slide down until her butt slammed into the hard, tiled floor. She winced in pain.
Is this all still a test? Why is this happening to me?  The room around her began to darken at the corners of her vision as the wolves growled even louder. She could tell that they were hungry. Why must I suffer? One of the wolves lunged forward. Rachel squeezed her eyes shut, expecting to reach her mortality. Then, abruptly, her pain disappeared completely and her breathing evened. What’s going on? When she opened her eyes, she gained sight of a mature version of herself petting the attacking canine, frozen in the air only a foot from where she sat.
“Pre’y li’le thing, isn’t it?” the woman stated in her usual thick, cockney accent.
Eris!” Rachel spat, slowly raising herself to her feet using the door as leverage. “Why do you keep punishing me like this?!”
“Punishing you?!” the woman laughed. “I was surprised you remembered my name, but I guess your eyes just aren’t open yet, are they? Well, tough luck. Open them up! I wasn’t the one who led you into wolves’ den, was I?” With a casual swagger, she advanced towards Rachel, who now held guilt upon her face. “No, that’s the fault of those bastards keeping you prisoner here.”
“I know…”
“If you know, why do you still blame me, reject me?!”
“I’m too scared…”
“Are you serious?? You are, aren’t you?” She stopped directly in front of Rachel, staring into her clear-blue eyes with the dark chunks of charcoal which were her own. “Where’s the logic in denying yourself freedom from such fear?!”
“They want you, for some reason. I can’t let them—”
“Hun, they’ve been after me for as long as I can remember. They’ve no more surprises for me.” She placed her hand just above Rachel’s left breast. “Like this.” Ripping a portion out of Rachel’s shirt, the woman tore the sensor from off of her skin and crushed it in her hand. Rachel stared at her in uncertainty. Sparks flew from the crushed sensor. “If you di’n’t know. This electrode was meant to go off the second I stepped into the light.”
“Why…?” Rachel whispered in shock.
“I’m a guardian, and they want what I’m guarding.”
“Did time really stop then?” Rachel addressed the wolves.
“Time is meaningless, my dear. The only thing that’s standing still is the world you see. This won’t last though, you’re mind is too strained as it is. So choose quickly. Will you give up your fear and receive my help, or let hose beasts maul you?” Eris pointed back at the two timber wolves poised to attack.
“Is that even a choice?” The woman smiled. Slowly the woman began to fade and a wave of pain came rushing over Rachel. She screamed outward, squeezing her eyes shut…in ecstasy. Why? Why does this pain feel so good? Her scream turned into a maniacal laugh as time started once more and she caught the wolf before its teeth could connect with the soft flesh of her neck. Her hands gripped the wolf’s throat as she stared at its snapping, salivating jaws with blacked irises filled with violent thoughts. Why does this feel so good?
“Because you’re with me now, Rachel!” Eris yelled from the back of Rachel’s mind. “You’ll never have to feel pain again!” Dual vines emerged from beneath the cream-white skin on both her arms, drawing dark streams of crimson from the newly opened wounds. She smiled even wider in pure ecstasy at the newfound pain. The thorny vines raised high in the air before producing a black flower, as dark as the eyes Rachel now sported, at their tips. “Yes! Do it!”
The flowers came down quickly, their center’s turning into vicious fanged mouths. Each bit into the skulls of the wolf, digging through the animal’s fur and peeling away the wolf’s flesh with increasing speed. The wolf whined in severe pain and reeled backwards violently.
That’s right…eat them all! The wolf fell to the floor, dead, as the left flower continued to gorge upon the wolf’s body. With a wide grin, Rachel advanced towards the second wolf, who cowered and whimpered in the far left corner of the room. “I love your fear, love. It keeps things so much more interesting.” Rachel laughed as the flower from her right arm lunged forward and sunk its sharp teeth deep into the wolf’s jaw and rip it off in one, strong tug. Rachel laughed even harder, more insanely, as the second wolf fell and the vines began to turn red as they fed avidly upon the animals’ death-filled blood.
Sharply, she turned around and glared at the locked door. “Now to rid myself of my captors.” Both flowers released themselves from the wolves and came to Rachel’s side for a brief second before she commanded them to strike forward at the door. Their fangs busted through the wooden door, only to strike the metal beneath. “What the hell?” It was then that Rachel’s ears began to pick up on a faint hissing sound. “What’s that noise?”
“Look behind you!” Rachel turned around quickly to see a light fog flooding the floor from a small vent at the bottom of the wall.
“What…the…” As she breathed in the tainted air, the room began to spin and she began to become disorientated. “Eris…” Rachel collapsed to the ground, unconscious, the flowers withering up as their thorny stems retreated into Rachel’s healing arms. As she lied upon the foggy floor, her eyes began to fade back to the innocence of their original blue tint. 
Provehito in altum


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