Snippets: The Twentieth Day

August 12, 2009

Blood sprayed down from the grinder above, drenching Macquel in a terrible wave of warmth and filth – but he forced his mouth open, and drank the terrible liquid in anyway. Ever since they locked him in this cell, it was the only nourishment he received.

He didn’t know what it was from. Nothing human, he knew that much… possibly just the wild game that roamed the jungle, possibly roaming creations from the lab’s twisted experiments. It didn’t matter. Anything that fell into the grinder died, with Macquel’s continued existence the only mark of its passing.

He had been locked in the cell for over two weeks. At least, he thought so – time had gone fuzzy after week one. Trapped amidst darkness and blood and waste, he desperately urged time to keep on ticking. The Clerk had promised he would return in twenty days – at this point, that promise was the only thing Macquel lived for.

After his capture, he woke in his cell. The Clerk had been there with him, and asked him the one question he had wanted to know. Macquel was secure in his training, his willpower, his tolerance for pain. He gave no answer.

And the Clerk, diabolical as he was, didn’t push him. Simply told him he would return, in twenty days, and Macquel would have another chance to answer him.

And then left him, alone, in the dark. Chained to the ground, with stone all around him and a steel door standing between him and any hope of escape. The grinder above, constantly providing the sound of whirring metal and jagged steel teeth rending and tearing each other, even when nothing else was there. And every once in a while, a rain of blood to keep him awake… and alive.

Twenty days of that, and Macquel – for all his training – was nearly a broken man. Cursing his initial refusal to answer the Clerk’s question, cursing the Clerk for not giving him a second chance before walking away and leaving him to the dark, cursing the metal contraption above that seemed to drown out his every thought…

A squeak echoed above, and a dull popping sound, and this time a trickle of blood dripped down into the room. Macquel turned his head away, disgusted. He closed his eyes against the visions he imagined he saw, and for the first time in a decade, he prayed.

He prayed that today was the twentieth day.

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