My stark white t-shirt blends in perfectly with the glaring white room I’m trapped in. I struggle against my restraints but to no avail. My eyes search the room for any explanation as to why I am being held against my will. “There must be some logical explanation. They can’t keep me here without just cause.” Two individuals walk into my room and look at me. One, a female with sharp eyes and a hawkish nose, lays out implements of surgery on a table covered with plastic. The second, a male with a soft pale face, pulls on latex gloves one at a time. The gloves make a resounding pop against his flesh. Frantically, I pull against the restraints. “Why are you doing this to me?!”
Placing her finger over my mouth, the lady leans into my face. “Shh…don’t fight it. Any struggle will cause you more pain.” My mind produces scenarios, while my heart races furiously. “Oh, dear God, these people are nuts!”
How did I come to be here?
Rachel, that’s how. She called me this morning and said we had to meet. It’s natural, I leap at any chance to spend time with her to begin with, so it makes sense I didn’t even bother to check to see if it’s a trap. “God, no wonder you’re restrained to a table about to be tortured!” The pale man comes over to me holding a syringe filled with a green goo. “Please, tell us about your rebellion against the state. Failure to comply will be severely punished.” Taking several deep breathes to calm myself, I look him in the eye. “What rebellion? Why would I rebel against a system that provides for my every need?”
“So, this is all a mistake? You’ve been a good boy?” I chuckle. “Well, I wouldn’t say good. However, my actions haven’t been all bad. I am gonna call you Mr. Pale.” The syringe is pushed into my vein and my body temperature increases rapidly. The two doctors check my vital signs and leave the room. Flashes of remembrance comes to me, one at a time. One fragmented memory is of me and Rachel touring a camp where broken veterans carve out a living by telling stories. Another is of when I first met her. I bumped into her while getting coffee at a writers’ conference. As I confront my memories, I drift off into unconsciousness.
My jaunt down memory lane is interrupted by the swish of the door opening. For a brief instant, I think I am a cast member on the old show Star Trek. I feel fingers grasp my chin and lift my head up. Breathing shallowly, I notice the lady from earlier. In an attempt at humor, I wiggle my fingers in her direction. “Hiya darling,” I slur. She smiles. “I fear you’re in the mood for jest. There is no time for jest. I am Doctor Ivanka Yankovic, why have you committed crimes against the state?”
“What crimes?” She walks over to the table and unloads more tools onto it. I watch as she puts on Kevlar gloves. She walks to me and touches my face. “I don’t want to hurt you. Tell me where your rebellion is located, or I will have no choice.” I smile. “I don’t want to be hurt, but I am afraid I don’t know what you’re referring to as a rebellion.”
Through blurred eyes, I can see she isn’t a bad looking woman. Her hair is blond, and about shoulder length. Besides the sharpness of her eyes, they were cobalt blue and had a piercingly cold look to them. As stated, her nose is hawkish but combined with her other features, she was a professional woman in appearance and mannerism. She lets her hair down and kicks off her shoes. “Okay. You have chosen pain.” Without another word she throws a straight right into my nose. The sound of cartilage being crushed under her iron fist is sickening. This blow is quickly followed up by a hook to the body and jaw.
I taste blood.
Shaking my head to clear it, I look at the floor to stabilize myself. “Ow…” She grasps me by the chin and yanks my head up. Everything gets dizzy from the sudden movement. “Where is your organization?” I shake my head. “I don’t belong to an organization. It is illegal to congregate and protest.” Letting my head yield to gravity, she swings her fist into my ear.
The world goes dark…
More fragments of memory surface while I struggle against the dark. The first kiss between Rachel and I, the first touch. “Rachel…” As the smelling salts bring me back to consciousness, my eyes try to adjust to the whiteness of the room. “Ouch, ya’ll don’t have any coffee, do you?” Mr. Pale smiles. “If you will tell us where your cohorts are, we will get you some right away.” I groan and flex my fingers. “How many times do I have to tell you, I don’t have any cohorts. You won’t even tell me what crimes, I have committed!”
“Your crime is you fell in love.” I blink in surprise. “You’ve been beating the brakes off me because I love someone? What idiocy is this?” He chuckles. “No, Doctor Yankovic likes to tenderize the flesh. She thrives on inflicting pain.” Pain racks my body as I struggle to make sense of it all. “When did love become a crime?” Doctor Yankovic enters the room. “Herr Doctor, you can leave this one in my capable hands. If I can’t make him talk, I will make him sing!”
As I drift into the whiteness of unconsciousness, Rachel’s face appears in my mind and I recall her last words to me, “love, in a society fed on hate, is the greatest rebellion.”
Then I succumb to the dark.