“What is going on?” My eyes try to adjust to the darkness. The cold metal shackles on my hands, feet and waist inform me of my situation. “Guess I ain’t going anywhere.” I watch as one prisoner after the next is dragged from their cage and after prolonged silence, gunshots ring out.
Two female guards approach my cage. Both are tall, each guard is just under six feet. One is brunette, the other red-headed. “Stand up.” I push myself to my feet and look at both guards. Red takes her peacekeeper baton and pushes it into my spine. “Move.” The brunette leads me down a dank, dark hallway. Every so often we come across a single light bulb that breaks the monotony of darkness. To pass the time, I count them. At twelve, we go right, and I am escorted into a small room where I am shackled to the floor.
“Wait.” Red stands in the corner, while the brunette leaves the room. I glance around the room and it is sparsely decorated. I look at my guard, her eyes seem to peer through me. “You guys aren’t much for conversation, huh?” She looks at me and goes back to standing rigidly in the corner. After a lengthy period, the squeak of unoiled hinges tells me the door is opening. A small, bald man comes in and sits behind the desk. He pulls off his glasses and wipes them with a dirty cloth. It is difficult to make out, but it appears he is wiping brain matter from his glasses.
He smiles. “How are you doing?”
My eyebrows raise in surprise and I lift my hands. “As well as I can, sir. How are you?” The heft of the chains drag my hands down. He smiles again. The whiteness of his teeth is disconcerting. “Why aren’t I dead?” Everyone who left before me had been shot, why wasn’t I a lifeless corpse? “Do you know why you are here, Herr Freeman?”
I shrug my shoulders and try to disregard the fact that I am still alive. “I don’t want to lie to you, but no, I have no idea why I am here.” Red walks over and drives her baton into my solar plexus. I gasp for air, and she uses the baton to lift my chin. “You’re here because you’re behavior is intolerant in our society. You don’t toe the line.”
“Ma’am, I’m not intolerant.” The brunette slips her baton over my throat and pulls me back exposing my upper torso. Red proceeds to soften up my ribs. “Herr Freeman, I am Doctor Volkan. Your behavior may not seem to be intolerant in your mind, but to disagree with the masses is to cause chaos. It is intolerance and it will be punished severely.”
I gasp and Dr. Volkan motions to the Amazonian behemoths to lay off for a moment. “Your disagreement with the policies which have created our utopian society is intolerable. You must renounce your statements publicly. Upon your renouncement, you will be re-integrated into our stable of productive citizenry.”
“Sir, I wasn’t….” The brunette slams the baton down across the top of my shoulder, snapping my collar bone into tiny shards. Crumpling to the floor, I cry out in pain. Red rolls me over with the toe of her steel toe boot and places her knee on my chest. She presses down, and I almost drown in the darkness.
“Girls, he was trying to say something. Tsk, tsk, tsk, let him up.” He grabs me by my collar and pulls me upright. “You were saying, Herr Freeman?”
Blood seeps out of my mouth. A cloud of haziness fills my eyes and I cough. “I wasn’t trying to be intolerant,” I slur, as I lean to my uninjured side. “What’s wrong with thinking for yourself? Are you stooges so afraid of people who don’t accept the first thing we hear as truth?”
The shark smile is back. He walks over to his desk and pulls out black, Kevlar gloves. Putting them on, he stands in front of me. “We have worked very hard to keep all people divided, only to have a few dissidents threaten to bring it down by being free thinkers. Surely, you can understand why we can’t have you in our enlightened society.”
I nod. “Sure. So, you kidnap us in the middle of the night, you remove us from friends and family. Then you torture us and discard us with the rest of the trash.”
Red leans in and smiles. She is a pretty woman, but the coldness in her eyes kills any attraction someone like me might have felt toward her. “Don’t forget, we also kill your family. Just in case they’re infected by your stupidity.” She steps back and Volkan hits me dead center in the chest. Air explodes out of my lungs and I crumple to the floor. The three of them take turns kicking my ribs into mush.
Pain fills every fiber of my being. “My children, wife, parents, all gone because I want to think for myself.” I am unshackled and thrown to the floor. “How are you doing champ?” Volkan and his goons stand around me. “Was it worth it?” Red lifts my head and kisses me fully on my lips. “Beg me to kill you. You know you want to die.” Unconsciousness flirts with me and my head rolls toward her. In my semi-conscious state, the voice of my drill sergeants snaps out the code I am supposed to live by.
“It’s better to die on your feet than live on your knees.” I chuckle, and Red looks at me. The other two draw close as I summon what is left of my strength and sink my teeth into her jugular.
Now it’s a party.