13 August 2010

In My Darkness

I could taste the blood in my mouth. I’m not sure if it was that or the pounding in my head that had awoken me…but I wish I hadn’t…

I could hear someone speaking, but the words sounded muffled in my ears. I tried to speak, to ask the person who they were, to ask where I was, but instead nearly choked on the blood. I could see what appeared to be a distant light, a faint patch amidst the darkness that encompassed my vision. I tried to move towards it, but found my body unresponsive. The sheer effort of my attempt nearly causing me to vomit in pain. I’d never felt agony this intense. Every last centimeter of my flesh, raw and burned. The movement grinding my shattered bones together beneath the tenderized meat that was my flesh.

Through it all, a woman’s voice soon became clearer. “…and you must forget your previous life. No longer are you Mikolan. No longer will be you be the man you once were. For you have a higher calling. You will achieve many things in the quest to bring justice to those who have discriminated against us, who have enslaved both the bodies and the minds of our people.”

There was a long pause, long enough to where I thought for a moment she had left me.

“But first Mikolan… First you must be tested. First you must learn the meaning of liberty.”

After what seemed an eternity, the pain subsided slightly. With gritted teeth, I tried once more, the cold cement beneath me offering little comfort. I could see movement within the light and attempted once more to call out. This time, my voice echoing within my head like a raspy toad. The effort was again more than I could endure, sending me into a coughing fit. My convulsions tearing through my body, sparking every last nerve in torrential agony.

And as my vision started to fade, as the peaceful darkness began to descend, I saw a face, the face of an angel and her words echoed in my head.

“It is only through suffering….that we truly value our freedom…”

Six months.

That was the best I could do in an estimation of my time spent here. Six months of daily torture and repetitive virtual reality “lessons”. Six months of shivering naked in my cement cell, the rats being my only companions. I even had a name for my two regulars. Willow and Willa. No, I didn’t really know their actual genders but they always seem to come around at the same time so it just seemed fitting to think of them as a couple. Willow was the dark one with the half chewed ear. I blamed Willa for the ear but she insisted it was his dumb ex-girlfriend from before they met. Willa on the other hand was as cute as a bell with her light colored fur and big dumbo ears. She was also the boldest and would often scurry up my leg and just sit there watching me. Don’t cross her though as I and Willow learned the hard way. She packed a nasty bite.

When my tormentors would bring me back from my daily “cleansing” sessions, my body raw and soar, my head pounding from the assault on my implants, it was these two which would greet me, making sure I was okay. And in turn for their companionship, I would share the meager bits of food given to me. It was, I think, roughly the third month that Willa first spoke to me. I just never figured for a rat to be capable of speech but sure enough, she sat on my thigh as she often did and we had the most pleasant of conversations. She didn’t really say much, mostly just listened to me ramble. And ramble I did. I would talk about all sorts of things, from my years as a child growing up on Kulheim in the Pator system, to my early days as a pod pilot, learning the ropes of my industrial trade.

Willow, on the other hand, never spoke much either and probably best he didn’t. He turned out to be the worst grump, always moaning and groaning about something. Where Willa was the light, Willow was the darkness, the negative one, the one that sort of became the symbol of my hate for my current situation. But I was thankful for him either way. Not once did he ever leave me, even when I would vent my anger upon him.

I look back on it now and yes, I realize I probably had lost my mind. Talking rats? But my talking rats were the only things that kept me from giving up entirely, from banging my head against my cell wall until my brains oozed and my blood had left me. By the time I was finally freed from that cell, my life was all I had left. My life…and my talking rats.

“What is your name?”


“What is your vocation?”

“Industrialist, serving in the role of miner, hauler, builder, and eventually inventor.”

“And where are you from?”

“Region Tash Murkon, constellation Tsemshatel, system Moutid, planet II”

“What is your race?”

“I am of the Amarrian Empire.”

“Who do you claim allegiance to?”

“God and the Empire.”

“But who do you serve? What is your true purpose.”

A flicker of a grin crosses the man’s lips.

“I am the Eyes of Matar.”