The Girl With the Razor Blade Smile
The next day was much the same I was woken when the lights switched on and the tray opened. I ate my meal of raw meat and changed into a fresh jump suit. I wonder if I'm going to get sick because of this dodgy diet they're feeding me. Even given they had a nutter attack me with a knife they seem to want me alive so I can only assume they've thought of the possibility of vitamin deficiency etc.
After my breakfast Norton opened the door and waved me out of the room without even coming in. I scampered after him like a good little toy, briefly angry with myself for automatically following him. With the implant I knew there is nothing I can do that won't lead to horrendous pain so I forced myself to calm down. Maybe if I'm just careful enough an opportunity will present itself.
He took me back to the exercise room with the blood stained floor. Once again he gave me a complete work out. I dreaded what would happen next and dragged my heels a bit on some of the repetitions hoping he would run out of time but that only earned me a warning zap of pain. Sure enough when I was done with the exercise Mistress Hahn and Alex walked into the room.
"Come along girl time for your 'ahahahah' lesson," Mistress Hahn taunted me as she made her way into the room. She was one of those people that walk like they have some sort of motor causing them to sway their hips in a very exaggerated fashion. She knew she was pretty and used it as a weapon.
"Now then Farrah try to do better this time my dear," Norton said looking embarrassed to be associated with me. He tossed me a knife and gestured to the more blood stained area of the room.
I walked unwillingly over to the sparing area and tried to prepare myself.
At a nod from his Mistress Alex came at me like a rabid animal.
I tried to fend him off and it worked about as well as last time. Soon my arms were covered in defensive wounds. They hurt like hell but I didn't want to receive another stomach wound or worse so I did my best to block out the pain. I remembered someone telling me that when someone comes at you with a knife it's essential to control your opponent's blade. I tried to remember if that someone had actually known anything about fighting or if it was one of the pieces of advice I had gotten from watching a film or some such but still is seemed like a better idea than getting slowly slashed to pieces.
The next time he attacked I stepped inside his reach and grabbed hold of his arm. He was very strong and we struggled for a while then he head butted me. Slightly dazed I staggered back and lost my grip on his arm. He pressed his advantage and I got forced back into the corner of the room. I knew he would try and disarm me and then disable me so I did something frantic. I dropped to the floor and rolled through his legs tripping him.
The randomness of my move seemed to take him aback and he took a little while to find his feet. However since I was down on the floor I had to get back to my feet to do anything useful and he was a lot better at this than me. He was there waiting when I tried and fought back he slapped the knife out of my hand as I awkwardly lunged at him and then he fastened his hand around my throat. He was chocking me I was lifted clean off the floor trying desperately to break his grip but all I could do was to scrabble at his hand ineffectually. I started to get tunnel vision the world begun to fade as I struggled for oxygen.
"Enough!" Mistress Hahn called.
I was dumped unceremoniously on the floor taking great big breaths and rubbing my poor throat.
"Well that was certainly entertaining Norton, the bit where she was rolling along the floor like a child was just hilarious. Still she at least lasted a little longer this time. Come along Alex," Mistress Hahn said laughing as she made her way out of the room.
"Well ... that was better I suppose, but still not what I was hoping for," Norton stared at me, he seemed angry and frustrated and began pacing back and forth before turning and pointing his cane at me again, "Didn't you do martial arts or something, I remember it listed as a hobby on your file, surely you can apply that, I mean really, rolling along the floor like a pig in a mud bath!"
I hesitated then replied, my voice was all croaky so what came out was more unintelligible than usual, "I dith danthing not martha arths."
"What was that, speak clearly you blithering idiot!" Norton shouted.
I flinched and tried my best to enunciate the words, "I diiid daaancing not marth ... martial artssss."
"Dancing ... oh ... well that explains it I suppose, I guess your file was less complete than I would like. Typical of our information gatherers, really never paying attention to the task, always leaving things half done. Why when I was at that sort of level a chap had to do his best or else the people upstairs would come down on him like a ton of bricks, course these days it's all different," he stopped his rambling and stared into the distance as if lost in thought then he snapped back to the present, "What was I, oh yes, well I suppose it means you don't have the disadvantage of already having learnt a set style that someone can recognise and counter, there's that at least. Oh well can't be helped. Come along now, time for your lunch then more practice with your special abilities at least you should make some progress there today."
He took me out into the corridor where the girl in chains was waiting under guard. She quickly healed my wounds and then Norton led me back to my room. I was about to go sit on the chair but Norton made a gesture that brought me up short.
"You have been doing well enough that I think it's time you dined with the other of our subjects. Remember though all of you are still under our careful eyes," Norton said and pointed to the other door in my room.
The door swung open and I made my way hesitatingly through it. On the other side was a plain room with a large table. Sitting at the table were five people dressed in the same jumpsuits as me. I could see one of them was Alex. There were several doors coming into the room mostly along the wall where the door to my room opened and each was labelled with a name. They said Alex, Bethany, Chris, Doyle, Eric and then my door was of course labelled Farrah. I assumed these were the names of all the other people who had been imprisoned in this place like me and treated as 'tools'. There were several more doors that were not labelled on both sides of the room. I wondered if these were other rooms for future inmates or something else.
The door to my room swung shut and locked behind me and another door in the opposite wall opened. A guard walked in with a tray placing it at the table next to one of the other jump suited people.
"You sit here now," he said.
I hurried over to the table and sat finding that the tray had yet more raw meat on it and a plastic beaker of water. Once I was seated the guard left the room again and I felt slightly relaxed.
I looked at the others at the table. Alex sat at across from me two over, a wolf hybrid boy with bright red fur sat next to him. Opposite me was a slim girl with long black hair, her only oddity was cat eyes. Next to me sat a hulking great beast of a man who must have been about 9ft or more bulging with muscle and a snout and tusk like teeth on his face. Sitting next to him was a boy with scales on his face and odd looking eyes.
Everyone but Alex regarded me with interest, even the odd smile. The girl opposite me was practically grinning.
I started eating my meat glancing around at other people's plates, some had odd food like me others had more standard looking meals. I guess they tailored it to us somehow. I ate a few bites of my meat carefully eyeing the rest of the table, which got me a gasp from the girl when she saw my teeth.
"She's a shark girl!" she said, "Not only do we get another girl but a rare and interesting hybrid at that!"
I spun round to look at her and she smiled at me, "It's been hard being the only girl here."
"That's not fair, I used to be a girl too," complained the boy with scales.
"I know but still," the cat girl replied. She turned back to me, "They named you Farrah right?"
I nodded and then careful tried to reply, "Buut that's nooot my naame I'm called..."
"Don't!" cried most of the table.
I flinched and the girl looked at me sympathetically and explained, "They listen in. If you say your old name they'll zap you hard. I made that mistake, trust me you don't want to."
I nodded and ate some more of my meat.
"They do it to break the connections you know," said the large boy next to me, his voice was surprisingly high for someone so massive, "giving us new names makes it easier for us to break from the past ... or so they say. Easier for who I say."
Most of the table nodded in agreement, "That's why they let us meet too," said the wolf boy, "to give us an outlet, having others in the same situation to talk to makes us easier to control."
The table went quiet for a bit, "Anyway depressing thoughts aside let me introduce myself. They call me Bethany, I've been here second longest, it's nice to meet you," said the cat girl.
"Chris," said the Wolf hybrid nodding his head to me.
"I'm Eric," said the large vaguely porcine hybrid who was sitting next to me offering me a hand. I took it carefully and he gently shook it, "Wow your skin is odd."
"The call me Doyle," the scaled boy said smiling to reveal fang like teeth.
"And that silent and brooding one is Alex," said Bethany pointing a thumb in Alex's direction.
"I know whooo he issss," I said an edge of anger creeping into my voice.
"Ah, so they're using him to break you in, that's tough though I'm glad it isn't another one of us, we'd not have gotten a chance to explain that we have no choice. Alex ... well Alex was their first and I think they must have broken him. He never talks to us," Bethany looked at Alex who kept eating and drinking mechanically seemingly unaware he was even being talked about, Bethany's eyes snapped back to me, "Listen this is important, we need to explain something. In this room we can be ourselves but outside ... well you know by now that we do what we are told or we get hurt. So if you encounter us with our controllers we may have to fight you or hurt you or do anything our masters say. To be clear we don't want to but we have no choice. So remember we are all prisoners in this. Please don't blame us for what we are ordered to do. Having each other as friends when we are in this room is one of our few pleasures."
I stared at her for a bit and realised what she was saying, Norton might well have me fight these people and they would not hold back, I might have to fight them and I wouldn't be able to hold back either or Norton would make me experience pain unlike anything. I slowly nodded my understanding.
"It will be hard the first few times," Chris said his eyes showing deep emotional pain, "even though you're prepared."
Bethany put a hand over Chris' and nodded. Everyone was quiet for a bit then Bethany said, "Anyway let's not mope too much, there's too much of that as it is. Do you know if you have any powers yet?"
"I cccaan shhhape methal," I replied, I discovered that speaking more was helping me speak better, my new teeth and mouth had distorted things initially but I was improving.
"Cool, I'm a fire elemental," Bethany said sparking a ball of flame in her palm briefly.
"I'm a technopath, can't really demo that I'm afraid," Chris said.
"Illusionist," said Eric making a flock of butterflies appear.
"I'm an ice elemental, cold blooded like a snake you could say, heh heh," Doyle said freezing his water into the shape of a swan.
"Whaat'sss he?" I said pointing at Alex.
"Not really sure, since he never talks, he's never told us and so far we've never been in a situation where he's used his powers," Bethany said.
"Though they have us spar against each other usually they're no powers allowed in matches," Doyle said.
I ate some more of my meat thinking about what powers Alex could have. Probably something that could be useful in a fight, though in my case I wasn't sure how being able to bend a metal bar with my mind would help me. The rest of the table went back to chatting and joking with each other. It felt like being back at school again. I guess that was the intention, keep the prisoners happy, let them have friends albeit friends that were similarly controlled.
I finished my meat and was just washing it down with some water when a buzzer went off and all the doors to our cells flew open. Alex was off like a shot abandoning the table and right into his cell within seconds. The rest of us moved less swiftly though it was clear no one wanted to dawdle.
"Well hopefully we'll see you tomorrow Farrah," Bethany said rushing off to her room.
I waved to everyone and made my way over to my own room. It had been nice to feel almost normal for a bit and I found myself looking forward to the next time. As soon as I had got in my room the door out to the dining area swung shut and locked, a few moments later the front door opened and Norton stood waiting.