The Arrival: Memory #1
It was dark.
I wasn’t sure anymore if it was the sky, or if I was still in a crate.
I just wasn’t sure.
It smelled of death, the stench of formaldehyde filled my nose.
The scent alone felt like the hair in my nose was on fire. I had to cover my nose.
Once I took a breath through my mouth, I instantly felt sick.
The odor was so thick that I could taste it.
The more I sat there, I could smell something else.
My body ached for it, it was fresh.
I took in a breath as I tried not to think about it, but the more I breathed it in, I noticed that the blood wasn’t quite right.
The owner of the blood was dead. It was coagulating.
That meant whoever that was, has been dead for a few hours.
I felt pure panic rise in my chest.
“I’m getting sick and tired of bringing kids down here,” the man sighed.
I heard a loud smack.
“Don’t let them hear you say that,” the other man hissed.
“Well, they ain’t here now, are they?” he asked.
“No, they aren’t,” the other man spoke.
I stayed perfectly silent as I listened to the two men bicker.
“How many has it been now?” one asked.
“Too many,” the other sighed, “I quit counting in the sixties.”
I felt my heart pound, was I going to die here?
“I heard a new shipment came in today?”
“Yeah,” the man said, “They stopped bringing humans over because that little freak just kept on killing them all.”
“She is just a child,” the other man stated, “She isn’t allowed to go outside and talk to others, she can’t control herself.”
“Don’t defend that monster,” the man spat, “She is a devil spawn, and someone needs to put her down.”
I didn’t understand what they meant, but I knew what it was like to be a freak.
“How do you think the new ones will fair?” the man dropped the subject.
“Who knows,” he mumbled.
“How many are there this time?”
“I heard they were expecting five or six of them.”
“Seriously?” he asked, “I don’t think that many even survived the trip here.”
There was a loud knock on the side of the crate, “You still alive in there?”
I wasn’t sure if I should answer him.
“It’s dead,” the man stated, “Throw the remains in the river after you burn it.”
“I’m alive!” I shouted quickly.
I didn’t want them to kill me.
I felt a hard thud against the crate and a hiss.
“Another kid,” he hissed.
“Just get him out and take him up,” the other man said, “After the long ride here, he must be starving.”
I could feel my stomach desperately trying to devour itself. He certainly was correct.
The next sound I heard was a ding, then the sound of wood breaking under the force of something more durable.
The top broke off, and light poured through. It wasn’t much, but it was far more than I had seen in days.
The man jumped back and held his nose, “Shit, I just can’t get used to that.”
He meant the smell of feces and urine.
He broke down the front of the crate so I could walk out, the only problem was, I haven’t stood up in days. My legs needed a minute.
I held onto the sides as I tried to raise myself off the ground, the man clearly trying to avoid looking at me.
I knew I was filthy. I was covered in dirt and my own waste.
Finally, I managed to stand, and I wasn’t sure why I felt as great as I did. I was out of the box, the air I was now breathing was much fresher.
“Let’s go,” the man said to me.
I was more than ready to leave, but I knew what laid ahead for me. This monster of the house was going to kill me.
I wasn’t strong enough today, I didn’t have the strength escaping required. I had to endure it.
The man made his way up a short staircase, and I took much longer trying to get up it.
My legs were failing me, and I refused to ask for help.
Once we reached the top, he stood at a door waiting for me to get closer.
I felt my legs contracting. They weren’t going to keep me up for much longer.
The man opened the door, and a bright white light blinded me.
I put my hand up to shield my eyes.
“It must have been a while since you’ve been outside,” he stated.
I had to steal a peek, I had to see.
My hand slowly moved so I could look, and I saw grass, blue sky, and water for miles.
Any hope of escape was gone, I couldn’t swim that far.
The man walked ahead of me, and I watched as he stopped at a wooden cart. His back was to me, so I couldn’t see what he was doing.
“This is all I can give you right now,” he said, “But after you’ve had a bath, you can have a meal at the table.”
I looked at his back as he spoke.
“It isn’t much, but it should help.”
I nodded, even though I knew he couldn’t see me.
He turned, and he held out a somewhat large piece of bread. I reached for it, and he smiled.
I didn’t show any sign of manners, and I shoved the bread in my face. I barely chewed it before I swallowed it. It tasted divine.
“What’s your name?” the man asked me.
I just kept eating, I couldn’t answer him. My need to eat far outweighed his curiosity.
“My name,” the man pointed to himself, “Is Jack.”
I took my last bite of the bread, and I had to breathe, but I noticed the orange gem on the armor he wore.
He noticed me staring.
“This,” he pointed, “Do you want to know what it is?”
I nodded as I looked up at him.
“It protects me from getting burned.”
Why did he need protection from fire?
“What is your name?” he asked again.
I just stared at him.
“Do you speak English?” he asked.
I glanced to the side. I didn’t want to tell the man my name.
“If you don’t tell me your name, I’ll just have to make one up,” he stated.
I didn’t open my mouth.
“How about John?” he asked, “It’s the most used name I’ve ever heard.”
I shot the man a glare.
“Struck a nerve, did I?” he asked.
“I’m just going to die here,” I said, “Why is my name so important to you?”
The man looked confused before he showed a smile, “If you were going to die, wouldn’t you want a proper funeral?”
“No,” I stated.
“You’re a child,” he stated, “It seems you don’t quite understand.”
I stood up straight as I felt my legs shake, “Are we going?”
The man nodded, “This way.”
I followed him to the side of the small shack. I could see the large stone building from here.
“You heard our conversation didn’t you?”
I didn’t answer.
“You heard what I said, didn’t you?” he turned to stop me.
“Is she really that bad?” I asked.
The man looked surprised before he spoke, “Yes, she really is.”
I kept moving forward as I wondered what she was.
“Here,” he said.
I looked up, and there was a large wooden tree covered in leaves and surrounded by bushes.
He moved the bushes out of the way, and I could see it, a door.
“This is the secret way into the castle,” Jack said as he opened the door.
I followed him inside as once again, I was swallowed by darkness.
My eyes shut. Part of me was worried that I might be going mad. Maybe the outside sun was just my imagination, or my mind playing tricks on me. I only knew for sure that it wasn’t a trick because when I opened my eyes, my stomach wasn’t hurting.
I followed Jack through the corridors, and I could barely hear anything.
“Almost there,” Jack spoke just above a whisper.
Why was he whispering?
He stopped at a door before he opened it.
I heard girls giggling before I turned to look inside.
Two older women stood next to the large bath, and the younger women stood at attention upon seeing us.
They all looked at me.
One of the older women stepped forward to smile at me, “This way, young man.”
I looked up at Jack to see if I was supposed to go.
He nodded, “Go get yourself clean.”
I stepped forward, and the woman ushered me towards the bath.
I felt myself getting nervous. I was surrounded by women, and I had to undress.
“Turn around,” I demanded.
I, of course, was practically already naked. The only thing I was wearing was a loincloth.
The girls only giggled more before the older woman scolded them and made them leave.
The girls pouted as they were forced from the room.
“You must undress,” the woman said, “We must get you ready.”
I looked at her, “Ready for what?”
“To meet your new master, of course,” the woman said with a smile.
I cringed at the word ‘Master.’
I didn’t want to serve anyone.
“Go on,” she said to me.
“Turn around,” I said again.
She looked towards the younger woman before turning.
Once both of them were looking away, I removed the cloth and stepped into the bath.
The water was warm. I couldn’t help but let out a satisfied sigh.
I felt a brush make rough contact with my back.
“You won’t enjoy yourself,” she said, “Not this time, at least.”
She wouldn’t let me be shy as she scrubbed relentlessly at my body. She removed the filth from my skin.
It took quite a while before I was completely clean.
“Out you go,” the woman said as she tried to usher me out.
“I don’t have anything to wear,” I said as I tried to keep myself covered.
She pointed at the stack of folded clothes, and I could only place my hands over my genitals as I made my way to the pile.
I took the clothes into my hands before studying them. It was a white shirt and a pair of black pants.
I put them on quickly before standing there waiting for the women.
The door opened again, and I watched as the two young girls were ushered forward and into the bath, just as I was.
“This one is ready,” the woman said.
The man stood outside the door, waiting for me.
It was the other man from the dark place, the man Jack was talking to.
“Follow me,” he said.
I just complied and followed him to another room.
He opened the door, and all I saw was a large furnace, a man crouched in front of it, and a wooden desk.
The man who kept the fire going turned around to look at us.
“What number are we on now?” the man next to me asked.
The furnace man stood up, “Ninety-six.”
“That many?” he mainly asked himself.
“Hold him down.”
I felt panic surge through me as the man forced me against the desk and held me still.
I wasn’t strong enough to fight against him, not today.
The man held me down. One arm was around me while his chest kept me still. His other arm kept my head from moving. The right side of my neck was completely exposed.
I watched in horror as the other man pulled something out of the fire and brought it closer.
“Stop! Please!” I cried out.
The red hot metal made contact with my neck, and I screamed.
The pain was unbearable. The heat made it feel like my skin was about to melt right off my bones.
I couldn’t see, was it because of the pain?
“He’s about to pass out,” the man holding me spoke.
The metal was pulled back, and even I don’t remember anything else. I lost consciousness.