Eight: The Room of Heated Water

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                                                Eight:

                              The Room of Heated Water

Two of Them lead me from the room, heart racing, tongue too large for my mouth. They take me down the hall and my heart stutters when I see the second stair, see my fate laid out before me like a freshly hemmed quilt. I will be sold, traded, taken away. I grit my teeth to hold back the scream itching to be released.

But the men holding me turn, heading not towards the darkness below but down the brightly lit hallways. They are splashed with a pinkie-orange color which I find garish after the darkness of the counsel room. We walk in silence, with my new guards saying nothing as they march me forward. My heart will not stop beating against its cage like a trapped animal. We stop outside the automatic doors of Zyn's room. My body floods with relief. I've already decided that I truly wouldn't mind being a 'pet'.

The doors shush open, but I know that's a mistake. Zyn is still back in the counsel room, arguing on my behalf. He isn't here.

Zyngar is. He regards me like a cat does a trapped mouse, deciding wither he wants to eat or play, torture or kill. My palms become clammy, my heart palpitates, I fight against the bulky arms of my retainers. I scream. Zyngar watches, his sick grin stuck to his face as if the vines of his tattoo are holding it in place. "Well, well, it looks like you're mine once again." His lips twitch upwards into what I can only imagine to be a smile. The tattoos on his cheek stretch, trying to get away from the contours of his face.

I bite my tongue, not knowing what to say, what to do. For one wild moment I wish Zyn were here. Zyngar flicks one of his hands and I'm released, dropped to the floor like one of Kate's discarded toys. "I'm not yours." I whisper to the tile floor. Zyngar must hear me, because he laughs, loud and booming.

"On the contrary human, you are, in fact, mine." He chuckles to himself as if the idea of owning me humors him. "I was just finishing removing your things. You won't need them where you're going." Barbs of ice stick to my skin, burrowing down, draining me of warmth.

"I don't have anything." He smiles, indicating a pile of discarded rags. My clothes. Zyn kept my clothes. I lick my chapped lips, testing the next words carefully before I speak them. "Where am I going?"

He grunts and my guards leave. As their boots fade I wonder what chance I have of attacking Zyngar, of getting caught, but the look in his eye quells any thoughts of rebelling. He looks like he'd welcome it. I suddenly remember the blaze of his quickly concealed weapon, Ackon's blood being absorbed into his bio-suit just as quickly as it poured from his body. My stomach revolts. He leans down until his face is inches from my ear. I want to rip his face off.

"You'll be going where all the others go." Pictures of film coated glass, bleary eyed children, and human waste dripping through grates fills my head. I want to vomit. "Now, get up. You've grown much too soft. Grzyndigaldrx has nearly ruined you." He nudges me with the toe of his boot, sending a sharp pain up into my ribs. I bite the inside of my cheek to keep from crying out.

I stand, ignoring the quirk of a smile that symbolizes his victory. "Now, come with me." He walks off down the hallways, not glancing back to see if I'll follow. For one rebellious second I flirt with the idea of staying, of hiding inside Zyn's room, waiting for him to return. But then I remember his dark voice, his pointed questions, and I find myself following Zyngar's stiff back down the glowing halls.

                                                                    ***

He leads me to a darkened corridor. Here, the lights overhead have burnt out or look to have been smashed by an angry hand, chips of metal have been gauged from the silver spirals holding up the walls, and what looks to be human feces is smeared in tattoo-like symbols on every available surface. Zyngar doesn't flinch, doesn't cower away from the rotten decay of this section of the ship. He seems to feed off of it.

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