01 - Fire in my Veins
There are many ways to torture someone, but all of them are based on pain, let it be actual physical pain or psychological pain. Trying to get information through torture is a tricky thing and shouldn’t be practiced by clueless amateurs. What is needed is a perfect balance of both, physical and psychological terror along with a certain feeling for the sanity of the tortured. If you don’t pay attention you might drive your object of interest into insanity and the information you seek is lost forever. Up to now the most effective methods of tormenting, were either direct harm to the person or to his family. Especially the latter would drive most people to share their secrets in the hope to beware their beloved from further harm. But ever since humankind had unlocked the secrets of the inner structure of the DNA the newest method of inflicting psychological pain was far more effective. A person losing everything until his very essence is no more won’t hold back information, if he believes that he can still be saved. My story strongly correlates with these explanations and may indeed be of some interest, but beware: My story is nothing for wimps, so these might not continue here. As for the rest try to see the things like saw them...
When all of this began I was living in a small town near nothing of interest. The next city was more than ten miles away and the community in the town was rather silent. My family and I were living here ever since I got the job seven years ago, but the people had never tried to talk to us or get to know us. At first we thought that this was strange, but later we accepted it as usual. My job was rather simple. I was a lab-assistant whose only purpose was to test the serums and fluids the researchers created on animals and later, if the tests were successful, I usually was asked to test it on paid voluntaries. Sometimes when I needed extra cash I volunteered myself, but I did’ that in secret, because I believed my wife, Helen, wouldn’t have agreed to that. In retrospective this would have been better than the actual outcome. I had married eight years ago and my little family, including our little four-year-old son Julian, were as happy as I could wish for. I wasn’t expecting anything bad to happen and there was no warning that might have made me nervous.
The day that would cause my whole life to collapse started like any other day before. The alarm clock rang at six o' clock in the morning and I just didn't want to get up as always. When I finally convinced myself of getting out of the bed I dressed myself and prepared the breakfast. Helen was still asleep and I didn't want to wake her, so I left without saying goodbye. I opened the door of my black car and entered the cabin. The air was cold and so I shivered when I started the engine and drove away. I did not really care about the white van parked in front of our house. I stopped asking myself what would have happened if I would have cared. But just as always I left the garage, then the street and finally I left the town. When I reached the security pass I didn’t notice as one of the guards hastily grabbed his radio and started talking into it. I admit that I was getting annoyed when the guard didn’t appear in an instant to let me pass, but I soon forgot it, when he opened the gate. I left the car behind on a parking lot and hurried towards one of the buildings towering high above me. The morning was still cold and white clouds hurried across the sky, carried by the frozen wind. I didn’t hesitate even for a moment as the automatic doors hissed open and I entered the white corridors of the almost clinical laboratories. I met few people on the way to my office, fewer than usual, but I didn’t care. Maybe I told myself that many might be sick, due to the cold weather, but as I said, I didn’t care. I opened the door to my office and mustered my desk. Everything was just as I had left it. Then a skull-cracking pain exploded in the back of my head. My vision blurred and I fell unconscious before I hit the floor.
I felt dizzy and strangely immobile when I woke up. My sight was blurry and a strange sour taste covered my tongue. I tried to swallow to get rid of the disgusting taste which reminded me of vomit, but my mouth was as dry as sand. I almost drifted into sleep once again, but I forced myself to stay awake and tried to take in my surroundings. The first thing I noticed was that the room was cold and I was shivering. The next thing was that I wasn’t blindfolded, so the room must be dark as well. I tried to remember what had happened, but my memories failed me. I frowned and tried to stand up, but my numb legs didn’t want to obey. I tried to push myself up with my hands, but all I managed to do was a small twitch with my fingers. Panic started to cloud my mind. I tried to move any part of my body, but I just wasn’t able even to flinch. Suddenly I heard a door opening and a triangle of light appeared on the floor. The white tiled floor reflected the bright light and I blinked confused. Whoever had entered the room flipped a switch and long white neon lights in the upper corners of the room spread a shadowless light.
“Well, well, well.” A male voice next to me said. I would have spun around to look, if I would have been able to. I waited, but seemingly the man didn’t want to come around. My heart raced I didn’t dare to speak.
“Well, Mr. Anderson, do you know why you are here?” The man’s voice sounded strict and hard. Clicking sounds echoed through the room as the man walked towards me and got into my line of sight. He was wearing a black suit with black leather shoes. His hair was a dark blond and his eyes seemed unnaturally blue. I still didn’t dare to speak, but I managed to shake my head, just barely, but enough for the man to notice. He frowned and whispered something into a radio he pulled out of his jacket.
“Mr. Anderson, you have now worked seven years for us and indeed we are very sorry that you choose to betray us. I believe that you very well know the value of the information that you stole and that you sold, although I don’t believe that you understand what this information could be used to if it was to be sold to the wrong person. I will ask you once: Who asked you to steal the disk and who did you hand it once you got it?”
“I don’t know what you are talking of.” I whispered, each word rasping in my sore throat.
The man sighed, closed his eyes and rubbed the bridge of his nose. He seemed very tired in this moment.
“I hoped I could spare you the pain.” Again he talked in his radio and stepped aside as heavy steps sounded through a corridor behind me. I realized that the man must have left the door open. I heard a kid crying and a woman arguing that they should be left alone. With huge effort I forced my head around to confirm what I already had feared two men were pushing my family into the room. I turned back staring at the blonde man, who was smiling seemingly sad. I tried to move. I wanted to help my family, wanted to hurt these men who tried to rip my life apart. With all the willpower I held in my body I pushed myself up. I was already on my feet about an inch over the chair I had been sitting in when two men pushed me back. I didn’t have the strength to resist and fell back. One of them pulled out a syringe and injected a clear liquid into my arm. Instantly my limbs became numb again.
“Now that I have your attention, may I ask the question again? To who did you sell the disc?”
The men started beating me for the next hour and when they didn’t get their answers they started beating my wife. I swallowed my pride for the sake of my family and shouted again and again that I didn’t know what they were talking about, but that wasn’t what they wanted to hear. In the end the blond haired men sighed again and for a long moment he stared at Helen. Then he looked at me again and gestured towards the other men who had been beating me up the whole time.
“Well, once again. Did you sell the disk? And if yes to who?” He sounded strangely sad. Almost I felt compassion, if the pain wouldn’t have dominated over all other feelings.
I spit out a little bit of blood and looked up, my sight blurred by my tears.
“I really, really don’t know what you mean!” I yelled. “I am telling the truth! I really don’t know!”
The man sighed again, let his head fall and rested his chin against his chest. When he looked up again his expression had totally changed. The sadness in his eyes had disappeared, leaving nothing but the hard expression of steel. Every muscle in his body seemed tense. The man seemed to be able to explode every moment now. I didn’t know what frightened me more: the sudden change or the fact that he was walking towards Helen.
“As you wish.” The blond man said. “As I said before I hoped to spare you the pain, but my patience is finally over.” He stood behind Helen and grabbed her head on both sides. He yanked her up to her feet and she shouted in pain.
“Who?” He shouted.
Fresh tears ran down my face as I shook my head unable to speak. Helen’s beautiful face was covered in bruises and some of them were even bleeding.
“Please tell him.” She whispered silently and these words hit me harder than any punch could. She believed that I was guilty and that was more than I could bear. I shouted out loud.
“I don’t now!” My head fell down, tears now running freely out of my eyes.
“Tell us what we want to know or tell her goodbye.” The blonde man now said in a matter-of-fact like voice. I stared at him, hating him for everything he stood for.
“I don’t know.” I whispered silently. “Please don’t.”
“You leave me no choice.” The man said and with a loud cracking sound he broke Helen’s neck. I would never forget the last time I saw her face, her eyes staring into mine silently asking: “Why?”
The men left a few minutes later, when they had realized that I wouldn’t be able to talk today. They took my son with them, but left the dead body of Helen there.
“I don’t want to kill your son, but I will if I must.” The blond man sad just before leaving, the sad tone had returned to his voice.
A long time I just cried, stared at the body of my wife and let the grief consume me. But after a while the grief became less as it was consumed by a far more violent feeling. I experienced the hate with all senses: as a blood red gleam covering my sight, as heat waves rolling over my skin, as a crackling sound like a fire, as a metallic taste on my tongue, as the stench of smoke burning in my nose and most of all as the unconquerable desire to kill those guilty for the death of Helen. This hate didn’t let me sleep and refused to let me rest even a minute. The drug they had injected me bound me with ties stronger than a chain could possibly be, but it wouldn’t last forever, and so I waited.
I must have fallen asleep some time later, because I woke when two men grabbed me and a third one injected me the drug. I shouted out my anger, both about my captors and about myself, because I had fallen asleep. The men left and the blond man returned again with Julian. He let Julian sit down against the wall opposing me and gestured towards the dead body of Helen.
“I hope you had a good night.” He said smiling. Today it seemed he was joyful rather than sad.
As answer I growled the hate rendering me unable to speak.
“I must admit that I’m impressed.” The blond man continued his monologue. “I have had many men in custody until today, but no one has ever resisted me this long. And not only that you even made me pretty mad yesterday! That is indeed something I must admire, but I’m afraid your resistance will be short-lived today. I had some time to myself yesterday and I was thinking about you. I was asking myself why you wouldn’t tell me what I’m asking of you. And then I came to a conclusion.” For a mere second I believed he would have accepted that I had been telling the truth all along. “I came to the conclusion that although your will was strong enough to render pain and even intense psychological pressure useless, you might not withstand if both came in the same instant. I was asking myself what would happen if I give you one invincible enemy that tortures both your body and mind. I believe no one, not even me, could stand this terror. And then I thought about a method to do just that.” He paused for a moment looking at me as if to memorize my face. “This morning I came to a solution to this problem.” He grinned broadly. “Actually this is the reason, why you could sleep so long, I still needed the permission and the material to do so, but here it is!” He said grinning and presented me a small syringe. It was filled with a clear liquid which had a red tone in it, just barely, but noticeable. “As I said yesterday, I don’t want to kill your son, but I want to let you know that you will do it if you don’t tell us what we want to hear.”
“Never!” I shouted, not sure myself.
“Of course you will. You have worked for us for a long time and you have seen the tests we were doing.”
I remembered rats who went on a rampage, killing everything they saw shortly after I injected the liquids into their system, ending up killing themselves.
“No, never.” I whispered, shocked by the thought.
“This” He shook the syringe. “will turn you into a monster and if I don’t give you the antidote” He took another syringe out of his jacket. “you will end up killing your son. So I will ask you one last time. Who?”
“I don’t know!” I shouted as if in pain
“As you wish.” The blond man said and injected me with whatever was inside the syringe.
At first nothing happened and I already dared to hope that the guy had bluffed, but slowly small red dots appeared on my arm and hand. I howled in pain as the red dots broke and dark red scales appeared beneath. The pain became unbearable as more and more scales broke through my skin. I realized that the man wanted to turn me in an actual monster and the thought let me scream. I wanted nothing else as to struggle against whatever was reshaping me, but I didn’t know how. I shouted as long entirely black claws ripped through the ends of my fingers, sending a splash of blood to the ground. Sheer terror clouded my mind as more and more of my skin disappeared behind the bloody red scales. The blond man said something, probably his usual question, but I was too panicked to understand his words. I screamed as my arms swelled, my muscles seemingly ripping themselves apart. As my physique grew larger and stronger the effects of the drug which had bound me until now faded, but I didn’t notice, since the pain was extinguishing any other thought. In an instant I fell to my knees when a long tail erupted from my back, pushing me out of my chair. I tried to scream, but my throat wasn’t obeying me anymore as the strange substance was starting to reshape it as well. My feet cracked when the bones inside grew longer and repositioned themselves. My shoes broke and I got a quick glance at scaly reptilian like feet and I closed my eyes. I couldn’t bear the sight anymore. What was I turning into? When I opened my eyes wide again, suffering under a new wave of unbearable pain I was blind. All I could see was pitch black. And then as if I would have been blindfolded for a long time the light returned far brighter than before and I blinked. I guessed that the transformation, if you like to call it that, was nearing its end. I didn’t recognize my body anymore and I growled aloud when the bones in my back broke announcing the arrival of new changes. The sound startled me, it sounded animalistic, entirely non-human. My back snapped as two huge bat-like wings unfolded itself and I arched my back in pain. When I fell back to the ground the pain almost faded away and I hoped that it was over, but only for a second. With a loud crack and a shocking pain which surpassed anything I had felt until then by a multiple, my face pushed out into a muzzle. My entire skull felt like it was made from water molding freely beneath my now scaly skin. Then I sank back, confused, sore and endlessly tired. I heard a door slam shut and spun around with a speed that surprised myself. There was no one left in the room except my son. He was sitting in one corner of the room and stared fearfully at me. The room, although it already was huge, was too small for me to reach him behind me. I wanted nothing else, but to comfort him, hug him and take him out of this place.
“Come here my son, give daddy a hug.” I growled as silent as possible and hoped that he would still recognize me.
He came running towards me and hugged me as strong as he could. He was crying. Until today I can only guess how terrible this time must have been for this four-year-old, but he is still at my side. When we escaped through a hole I ripped into the ceiling I sat the entire complex on fire. As I was turned into a dragon I found it easy to breathe fire. Julien is now sixteen and his greatest desire is to be like his dad. I‘m still smiling at the thought.