Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Family Home (05/29/08)
By Michael N Lovdal
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"Refrain from motion, young one," one warned. Captivo searched their faces for signs of gender, but all he could identify was that they were indeed human. Cold and lifeless eyes; noses small and fragile, and teeth white as their hair, and twice as shiny; their slender lips were glossed below recessed cheekbones.
He continued to fight. One captor grabbed him by the hair and forced his head down, bashing his nose into his knee. Captivo felt a painful sting in the back of his neck and heard an air-compressor gun go off behind him. The hand released and he straightened up in pain. A tear streaked down his face; sitting up made his neck hurt even worse. Was liquid streaking down his neck? His captor's faces remained expressionless, apathetic.
"What did you do to me?" he asked in horror.
"You have been nerve-stapled, child. Remain still, or the device will send a hundred volts of electricity down your spine."
He was desperate to escape, but Captivo was terrified of being shocked. The truck stopped suddenly, slamming Captivo into the wall. The sudden jerk of his body activated the nerve-staple and a quick shock ran down his back. Despite the pain, his attention was diverted by being dragged out of the now-parked vehicle.
The harsh sunlight assaulted his eyes as he emerged from the truck, pulled along by handles on his straight-jacket. A girl screamed in the distance as she was pulled from two adults. Her parents? Two captors, dressed akin to Captivo’s restrained them.
He didn't resist as they pulled him into a dark building–compliance was less painful.
The lobby was metallic-silver with glossy-black low-lights. A sign read, "The Family Home; Reeducation Center." Tiny red-tinted lights guided their way as they approached and entered the elevator, an intimidatingly large portal into an even deeper black place. The elevator screeched as it hurled upwards. With no floor indicator, Captivo could only imagine how far they were going up. Or down. Going down frightened him even more. Wait! Yes - they were definitely going down!
The elevator eventually slowed and opened. Brilliant light poured in from the room before him, blinding him for a few moments. He was forced ahead into a massive gymnasium. Children were playing in groups and in lines–but no laughter. Not a single child spoke, nor were any children running about. They merely sat quietly in a circle. Another group seemed to be going to a side room in single file. No adults led them; they just seemed to know where to go.
At the far end of the gymnasium another doorway led them through a series of halls lined with doors. Captivo saw a room with white dogs, a single black spot every forehead. He saw a room of artists, all drawing the same rainbow on the same large-sized canvases. He wanted to protest and scream that there was so much more that they could do with their talents. No chance.
Captivo was led into a small, empty room. He sat down on the floor by the back wall, glaring at his captors. One almost looked teary-eyed. When emotion crossed their face, he saw slightly feminine characteristics shine through the guise of generic gender.
"Please help me," he pleaded, knowing that this woman's heart had been touched. There was a soul in there.
"You can't fight it," she said. "No one can. I tried, but I couldn't. No one can." The other captor slammed the gated door shut. "You'll be released into The Society once you've undergone the reeducation process."
Captivo leapt up to his feet and slammed his shoulders into the door, but it was locked shut.
"I'll never surrender! I'll never surrender! My spirit will not be broken!" He stood crying, recovering from the pain of another nerve-staple shock. He collapsed, hopeless. As defiant as he had been, his fighting spirit was crushed–until he heard a scream from the cell beside him. He heard another door slam and lock.
A girl's strong voice proclaimed, "I'll never surrender! I'll never be broken!"
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