Saturday, August 27, 2022

Gen's Cell

 The torchlight was blinding. Gen sneezed a few times as his eyes adjusted to the light. It was the brightest thing he'd seen in weeks.

"Get up," a voice behind the light barked. He obeyed. Freedom, death, or torture awaited, but anything was better than the darkness. He was beyond hoping for anything beyond an end to the darkness.

Gen didn't so much 'get up' as creakily unfurl and lift himself upright. It was a challenge - the beatings, malnutrition, and general neglect had done a number on his physical well-being. The man holding the torch rattled the bars and insisted he move faster, but Gen was beyond this base motivation.

He made his way to the bars and was yanked beyond them. He was pushed and pulled and prodded up the dungeon's steps, not keeping the pace his captors demanded. Another person's mind would have wandered. Another person's mind would have questioned why and where and all the normal things. He focused on each stone on each step. He focused on getting his fingers into cracks in the wall so he could pull himself forward. He focused on his burning leg muscles - once able to propel him across battlefields an up siege ladders.

Eventually, a million years later, Gen arrived at a door he'd been through only once before. A guard asked if he was ready, and before he could process the question, the guard opened the door and another shoved him out into a courtyard.

The sunlight was blinding. After the shove Gen could only see his hands on the dirty path in front of him. The door slammed shut, but he didn't take much notice as he grappled with the assault of sensations. He struggled to catch his breath. He struggled to focus his eyesight - his sun-sneezes hadn't come yet. Noise and smalls and small sprigs of grass were all there, but they didn't penetrate into his world just yet.

After a beat, and certainly unready, Gen made a decision: he stood up. Hands and knees and exhalations were the workhorses of the effort, but he made it. A wobbly start, but he was a biped once more. Now to become human.

He surveyed his surroundings: behind him a small keep, around him walls and a few structures, in front (or near enough) a gatehouse. No people. No animals. Only one opening - out.

Gen made an uneven walk toward and through the gates, only to confront more abandoned structures. Black fabric and quick swipes of black paint were the decoration of the day. Remembering he should eat, he looked in a few shops. There was nothing.

What new torture was this?

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