Present

April, 4011 A.D.

I'm lying on the floor in the dark, drifting in and out of sleep. I have no blankets, no pillows, or even a bench to sleep on; but I found out a long time ago that if you're tired enough, you'll sleep pretty much anywhere and in any position. I guess I'm just happy that the temperature in here is bearable and that beyond not knowing when I'm going to get my next bath, there really isn't any torture they're inflicting on me physically. I know there are other prisons out there that are a fuck-load of a lot worse. I guess I'm…lucky.

At that thought, a little bit of air escapes my lips. I'm too tired to actually laugh out loud. I really do hate irony. It sucks like the best whore in the worst part of the city. And Blaire used to tell me that they were pretty good at what they did. Then I'd say, that is way too much fucking information and Blaire, being his annoying self, would ask me if the pun was intended and then we'd get into a petty argument that was somehow enjoyable and…it's funny how the past can sneak into your thoughts without you noticing.

I blink.

God, it's dark in here. Even if I close my eyes, it doesn't make a difference. But somehow, I feel better with my eyes closed, probably because I'm used to not seeing anything then. So I close them again.

The lights in my cell seem to mirror the hours of the day. At night there is no light whatsoever, but as it becomes morning my cell becomes brighter and brighter, until the middle of the day where it's so bright you can't see a damn thing. Then it wanes until it's night again and the cycle starts all over. Sometimes I wonder why they do that. I'd think that in order to screw with me more they'd either make it all dark all the time, all light all the time, or something like that so I don't know what time of day it actually is. I would have no way to measure how long I've been here or even what season it is. That'd be a real mindfuck.

I'm pretty sure I've been here at least two years though. That is, if I've been counting the days right. I have an almost photographic memory, which I suppose sometimes comes in handy for things like this. Counting day after day after day…

It's all so damn depressing.

I wince. That thought is way too clear for comfort. I can't afford to get depressed. I don't even have hope to stave it off anymore, just a dogged determination not to die so I can get the hell out of here.

I try to turn over to my other side because my neck is starting to ache but my bulky chains won't let me. Then there's a few minutes of trying to flip my long hair out of my face so it won't get caught in the metal links (trust me, that hurts like a motherfucker) and then lifting my body up to flop over onto the other side of my chained hands and feet.

By the time I actually manage to get turned over, I'm sweaty, my wrists and ankles are in a weird position, and my neck still hurts. But now I'm facing the door and not the wall so no awkward fumbling in the morning when he comes to visit. That'd be even more humiliating than usual. I don't even know why I wanted to face the wall in the first place.

Oh. That's right. So I couldn't see the door and I wouldn't have to think about what…happened earlier.

I slowly breathe in. Breathe out. I can't seem to win these days.

----

There's a huge bang. My eyes fly open, and my head jerks up. Dr…(god, just say his fucking name already) Lucas stands in the door way, looking imperiously down at where I'm huddled on the floor. I think I was just having a nightmare, but I can't remember what it was except for the panicky feeling of it. I can't seem to calm my breathing which makes me panic even more.

My nerves are already jangled, and he hasn't even said anything yet. That's not good.

I slowly try to sit up and realize that it's easier than usual. I surreptitiously glance behind me to see that my neck collar is gone. What is going on? At night it's usually extended anyway, just enough so I can lie down, but for it to be completely gone…

I hear an impatient noise, and I immediately turn back to the doorway.

He has his head tilted slightly, arms crossed and foot tapping a little. I haven't seen him this agitated in a very long time. Usually he's calm personified and no emotion escapes. But today the contempt is clear in his blue eyes, and it burns.

"Michael came to speak with me yesterday," he says abruptly. He is staring directly into my eyes. I try not to squirm under the intense gaze.

"What, no 'hello'? Not even a 'how are you' before you start?" I say snidely, vainly trying to regain my balance. He ignores me.

"Since you are obviously too proud to ask who Michael is, I will tell you. He is the doctor who came to see you yesterday. The one you so kindly demonstrated your special talents on."

His lips are turned up but there is too much angry satisfaction in the expression to call it a smile.

"Even after I finished explaining he still thought you were a Freak."

"Why should I care?" I hate how my voice trembles.

"You murdered his only family," he answers, eyes glittering in the dim light. "After you killed his parents, he had to go live in an orphanage. There he suffered from the relentless cruelty of the adults because of who is parents were. And the children, though they didn't know why the adults hated him, just followed their lead like stupid little sheep. His life, up until the age of sixteen, was a living hell.

"You sentenced him to that. And then you didn't even have the courage to explain yourself to him," he says disgustedly, striding across the cell until he's standing over me. I press myself back against the wall, fists clenched as tightly as possible. "You are a sad excuse for a human being." I bite my lip, so I can't voice an agreement. He pauses for a second and blinks. "Oh wait, that's right, you're not human at all! You are a Freak."

"No, I'm not!" I cry out without thinking. "You know I'm not, you just said how you explained to Michael that I'm not a Freak!"

"Oh?" He looks surprised but there's a flicker of mockery. "I must have been wrong. I think the gold of your eyes says otherwise."

"My eyes are brown!" I protest. "Brown!" He takes a mirror from his pocket and thrusts it in front of me. I immediately turn my face away.

"Go on, look. Are you that much of a coward you can't even look at your own face?" The ridicule in his voice is now coming in loud and clear instead of the flicker it was before. I cringe.

I slowly turn my face toward the mirror. Large golden eyes stare back at me. They're beautiful. They're frightening. They're the eyes of a Freak.

"Oh god," I moan helplessly, but I can't stop staring.

"Now, now," he chides. "This is nothing you didn't already know. Or is it seeing your own face after so long that is the shock?"

My face…my lips are pressed into a thin line but other than that, I can't even really make out what I look like underneath all the oil and dirt. All of a sudden I want a bath so badly it hurts. Not a shower, a bath. A luxurious bath with actual hot water, scented soaps, and soft towels to dry off with.

I look down at the gray smock I've been wearing for the past month, stained and itchy from the lice that have taken up residence in it, and I want to cry for the second time in as many days.

There is a rustling sound, and I assume that he's putting the mirror back in his pocket. I watch his legs as he bends down. He grasps my chin and turns my face up to his.

Is he doing this on purpose? Repeating the action that I did yesterday? I wouldn't be surprised.

I'm so close to him that I'm breathing his air and if I leaned forward the slightest bit I could kiss him. I feel like I'm going to faint.

"You are a Freak," he whispers.

It takes me a second to register his words because I'm too caught up in the way his thick blonde hair falls over his forehead, across his ears, and then curls around his neck like a tail.

"And you know what Freaks do. What they are known for. They run through the streets with a manic bloodlust in their golden eyes and kill without the slightest regard as to whether it's a child or a killer that they hack to pieces with their claws."

I try to move away, but somehow he had moved his hand without me noticing and he's gripping my neck so hard that I almost let out a sound of pain before stopping myself at the last second.

"They butcher, they slaughter, they live for the screaming, you better run or hope that you're dreaming," he chants, and it's an old rhyme I remember from my childhood; a warning that the parents would give to their children and that they would in turn use to taunt each other with.

"Stop it," I gasp.

"Did I bring up some bad memories?" he asks. His voice is flat but the grip on my neck becomes even tighter.

"You…know you did." I fight to breathe; there are black dots dancing in front of my eyes.

"Good." There is more breath than voice in that single word.

In less than a second I have him pinned to the floor, arms raised above his head. He is smiling but it is like a doll's smile: empty.

"You're only proving me right," he says. "Do you think an ordinary human could lift those chains?"

"No, don't say it," I plead desperately. "Normally I can't lift them at all!"

"We have talked about this before," he says almost patiently. "Your inhuman strength is just like a Freak's."

I pull back one of my fists, I want to punch that empty smile off his face. I want to hit him until he tells me what I want to hear.

"Are you going to kill me so you don't have to face the truth?" His smile stretches until it takes up his whole face, never ever reaching his eyes. I can't control my terror, it's so strong I can almost smell it.

"I'm not a Freak!" I'm sobbing without tears as I bring my fist down and smash it into his face, blood spurting everywhere, bones breaking. Icy pain explodes up my arm and black and crimson dots flutter in front of my eyes like butterflies, multiplying until all I can see is blood-tinged darkness.

I open my eyes so quickly it hurts, and I scream because my eyes are open and it's still dark. I thrash around, trying to get up and run, but I'm firmly held in place with those goddamned chains and my…neck collar.

I immediately stop moving around and blink rapidly. It's so dark--because it's still nighttime. I relax back onto the ground, and look up in the direction of the ceiling, dazed by the realization.

The whole thing with Dr. Lucas…was a dream.

I stretch my arms out a little and wince at the mass of pain that is my right hand. Well, apparently not everything was a dream; I must have punched the floor when in the dream I thought I was punching his face. And the floor is a hell of a lot harder than a human face.

I'm almost afraid to see what my hands look like in the light. I can feel blood leaking from both of my palms, from where my fingernails dug in when I clenched my fists. And I think my right hand is broken, as judging from the waves of pain that radiate from my fingers to my knuckles and then shoot up to my elbow. Luckily the coldness of the floor soothes it a little; I'm not going to get any medical treatment tonight though they're probably aware of what happened. I'll live though.

Now I just have to figure out where the hell did that dream come from. I haven't had a nightmare like that in about four or five years--why now? I thought I had come to terms with everything. Technically, though I have abilities that I share with Freaks, I am not one. Freaks have gray skin that is slightly reptilian in the fact that it has mini-scales, but the way their body is built is reminiscent of a giant cat. They prefer to run on all four legs but can run on two, though it is awkward. They have no noses, just two slits, and no lips to speak of. But their golden eyes…they are like human eyes, even if the emotions expressed in them are not considered human by the general populace. I have always scoffed at that though; I have seen plenty of people who call themselves human with that same look in their eyes.

And in reality, Dr. Lucas, contrary to the dream Dr. Lucas, does not believe that I am a Freak. Though there have been many people that I have met, too many to count, that do believe it, and what they did because of that belief…

I involuntarily shudder at the memories and then let out a hiss of pain because I accidentally banged my hand against the floor.

I'm starting to sweat again. It seems the pain is really kicking in now. I can't think of anything else. The only bright side is that I can't sleep with all the pain which means I can't have another nightmare. I don't think I'd be lucky enough to just have one tonight. And if I did have another one then maybe I'd break my other hand and I could have a matching pair. Ooh, how lovely.

I snort but don't move again because pain is easily provoked.

This is going to be one hell of a long night.