A Cleaner Way to Kill

April 11, 2012:

Number 13 was suspended in some type of liquid, gazing with unfocused eyes through the glass of what could only be described as a cage. She knew not what clung to her arms and legs and kept them still, but they offered no range of motion. She was aware of a device of some kind over her mouth and nose, feeding her air. She watched as they inspected her, taking readings, writing on clipboards. The glass was a cylinder, at least that was her assumption, and outside she was in a small room that housed various computers and other devices, most of which she didn't recognize.

Two individuals, one male and one female, came in a on a daily basis, clad in white coats, sometimes together, usually separately. They took readings and made various adjustments. Occasionally, the female among them would approach and ask if she was uncomfortable. Number 13 never spoke, the contraption over her mouth prevented that, but she would stare at her and attempt a nod, which was no small feat. The male only spoke to her once. He gazed at her inside her cage and asked her to forgive him. She made a small nod then as well. He never looked directly at her again, always at the readings, as though ashamed of what Number 13 would see on his face. Or of what he would see on hers.

Number 13 had fleeting memories; memories of life on the other side of the glass. She recalled being a little girl. She had a mother and a father and a brother. And there was a dog. Then a group of men in black fatigues came. What happened then was a blur, but she remembered her father on the floor, bleeding, her mother crying trying to get her away from the men. They picked her up and carried her crying and screaming into a black van outside. Then she was here, wherever "here" was. It was hard to remember the details, partly because it seemed so long ago and partly because every second, a small pulse that she assumed to be electricity shot through her and broke her concentration. Physically, she was used to it, but it kept her thoughts scattered. For the first few weeks if her imprisonment, there was no pulse. Then, after that it began. At first it drove her insane, but after two weeks or so she began to learn to live with it. Now it was something she didn't notice unless she really thought about it.

She did not know how long she had been there or to what end she was being held there. She assumed it was years, she knew she had grown older in the time. That was all she was certain of.

Both the male and the female were here together today, speaking in low tones and scribbling on clipboards. She paid them no attention. Let them scribble all day. It was then that she felt something. It was like some kind of fire, some kind of heat exploded forcefully in her mind. It was close. What it was, she couldn't say. Her stomach knotted and she screamed. A dark horror stirred in her. It was drawing in energy of some kind. She focused. The pulses stopped. The two individuals in their white coats, who were rushing about in their frenzy at Number 13's sudden increase in heart rate, stopped and stared in disbelief as one instrument after another faded and died.

She focused deeper, closing her eyes, and she was shocked. Her mind reached beyond the room and out of the building. She felt the desert beyond them and reached for the source of this terrifying power. Something she couldn't quite understand was sucking in energy, storing it, growing in power. She probed at it, the mental equivalent of gently and lightly touching a surface and retracting from it to check its heat. It was not alive, and it was not exactly matter. It was some kind of force, and it was gathering and drawing energy from a radius of hundreds of miles. It drank greedily on electricity, heat, light, everything. And she sensed with horror what was going to happen. It would break.

Her eyes shot open, and with a thought, her cage of glass exploded. Slowly, the scientists backed away. Number 13 forcefully extracted her arms and legs from their steel shackles with ease. For a second, she stood still before them, nude and wet, goose-bumps covering her skin, her eyes shut, trying to feel where the energy was headed. Suddenly, she rushed at the two and grabbed a hold of them both, each by the wrist. She could feel their fear, and caught glimpses of what they thought she would do to them. She dragged them into a corner of the room as a white wall of light (but it was not light because it wasn't luminous and it wasn't a wall because it wasn't solid) tore (but not violently) through the room where they had all just been. Where the Whiteness had passed there was nothing left anymore. It had cut through the room, through the building, even into the earth by about six or seven feet. There were no ashes, no scars, no wreckage, and no broken glass. Everything in its path was just gone.

Shutting her eyes, Number 13 sensed many white lines of energy carving across the land and sea, splitting and circling and leaving nothing that they touched behind.

(And it occurred to her

that they had invented

the cleanest way yet

to kill someone.)