I ran desperately through the night, my heart pounding against my rib cage, threatening to break free from my chest. Sweat seeped from my pours, slipping into my eyes. My bare feet, cut and bruised, ached terribly.
The branches of the trees thrashed in my face and I was sure I was bleeding from the slashes. Needles of nature and leaves got into my hair, leaving a need to itch growing with every second.
Must get out, I thought. Must get away. Away from here. Anywhere but here.
Behind me, the marching footsteps echoed dangerously close. The clanking of metal armour cut through the shadows, threatening my ears.
" I saw 'im! He's over 'ere!"
I was dying, but they didn't care. As long as they got me, everything would be alright. For them. Not for me. I wouldn't become one of their guinea pigs again! I refused to!
I ran faster and faster, pushing myself to a pace that I had never dared to before. I was in danger of falling forwards, but I kept to my speed and was determined never to fall to their clutches again.
But they got closer and closer. Like a nightmare, I couldn't get away from them. I would be the victim again and there was nothing I could do to get away. It was the end for me. They were going to catch me.
Suddenly, they burst through the trees behind me, like robots, so quickly. At first, it was only one, but then there came more, so many more than I could handle. I looked over my shoulder into their duty-driven determined faces, their cold eyes narrowing and the smirks on their pale lips growing in menace.
" Gotcha now, boy!"
I wanted to shout something witty back, yell a curse, a heroic line. But I know what he said was true. All I could do was squeal. But inside. Never would I let them know the panic I felt. I wouldn't let them get the satisfaction.
Slowly, a hand circled my arm with a mechanic grip and pulled me off of my feet, and my body screamed in pain. I rose to see a soldier's ugly face, red under the metal helmet. I stared into his putrid eyes and spat in his face.
" Oh! Don'cha dare!" he growled at me. His fist collided with my stomach and I doubled over, or tried to. " You listen to me, ya hear? You comin' back with us, see? We ain't gonna let you free no more, not after what happened last time, right? Nearly got us killed, yeah?"
" Shut up," I gasped, the pain in my stomach burning. Spots appeared before me, dancing fluidly like in a dream, black and white, so confusing. I wanted to fight back, but his grip on my arm warned me not to. My stomach agreed.
" Nah, you shut up!"
" Don't let him get to you-" started another soldier, stepping forwards.
" You can shut up too, ya twat!" He turned to me again, this time with a small, reluctant smirk.
A small, victorious smile grew on my lips and I glared at him. " Yeah. Don't let a little kid like me get to you."
He punched me again, this time on my cheek. The spots grew bigger, and I swore I saw one in a hula costume.
" We're takin' ya back home. And there ain't nothing you can do about it."
" It's not my home," I hissed. It was nothing like a home! Who would call a place where you're forced to be a slave for a rich, spoilt brat who didn't even know your name, then tortured if you didn't do something right, a home? Hell, I didn't even have a name! I was just a number! They didn't care about me. They only got me back when I ran away because I could tell the outside world their secrets! I wasn't worth anything.
" I don't care what ya think! You're goin' and that's final!"
Before I knew it, everything went black. The night engulfed me and I felt no more. I fell, endlessly, into a void of nothing but sleep, in pain and in desperation. But what scared me the most was I knew that the moment I opened my eyes, I would be back in the cold, stone cell of a room I was put in every night for sleep. I shivered at the thought.
I opened my eyes, and immediately hatred flooded through me.
Around me were walls of stone, cold and looming over me, small and concrete. No windows and no light, with only dirty straw on the floor where I rested my head. On the right were silver bars, thick and strong, with chains locking them closed.
My room, my jail… back again. Back to the failure, back to the humiliation, back to the endless continuation of routine. Back to the place where I had no name. How I loathed the place.
" You're finally awake, idiot?"
I turned and saw a blurry image of a boy on the other side of the bars, hands on his hips, crumpling his fine, rich clothes. His blond hair was slicked back, putting my black matted locks to shame. His lightening blue eyes dug into me, impatient and bored, wanting something to entertain them. His aura… so overpowering, so majestic, so wealthy. So not me. I had a small build, with little muscle. He had strong limbs after hours of training. His courage seeped out of him. I had nothing. He was rich. I had never held a penny. He had everything set out for him, a safe and wealthy future, filled with happiness, probably a beautiful wife, little spoilt brats, just like him, pattering down his great rich halls in his huge mansion. I was dying. He was Named. I wasn't.
I think the difference was clear. Plus, I was his slave, bought by his father when he saw me wandering the streets at five years old, seven years ago. In the times that he grew bored of me and went off to someone else for entertainment, I was taken to be a guinea pig for his father's soldiers. Then tortured if anything went in the slightest bit wrong.
Now you can see why I tried to run away. Anything compared to this would be heaven.
I groaned and turned away from him. " What do you want?"
" Hey! Do not speak to me like that! You're my slave, so you do as I say," he argued triumphantly.
Reluctantly, I replied, " Yes, Master. What is it that you want?"
" Come and play hide and seek with me. I am bored. No one will play with me."
I got up, holding myself back from flinching from the pain and the aches as I did so, and turned to him. Never would I show him my pain either. He may have been a child of only twelve, just like me, but he would soon become a man that would hurt those who showed weakness. I would show only strength in his presence. For one day, I would overcome him, him and his father, and get away from this place. Forever.
Wouldn't that be nice?