The cage was cold and desolate, much like how Reso was feeling. Reso stared at the bars of his home, watching for anything- absolutely anything- to happen. Most of all, he was waiting for the "boss man", or the "warden", as they called him, to come give them their food.

Reso inhaled. Somehow, deep within his head, there lay a thought, a single, lonely thought that told him something. What if mom came back, he thought. He didn't actually think it. Instead, it lay deep within the crevices of his mind, waiting to be acknowledged.

He shooed the thought away, trying to think of anything besides that.

Slowly, the boy lifted his left hand. It was torn and bloodied, with jagged scars going down his palm. Reso shuddered at the thought of last night. The memories weren't there; only thoughts of the iron chains constricting his wrists as he tried to escape.

With every muscle in his body, Reso had tried to escape. He pulled and stretched as far as he could go, but to no avail. Reso was stuck in the cage, no matter how hard he tried to escape.

Every night it was like this.

The boy turned into a monster; he became a horrible creature which no one could stop. Only the chains that tied him to his prison stopped him from escaping. Other than that, Reso would have beaten up every sentry who patrolled his cell.

Reso shuddered. Just the thought made his skin crawl. For now, though, he had no intention of reflecting upon his actions.

Just then, the Warden spoke in his deep, Texas accent, "Son, meal time. Eat yer grub and hush up. We got ourselves a new 'en." The man slid Reso's tray under the steely bars, letting splatter over the concrete floor.

The Warden was a large, tough man, who spent years patrolling the nuclear plant in Fresno, California. After years of raids, and mob attacks, he had become a callus of a man, with no emotions of feelings of any sort.

Remembering this, Reso nodded vigorously, "Yes 'ir. I ain't got no reason to misbehave."

By then, though, the Warden was gone.

Reso sighed, staring down at his tray. Canned peas flew all over the plate; they went into his mashed potatoes, and into the gravy of his chicken-fried-steak. His potatoes were sloppily thrown onto a portion of his meat, and his steak was partly frozen. But, for the most part, Reso was content with his meal.

He had just begun to dig into his mashed potatoes, when a new girl was escorted in through the long corridor of cages. Reso stared at her. She was pudgy, but you could still tell she was a pretty young thing. Her hair was dark and curly, and her eyes were as blue as the sky. Her tan skin told she was from his part of the country.

Reso grinned. She wore brown cowgirl boots covered with mud, along with a blue sunflower dress, and a blue-jean jacket. It was pretty obvious they were all homemade, telling from the uneven stitches. (Besides that, thread was hard to get, so big fashion corporations got the best colors. This girl's stitching was an ugly chartreuse color, hinting that the dress wasn't store bought.)

"You can't lock me up here forever! I've seen things!" She spat at the Warden, who followed behind her escorting guards. The Warden replied with a sickly smile, "Sugar, don't be a tough gal. You'll be in here for a long time with that attitude." Reso thought he saw the Warden wink at her.

Reso continued to engulf his food, but he couldn't stop thinking about the girl. He glanced up. The girl's cell was about fifteen feet straight ahead of his, so he couldn't see exactly what she was doing. Still, he could faintly hear her whimpering. "I just…*hiccup* wanna go home…" he heard.

For a moment, Reso felt bad for her. The first few days of M.U.T.A.N.T. (Monsters Universally Trained Achieving Normalcy Today) were the hardest. Reso moved the spoon around the rest of his plate, trying to catch the last of his gravy. He remembered his first week- the tears, the attitude, the anger, etc. It was hard to be locked in the nuthouse.

On the whole, it wasn't that bad. You got fed, 'edumacated' by old secondhand textbooks, and you were slowly released back into society if you were good. The only bad parts were the ways they tried to train you. Electrotherapy, physical punishment, and starvation were just a few ways they tried to 'train' you.

Reso's skin crawled at the very thought.

Still, as he lay out on his cot, (covering himself gently with blankets), he thought long and hard. Something was different about her. She had come to the "Psychology" ward for a reason… but for what?

Ruthie lay on her cot, listening to the howling. The boy was across from her, and he was acting like a madman. She had turned to face the wall, trying to ignore the sounds coming from his cell. Tonight's gonna be a long night, she thought bitterly.

Despite her long trek here, Ruthie still wanted to run. She wanted to run as fast as she could from this place, from these people. She wanted to be in her cabin, smoking homegrown cigarettes, eating fresh, juicy steak, and running through the trees. She wanted this with all her heart, and she would kill anyone- especially that annoying kid in the cell across from her- just to get it.

A hissing sound came from the cell across from her, and Ruthie, being herself, cried out, "Fer the love of God! Shut the 'ell up!" The noise stopped for a moment, before he began howling out in anger.

Yep, she thought, it's gonna be a long night.