Adrienne would have been better off without eyelids for all the good they were doing her. Piercing, white light shot through her closed eyes and seemed to probe her brain into rousing. Black hair a mess, she rolled over on the snowy, linen-covered cot. She blinked rapidly in the harsh light and tried to regain her bearings. Though she was still a little dizzy, she sat up and began to survey her surroundings.

The bright lights illuminated the room with an unmatched radiance. The room she occupied was small, barely containing two beds, a nondescript washroom and other small pieces of assorted furniture. Two beds? she questioned. Listening more carefully, she could hear the trickle of water coming from what she supposed was the washroom. She tried to crane her neck around the corner to see if anyone was in the other room, but as she did so, another woman stepped through the narrow door way.

"Hi," the woman offered nonchalantly, running a water-soaked, brown hand through her darker brunette hair. Adrienne watched quietly as the darker woman approached her cordially, hand outstretched. "I'm Sebille."

Adrienne remained sitting on the bed without a hint of a welcoming gesture. Frowning, Sebille came and sat beside her. "I said, I'm Sebille," she announced more firmly, grasping the woman's pale hand. Adrienne shrieked in pain and withdrew her hand abruptly, cradling it childishly with her other hand. Rubbing them, she noticed the clean white bandaging that encased both her hands. The dressings wrapped around her wrists and extended across the back of her hands and tapered down her fingers. Adrienne shot an admonishing glance at Sebille who averted her eyes. "I apologize, I didn't see the—"

"What is this place?" Adrienne asked, touching her hands together lightly.

"Pardon?" Sebille responded with a rather metallic quality to her voice. Adrienne gazed at her blankly. "Oh. Well, it's the prison, of course. I didn't expect someone to not know that." Her voice faded as if paralyzed by the other woman's icy stare.

Despite her dizziness, Adrienne staggered off the bed and tried to balance on her wobbling legs. Her deep green eyes surveyed the room once more. After a few seconds, she rested her gaze on two plates of food, one untouched. Slowly, she managed to work her way across the room and pick up the plate. Adrienne quickly cleaned her plate of the green and beige slop that had resided upon it. Turning, she placed her back against the wall, slid into a sitting position on the floor and faced the other woman.

An uncomfortable silence permeated the room. Adrienne watched Sebille knotting her fingers in her lap nervously. She smiled delicately; she enjoyed the other woman's unease. Still smiling, she dropped her gaze and stared at her expertly bandaged hands.

"What's that mark on your neck?" Adrienne asked wistfully without looking up. When she received no response, she raised her head and met Sebille's gaze. The other woman shifted uncomfortably, evidently pretending she hadn't heard the question. Adrienne looked so passive that a marble statue's chiseled face would have been more evocative.

"From a surgery," Sebille grumbled nervously. Adrienne nodded expressionlessly, her high arched brows knotted in quiet contemplation. "So, what do you call yourself?" Sebille blurted awkwardly.

Another small smile crossed Adrienne's face, and she directed her attention to a loose thread on one of her bandages. Out of her peripheries, she watched Sebille move to her own bed and begin to occupy herself with a deck of cards she had stashed there. Bored, Adrienne carefully lifted herself off the ground and ambled to the washroom.

She tried to close the small door behind her, but rust had pervaded the hinges entirely. Shrugging, Adrienne surveyed the rest of cramped room. There was a leaking sink in one corner and a slightly rusted silver lid lying on the floor of the opposing corner. She stepped across the moist floor and lifted the silver lid, discovering a deep hole underneath it. The revolting smell that arose from the depths of the hole made her immediately drop the lid and shiver with disgust.

Adrienne moved over to the undersized sink and turned the corroding faucet on, sending yellowish water dribbling out. Cupping the water in her hands, she began pulling it through her matted black locks. When her hair was sufficiently free of tangles and visible dirt, she began scrubbing her face, arms and legs.

After she had finished the tedious task of washing, she staggered out of the washroom and back to her bed. Exhausted, the rough linen and hard mattress invited her into their embrace. Just as her eyes began to close, she muttered a single word in Sebille's direction, "Adrienne."

The next morning, Adrienne awoke to an overwhelming silence. How can a prison be so silent? she wondered. Looking around, she saw Sebille sitting on her bed, playing cards. It was unclear if she had ever actually stopped playing since the last time Adrienne saw her. Sebille was already beginning to annoy her. Wasn't one of the perks of prison the solitude?

Fully awakening, she pulled herself from the relative warmth of her cot and walked haltingly to the washroom. After washing her face and arms, she reentered the cell room to find two plates of food resting on the ground near the door. She picked them up precariously and set them on the only table in the room. It titled to one side slightly when she placed the plates on it. The food consisted of a whitish goop that was covered in a runny pink sauce with a spongy piece of something bread-like on the side. Adrienne soaked up the undetermined food with the spongy bits and quickly cleaned the plate.

Cleaned, satiated and rested, Adrienne could finally allow herself to consider her current predicament. Sebille was sitting motionlessly, with the exception of her hands that fluttered quickly over the cards in front of her. Hoping that her cellmate would remain preoccupied, Adrienne put her back against an open wall and sat on the floor. She closed her eyes and allowed her mind to wander, eager to stumble across any memory that might give her a clue about why she was in prison.

No matter how hard she pressed, her mind refused to share any details of her past. Frustrated, Adrienne shut her eyes more tightly and began to hum softly to herself when a brown hand clapped fiercely over her mouth.

"What are you doing?" Sebille hissed in her ear fiercely. Enraged, she slapped Sebille's hand away and leaped to her feet. Rubbing her mouth with the back of her bandaged hand, she turned her back to Sebille and began walking to her bed. "Look what you've just gotten us into." Sebille nervously ran to her own bed and feigned interest in her playing cards. Her eyes stared blankly through the cards, and her hands shook so badly, she couldn't even hold one steady. Adrienne was finally irritated enough by Sebille's capriciousness that she was about to question her when a thudding sound pierced the silence.

Adrienne watched as Sebille's strongly built frame shuddered uncontrollably, but Adrienne was strangely unaffected. She was curiously enthralled by the unison thudding outside and walked to the door expectantly.

The thudding abruptly stopped, and a low buzzing from the other side of the door grew louder within the cell. When the buzzing reached its peak volume, it stopped abruptly, and the cell door silently swung inward on its hinges, revealing four men standing at the entry way. All that was distinguishable from one man to the next was each one's hair color; every other part of their bodies was encased in shimmering black material. Even their faces were shielded from view by masks. Foreboding as they appeared, this did nothing to deter Adrienne from her position near the door.

"Who was it?" a gruff voice emanated from one of the nearly indistinguishable men.

Adrienne's brow knotted together, covering her forehead with thin, etched lines. "Did what?" she questioned softly. With a low hum, an invisible hand seemed to reach out and slap her across the face. The force of the blow knocked her off balance and threw her into the wall. Her eyes stung with salty tears, blurring her vision, and when she touched the cheek that had been hit, she noticed the welt had already begun to develop. Through her unbidden tears, she saw a dark form standing in front of her.

"Who was it?" repeated the voice in a more threatening tone. With a noticeable move of his head, the man grabbed Adrienne's chin and thrust it upward. Before Adrienne could speak, a small voice interrupted her.

"It was me," the weak voice said. Sebille's shoulders were trembling so hard it was difficult to believe she could remain standing. The man took a swift stride up to her and grabbed her around the throat roughly.

"Stop!" Adrienne shrieked. The man's hair fluttered wildly as if a torrent of wind had blown through the cell, yet he held Sebille fast. He probed her throat with his index finger for a few silent moments.

Adrienne began to stand and make a move toward the door. Immediately, the other three men, otherwise forgotten at the door, sped through the cell and secured Adrienne's arms behind her back. Still struggling, the quasi-leader walked up to her and placed both hands on either side of her neck. He began to probe her throat in the same way he had with Sebille. After a few moments, he frowned and thrust Adrienne away from him, sending his own men staggering slightly.

"Prep her," he muttered to one of his men. He walked to the doorway and murmured something indecipherable seemingly to no one but himself. Adrienne continued to wrestle the men restraining her. Sebille, released from the other man's touch, had positioned herself on her bed, and watched with a horrified expression etched on her face. One of the men released Adrienne for a few seconds in order to pull a syringe out of his belt. Having one of his companions hold her long dark hair back, he wrenched her neck toward the floor, bowing her over at the waist. In a single move, he jammed the needle right above her collarbone.

Adrienne screamed in pain as the burning liquid began to seep through her veins. The man pulled the syringe out, but as he did so, the glass shattered in his hands. The shattered pieces of glass cut deeply into his hand, and blood dripped down his arm. The gleaming blue liquid that had once been contained in the syringe oozed into his innumerable cuts and mixed with his blood. The two other men roughly let Adrienne fall to the ground as they ran to their companion.

Adrienne lay on the ground on her stomach with her head cocked slightly to the side and watched the bleeding man fall to his knees, despite his companions' best efforts to keep him upright. At this point, the leader barked angry orders at his men that Adrienne could not quite understand. Words were running together and all became noise. Her vision became murky and colors swirled together in a nauseating pattern.

Something warm began to trace the outline of her cheek that was pressed against the floor. She could barely make out the thick red liquid that was pooling around her face. Her vision darkened and became less distinct as her head began to take on a light-headed feel.

As her eyes slowly slid closed, she could barely make out the imperceptible shapes of the four men shuffling out the door.