So, for those who don't know, this is a rewrite of "Carpe Diem - Old Version". The prologue is the same as the other one. As for what comes next, I don't think I'm going to stick to the exact same thing as last time. I have a few conflicting ideas but hopefully those will be sorted out soon :) I just figured I'd go ahead and start this so it was on the table, so to speak. If I take too long on an update (on any story, really) feel free to message spam me :) Anyway, I will upload a possible summary on my profile sometime soon. In the meantime, the little synopsis is all you're gonna get ;)

Begin!


Prologue:

3523

I stared at the far wall as I had been doing for the past three hours. I barely blinked and my eyes were burning but I didn't see the point in looking away. Screams were heard all around me but I was almost deaf to them now, having heard them so often every single day I was here.

It wasn't as though I was neutral or anything - no, I did my fair share of screaming, but I had just stopped trying to help, really. Not by choice - no, just because there was no way to help them anyway and going to see them suffer rather than just having to hear them was so much worse, so why torture myself as such? I wanted to help them so badly but knew there was simply nothing I could do but wait for my turn to come. And come it would, soon. I could feel it in my bones and the psychic-ness within me was screaming with that horrible, foreboding feeling of residual pain that would no doubt intensify later.

I could almost feel the leather smack of the whip against my skin as it tore gashes and spilled my blood. No one would care when it was me screaming, either. They would flinch and wish there was something they could do, but they would sit here, just as I was, and stare at the wall as though searching for some sort of release. It was all we ever did, us psychics here in the Psychic Tether, or PT for short. We waited around for our turn at pain and then waited around some more until we were called into the Telling, or the place where we were forced, by injections, to use our psychic abilities for these people's own selfish needs. This was so messed up and yet no one cared. Hell, half the time I didn't even care and this was my own damn, messed up life.

We were a sorry bunch of people, that much was for sure. But yet we were given no pity, nor were we ever looked upon with such an emotion. We were a means to an end and that was it - a hammer, or a tool. That was all.

Finally, as I knew it would, my turn came. Two guards, tall men with shaved heads and glowing eyes that were oddly small, hauled me roughly to my feet and pulled my hands behind my back. I didn't fight, not even when I felt the cool clamp of the handcuffs as they fastened my wrists and hands in place so I could not pull them free. I learned long ago that fighting was futile and only led to more pain and suffering. There was no reason to fight. No one cared anyway - this was all there was for us and all there would ever be.

I didn't even blink an eye when a rough rope was placed around my neck - like a damn leash. Yes, that was exactly what it was. A leash that would be there to kill me if they saw fit. Maybe that didn't matter. Maybe death would be a sweet release if I should be so lucky to receive it. But then, that was the cowardly way out, right? Besides, life may have been crappy but it was my life….right? It was all I had.

I was led out of the cabin - yeah, the cabin I shared with at least six others - and was taken toward a large building about a hundred yards away. The screams, desperate and pleading but falling on deaf ears, grew louder as we neared it and I mentally started to close down my mind. I wouldn't need a mind in here; it was too quick of a way to lose it, as I learned long ago.

Maybe I was faring better than others. I could still think, for instance. I had a mind and I had a…name…somewhere. Maybe. Or maybe I didn't. Maybe my name was and had always been 3523. Yes, a number. It was familiar - it was me. It was all I knew. And yet something within me screamed at the insaneness of it all, because a part of my mind could remember a time when I had been called something else…a time when I felt warm, gentle hands running through my hair and a soothing female voice as I was rocked until I fell asleep. My mother, perhaps? Where was she? Did she search for me? No. Why bother? Worthiness was not something I possessed, nor would I ever know that particular feeling.

"Walk," one of the guards hissed as they gave me a small shove. I had been distracted by my thoughts and thus had been lagging. I was supposed to be three steps in front of them at all times so the rope was taut and they could hurt me if they pleased. That was just the way it was supposed to be and the way it always was here.

I swallowed and moved ahead as I was supposed to do. My mind went blank at the blood coating the ground as I was forced to my knees. I wore no shirt, my skin barely starting to heal from the last round of beatings but they didn't seem to care. None of us were issued shirts - why bother? I was actually surprised we were allowed to have shorts. Sure they never fit exactly but at least it was something.

I could practically feel the whip as it approached me. What the purpose of this was, I didn't know. Maybe that was best. My mind was blank anyway as I awaited the pain.

The pain did not disappoint, as it quickly came, fast and always taking me off-guard even though I was always expecting it. The first whip lash hurt and I felt blood stream from the cut that was now present in my shoulder. Biting down on my lower lip, I struggled to keep from crying out. So what if it hurt? Why cry out? No one was listening.

And if they were, they didn't care.

And so I endured the pain because there was simply no other way. I did cry out, as I always did. The pain became too much, the lashes cutting into barely-healed wounds. My arms, pinned behind my back because of the cold chill of the metallic cuffs, took a lot of the lashes as well. Sometimes it was a wonder I was still alive because I knew there was always much blood loss. Maybe that was why they gave us a few days to heal before the next lashing. Or maybe they were just getting through all of us psychics and then starting around again. Either way, there was always at least a two to three day period of downtime…when one wasn't being called on to go the Telling.

I was glad I couldn't think. I really didn't want to.

The cries and gasps and screams escaped me simply because my body had taken over, giving into its weaknesses and impulses of crying out simply because it thought it might receive some sort of twisted mercy this way. My mind, on the other hand, retreated further within itself, certain that any such mercy would only come in the form of death and would not be granted lightly. For all the torturing, they did not want us dead because then they would have to find more like us, or make more like us, and that was not something they particularly wished to do.

So no, not even the sweet oblivion of death was an accurate option of release from this place and this pain.

Soon but not quickly enough, the pain ceased and I toppled forward, finally being released of the rope around my neck. It had been holding me up for the better part of ten minutes and I could barely breathe, but now I just lay on the ground, panting as I gasped for the much needed air that I had been deprived of in my time of pain. Slowly, my mind started to return but it was much too soon. I didn't want to feel just yet, not with mind and body together. No, just a little longer of that blankness in my mind and I would be okay. Just a moment to gather myself, a moment to…to not…

The tears came as they always did, trekking down my cheeks like salty soldiers marching to the beat of sorrow itself. I did not want to cry. Another moment and maybe I could have composed myself better, but this was a mixture of both mind and body and so maybe it could never be avoided. The pain was just too real, too intense and there. Stinging, resonating through me without remorse or mercy, just like those damn guards themselves.

A hand tangled in my hair and lifted my head from the ground, the cool, unforgiving yet appreciated surface of the bloodied cement. "Up, bastard," a voice snarled. One of the guards, I knew. Time to go back to my cabin…but I didn't wish to get to my feet. No, just let me die and everything would be okay…

Yes…yes, please, just let me die, I wanted so badly to shout at them but knew it would do no good. Besides that, my mouth wouldn't work. I tasted blood yet could barely swallow because my tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth so much. My vocals wouldn't work, probably scarred from the amount of screaming I had done.

I was hauled roughly to my feet, not given a chance to protest. The rope didn't go around my neck again, for which I was oddly grateful. I could still feel the obvious burn from where that rough scratchiness had been imbedded in my skin for the time I had almost fallen forward. The heat from the no-doubt red burn of the skin was almost unbearable, but the searing screech of the pain from my lashes was far worse. I could barely see straight and kept staggering.

Just let me die…please, I beg of you.

But no, there was to be no release for me. Of any kind, really. What would be the point? I deserved nothing less than what I got. Right?

I was just a number, after all.

3523.


And there's the prologue, like before :) I will try to have chapter one up sometime soon, but I make no promises. I also don't think it will be too long, like the chapters of the old version. Anyway - my general warnings and stuff will be in the first chapter since this is just a prologue :) Thanks for reading and please review!

~Averick~