"Please," he said, "please, you've got to help me. You don't know what they're going to do to me!"
I rolled my eyes. "Oh, I don't?"
He looked at me, pleading with his eyes.
"Next!" I called, as two soldiers dragged him away.
The blond boy entered, shivering, his eyes fixed on the ground.
"Name?" I asked.
"Riris," he whispered.
I made a note of it. "From now on," I said, "your name is…" I glanced down at the paper. "Loko."
"What's your name?" he asked, his voice shaking.
I looked down at him. He gazed up at me with his blue eyes. He was younger than me, and his youth softened me for a moment. "Styx," I said.
He opened his mouth to say something, but I interrupted him. "I can't believe they've kept you in those damp clothes for two days," I said. "Take them off."
"What?" he asked, clearly terrified.
"You heard me," I said, "take your clothes off."
Silently, he obeyed me. "Come here," I said. He took a few shaky steps toward me.
I put my hand on the back of his neck and pulled him closer. His heartbeat rapid, he tilted his head to the side, exposing his throat. I leaned forward, pulling him closer, and stapled an electronic tracking tag to his ear.
He collapsed, draping his arms over my shoulders. I pushed his skinny, naked body onto the mattress on the floor.
"Come—ON!" I said, "aren't you awake yet?"
He awoke with tears in his eyes, his cheeks red from my slapping, and looked up at me with his innocent eyes.
"Oh no," I said, "don't try that cute crap on me." I threw a red jumpsuit at him. "Put that on."
He gulped, his entire body shaking violently.
I turned back to my clipboard. "Loko, how old are you?" I asked.
"Help me!" he screamed, panicking, "I can't feel my fingers! Help me!"
I pushed him over until he was lying flat. "Calm down, " I said, holding his shoulders against the mattress, "take deep breaths."
He nodded, and I held him there for a few minutes until his breathing and heart rate returned to normal. "Come on," I said. I helped him put on the jumpsuit.
"How old are you?" I asked.
"Fourteen," he replied, still shaky.
"Good," I said, filling in the rest of the information on the sheet. "You'll be in Sector 7B." I tore the paper off the clipboard and handed it to him. "Give that to the guard at the exit."
As the door shut behind him, I called, "Next!"