Friday, March 1, 2013

Musical Inspirations - The Voice Part 3: Captured.

              He knew wandering the streets at night was dangerous, every day he was reminded of the hazards on the television. But he loved the solitude and comfort the cool air brought to him. Every night it was the same, a casual stroll around the block, away from the prying eyes of cameras. It made him feel as if he was living on the edge of life. And being absorbed in this feeling had made him blissfully unaware of the strangers creeping up behind him.
                A sudden jolt of pain, his vision flashed white. He fell to his knees, uncertain of what had just happened. Cold, calloused hands wrapped chains around his wrists. He could feel a coarse sack thrown over his head before succumbing to the sweet drowsiness.

                He awoke in a dark, spacious room, seated in a heavy steel chair, his hands bound behind his back, and his ankles restrained to the legs. But he was not alone. A man, dressed entirely in black, his features hidden behind a hood, leant against a table, smoking a cigarette. His side of the room was accompanied by several television screens, each humming a gentle static.
“It’s good of you to stop by, Ethan.” The mysterious man greeted. “I trust your arrival was not too unpleasant. It is nice to finally meet The Voice of The People, in person.”
                “And you brought me here to kill me?” Adam sneered.
                “Kill you?” The mysterious man laughed derisively. “What exactly would that prove? That the Resistance is nothing but bloodthirsty animals, just like the State?”
                Adam glowered in anger at his captor. He was now in the den of the rabid wolves he had been warned continuously to avoid. Their mind games were not to be taken lightly, and despite what the mysterious cloaked figure was claiming, they were nothing more but animals to him. He would not be intimidated so easily.
                “Oh, you didn’t like that, did you?”  The man took another drag from his cigarette. “No, there is a much better use for someone so influential. Someone who has finally been shown the opposite side of the coin.”
                “I will have nothing to do with you.” Adam growled.
                “Don’t be so quick to judge.” The man said dismissively. “The life you know has left your vision cloudy. The State wants nothing more than to deceive. In this way, they maintain control.”
                “What is it you want from me?” Adam snapped, disinterested in the man’s filth spewing.
                “I want you to open your eyes.” He said plainly.
                “I see nothing more than lies and corruption.” Adam started to feel heat under his collar. He was at a complete disadvantage, right at the heart of the enemy’s lair, and he held nothing more than an inexplicable hate and spite for the man before him.
                “Who taught you to have such venom in your words?” The man goaded. “Where do you see your so-called lies? In this room? Or from the balcony of your ivory tower?”
                “You have no idea what you are talking about.” Adam clenched his fists until his knuckles turned white.
                “Don’t I?” The man jeered. “Tell me about the rehabilitation centers you so casually condemn people to endure.”
                “I will not disclose any information to you.” Adam snapped.
                “You don’t have to. I already know everything about the facilities.” His captor informed. “But do you?”
                “What are you playing at?” Adam furrowed his eyebrows at him.
                “What do you think happens in these rehabilitation centers?” The man pressed.
                “They purify society of corruption.” Adam recited.
                “Yes, but what exactly do they do?”
The mysterious stranger suddenly pressed a button on the table, and the screens stopped flickering, displaying a gaunt, half undressed man inside an empty cell, restrained with chains against the wall. The room was suddenly filled with his tormented screams and the lights flickered, the man’s body flailing as it was pumped with electricity. Another man stood in the opposite corner, a Shepherd.
                “Where did you get this feed?” Adam demanded, shocked and in awe.
                “Just like your Rehabilitators, we are everywhere.” The man informed him. Adam was uncertain what exactly he was being shown, this could be nothing more than a staged ploy to break his will, and find sympathy with the Resistance.
“And what was his crime?” Adam asked, turning uncomfortably away from the screens.
                “He was out during curfew.” The stranger said flatly.
                “Well, then it sounds like he deserved to be rehabilitated.” Adam’s tone changed from uncertainty to confidence, eyeing his challenger.  “He was most likely up to something.”
                “And this form of brutality is completely justified?” The man countered. “It was uncertain what the man really was doing, if anything at all.”
                “The safety of the public must be protected no matter the price.” Adam chanted.
                “And you, sir,” The man took an emphatic drag from his cigarette. “Are you willing to pay that price?”
The room flickered again as the screeching of electricity echoed in the room, augmented by the screams of the prisoner. Adam stared, fixated at the spectacle, hesitating as he formulated his response.
                “….Yes.” Adam finally spoke with wavering confidence.
                “Interesting. Just like how they want you to react.” The man glanced up and down at Adam, rubbing his chin. “But every man can change within a fraction of a second, right when they are suddenly faced with their doom. But how will you face yours, I wonder?”
                The man switched the video feed, depicting a similar cell, inside devoid of furnishings except a plain metal table and two chairs: a Shepherd seated in one, and a child no older than five years across from him, a metal collar on his neck. The child was drenched in tears, and had obviously been interrogated by the Shepherd for some time.
                “I will ask you again,” The Shepherd continued. “What is your name?”
                “I want to go home. Please…” The child’s pleas are cut off as he suddenly convulsed, a shock sent through the collar.
                “What is your name?” The Shepherd repeated.
                “It hurts…” The child sobbed.
                “You know how to make it stop.” The Shepherd informed.
                “I want to see my mommy.” The child wiped his red eyes.
                “Alright, I will allow you to have a break from this then. But you can only see your mother if you tell me which image your mother is in.”
                The child was presented with two photographs, one depicting the woman Adam had always known as mother, and the other someone familiar. He tried to get a better look at the other image, but a sudden chill drove up his spine, his heart suddenly started racing, and he found himself straining against the handcuffs, a sudden, desperate need to get away. He looked away from the image, and was compelled to cringe, spasming in his seat as he anticipated some unknown attack.
                The child pointed at the photo of the unknown woman, then jolted again as energy was released into him once more. Adam contained a tiny yelp as he heard the noise.
                “That is not your mother,” The Shepherd corrected.
                The mysterious man paused the video.
 “Now tell me, what did this one do?” He demanded of Adam. “A child, innocence incarnate, the purest form of all humans, ignorant of the world around him. What could he possibly do to pose a threat to the State? Does a child deserve this act of treatment to protect your precious security?”
“You’re full of lies.” Adam spat at his captor.
                “What are your parents’ names?” The man’s change in tone, almost sounding like the Shepherd’s, sent another chill through Adam’s nerves.
                “What kind of a question is that?” Adam breathed, sweat beginning to drip from his forehead.
                “Now that is an interesting response from someone who has been trained to follow all orders unquestioningly.” He took another drag from his cigarette and approached him, the void of his hidden features amplified Adam’s discomfort. “Answer me.”
                “Audrey and Marvin Gale.” Adam complied, unable to look away from his captor’s gaze.
                “Wrong.” The man snapped. Adam twitched from his quick response, expecting something to strike him, even though he was alone with the man in the room.
                “What?” His mouth spoke before his brain reacted.
                “Shall I spell it out for you?” His captor pointed at the screen once more. “Tell me what the timestamp is on that screen.”
                Adam hesitated to look, for fear of catching another glimpse of the mysterious woman that suddenly plagued his mind.
                “April 23rd, 2632.” His lips trembled as he responded.
                “How old are you, Ethan?” The man tilted his head to the side, awaiting his response.
                “My name is Adam, goddamn it!” He shouted, launching himself forward in his chair, the confusion overwhelming him, sweat suddenly drenching his entire body. He had no idea what this man wanted from him, but this sense of fear was hauntingly familiar.
                “How. Old. Are. You?” His captor repeated.
                “34.” Adam hoped the answers he wanted to hear will satisfy the man, he wanted nothing more than to be released from this torment. But the man pressed play on the screen once more, where another recorded voice read over what was presumably lab notes.
                “Ethan Anderson, aged five years, beneficiary to Elizabeth and Owen Anderson, deceased, is showing slow progress to rehabilitation. Conditioning procedures are proving to be adequate, and it is believed that since it is a young, yet strong mind, integration into citizenship will prove successful. Shows minor defiant behavior, but more often resorts to catatonic states when provoked.” The man paused the video feed once more.
                “Interesting. That would make you the same exact age as this one, wouldn’t it?” The man coyly implied.
                “I…” Adam had no idea what the man was trying to tell him, or how he was supposed to respond.
                “Your parents, better known as Vanguard,” The man pointed at the photograph of the strange woman on the screen. “And the Black Lily, were one of the more influential leaders of the Resistance. Their execution proved a great strain on morale. And then there was you. We had so much hope for you, until you were discovered, and taken away.”
                “I am NOTHING like you.” Adam growled through gritted teeth.
                “Then why were you out alone at night, so dangerously close to curfew end? Away from the decadence of your estate. Aren't you comfortable? Or do you crave something more than mediocrity?” The man teased.
                “Enough of this, release me at once!” Adam made a futile jump up from his seat, trying to shake the restraints from his limbs. The man shook his head and sighed.
“I can see that they have scarred deeply into you. But then again, how was it that you put it?” The man rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “ ‘All that is broken can be repaired.’ Ahh, yes, that was one of my favorite speeches of yours.”
“You have no idea who I am. Let. Me. GO!” The exertion was beginning to make Adam sick to his stomach, a wave of dizziness blurring his vision.
“Very well, but heed what you have seen here. Let us hope that you can remember.”
Out from nowhere, Adam heard a thud from behind him as an unknown object was slammed against his head. Darkness overtook his senses.

Part 3 accompanied by yet another track by Detroit Diesel.

Read Part 1 here:

I don't have too much to say about this one. I'd rather it sink into your mind. WHat will happen next?
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