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Serial Number 7063
Chapter 1: Confinement
Boing thud smack. Boing thud smack. Boing thud-
-smack. “What?” a teenage youth asked boredly, continuing to throw her yellow-striped red ball against the wall, watching it bounce once before catching it and tossing it again. The mahogany-haired child didn’t even look up as a tall woman with deep purple hair stormed into the cell, fuming. All the girl did was lob the ball again, and again, and again.
“How many times do I have to tell you, SN-7063? You are not to toss that ball against the wall. You are in confinement for misbehaving, and I will not have you misbehaving in confinement!” the woman scolded, glaring hatefully as the adolescent continued to toss the ball against the opposing wall. Her dark gray eyes sparked with lightning when she was totally ignored by the lounging silver-eyed youth in front of her. Nearly dropping her clipboard and disheveling her glasses as she thrust her arms straight by her sides, the scientist screeched, “Do you hear me?!”
“Oh, I hear you,” the girl identified as SN-7063 admitted. “I just don’t care.”
If the woman seemed irritated before, now she was steaming. “That is it, SN-7063! I have had enough of you. I assure you, the Headmaster will hear about this, and drastic action will be taken. Enjoy your stay in your cell, SN-7063, for it will likely be your last!” With that threat said, the woman in the labcoat departed the cell, slamming the door shut on her way out. As she stormed down the hall to the Headmaster’s chambers, she cursed to herself about annoying children who didn’t know when they had it good.
“Whatever…” SN-7063 told the grayish-white wall she was playing ball with. The girl cared nothing for the woman scientist’s opinion, or anyone’s opinion for that matter. Never ceasing her game of catch, SN-7063 allowed her mind to drift off to her World, the place where her dreams resided and her magic flourished. Gently she picked her way through the prismatic forests, climbing over silvery rocks used as stepping stones to avoid disrupting the shimmering waters of the rivers. She had no destination in mind, simply enjoying the freedom to wander where she pleased. The girl smiled gently as she spotted the gem-lined entrance to the caverns of her World, and…
The ball failed to return to her hand. Her face apathetic, SN-7063 slowly turned her head up to lock eyes with the annoying guard who’d decided it would be amusing to steal her ball. She noticed the other two guards standing behind the one glaring disdainfully down at her, but pretended not to.
“SN-7063, your punishment has been decided. Come with us,” the guard commanded, hoisting SN-7063 to her feet by her arm. The girl offered not even a muted grunt in response, allowing them to direct her as if she were a ragdoll incapable of self-propulsion. She’d been punished enough by then to realize that no matter how hard she fought against the guards, they were too strong for her to take down. They were guards in a place where children were taught magic and forced to be weapons, after all; they had to be tough.
The main hall was an amazing place if you could get there when no one was in it. Otherwise, the atmosphere was ruined by the throng of headmistresses, headmasters, and doctors that permeated the area. Other children who lived in the Orphanage abounded, the main hall being one of the few meeting places the children were allowed. The area was huge, allowing over one hundred people to fill the room with lots of leftover space. While this was a place to be social with other people, it was also the primary place of punishment to make an example of the offender.
On one side of the room, a young boy with white hair and blue eyes was chatting with an equally young black-haired girl. “Come on, 52,” the boy insisted, trying to coax the girl into playing a game with him. The headmistresses had seemed overly cautious that day, and as a result most of the children were confined to certain parts of the inside of the building. Boredom abounded as the result.
“I don’t know, 92… 80 got in trouble for something like that earlier, and he’s one of the favorites,” the girl referred to as 52 – SN-8052, to be precise – countered, not quite willing to get on the headmistresses’ bad sides. Her acquaintance SN-7063, who had been acquired by the Orphanage nearly a hundred children before SN-8052, had been on the receiving end of many punishments by the rulers of their essential prison, and though she liked the other girl, she didn’t wish to share her fate.
The door to the main hall swung open with something of a bang. An immediate hush fell over the room as all heads turned to see what was going on. SN-7063 was dragged into the room by her arms, head bent and bangs shielding her eyes from view. The guards were moving just the tiniest bit too quickly for the mahogany-haired girl to keep up, and she kept tripping over her overly-long silken hair. Both guards dragging her were stern-faced and essentially emotionless, keeping a tight grip on SN-7063’s arms as they headed towards a large stone table in the middle of the room.
All the children edged away, horrified. Some realized what was going to happen to the silver-eyed girl, others could only imagine. SN-8052 and SN-7492 edged away the farthest, knowing how often SN-7063 had been punished. By the sadistic expressions on the headmistresses’ faces, one of the most horrible punishments you could be given was about to be bestowed on SN-7063.
As the guards reached the center table, SN-7063’s arm was thrust onto the slab of stone, making her whimper softly. For all the beatings she had taken, the girl’s ivory skin still registered pain insanely well. SN-7063 bit her bottom lip as she saw the highest-ranked headmistress approach her with a long, sharp, silver needle and restraints. For all her resolve, the adolescent couldn’t help but tremble; once you were Marked, there was no hope of escape. Ever.
“SN-7063,” the headmistress began loudly, her voice echoing around the room. She had every intent of making an example out of the helpless girl before her. “You have defied us multiple times, and we feel that without proper precautions you will become a threat to us,” she continued, snapping the restraints in place after rolling the girl’s sleeve up to expose the length of her arm so the guards could back away and gain their distance. As she finished with the leather bindings, the headmistress went on, “Therefore…”
“…You will unbind her and bring her to my chambers.”
Everyone in the room froze. SN-7063 was too frightened even to tremble. Silver needle still dripping ink as she held it in her hand, the red-robed headmistress turned slowly to meet eyes with the Headmaster. No one in the room seemed to be breathing; the Headmaster almost never made an appearance at a Marking ceremony.
“Y-Yes, my lord,” the headmistress finally agreed after the old Headmaster raised a curious eyebrow, silently asking if she was going to follow his orders. The needle clattered to the floor as the woman dropped it in her hurry to unbind the child. Secretly she was cursing inside her head, upset that she hadn’t gotten to finally teach a permanent lesson to the obnoxious troublemaker. She had been so close…!
“Good. I will be in my chambers,” the regal Headmaster commended, swirling and doing as he said he was going to. A collective sigh of relief was released as he left the room; no one, not even the headmistresses, wanted to anger or irritate the Headmaster.