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I awoke to the sound of shouting. As my eyes adjusted to the dim light coming roughly ten feet above my head, I stood up and tried to remember where I was. I could not and decided to stretch my legs. The cold metal walls were bleak and smooth without a disruption anywhere. On my left forearm there was a series of numbers. My head hurt and I could not concentrate enough to read it. I tried to close my eyes, but with the sharp stinging sensation in my head, it seemed physically impossible. I decided to concentrate on the noise above my cell.
“Two-seven-six-five-nine, eight-zero-two-two-three, four-six-two-nine-one...” Once the latter number was called my left arm started shaking involuntarily. This shaking took control of my entire body. I was scared out of my mind so I closed my eyes and waited for death.
My eyes shot open and I looked aroundd tentatively. I appeared to be in a small room. Three men walked into the room from a door behind me. Two were guards armed to the teeth, and the other was a short, pudgy man. A pure white lab coat and a laminated I.D. badge consisted of his attire. Doctor Ross Gywnn was printed on the identification in bold letters. The man had cold black eyes and a smile like the Cheshire Cat. However this was no fantasy. He looked at me studying me like a specimen at the zoo. I grew angry and distraught. “When you are done staring, would you kindly inform me of where I am?”
“You are in no position to be making demands.” He smirked and continued. “If you cooperate your death will be short and painless.” I glared at him. The man had unnerved me with his promise of death but I did not show it. “Tell me, what do you know about the Gryglockian War Council? What are they planning?”
For a couple moments I had no idea what he was talking about. Then suddenly, like a door hitting me in the face, I remembered everything that had led up to this moment. The year was 2343 and the Gryglocks and the Naprongs had been in a war for the last six months. I had been drafted to the 31st Gryglockian regiment. I remembered sprinting through the desert of Aphone and sneaking through the forest of Tropum. I thought back to the Gryglockian War Council and their strategy plans. I was just a lowly marine. I had no information about their plans at all! The crack of a gun butt on my forehead brought me back to reality.
“WHAT ARE THEY PLANNING?” The interrogator's face had just turned a vibrant shade of purple as he screamed at the top of his lungs.
“I don’t care how loud you scream. I won’t talk.” I watched the pudgy man as his eyes narrowed.
“Fine, tell God I sent you.” The interrogator cleared his throat and spoke in a calm and steady voice. “Four-six-two-nine-one transport to A-zero-nine-zero-eight. My left arm began to shake and I collapsed onto the floor. I experienced the sensation of a seizure for the second time that day.
I appeared to be in some sort of wide grassland. In front of me were two yellow swords. They made a humming sound and I picked them up. They were lightweight and the blade seemed like a holographic image. To my surprise, a distant figure stood up out of the tall grass. On the other side of the arena two more figures stood up. Stunned, I watched at least two hundred more figures stand up in the next ten seconds.
A voice suddenly rang out over the arena, “Prisoners! You have been captured by the Napronian and have refused to cooperate with the authorities. You must now fight to the death. Your weapons are in front of you. The last one standing will be set free. BEGIN!” Not one person moved. I looked about me and I noticed another prisoner roughly fifteen meters to my left. He had purple swords and a look of grim certainty. It seemed as if no one would start the massive brawl that would commence. Then there was a distant shout and chaos erupted.
The man to my left swiftly ran toward me. I began to run towards the nearest wall. My foe was faster than I and was gaining on me. With a silent prayer to God, I turned on a dime and lunged for his chest. He was not expecting this, and with a cry of pain he collapsed onto the ground. Three other soldiers fell in my attempt to reach the wall.
When I arrived I was immediately attacked by a woman who had claimed the area as her own. She was nimbler than the others and disarmed me quickly. Without a weapon I dug my hands into the dirt and threw it up into her face. She let out a cry of anger and continued to slash the dirt infested air. I received my weapon and finished her. I rested for a moment inside the sphere of dust I created.
While I caught my breath I noticed an odd thing. The dust ball was drifting ever so slightly away from the wall. I threw some more dirt into the air and began to feel alongside the wall. The wall was cold to my touch and was very smooth. This is a glorified cell I thought to myself.
However, unlike my cell there were six slits where I could feel cold air emanating. My heart leaped as I realized I had found an escape from this nightmarish arena. I stabbed with my swords into two of the slits and began to pull. The cover was screwed in tightly. With adrenaline pumping through my veins, I pulled with all my might. It began to creak and soon, with a loud metallic crash, I ripped off the cover for the vent. The opening was narrow but with a bit of effort I crawled inside and began to make my way through the vast labyrinth of the ventilation system. I knew that eventually someone would find the open shaft. My huge dust ball should buy me some time.
I crawled along the dark shaft for what seemed like hours. Once in a while I would pass another vent opening. But there were always at least three or four people in the room below, so I moved on. I came to another opening and looked down. With a shock I noticed the interrogator below me was Dr. Gywnn. More importantly, I noticed he was not armed. With a smile I began to open the vent cover. It was easily opened from the inside and I dropped onto the table he was working at. He let out a yell and flipped the table onto its side. I got up and took out my swords.
“We meet again Dr. Gywnn.” I spoke quietly as I slowly walked closer to him.
“Three-one-six shut down,” Dr. Gywnn said quickly. My sword sheathed itself. “Well, you must think you're pretty clever, crawling through the air ducts and escaping from the arena. But what you don't realize is that you should have stayed there.”
Dr. Gywnn unsheathed his own sword and with a heavy heart I noticed it was more old fashioned and could not be shut off. He ran at me, I ducked and jabbed at his stomach before getting away from the deadly slash. Dr. Gywnn lunged toward me like a savage beast ready for the kill. I couldn't get away fast enough and he sliced viciously at my right leg. I collapsed to the floor and watched in dismay as he stood over me and prepared for the last strike. I rolled off to the side of him and hurled all of my weight into the back of his leg. I heard a pleasant crunching sound and his knee buckled. It was Dr. Gywnn's turn to look in dismay as I picked up the sword he dropped.
“Please, don't kill me,” the poor doctor whimpered, “I was just doing my job. I'll do anything!”
I looked at him with grim satisfaction. “Alright then! Release all of the prisoners here at once!”
The once menacing interrogator turned pale as a sheet. “I can't do that I'll lose my job!”
“Then you have to decide between losing your job or losing your life.” I replied. He tried to get up but I lashed out at his back and he collapsed again.
“Fine you win.” Mr. Gywnn looked like he was going to cry, and I almost felt sorry for him, but then I remembered all the trouble he had caused me. I had to face the facts. It was either him or me. “Seven-five-four-five terminate.”
I heard nothing at first and I began to wonder if he was tricking me. There was a scream from outside and then the prisoners appeared. They were stampeding down the hallway whooping and shouting. It was like the running of the bulls in Spain, except this was with prisoners.
I turned aroundd to take a last look at the Napronian scum that was the doctor. Surprisingly, Gywnn had gotten to his feet and was staring me down with a nefarious look in his eyes. I realized he would try to detour me from escaping until his superiors arrived. I did not wish to inflict more harm to anyone, but I could not afford to miss the liberated crowd absconding from the prison. Gywnn charged at me and I made up my mind.
I sidestepped his attack and shouldered him into the wall. When he turned aroundd I hit the unfortunate interrogator in the back of his head with the hilt of the sword. He crumbled unconsciously to the ground.
I stood over him, reflecting on what I had done. This prison had changed me. I resisted the temptation to end his existence. Gywnn was no longer a threat to me and I was losing time. I took a deep breath and then snuck into the massive crowd escaping to freedom.