Opal

Opal

A Chapter by MightyMouse

They had finally come and installed lights in the cell, so everyone could see each other. It made conversation a little easier, though Opal didn’t participate very much. None of the men who had brought them here had bothered to explain why they were here in the first place, and she didn’t want to get to know someone for them to be killed or something worse. The cell is just a concrete room with little rings on the floor. Chains connected to the rings house twelve prisoners including herself. There’s only one ring left.

They feed the prisoners at least, though the food is terrible. Opal has seen the guards eat the same thing so she tries not to complain. They couldn’t be being fed terrible on purpose if the guards were eating the same things. The men must not have anything good to eat. This is the only thing that really makes sense.

What doesn’t make sense is that they let the prisoners shower and talk. Opal doesn’t feel like a prisoner, but at the same time, she’s tied up and locked in a room. She shouldn’t be allowed to shower and talk and eat everyday if she’s a prisoner, and visa versa. She shouldn’t be chained down if she isn’t. Nothing she could think of make sense, so she sits quietly and waits for something to happen.

Something finally happened the fifth or sixth day they had been sitting in the cell. Some man the guards called Tommy, had come in and just looked at everyone. He was sort of a tall man, tan, with dark brown hair and eyes. His freshly shaven face appeared too young to be the leader of the group of men, but they all treated him like he was. Opal had noticed that he looked kind of sad and angry at the same time. He didn’t say anything, just left again. Opal thought it was very a strange thing to do. Aside from that day, everything was routine. They would wake up and get a bathroom break and breakfast. Then they would sit around chained up until noon and get another bathroom break and lunch. Then around nine o’clock they would get their last bathroom break, cold showers included, dinner, and more time to talk to each other since the lights were turned off around eleven. It was all boring to Opal. She has never handled routine well.

It’s been almost two weeks since she was brought here. Opal thinks she could just keel over from boredom. Dinner has already been served tonight, and all she’s waiting for are the lights to be turned off. She’s staring at the ceiling with her head in Rocco’s lap her feet propped up in Waya’s staring at the wall beside her. The wall here is covered in nails that protrude from the wall about a quarter of an inch. Chains hang down from the wall on either side. Opal knows it’s for some kind of twisted torture mechanism, but she can’t fathom someone actually using it. No one ever has, that she knows of. The nails still catch the light and reflect it back making the wall shine like glass. The shine of the nails makes the wall look even more intimidating.

Some kind of huge commotion out in the hall draws her attention away from the wall of nails. Everyone in the cell quiets down and stares at the door, trying to find out what’s happening. Some of the prisoners whisper suggestions to each other. Opal overhears them. They think it’s just a new prisoner, probably putting up a fight like Waya, Rocco, and herself had.

They wait patiently for the door to open. Noisy latches are undone outside and the cell door is opened. The two twin guards are standing there with a small girl held between them. Both men have blood running out of their noses and they’re slightly crooked indicating that they may have been broken. They’re both so angry their faces are red and the veins in their foreheads are bulging so bad they look like they’re going to burst. Opal fake gags at them. She can’t imagine what happened out in the hall, but she’s pretty sure they deserved it. She thinks the twins are jerks and deserve anything and everything thrown at them.

Opal turns her attention to the girl between them letting her face grow serious. The girl doesn’t have any blood anywhere but a few splatters on her clothes and knuckles. She looks completely satisfied with whatever she just did. Opal’s sure it had something to do with the twin’s broken noses. The twins drag her into the cell and look for an empty space to chain her. They find the only space left on the floor and walk her towards it. She doesn’t look like she’s fighting at all. Curiosity has Opal on her knees trying to stand. Most of the other prisoners are doing the same. Everyone wants a look at the new girl. A million questions are buzzing around inside Opal’s head. Why wouldn’t she be fighting? She had to realize she’s being taken prisoner. What could she possibly have done to make the twins so angry? Waya had hurt them when they were captured, and they weren’t nearly that upset. How did she manage to hurt them in the first place? She reaches out and tugs at Rocco’s sleeve, glaring at him with a questioning expression. His eyes flicker to hers for half a second before returning to the girl. He shrugs his shoulders.

To make things even stranger and more exciting than they already were, the man named Tommy storms into the cell. He looks just as angry as the twins, if not angrier, except that he isn’t hurt. He stomps over to the girl who’s still held between the twins and puts his face inches from hers. “You think you’re funny, do you?” The girl doesn’t answer, but smiles a wide taunting smile almost like she’s trying not to laugh. Tommy screams in frustration and swings his fist hitting her hard in the face. Her head is thrown to the side so hard Opal worries her neck is broken. The girl’s knees buckle and she hangs between the twins breathing hard. She straightens her legs supporting her own weight after almost a full minute. The girl brings her head up slowly, her smile still plastered on her face. Blood runs down her chin from her split lip. She licks at the blood and laughs at Tommy. Tommy furiously hits her again, this time in the stomach. The girl’s legs buckle again as the air is knocked from her lungs. She struggles to take in a breath. Opal hears the girl finally gasp when oxygen begins to flow through her again. The girl straightens her legs, again supporting her own weight. She tilts her back up slowly toward Tommy and spits a mouthful of blood into his face. She starts laughing again, the sound reminding Opal of a giddy toddler. Opal scoots closer to Rocco who puts his arms around her. She’s afraid that Tommy might get so angry he’ll end up killing the girl and she doesn’t want to see it. She really wants the girl to just stop laughing and do whatever Tommy wants. The girl finally stops laughing with a big sigh and tilts her head at Tommy keeping her smile defiantly placed on her lips. Her teeth are stained with blood. By now Tommy is shaking furiously. He grinds his teeth and grabs her by her shirt.

“We’ll see if you’re still laughing after this.” He says in a deadly calm voice and drags her over to the back wall right next to Opal. The wall covered with nails. Opal covers her mouth and squeezes her eyes shut turning to bury her face in Rocco’s chest. Tommy shoves the girl into the wall. Opal expects to hear the girl scream, but she only gasps. Opal’s eyes dart nervously around the room like she might have just imagined it. She sees that everyone is staring with the same expressions of shock confirming that it did in fact happen. Their faces are pale, and one man looks like he’s about to throw up, his already pale face turning green and a cold sweat breaking out over his forehead.

As the room stares at each other in shock, Tommy chains the girl there with her hands up beside her shoulders so she can’t move. And then he storms out of the room. After a brief hesitation, the twins follow and shut and lock the door behind them.

The room is deadly silent as the prisoners stare at the new girl. Her breathing is heavy, and she keeps stopping to hold her breath. She has her eyes closed and her head tilted towards the floor. She isn’t looking up. Opal can hear her blood begin to drip down the wall and has to force herself not to look at it. She reaches up timidly and touches the girl’s hip. The girl lifts her head sluggishly. Opal is shocked to see that her eyes are dry. She swallows dryly and voices everyone’s thoughts. “It might be stupid to ask, but are you okay?” The girl laughs without amusement. “I’m not dead, so ‘okay’ might be the best term.”

Opal can hear the whole room let out their breath at the same time when the girl speaks. A man on the other side of the room speaks next. “What’s your name?”

“Pip.”

“And how old are you, Pip?”

“Nineteen.” The man nods. The man’s name is Milo Brooks, an older gentleman around his early seventies with white thinning hair and friendly green eyes, and he’s taken it upon himself to learn the name and age of everyone he meets. The only other girl in the room, Penny, Milo’s granddaughter, asks, “Is your name really Pip? It seems like an odd name.”

“No, Pip is a nickname my older brother gave me. It’s short for Pipsqueak because he was six and a half feet tall and I‘m only four nine. He used to think it was hilarious. I just use it now because, after I lost my family, I don’t really want my name anymore.” She sighs and looks down again sadness plain in her eyes. “Everyone has terrible stories. It’s hard to share them.” Opal says trying to comfort her a little. “You don’t have to tell us anything else. Except what you did. I am awfully curious about what you did.” Everyone in the room nods and mumbles in agreement. Pip looks up and smiles wickedly around the room.

“Well... I decided I wasn’t going to talk until I met their boss, mostly because I was terrified and didn’t want to speak unless I had to because it would have given me away. Then I met him, and I didn’t really like him. So he was all friendly and trying to talk to me and everything, but I wouldn’t answer him. I was mostly concerned with how I was going to get out of here. He never really told me what I’m doing here to begin with. But anyway, he started getting mad after about an hour, so he told Canadia and Lion King, the twins, to take me here. So they started to, and I was going along with it because I didn’t really have a choice. But then I saw Mr. Boss Man start going through my backpack- and I’m very sentimental about my backpack- so I smacked the twin’s faces together- and I think I broke their noses- but I have no idea how considering how big they are. I was just really mad. And then I attacked that Tommy character, and he got really, really mad at me. He wanted them to go throw me off a cliff, or something along those lines, so I insulted him, and made sure I got really deep. I figured if he was going to kill me, I might as well give him something to think about. He had said something to me about losing his wife and daughter and that he didn’t think they were dead, so he was trying to find them. I’m sure he told all of you the same thing. So I told him that his wife and daughter weren’t missing. That I happened to run into them a while back. I told him that I killed them both by throwing them in boiling water and laughed as they screamed and their skin melted off! Kind of a really masochistic sort of picture. I got really insane there at the end, but I blame it on my anger. Of course none of that was true, I have no idea who his wife and daughter are, and I’m sure they’re wonderful people. Anyway, the twins drug me here after that, and I guess he followed. I sure hope they take me off of this wall soon. It really does hurt and this talking is making it worse.” Pip shifts her weight and grimaces like she’s trying to prove she’s in pain.

Opal doesn’t think anyone notices, or cares. They’re staring at her like she might be insane, all hints of pity wiped clean off their faces. Waya is the only one who looks in the least bit calm. Opal thinks it’s probably because he said some pretty creative things to the twins when they were captured too. “You’re Waya.” Pip says suddenly staring at him. He stares back a moment with his mouth half opened like he wants to say something, but isn’t sure what. He clears his throat. “Um, yes. How did you know? We’ve never met before. Have we?”

“Jake.” She says simply. Opal smiles. “See, Waya? I told you your brother would be alright.” She leans to look around Pip and sees Waya’s face relax into a content smile.

“Actually, he’s not.” Waya’s brief smile of relief instantly fades. “What do you mean he isn’t alright?”

“He’s sick. Depression might have a lot to do with it, that’s why I was trying to find you. I found your necklace at a souvenir shop and I was worried you might be dead.”

“If I was dead, I would still be wandering around the souvenir shop, and you might have ended up dead too.” Pip looks completely baffled. “You can’t... wander around if you’re dead. And how would I probably be dead if you were?”

There’s a confused silence as everyone stares around the room wondering if they heard her correctly. “Hate to be so blunt, but where have you been for the past year?” Opal asks staring at her. “Um, if you’re insinuating I didn’t know about the apocalypse, then quit it. I know the world is changing, but I also know that dead people cannot and will not ever walk. It’s impossible. And since they can’t walk, they can’t kill people.”

“Sweetie, they’ve been walking around for a whole year. They attack people, you can’t tell me you haven’t run into one yet.”

“We’re all talking about zombies right?” Everyone in the room answers at the same time in complete exasperation. “Yes!”

“I see what’s going on. None of you have very keen observation skills.” Pip nods with certainty and takes a deep breath. “Hollywood zombies are the kind that walk around after they’ve died and they eat people and you can only kill them by shooting, or stabbing, them in the head. But our apocalypse isn’t a bunch of Walking Dead zombies. The ‘zombies’ we have are still alive.” The prisoners continue to pass confused stares back and forth, and a few people look a little pale wondering if what she’s saying is true. “Care to explain?” Rocco asks. Pip sighs. “Sure, but after this, please don’t ask me to talk again. Being chained to this wall of nails isn’t exactly cozy.” She takes another deep breath. “The sick people are still alive, but they’re in a constant state of hallucination. They think everything is trying to hurt them or is just plain terrifying, like they’re going through a bad trip. The only reason you can’t kill them without shooting, or stabbing a vital organ is because their blood clots really fast. They still sleep, and eat, which is why food is so hard to find. But I have seen them die of injuries, starvation, etc. just like we can. I’ve also learned that when they scream, others show up instead of running away. I’m not entirely sure why. I actually call them ‘Pests.’ Not pest as in an annoying insect or something like that. But pest as in the definition. Something detrimental to man, or even the definition of pestiferous- physically noxious, or pestilence- anything regarded as harmful. I could keep going, but I think you get it.”

Opal is shaking her head as Pip finishes explaining. She doesn’t want to believe her. “You’re making all that up. You’re trying to tell us we’re all murderers! That’s messed up.” She nearly screams, clenching her fists together and crossing her arms. One of the guards outside bangs on the door. A warning for them to keep it down.

“No, I’ve just watched them. I want to know what’s happening, and I’m going to find out. There’s got to be some reason this is happening. Oh, and by the way, everyone is immune, I think. You can’t get sick from them, at least not the same way they are. I’d be careful though, they seem to have lost all interest in showers, and scratches can still get infected. I kind of hope I’m right about that, but I don’t have anything to back it up. It’s just a theory, so still be careful. Now please don’t ask me to talk anymore. I’m sorry if you don’t believe me.” Pip sighs heavily. She leans her head back on the wall, squeezing her eyes shut and biting her bottom lip. She shifts her weight from one foot to the other.

The lights are turned off signaling the end of the day. Opal scoots away from Pip and curls up next to Rocco. She doesn’t want to believe Pip, but the more she thinks about it, the harder it is not to. How can someone just make up stuff like that? Rocco rubs her head sensing she isn’t okay. She closes her eyes and lets Rocco put her to sleep. She doesn’t wish to see what tonight will bring them tomorrow.




© 2016 MightyMouse



Author's Note

MightyMouse
Yet another chapter. I'm considering turning this into a series of fifty page books. Any suggestions on that?

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Added on August 20, 2016
Last Updated on August 31, 2016


Author

MightyMouse
MightyMouse

Dayton, TX



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I enjoy writing and I want to know if other people enjoy my writing. I live in a house full of seven people, three of them children, thirteen dogs, and ten cats. I have a twin sister with only one leg.. more..

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A Chapter by MightyMouse