The pain spreads from his ear to his jaw and further down the nerves of his neck and shoulders. His fingers twitch. The small arms, covered in old dark scars, tug against the impossibly heavy restraints. He refuses to scream, forcing his mouth closed against reflex. His sharp canine teeth pierce his own tongue. The sensation is nothing to what they’re doing but it gives him some control. It lets him accept the degradation. It distracts his mind.
Jagged metal stops halfway through the cartilage. The boy tries to move his head but a solid vice restricts him. He presses against the barrier, straining the connections. It’s not enough. He’s weak. They haven’t allowed him food. Muscles in his neck grow to definition. He can hear the metal groaning. The massive forces put against it might have freed him had a jolt of new sensation not been sent through his bare chest. Two needles pierce him, jolts of radiated energy communicate with his cells. They are told they are dying. In unison, the tiny organisms release a burst of chemicals and electrical signals. The boy’s brain interprets them and he is finally forced to make a sound. A low roar speaks of the agony. The loose parts of his body, the right arm and leg that aren’t losing circulation from the restraints, seize
The guard smirks. He drops the reordiner, it’s job done. He’s standing in just a way as to show himself to the prisoner. He wants the boy to see as much of the act as possible. Of course, he can’t expect the small, young man to see the parts of his ear being shaved off. That’s for the feeling of it. The special blade is covered in minuscule jagged spikes, ensuring the most horrible sensations are present.
He wasn’t told to use this tool. They did say to cause pain. They said to hurt the boy. He took it as an implication. Before he was placed in this position, the man had heard tales of these creatures. So like us, they said. From a distance, ignoring hair color, this thing looks to be a normal boy. It took a while for him to overlook the similarities. He’s able now to see the creature for what it really is.
The guard grins wider, not from mirth but exertion. The child’s people are resilient. Their skin is dense. Their bodies are more compact and heavily constructed. The blade won’t budge in a straight slice. His thick, armored forearm slowly extends, then retracts. The slow sawing motion drags through, making way.
Words are spoken. The guard speaks of the orders he was given, directly from the lord himself. As if that should make the boy respect him, he expects some kind of response. He never stops. Those were his orders. Keep cutting until the monster boy’s long ears are shorter than those of his captors and do it slow.
It had taken hours. The boy could feel the blade. It’s only halfway through. He sends thunderous quakes through the wall, slamming his bare foot to the ground, throwing his shoulders against the vice. Dust erupts from the brace. The giant chains attached to his wrists and ankles, each link larger than the entirety of the young body, chatters.
The guard steps back, joined by others.
The boy feels the needles. He feels the jolts and shots of electricity from the other subordinating weapons. He knows they’re trying to drain him. Biological releases from his muscles brought fatigue. His own physiology was bucking against his effort.
His jet black eyes opened for the first time since being roused from a shallow sleep hours before. They train on the closest guard. From behind his long, sweat drenched, unkempt black hair, he sees his goal. He sees what he needs to push harder. He sees fear.
They call him the monster boy, the demon child and anything else they can think of to replace his real name. He is the creature in their nightmares. There are few on this vessel that could face him free and unbound. Not from lack of strength, their weapons more than made up for that difference. Their terror grows from the rage. They can see it, not just in his eyes, in every move he makes. They can hear it in the silence of his refusal to speak. They dread the hate he emanates.
He pulls enough slack on his right hand and lashes out. Had his target been any closer, it would have been a victim. The blood from the guard’s shallow wound stains the boy’s long nails. They raise the level switches on their weapons, avoiding his limited attacks. Coordinating themselves, they lay into him all at once. He belts out a sound too low for them to hear. It shakes their bones and rattles their brains. They fall back, clutching their chests where internal organs are agitating against bone.
Stones in the wall break free. It’s a small difference but it’s enough. The boy straightens one more time, pushing everything he has into the restraint. The blocks that make up the walls shift. The room warps. He stands straight for the first time in years. The weight of the chains lessens, kept at bay by the immense confidence of achieving his full height.
He rushes his arms into the air, breaking through the weak points in the wrist restraints connected to the heavier chains. Shrapnel shoots into the walls and damages one of his attackers.
The guard with the blade throws the resourced weapon at the boy. It sticks but the damage is minimal. The child grabs the mass of metal that had been holding his neck, shoulders, and torso still. He breaks the bulk in half and brings it down on the guard’s head. Blood cascades in all directions. It coats the guards nearest to the newly dead.
Their glances ricochet from their lost coworker to the creature slowly stepping through the room. Real weapons are drawn but most barely see the world outside their holsters.
The boy lunges and moves in an arc, slicing his flat palm trough the air. The claws on his fingers catch flesh, metal, stone and fabric. They do not discriminate.
Two guards stand watch in the hallway. They’ve heard noises like these coming from the room before. Within is a monster, being held by more than a hundred tons of force.
There were daily interrogations. That was the word used, but to them it seems more as torture. They don’t argue against it, either way. The beast is dangerous. Image transmitters were stationed around the room to ensure their lord could see every action taken. They assumed it was to solidify the lawfulness of the tactics being used.
This creature, destructive enough to house on the prison ship, orbiting the city vessel, is their’s to watch over. They decide who entered. They decide who leaves.
By a flash of light generated in sparks by two great forces colliding, that responsibility is ripped from them. The heavy, five layered chamber door bursts from it’s place in the wall. It carries the guards with it and all three crash through the other side of the hall.
The boy stands. Thick metal sheets from the portal covering had reformed from the heat of his actions. He pulls his body from the near form-fitting structure and lets it fall.
He walks through the smoke, barely tall enough to hold his stolen guard staff comfortably. Black blood, from his pierced tongue, drips from his lips and the wound still held open by the forgotten knife. The liquid singes the dull, muted prisoner’s clothes he’s wearing. He keeps his mouth open, the shining fangs bare. He breathes deeply, still recovering from the effort of escaping the room. He is now facing a greater challenge.
He knows this ship. He knows that while the guards were not fighters, there was a post of more than five hundred soldiers deep in the center of the giant, globed vehicle. Early in his incarceration, when they didn’t view him as such a great threat, he was kept with the general population. He took part in a disastrous escape attempt. He was forced to hold the army back as the others took the docking bay and went free. They didn’t know the ships they had stolen were outfitted with trackers.
Some time later their bodies were paraded through his tiny room. He was given their flesh as food. Hunger overcame the sadness of their death. Though it took absolute starvation, he reviled the act in his mind. It was as if he had killed them himself.
Marching brings his attention to the forefront of reality. The warriors arrive. The boy cranes his neck, feeling and hearing cartilage pop. Their leader, a large Yuloi, a beast of a man three times the height of the guards and five the width, crushes the floor with each step. He bears a crystal-implanted club, dragging it on the ground. He smiles. Rock-like teeth gnash in his mouth in a flurry.
His words mean nothing. The young man responds with action.
The child makes no pause. He jumps, nearly touching the high ceiling. He throws the spear into the general’s swinging club. Both weapons bounce back against the velocity of the other.
The boy spins his body, pushing off of the ceiling. He twists again, smashing into the ground in a full run. He rips the knife from his side.
The lower floors, full of evacuating guards, shakes more than before. Something large has just fallen, something impossibly heavy.