Thursday, August 27, 2009

Year Zero: Chapter Three -- Survivalism (extended)

I got my propaganda I got revisionism
I got my violence in high-def ultra realism
All a part of this great nation
I got my fist I got my plan I got survivalism…
-- “Survivalism” by Nine Inch Nails

Davey and I walked home from the meeting, his hips swaying almost unnoticeably. Both of our faces carried the dull, complacent and contented look that people who actually drank the water had. It was all faked, though, and neither of us had consumed a drop of Parepin in the past three months.

Ah, Parepin. A lovely, diluted form of that wonderful drug Opal. Well, that was just our little theory, but it worked well and made sense..

We passed a spray-painted Art is Resistance flag and Davey grinned ever so slightly. I shook my head to signify that this wasn’t the place to show affection to the resistance (but I still think that the security creeps mistook it for a sign of disapproval). Davey’s smile relaxed back to his perfected Parepin expression -- vaguely happy. I continued to feel tense after that, and I could feel the discomfort Davey felt.

We finished our walk back to our apartment complex -- short, silent, and paranoid. Together, Davey and I stepped into the old elevator and silently headed up to our floor. Our paranoia was only furthered by the grating mechanical noises made by the old lift. It was, quite possibly, the worst apartment in the city, in the worst neighborhood, but it worked well.

When we got to our ‘home,’ he found the key in his pocket and unlocked the door. I walked in first and Davey followed, closing and locking the door behind him. He sighed heavily and leaned his thin frame against the old wood paneling.

“Ugh, Jade,” my boyfriend groaned. He looked up at the ceiling, his long fringe falling back, a few strands of black hair clinging to his cheek with sweat.

“The damned government’s trying to kill us all! Again!” Davey panted. “First it was the goddamn Parepin-slash-Opal shit in negative thirteen! And now, it’s this Red Horse Vector crap that they’re feeding us! The Star Chamber attack wasn’t bioterrorism, Jade! It. Was. The. Government!”

Davey finished his despairing and angry rant and I wrapped my arms around his slender body, feeling his soothing warmth against me. He leaned into my shoulder, sweat and tears dampening my thin shirt. I gently rubbed his back.

“Sh, sweetie, yeah, the government’s a bitch, but we’ll stay safe. Just remember what we were told by the others. We won’t get disappeared. I won’t let them take us away.”

Even though I was trying to reassure Davey, I was also trying to get myself to believe it. We won’t end up like Hunter and Adam, will we…?

We stood in silence for a few minutes before hearing something. Music. The real kind -- raw energy and real sound -- not the ultra-clean government tunes. Davey looked up at me, some hope in his dark brown eyes.

“This is just like…”

I smiled and cut him off with a quick kiss.

“Shall we?”

Davey wasted no time in answering me with a deep and passionate kiss. Spurred on by the music, our kiss quickly lead to other things. Soon enough, we were naked on our bed, twisting and writhing together in perfect unison.

He moaned and cried out my name, gripping my arms tightly. Davey felt heavenly to me and I reciprocated my desires by kissing and biting his neck and shoulders. We came close together, and tiredly, happily, laid next to each other.

Suddenly, there was silence. And then the sound of a gunshot. The echoes were quickly replaced by the screaming. It was a male voice -- not unlike the one that had been singing earlier. His desperate screams of pain resounded through the hallways and more shots followed. Automatically, my heart beat faster, pumping adrenaline through my veins and putting me on high alert.

“Oh my god,” Davey whispered, not in pleasure or ecstasy, but in fear. “Jade, they’re coming.”

I could practically hear Davey’s heartbeat as well -- in our closeness, I could certainly feel it. His paranoia was infectious, making me feel almost more scared than I was already. A second later, Davey sat up and got out of bed, and I stayed there, assuming he was just going to hide out water filters. Nothing he could do, none of our precautions, would dull my fear, my sense of endangerment.

But before Davey even made it to the kitchen, three armed men came into the room. All of them seemed identical, all wearing the same grayish green uniform, all three wearing the polished helmets. If I wasn’t scared before -- oh, and trust me, I was -- I was definitely scared now.

One of them grabbed Davey and pressed a gun to his temple. I got to my feet and stepped forward to help him, but I was quickly restrained by the second guard. The cold metal pressed against my temple, sending shivers down my spine. One wrong move then, and I’d be dead.

The third guard, or soldier, or whatever, stood in between us, a triumphant smirk on his face.

“You two are under arrest,” he stated, “for participating in un-American activities and immoral behavior.”

I heard Davey’s subdued whispers of “oh god, oh god, oh god,” and it took me all I had to not struggle against the arms that were holding me back to help him. The ‘soldier’ that held Davey back seemed to grab his wrists tighter and whispered a quiet threat in my boyfriend’s ear. Davey just nodded, scared, tears falling slowly down his face.

“Get dressed,” the third soldier -- the leader -- said. He gestured to the messy piles of our clothing. “Don’t bother with shirts--” He scornfully looked at Davey’s brightly inked chest and arms “--just underwear and pants will do.”

The soldier released his firm hold on my wrists and I quickly dropped to my knees to grab my boxers and jeans. I slid them on to my sticky legs with some difficulty. I was distracted, however, with thoughts of Davey. A quick glance toward him direction confirmed my fears -- he seemed scared, more frightened than I had ever seen him before. I bit my lip and focused again on my jeans.

Once we were both dressed, the guards grabbed us once more (it felt worse than the first time) and kept us in the same position as earlier. They pulled us out of our apartment, and down the hall. All was silent, and I noticed with dread that the elevator’s light was off. The guards lead us down the pitch black staircase to the first floor. The lobby was also deserted and the lights were off, but I could hear noises coming from outside.

We were forced outside and I shuddered, hating the feeling of the cold and broken concrete beneath my bare feet and the feeling of the hot air on my sweaty chest. All around us were the other residents of the apartments, all also restrained. Handcuffs were suddenly linked onto out hands and we were all blindfolded.

The painful ride to the airport and the even more agonizing flight to Guam all blurred together. I was kicked, shoved, and abused throughout the travel, and I recall throwing up a few times. For part of the long flight, I was mostly unconscious, but I could still feel the turbulence as the plane jolted.

We all knew where we were going, and yet none of us wanted to admit it to ourselves -- let alone everyone else. It was obvious, anyway. I was pretty sure that everyone who’d lived in that apartment building had a criminal record -- or it was assumed as much, because the apartments were at the edge of town, where the Opal addicts and hookers roamed the darkened streets like free men and where the resistance thrived.

Finally, we were brought back out into the night and driven to who-knows-where. A gruff and haughty voice, no doubt belonging to a guard, laughed cruelly as the road shifted from dirt to concrete.

“Welcome to the Extrajudiciary Federal Detainment Camp,” the man taunted.

I could hear Davey whimper pathetically from somewhere near me, and I could hear a few others start to cry. Tears fell down my cheeks as well.

We all had a good reason. This was the Exterminal. This was the end of the road. This was Hell and we were the damned. We’d be beaten, raped, starved, interrogated, and the we’d finally meet some gruesome death. None of us would live to tell the tale and the sooner we died, the better.

About an hour later, I was dragged through a building by my sore and probably broken arms, down countless steps, and shoved onto a dirty floor. Someone was pushed down next to me, and the cry of pain that followed was obviously Davey’s. Thank god, I found myself thinking. My blindfold fell off and I blinked a few times to get used to seeing again. We were in a large, yet still cramped, prison cell. Old electric lights flickered above us, creating a desolate and hopeless scene.

I stood up and walked over to my boyfriend, who was standing in a corner, crying harder then ever. Kissing his salty cheek, I whispered to him, “Davey, babe, don’t worry, kay?”

“Oh, he has plenty of reason to be worried,” a slightly hoarse voice, the voice of the singer from earlier, the voice of the man who’d been screaming in the apartment, told me. “We’ve been disappeared, we’re at the freaking Extrajudiciary Federal Detainment Camp. Do you get it?! This is the beginning of the end, dammit!”

I slowly turned to face him. He was bruised and bleeding, and he sat in a chair in the opposite corner. His eyes were dark and his hair was short and black. He also appeared to be around 10 years older than me.

“’Course, this is my third time here. I always manage to escape,” he added, meeting my gaze and smirking slightly.

“Wh-who are you?” I asked.

“The name’s Trent.”

“I’m Jade and this is my boyfriend, Davey.”

Trent just nodded and looked at us. “Is that why you’re…?”

“Partially for the gay sex, partially for the tattoos, partially for that flag we spray painted on the wall the other day.” I replied.

“Nice,” he laughed. “So…”

Trent looked between the two of us.

“You know, I can get us out of here. I can get all of us out of here. It’s pretty simple, actually.”

“…I’ve heard it’s impossible,” I responded skeptically, my hopes as low as ever.

“The trick is that it’s not,” Trent replied. “Just tell them you’ve been drinking the water. Tell them that the resistance is fake. Tell them the exact opposite of what you’ve been doing,” he continued. “We’ll be out soon.”


“Yeah. I got my fist, I got my plan, I got survivalism.”


Excerpt from Chapter Four: The Good Soldier

"Gun fire in the street
Where we used to meet
Echoes out a beat and the bass goes
Bomb right over my head
Step over the dead..."
-- 'The Good Soldier' by Nine Inch Nails

Day eight of imprisonment.

Davey and I sat on the floor together, bleeding as silently as we could. We both looked like crap and we both felt like crap. By then, however, we had learned to take their beatings without question, and to answer their questions as "truthfully" as possible. Those were the two main things Trent had taught us -- to not protest and to believe our lies.

Trent. Well, he was interesting. All he would tell us was his full name -- Trent Reznor, apparently -- that he had been there before, and that he knew how to get out. He seemed meticulously paranoid around us, yet unfailingly submissive around the guards. He'd teach us how to evade death there when the guards weren't watching us too closely, but he played the part of a bored prisoner when they were.

My internal muses were interrupted as the grilled cell "door" was opened and a guard walked in, no doubt with our "dinner" (some undercooked meat from some part of some animal). I didn't look up to see our delightful caterer.

But Davey did. And his next words surprised me:

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