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A solitary light flickered above the door in the otherwise pitch black darkness of the camp as the rain poured down. The door burst open, and Seo-yun emerged into the night with a rifle in one hand and a fist full of hair in the other. The boy remain silent as Seo-yun dragged him across the yard and threw his face down into a large, muddy pool that had collected. As he started to get up, Seo-yun placed a large black boot at the nape of his neck and stepped down hard. “You filthy cockroach” Seo-yun sneered, “You disgust me. You think you can steal food?”

Seo-yun wasn’t sure what it was about this boy in particular that displeased him. Something about him seemed sneaky, or maybe it was just the boy’s face. Whatever it was, it was enough for Seo-yun to pay special attention to this one.

“You know, I think I’m through with your attitude you sniveling little shit.” Seo-yun swung his rifle around at the boy who looked up but did not react, not even in the slightest. It was this attitude that angered Seo-yun; this indifference to pain and death. “Get up.” He said. Slowly the boy stood, his eyes looking straight at Seo-yun’s. There was no fear or anger there, just a blank stare, as if to prove that nothing Seo-yun did mattered to him. “We shall see,” thought Seo-yun.

He motioned down the path with the tip of his rifle. The air was silent except for the hush of rain as they headed down the walkway to a large metal tube at the bottom of the hill. It was about four and a half feet tall, too short to stand up in, but also to narrow to sit down. Seo-yun motioned to the handle. The boy grasped it, swung the face of the tube open, stepped inside, and look out at Seo-yun. His face was a stone.

Seo-yun looked back at him, standing there in the tube. “What a pathetic creature,” though Seo-yun. The boy was desperately skinny, more so than most of the prisoners. The bones in his arms and face protruded unnaturally. His thin, oily hair dripped rain down across his sunken, lifeless eyes. Those eyes; that was what Seo-yun hated the most. He slammed the door shut saw the boy staring back through the little slot in the face of the door. Leaning forward, Seo-yun stared right back, and laughing, slid the slot closed.

It was a long wet walk up to the barracks at the top of the hill. As he entered through the gate Seo-yun strolled silently past the scribe he was supposed to inform of the prisoner he’d put in the box. “Screw it,” he though, “let that little rat rot in there for an extra day, that nasty little thief.” He headed down the hallway to a small neat room about halfway down. As soon as his head hit the pillow Seo-yun was drifting off without a single though of the boy passing through his mind.

He was standing. It was completely dark, the kind of dark that makes you close and open your eyes to see if you can tell the difference. He couldn’t. There was something else too. It was cold and very quiet. Seo-yun couldn’t make out a single sound, except…his breathing was echoing around him. He went to raise his hand, but to his surprise his knuckles struck something. Startled, he leaned back, and the tube made a low metallic note as the back of his head struck it. Realization dawning on him, Seo-yun panicked and began thrashing, but the prison was so small every movement was punished immediately with the pain of striking that cold, unforgiving metal surface.

He was dreaming, had to be. How else would he have ended up in here? Seo-yun had no memory of being moved after he had fallen asleep. It sure didn’t feel like a dream though. It felt real, very real, and scary as fuck. Maybe one of the prisoners had knocked him over the head while he was asleep, or drugged him somehow. “And dragged you down out of the barracks past ten guards?” Though Seo-yun. No, that didn’t make any sense, and if the barracks had somehow been overtaken he surely would have woken. “Hey!” yelled Seo-yun, “HEEEEEEYYYY!” The sound echoed deafeningly all around him inside the tiny metal cage.

Hours passed, then days. At least, that was what Seo-yun guessed. He couldn’t be sure. Normally the sun would strike the tube and turn it into a furnace, cooking the prisoners, but there had been no heat or light. Then again, Seo-yun couldn’t be sure what was real anymore. The sensory deprivation was taking its toll on Seo-yun’s mind and he knew it. Brief flashes of thing he done at the prison flashed before his eyes; the pool of blood from the senile old man he had struck across the head for moving too slowly in the wash room, the look in the eyes of the young girl he had forced to perform oral sex. These scenes were bursting across his vision like camera flashes, swirling around him. Moaning, Seo-yun rest his forehead against the metal tube. He couldn’t take anymore. His body was in agony from the constant standing. Thirst burned mercilessly down his throat, and his mind was tearing itself apart. Then, without warning, the slot in front of his eyes opened.

Before him lay more darkness, but not the kind that had surrounded him in the tube. It was night outside, and he could see the silhouette of the figure that stood before him, perfectly still, not making a sound. Seo-yun studied the outline, and slowly recognition dawned on him. The boy! Seo-yuns burst out screaming, trying to cram in so many obscenities and threats that they melded into nonsensical babbling.

The boy remained silent and totally still, not reacting in the least to Seo-yuns outburst. Then, slowly, he leaned forward. Seo-yun, caught off guard by this, suddenly fell silent and peered back at the boy out of the tiny slot. The boy’s face approached, and the eyes, caught by a glint of moonlight, shined back at Seo-yun, who felt a sudden horror rising within him. Within those sunken eyes Seo-yun could see the pupils were not round, but long and rectangular, like they eyes of a goat.

The slot closed.

Fiction


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