[Pod & Planet Contest Submission] Stains of the Soul

Marus Kaul, a tall, muscular man sat uncomfortably in the lone wooden chair of a dark room with just one bright light shaft in it, coming slanted down from the roof. Partially in front of the light stood Karir Neres, a tall and athletically built woman, whose features seemed to intentionally disappear in to the darkness as she stared straight forward. She had not said a word since she had entered the room a moment ago. Marus broke the silence.

“Not that I don’t appreciate the low budget agent-holo theatrics, but aren’t there supposed to be two of you? The good cop, the bad cop?”

Karir didn’t respond, but changed her stance to look at the man straight in to the eyes.

“What, something on my face?”

She didn’t answer.

“Alright, fine with me.” He said, defiantly spreading his arms wide. “Let’s play mind games.” He put his hands behind his head and leaned slightly back with the chair.

A few minutes sluggishly went by with nothing happening, and Marus adjusted himself on the chair again, now folding his arms and making a mocking serious face at Karir. He let his eyes wander up and down her body, smiling and licking his lips a few times in an effort to annoy her. But all he could tell was that she was staring at him, unflinching, just blinking now and then.

“So, you’re going to tell me what you want from me?” He asked, slightly irritated. No response, as he expected. This time however, she backed out of the light and completely in to the shadows.

“Oh come on. I can tell you’re still there, I’m not deaf you know.”

Marus sighed heavily, letting his arms slump beside him. Before he could react, he felt a hand cover his mouth and how he was being held in place by at least two people as his arms were being tied to the legs of the chair. Just seconds later they released their grip, and Karir walked back in to the light, seemingly in the same position she was when he last saw her, any detailed expressions still obscured by the shadows. He looked down at his arms, they were bound by what looked like simple rope. While he was a hulk of a man, despite tensing his muscles as hard as he could before causing real damage to his arms, he couldn’t break his hands free. He looked back up at Karir.

“Hey what the hell? What is this?” Marus was turning visibly anxious, his earlier nonchalant tough guy mask quickly shedding away. “Answer me! I don’t even know why I’m here, just tell me what do you want?”

Karir took a step closer and the light quickly moved on top of them, now fully revealing her face to Marus. Sweat had started to accumulate and glisten on his head.

“Who are you? What do you ■■■■■■■ want!?”

As he aggressively shook his head while yelling, a few sweat drops flew on the floor; this seemed to be a cue for someone to act, as suddenly he felt someone kick the chair with great force and he helplessly fell on his left side, pinning his left arm painfully.
Karir now leaned over towards Marus, for the first time to speak, smiling like a mother that had just baked a tray of cookies.

“We want you to clean up after yourself, mister Kaul.” Having said this, she turned her back on him and went out of sight completely.

“Haha, what the fu-” He gasped in the middle of his sentence from the shock of having ice cold water poured on his face, but he couldn’t see anything or anyone else.
He suddenly had a moment of clarity, where he understood that the lone spotlight in the room always adjusted itself so that he could only see what his captors wanted to see.
Still laying on his side on the floor, he tried to right himself with his legs, which were for some reason left free. The floor was smooth, hard and now also slippery with the water that was still pouring down from somewhere, causing him to stumble a few times while trying to find a stable footing – the chair throwing off his balance was also a hindrance to his efforts.

It took him a few tries, but he finally managed to lever himself up, his back hunched because of the chair he looked around him – of course it was still pitch black except the light that was fixed on him from the start. It was also silent, save only for the sound of water splashing on the ground.

“Hey, lady, please!” he yelled. “What did you mean, clean up after myself?!”

As usual, he received no response. But now a plan was forming in his mind, and he took a few steps carefully forward, the light following him as he expected. A few more, so that he was finally out of the water, and there he sat down with the chair. This time he contorted his torso so that he could leverage the back leg of the chair with his right leg. It didn’t budge at first, since the position was terrible for exerting force. But then a faint crackling sound came from the chair leg – something had given up. Encouraged by this he started pulling harder with both his leg and hand, and sure enough another crackle and pop followed the first, then more, and a hefty crunch as the leg finally broke off from the base. The sudden shift of balance threw him on his back with the chair, but now his right hand was mobile again. Pushing the torn off chair leg against his leg he loosened the rope, and his right hand was now properly free. He rolled the chair to its right side and pulled himself up from the floor much easier this time, finally pulling his left hand off the chairs’ leg like he did with the right, and smashed the already mangled chair on the floor in an act of defiance. He took the rope, short as it was, figuring it might come in handy, and put both pieces in his pants pockets.

Pointing at the darkness with his finger, he told whoever was there that “I don’t know who you are, but you messed with the wrong man!” and jolted forward, reaching running pace in a few steps. He expected to hit a wall, a person, something. But it was strange. He was sure he was running straight forward, and he had already ran at least for a good few of minutes – meaning, with his speed, at least almost a kilometre, if he indeed hadn’t been running in a circle, but he hadn’t heard the water splashing in a good while either. He slowed his run to a jog for a few meters and then stopped, looking around and drawing big breaths, stabilizing his breathing rhythm. He was trying to see anything at all, but the damned light, still persistently as ever following and floating on top of him, wouldn’t let his eyes adjust to the dark. If only he had something to break it with… It was no ordinary light, he thought, some kind of programmable light paneling? Probably not. A soundless drone of some sort? He grinned.

Reaching for his pocket he pulled out one of the ropes his hands had been previously bound with, quickly weaved it into a tiny ball which he then threw what he estimated was over the light, which as luck would have it, made it flinch slightly downward; Just enough for him to grab a part of it – it was a drone after all. Suddenly the drone became very vocal indeed, not being designed to ferry around grown men that weigh over 100 kilograms, its minimum-rated anti-gravity unit and orientation rotors were working overtime for a few seconds before coming to an end in a terrible screech caused by the rotors going well over the RPM they were rated for, resulting in a fairly immediate bearing failure. The drone was almost immediately deactivated remotely so that he could not use it as a high powered flashlight. Again, Marus smashed his now-inanimate adversary to the ground in anger and frustration.

He took a deep breath, closed his eyes and sat down. For a moment he would be practically blind, so he decided to stay put for that time. He opened his eyes. At first, nothing. Then, slowly he started seeing silhouettes. A lot. He almost jumped himself up, turning his head rapidly around. He was surrounded. Had he been surrounded the whole time? How could he not hear this many people following him the whole time? No, that couldn’t be it.

Before he had any more time to ponder his situation further, another drone finally turned its light on on top of him. He was again alone in the dark. But this time he knew he was being watched. Watched and ignored. He took the other piece of rope like he did before, weaved it into a small ball and threw it as fast as he could in front of him – it had no effect. He wasn’t sure what he expected it to even do besides hitting someone who would yell out in pain.

“Someone! Anyone! I know you’re there!”

Not being able to think clearly, he took off running again, half hoping to bump in to someone or something. But neither of those things happened. He had long since lost the track of time and distance when he stopped – exhausted and sweating profusely, he fell to his knees and leaned forward, taking support with his hands. He was panting heavily, when he heard the clatter of shoes on the floor – it was the first sound he had heard, besides those made by himself, in a long while. Someone stopped with him in the light. They kneeled on one leg in front of him, put their hand below his chin and lifted his face towards theirs. It was Karir.

“You wanted to play mind games, Marus?” She had nothing but scorn in her expression now. “We’ll give you mind games, shak romta.”

She let go of him and rose up to leave again, but Marus grabbed her leg.

“What did you call me?” His voice trembled.

“Let go. I won’t ask you twice.” Hers did not.

His grip tightened at first, but then he let her go. He put his head in his hands, sobbing uncontrollably. It was always like this. In a few days, the hallucinations would return and he wouldn’t remember a thing. And he would need to be reminded, again and again. Section 093 was made for people like him, those who denied the weight of their crimes.

Still, even children know that tears can’t wash away stains of the soul.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 90 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.