I open my eyes to see the stars glowing above me. Except they're not really stars. Just glow in the dark plastic adhered to the top bunk. This is the closest I come to seeing the real thing anymore. Sometimes I like to just lay here and stare up at these cheap stickers, and try to imagine that I really am outside. Or at least in my old room. They were the only thing I was able to save from my home. All I have left of who I was. Of my family. There's nothing I wouldn't do for something, anything more.


There's a chilling sound as the metal door slides across the concrete floor. I sit up as Kyle walks through. He's still in his handcuffs, being led in by one of CHI's guards.


He's wearing the same disgusting tunic that I am, and the same canvas pants. But his are torn and ripped much more than mine, as if he was slashed at with a knife. Knowing Dr. Samson, he probably was. He looks mentally destroyed, and physically exhausted. His eyes have a look of absolute hopelessness. His dirty blonde hair is singed at the tips, and has spots stained red, probably with blood.


The guard shoves Kyle inside our sell, and he stumbles in, falling to his knees on the hard cement floor. He makes no sound or exclamation of pain. This is nothing compared to what the scientists here have done to him. He has it worse than any single kid here.


"Hey! Take it easy!" I yell at the guard.


The guard walks into the room, shoving Kyle all the way to the floor as he passes. He walks straight to me, and gets right in my face. He is wearing the same thing as all of the other guards here. They wear body armor made of overlapping white metal and plastic plates over top of some type of black layer underneath. They also have gloves with built in tasers and brass knuckles, which are just perfect for putting fear into the hearts of the imprisoned kids here.


"You prefer if it were you?" He asks me coldly, practically spitting right into my face, and reaching for the small ring around the edge of his ring.


He then turns part of the ring around his wrist, and then I feel intense sudden pain as the metal collar around my neck begins burning my flesh. I yell in pain as I fall to my knees, grasping at my collar only to burn my hands. I look up through the burning to see the guard grinning down at me. He's enjoying this.




The guard and I both look over at Kyle who is now standing upright.


"Do you think Dr. Samson wants him damaged?"


His collar is also burning at his neck, and I can see red blisters forming underneath it. Yet he makes no acknowledgement of the pain.


"Heh. Consider yourself lucky, Moore. Don't ever speak against me again, or you won't speak at all."


He twists the ring on his glove back to where it first was, and the burning suddenly stops, but the blisters formed around the hot metal still hurt as the collar rubs and chafes up against them.


He walks straight past Kyle, brushing harshly past his shoulder. When he reaches the door, he pauses and gives a small glance over his shoulder.


"You can sleep in your cuffs tonight, Marks."


The door closes in front of him, leaving the two of us alone in our poorly lit room. Kyle gaps the space between us in two short steps, and holds out his hand to help me up. I smile at him as I take his hand. He helps pull me to my feet.


"You okay?"


"Yeah, thank you. Sorry about your cuffs."


"It's fine."


I rub my neck, and wince as my hand finds my new blisters. At least my collar has finally cooled down completely.


"You shouldn't have said anything. You only got yourself hurt. I'm not worth you getting hurt."


"You shouldn't have stopped him. I hear scars get chicks"


He smirks meekly.


"And Kyle, of course you're worth it. We're all we've got in this hell hole. I got your back."


Kyle's neck is already healing. What CHI has done to him is a serious game changer for both medicine and the world of science in general. He has been beaten, broken, tortured, and then put back together in such a twisted manor that he will never ever be the same again. I'd guess that there hasn't been a single war crime that has not been committed on him. He has been exposed to nerve gas, waterboarded, and tortured as far as limb dismemberment. What he has been through should not ever happen to anyone, but especially not to Kyle. Before his ability developed, Kyle was one of the most hopeful kids here. He often keep me grounded, and ensured that we would get out of here soon. He was, and is the only friend I have here. Now, the torture not only broke his body, but also his mind. Although physically he may still be the same person, and Dr. Samson gave him the "gift" to heal almost any injury, there is one part of Kyle that won't ever grow back. His hope.


He has gone through hell and back, just to be sent through it again and again. Even though the ability forced upon him is something constructive instead of only being able to destroy like my own, I would never want to go through what he has for what little payoff there has been. Sure, he might have a serious healing factor, and a desensitization towards pain, but at what cost.


"Here, let me see your cuffs."


Kyle lifts up his bound hands for me to see. The cuffs themselves are made of thick metal, but the connecting piece between the two wrists might just be thin enough. I make a fist with my hand, and extend my thumb and index finger parallel to each other. I concentrate on images of electricity jumping across two wires, and then feel the energy flow down my hand and fingers. After a few sparks fly from the tip of my thumb, a small current of electricity ignites between it and my index finger. That won't be enough. I concentrate harder. The stream of electricity slowly changes color from an orange yellow to a bright white. It begins to glow brighter and brighter, and I can feel the heat coming from the air around the electricity. I slowly move my hand downwards towards the link in the two cuffs. As the voltage further increases and comes into contact with the cuffs, there is a small burst of sparks that ignites from the cool metal. I need to focus even more in order to control where the electricity travels. I use as much effort as I physically can to make sure that the current does not spread any further than where I am cutting. I don't want to accidentally electrocute Kyle.


I need to speed this up. I can't keep this level of control up for much longer, and I am sweating already for how much energy and effort I have already spent. A bead of water falls down my cheek from my forehead and drops off my chin. It lands on the current between my fingers, and it sizzles, evaporating almost instantly. I'm about a quarter inch into the metal, and I quickly push my hand down, cutting through the rest of the link. The electricity changes color back to the classic yellow, and then to a pale blue before fizzling to a few sparks and then into nothing. I drop my head, exhausted from using so much energy. My hair is soaked with sweat just from that little time, and I drop my hands down to my knees, holding myself up.


Kyle grabs my arm, and pulls it over his shoulders.


"Thanks, Flynn. You really shouldn't spread yourself so thin like that."


"Nah... you think I would just let you... sleep in those clunky cuffs..." I give out a limp little laugh. "Besides... They totally clash... with your outfit."


Kyle gives out one of those breathe laughs as he smiles meekly down at me. He helps me sit back down on my bunk, and I manage to get myself laying down as Kyle climbs up into his own "bed." I stare up at the stars above me before I close my eyes. I'm just about to fall asleep when that chilling sound of a metal door sliding against concrete jars me back to reality.


I sit up in my bunk once again to see Dr. Samson himself with two orderlies walk into our cell. Samson is wearing essentially the same thing as the guards here, except his under layer his a light blue green instead of black. He's also wearing a white lab coat with pens sticking out of the lapel pocket. Both of his orderlies are wearing pretty much only medical scrubs, but I doubt they would even need body armor. These guys are so large and ripped, I don't think they can even be classified as human beings. Not that any of the staff here are. I'd guess the larger of the two is around seven feet tall.


"What's going on?"


I see Kyle's feet to my left as he sits up in his bunk.


Our visitors stop right in front of the door, blocking the only exit to the room. Dr. Samson then looks over to the orderly on his left, who is the more bulky of the two.


"Would you be so kind as to help our friend Mr. Marks down from his bunk?"


The orderly begins walking towards our bunks, and I start to get out of bed, but he pushes me back down easily with one hand as he walks over to Kyle's legs. My head hits the wall that's against my bed, and I let out a small grunt of pain. I can already tell there will be a nasty knot in the morning. He grabs hold of Kyle's right ankle, and pulls hard, yanking him out of the top bunk and then lets him fall onto the cold hard floor.


Kyle just lays face down on the floor for a moment before the other orderly walks over and grabs the back of his neck. He yanks Kyle upright, and onto his knees. His nose is clearly broken, and there is blood running down his face, and onto the floor. But sure enough within a matter of moments, his nose begins to straighten itself, and the blood slows down tremendously until there is none coming out at all.


"Well, well, Mr. Marks, I see your healing has gotten faster, but even you have your limits."


Samson then reached into the pocket inside his lab coat, and pulled out something black that I can't quite make out. I slide myself closer to the edge of the bed, and I can see the light from the hallway glint off of black metal. I feel immense panic as I make out the outline of what he is holding.


"You also seem to have gotten out of your cuffs. That type of ability can't be allowed."


He points the gun straight at Kyle's head.


"You see, Mr. Marks, we can't have you children risking your own health by trying to escape. It would be for the best interest of everyone here that an example be made..." He gives a little smirk, and moves the gun quickly, pulling the trigger.


I give a yelp of fear and shock as the gun fires and the bullet enters Kyle's leg. There is a burst of red glittering in the pale light as blood spews from his thigh. Kyle barely acknowledges being shot, only giving a slight wince of pain. The blood slowly stops flowing from his leg, as the wound begins to heal.


"It would be best for everyone to know it is much safer here with us, and our very fair rules, rather than outside of our caring facilities, don't you think?"


Kyle just stares blankly up at him as his bullet wound heals further.


"Help our friend remove the bullet. Wouldn't want that to be stuck there, would we?"


The big orderly not holding Kyle kneels down next to him, and pulls a scalpel from his pocket. He uncaps it, then shoves the bade into Kyle's leg, keeping the hole from the bullet from closing. He then yanks the blade, slitting down his leg, and more blood gushes out. Again, Kyle has barely any reaction to the gruesome scene.


The orderly then shoves his thumb and index finger into Kyle's leg, causing a violent spurt of red. He digs around a little, this time getting a grimace of pain from Kyle. The orderly then yanks his hand out, holding a crumpled bloody bit of metal.


Kyle then gives the slightest grunt as the blood stars flowing more heavily with nothing to block it.


"No... Stop!"


The orderlies and Dr. Samson all look over at me still in my bunk. I spew out words, desperate to help Kyle, but struggling to speak through the throbbing pain in my head.


"It... it wasn't him... I broke them... the handcuffs... stop hurting him... please..."


Samson looks straight at me. There is a few moments pause before he smirks menacingly at me. Kyle's leg is finally beginning to heal, and the blood flow is beginning to stop.


"So you're the one who figured out how to escape from the cuffs?"


I gotta buy Kyle enough time to recover. Keep Samson focused on me.


"Yes... I did... so punish me instead... just... just leave him alone..."


"Punish you? I see... Well if you insist."


He quickly aims the gun at Kyle's head again.


"This is what happens when you break the rules."




The last thing I hear before the gunshot is Kyle speaking to me in a soft voice.


"Thank you Flynn. For everything."


He slumps backward onto the floor, blood flowing down his forehead. His eyes mist over as they stare into mine.


I jerk upright on my couch, screaming. Tears are flowing down my face.