2309: Green-Eyed Demon

Posted: March 16, 2013 by Kelly in league, stories, the world

If they find me, they will drown me
In a lake of fire
I will never regret what I did
Even as I expire

– The Unguided, “Green-eyed demon”

“No, please, not that, anything but that!” The plea was out of my mouth before I knew it. I promised myself I wouldn’t beg. Throughout this whole farce of a trial, I had told myself I would keep my head up, I would keep whatever tatters of my pride still remained. After my angry breakdown in court, it was all I could do to hold on to the remains of my dignity. I /needed/ to be strong; the moment I started breaking down would be the moment I’d go insane. I knew this in my bones and I’d been telling myself to be strong. I’d been doing well so far. Not now, though.

I was standing on shaking legs in the middle of my prison cell, hands spread out in a plea, sudden hot tears in my eyes. My heart was racing a million miles a minute, my vision was spotty. The world became fuzzy around the edges and I couldn’t think, I couldn’t breathe.

“It’s okay, Dani,” someone said. A familiar voice. I wanted to fight him, get him away from me. Then I realized it was Rao, my lawyer. He was standing next to the nurse and looked at me with something like kindness and worry in his sleepy dark brown eyes. “It’s just a muscle relaxant so you won’t get violent in the court room.”

I stared at the nurse that was standing next to him with an injector in her gloved hands. She looked annoyed and glanced over her shoulder, as if she was about to call security. /Will they fight me to give me their newest poison? Will they hold me down while they shoot me up?/

“I don’t buy it. I can’t do this. No needles. Please tell them I’ll be quiet. I don’t-” I caught myself mid-sentence. I was babbling, I still couldn’t seem to find enough oxygen in the air to fill my lungs. I took a deep breath and tried to regain composure through my panic attack. “Please, don’t put needles in me again.”

Rao nodded and came to stand next to me. He gently lead me back to my cot and sat me down. “Calm down, Dani. It is okay. I talked to them about shooting you up, but they asked me if I could guarantee your calmness in the court room while they give you your sentence, and I really couldn’t. And you need to be present for that. So this is the only option.”

I shook my head mutely. /No, no, fuck no. No poison in my body anymore. Don’t they understand?/ The needle alone made me flash back to the Survival Game in the most horrid of ways and I was terrified and desperate and so terribly alone. My hands were shaking. Everything about me was shaking. /I need to ride this out. Calm the fuck down!/ I shouted at myself, but my body seemed to have other ideas.

Rao put an arm around my shoulder and rocked me gently, making soothing noises and reassurances that I was safe. He lied. I’ll never be safe again.

“I personally made sure that it’s just sedatives, Dani. Some muscle relaxants that will make it hard to move so you can’t get physically violent.”

I leaned my head against his shoulder and squeezed my eyes shut. “I won’t get violent,” I promised. It sounded pitiful. I felt pitiful. “I’m so done with this…”

“I know,” Rao soothed. He shifted a little, laid his hand on the top of my head, brushed my hair out of my neck as I laid against him.

And the next moment there was a violent jab in my neck.

It was only a heartbeat, then the needle retracted and I screamed, jumping off the cot and slamming a hand to my neck, where blood slowly welled up.

“What the fuck?” I screamed at Rao and the nurse, and suddenly there were enforcers in my room as well. They had those zappy night sticks with them again, and armour on. They looked ready to strike, as if I was some sort of monster that they needed to subdue.

“I’m sorry,” Rao said, but he didn’t look sorry at all. He looked fucking relieved.

I wanted to smack that expression off his face. “I thought you were on my side. I /trusted/ you!” I all but growled at him.

He shook his head sadly. “Oh, Dani. I don’t think there’s a single person in the world on your side at the moment. You dug your own grave with your outburst in the court room the other day. I’m just trying to do damage control.” He stood up from the cot and looked at the nurse, who had relocated herself to the enforcers, where she’d be protected in case of a freakout from my side. “How long will it take?”

The woman watched me closely. “She should be starting to feel the effects any time soon now.”

“Good,” Rao said. “Court session opens in half an hour.”

Within ten minutes I was lying sprawled on my cot, exhausted and lethargic. It seemed like too much of a bother to talk, to stand, to do things. My body just wanted to take a nap, which was weird, because my mind was screaming at me to get up and focus – I was about to be sentenced; probably to death. I needed to be awake and full of action! Instead, I felt like I was dreaming.

“Time to go, Dani,” Rao said at some point.

“Fuck you,” I retorted flatly, but I let him guide me to the court room anyway. There were enforcers all around us, as if I would attack Rao. As if I would try to escape. As if I even could. The world seemed unreal and I had a hard time retaiingn my footing. The maglock chain around my feet didn’t make it easier and I felt like an idiot or a criminal (or both) by the time we entered the court room.

It was crowded. The atmosphere seemed electric with anticipation. I lifted my heavy head to look around me and God, it was full in here. People everywhere. There was audience and paparazzi /standing/ in places, because all the seats were full. What the fuck were they there for? Did they want to see my sentence that badly? What the hell did I ever do to all these people?

We sat down in the defendant stand and I looked over at Young and Kesaria. They weren’t looking at me; Kesaria was doing something with his handheld while Young was obviously calling someone. He’d hooked his terminal to the accuser’s stand and he was looking at the screen in there, talking to someone whose face I couldn’t make out from this angle. I honestly didn’t care, either. All I wanted was to share a glance so I could swear my undying hatred for the man that let Kesaria twist my life and rape my memories for all of the world to see.

Adrenaline and anger re-entered my body and I felt a little bit more focused and less inclined to sleep. We had to wait for a long time before the Judge joined us.

Thankfully he didn’t beat around the bush and straight to the point. He said some things, but nothing stuck apart from the actual sentence. “You have been judged guilty on all acounts.” No softening circumstances, just guilty for murder. That was me. I was violent. I was a killer. Apparently those people here thought it was in my nature because the Corporation made them believe that.

I closed my eyes and breathed deeply through my nose, trying to find my bearings. Trying to see if I regretted killing Berntsson, now that I knew the consequences. Surprisingly, I didn’t. Even if my life was in shambles, even if I was a murderer… it was still worth it. And deep down inside I wondered if they might not be right about me. Should I have felt regret, then? Was I really the monster they said I was?

“You now have a choice to make, Miss Summers,” the Judge said suddenly. I looked up sharply from my depressing thoughts. /What?/

And then he said the words. “What will it be, death by lethal injection or participation in the League?”

/Holy shit, I get a choice./

I hadn’t thought I would be given the choice. Rao grabbed my arm and tried to say something, maybe that I should consider it first or something, but fuck, hadn’t he learned anything from the Survival Game? I was a survivor. And if there was a chance to survive this thing, I’d damn well take it. No matter what the cost.

/Participation in the death match./ Such a lovely fucking euphemism. I smirked. I danced like a puppet on a string as I spoke the words that the world had probably been wishing to hear the moment my hands got stained with Berntsson’s lifeblood. My voice was steady when I said the words. “Participation. I’ll enter the deathmatch.” I wondered if I’d be able to find a sponsor and a trainer.

“Granted. Session closed.”

Chaos erupted around me. Journalists and audience that paid heavy money to watch this trial were jumping up. From the corner of my eye I could see Berntsson’s blond supermodel wife. She’s even beautiful when she cried. I felt no pity for her. She married an asshole.

Rao shouted something to keep the paparazzi off me. I ignored it all and drowned out the world while my heart beat slowly and heavily in my chest. Camera’s flashed, voices became distorted. I just signed my own death warrant.

Amidst the chaos, there was one man still sitting.

People jumped and walked around him, but he was just sitting with crossed arms. Clothed in a smart looking business suit that must have cost a fortune, russet hair combed back, he was watching me with calm gray eyes. He smirked as I did and ignoreds the paparazzi that were trying to ask him questions. Next to him Kesaria was also standing, talking in his headset with whatever phonecall he was taking at the moment. I ignored the asshole lawyer.

It was the russet-haired man I was staring back at.

“Young, you motherfucker,” I whispered.

And he just smiled.

—-

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