《Elysium: Diamond In The Rough》Chapter 3: Initiation

Weeks have passed since my conversation with Mr. Cromwell and nothing seems to have changed. My classmates mock and ridicule me when we have the displeasure of bumping into each other. “Hey evsiz, what’s the little orphan loser with no job doing today?” My body feels hot and my hands get sweaty as the anger swells inside of me, my eyes close and memories of my parents come into view. “Alex, you aren’t like the other kids your age. You need to learn to be gentle and kind.”

The swelling heat begins to fade and I look at them meekly with a smile, “Just going shopping for some food.” The group of kids laugh and walk away as I walk towards the familiar stand of Miss Pamela. “Hey child, come to get some food today?” Miss Pamela’s wrinkles become more defined as she smiles, “Yes, ma’am, but I don’t want any kacabu-on-a-stick this time...maybe some Ikan Stew?”

“You’re lucky I just got a shipment of Ikan earlier this week child, go on take a seat, it’ll take some time to make it.” The crackle of a fire fills the room and the distinct smell of heating metal begins to swim into my nostrils as water is set to boil.Different spices begin to dance around in the air and get trapped inside Miss Pamela’s small kiosk, a couple coughs leave my lungs as the spicier ingredients are added into the stew. “Alex, how’re ya liking ya break? Ya start secondary in a couple months right?” Behind some watery eyes and faint coughs I manage to wheeze out a “ Yes ma’am, I’ve just been relaxing at home killing time until school starts back up.”

Some time passes as Miss Pamela focuses on the stew and cleaning up some of the prep dishes used in the process. A big bowl is brought out to me with a smiling face and a “ Dinner is served!” My stomach growls as I stare as the bowl and the smell overloads my nostrils. “Thanks granny!” As I lower my spoon down into the stew to sip some of the broth, a fish head sporting five beady eyes and a row of vicious looking teeth, floats to the top. The broth hits my tongue and I instantly start sweating, the taste of potatoes, carrots, fish and all the spices mingling together creating a flavor that packs a punch while still being distinctly a stew. I can’t stop myself from taking bite after bite, nose running the entire time as I slurp up the last bit of the stew.

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“Thanks for the food Miss Pamela! I’ll be sure to visit whenever I can!” Waving goodbye as I get ready and head back home. Walking through my front door the atmosphere seems...off, as the door closes behind me the silhouette of a slender person comes into my peripheral view. They lunge out at me and give a few jabs, I manage to dodge and weave my way out of the initial barrage and throw a punch that is effortlessly dodged in return trying the see who is behind this assault. The person is fully clothed in what I can only consider light padded combat gear and wearing a mask of a rabbit. I throw another wide haymaker and it is eluded with the precision and expertise of someone who is used to this kind of scenario. As they slip past my punch, the person grabs my elbow with one hand, pulls me forward and off balance as an elbow crashes down into my left temple. Everything goes blurry.

“AHHHH!” I rush the person and wildly lash out. Each of my punches are dodged with little to no effort and as I swing one more wide left haymaker, the person closes the distance grabbing my wrist with one hand, and punching me in the stomach with the other. As I cough up a lot of spit from the blow, the world seems to go upside down for a moment, then I land on my back with a hard thud. A small giggle is heard from behind the rabbit mask and a feminine voice says “You’re a feisty one.” I look up as the Rabbit is standing over me with a fist racing towards my face, everything goes black.

My abs hurt, my head is throbbing...where am I? My vision begins to focus again and it doesn’t take long for me to notice that I’m tied up to a chair in some dimly lit room. As I look around the room I notice a small table with instruments neatly placed on top of a towel. My heart starts racing and my eyes feel like they’re about to pop out of their sockets, I go to scream for help but am only met with a dull muffle. “What the fuck, what the fuck?! Did I get abducted by those people who sell body parts or something?” Looking directly ahead I can see that a mirror has been fixed to a door and reflects me perfectly in the center of it. Tied and gagged I start to panic a bit more and start flexing every fiber of my being with hopes to break my restraints, loud grunts fill the room every time I struggle.

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The door slowly creeks open and a rabbit mask slowly peeks into the room. She claps her hands and runs up to me, “ Oh great you’re finally awake!” As she’s talking, a slightly larger person wearing a full-face gas mask follows in behind her. “Trust me this is gonna hurt you a lot more than it hurts us, but it’ll be fine. You’ll be fiiiiiiiinnnnneeee.” The rabbit masked woman runs her fingers through my hair and makes her way to the knot keeping the gag in my mouth, she then rips the tape off my mouth and I spit out the wadded up rag. “Please, I don’t know who you are, but you don’t have to do this. I can...I- I can pay you to let me go! I don’t have any money, but I can work for you or something I can…” I’m cut off by a sharp “ Shhhhhhhhh,” coming from the rabbit mask with a finger held up to the mouth. “ HELP! HELP ME! SOMEONE He-----” the gag is jammed back into my mouth and a fresh piece of tape is applied over it. Tears start racing down my face and my breathing gets faster. After a while my breathing slows down into long inhales and exhales, the tears have stopped and I’ve accepted death.

“There we go! That’s what we like to see, you don’t need to panic Alex. This is all for your own good.” She nods at the larger person in the gas mask and the person begins walking up to the chair. Gas mask starts tearing the shirt off of my body and as soon as it hits the ground, I feel a massive pain in my stomach. I start coughing and wheezing as the person in the gas mask turns my stomach into their own personal punching bag. At first it hurts, but after a while everything starts to go numb. “Hey, hey...HEY! Wake up kid!” The rabbit walks up for the first time since the punching started and grabs my right ring finger. Snap. The new sensation brings my mind back into the room as I start crying and grunting through the gag. “There there, don’t worry! Just had to make sure you weren’t passing out on us or nothing. Here I’ll fix it, uh this is gonna hurt too.” Snap. She quickly puts the finger back in place and tapes it to the ring finger to brace it to something. I let out another painful grunt as I angrily start lunging towards her and the person in the gas mask. “YOU MOTHERFUCKERS, I’LL KILL YOU!” I start to think “You couldn’t even handle one, how are you going to kill two?” My mind jumps back and forth between anger and pessimism.

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The rabbit looks at me and tilts her head to one side. “Don’t worry Alex, we aren’t going to keep beating you...well we will just not right now. We can toughen you up physically no problem, but this beginning part is to test you mentally. We just had to rough you up a little to get you into the mindset, and as kind of a taste for what’s coming in your immediate future. We’ll supply you with a ton of water, but that’s about all.” My eyes look up, dull and confused.

“So before we toughen up your body, which is already pretty tough, we’re gonna toughen up your mind.” The person in the gas mask starts bringing in container after container filled to the brim with water and setting it all around the room. “Anyways, let’s see how you handle solitude. We’ll see you when we see you, try not to go to crazy Alex.”

The rabbit begins to walk out of the room and gives another nod to the man in the gas mask. “Welcome to your first day of training to become a Sweeper, good luck and try not to disappoint us.” My head looks up at the rabbit, “WHAT?!” I think to myself as my face is met with a powerful fist and my head drops again as my eyesight begins to fade out. The distant sound of a door closing and locking is all I could hear before going to sleep.

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