13 years ago . . .
"In you go." A small red headed child tripped over his own feet when the large burly man behind him gave him a shove. It was no surprise that the man laughed when he fell face first, his cheek hitting the cold tile floor beneath him. The child scrambled onto his feet, but the door to his cage was closed before he even had a chance to turn around.
Picking himself up from the floor, he crawled into the small bed. The cage was nicer than his last one. The previous one had been similar to a dungeon. Cold stone walls, solid metal bars, hard concrete floor, and a strong smell of mold. It had been damp, and he had slept on the floor with nothing but a thin blanket. This one was a huge improvement. There was a lot of light filtering in through the plastic walls, everything was clean, he had a bed, even if the mattress was flimsy, there was an actual toilet and sink within his cell instead of a bucket. He wasn't cold at night and even had fresh clothes supplied every day.
This was the only life the child had ever known. Four cell walls, pain and loneliness. Truthfully, he preferred the cold dingy cell to this nicer one. In the old one, he had been ignored. Once in a while he would see his father. He would come down the stairs, peer at him with hatred in his eyes, mutter a few words, and leave. That was the extent of his pain. He hadn't even known his name at that time, but he didn't know what he was missing. Didn't know how other people lived. Even now, he was still clueless about the outside world, but now he could see the guards eat food that wasn't mush or partially rotten, he could see the nice clothes that they wore, and he could see and hear the kindness they had when talking to the other adults. He saw expressions on their faces he was unfamiliar with. The corners of their mouths were tilted upwards rather than down, their eyes crinkled at the corners, and the shaking of their shoulders when they let out a breathy sound from their mouths. Why were they on the other side doing as they pleased?
But what was worse than catching glimpses of interactions that set them apart from him was when he got to journey outside the new cell. Outside the cell was a world of pain. He had wondered what was outside the cells he had been kept in his entire life; now that he knew the answer, he preferred the comfort of the four walls.
The small child curled into a ball, shivering as he waited for the pain to subside. Sometimes the pain would pass quickly, other times it would grow worse until he could no longer scream in agony. He hoped it was the first. His voice was still sore from the last time.
While he waited, he tried to focus on things he knew. Things he figured out while he was in this new place. He hadn't learned much in his previous home. He barely knew how to speak when he left. Here, the guards and the black haired doctor spoke to him a lot more often than his father had, he gotten better at listening and understanding, but he still didn't speak much. He learned that he was called Adham and that he was four years old. He clutched onto that small tidbit of information as the pain grew inside of him. It was the only thing that was his. His name was Adham. His name was Adham. He was not just subject 32. He continued that mantra even as the pain spread, consuming him, and had him screaming throughout the night.
Adham sat across from a dark-skinned girl with dark, curly hair. Her golden-brown eyes stared at him curiously, edging a bit closer to the young boy. "Hi. My name is Subject 18."
Adham's green eyes glanced at the mirror to his left. He knew there were other people behind it. He could hear them. The entire room was white, including the floor. There were two child sized chairs in the room along with a few objects he had seen other subjects use. He believed the doctors called them toys. The toys didn't interest him. He didn't know what to do with them or their purpose. Often the other subjects would beckon him over to use the toys, but he always stayed away from them, keeping to himself.
"Can't you hear me?" Adham's attention was drawn back to the girl. She was slightly older than him by a few years. Just like the other subjects here, she was quiet and timid. "My name is Subject 18." The young girl reached out.
Adham's eyes widened and swatted the hand violently away, growling at her and baring his teeth, growling like a feral animal.
The young girl withdrew he hand, frightened, and turned to the mirror obviously asking what they wanted her to do.
"That is enough." The voice came from what Adham had been told was a speaker. "You may go back to your cell Subject 18 until Subject 41 is available for your recreational time." The girl looked relieved. They always did. For some reason, the adults here always forced him into a room with the other children here. He didn't understand why, but he didn't trust people. People were bad. People were mean. People were out to hurt you. They either left you alone or they wanted to cause you pain. He wanted none of that.
He watched the girl go, and two guards came in to replace her to escort him back to his room. Seeing one of the guards, he hesitated in following their directions. The guard chosen to send him back was one of the more brutal ones. Without warning the guard struck him with the butt of his gun. "Move faster, freak!" How unlucky for him.
The child turned murderous eyes toward the guard. The whites of his eyes turned black and his irises gold. He growled, not even aware of the blood trailing down the back of his head. Without thinking, he lunged at the guard, his small hands gripping the blue uniform, pulling him forward with inhuman strength.
The guard panicked, aiming his tranquilizer gun at the child and only managed to get one shot off. The dart hit Adham's shoulder, but it did nothing to stop the child. If anything it only further aggravated him. With even more fury he sunk his teeth into the man's arm. The guard's cries of pain and panic fueled the beast residing in him even more. The child drank the blood that filled his mouth, drinking as if it were sweet nectar. He would not tolerate being hit, not today. He had to pay. They all had to pay for doing this to him. They had to die.
The guard raised his fist, striking the small child furiously, trying to get him to let go. Adham wasn't having any of that. His nails dug into the man's flesh, ripping him open like a present. What was so wrong with wanting blood? They took his all the time without his permission. It was only fair he took it from them. So what if the beast inside him preferred to drink it? Didn't they like to drink it too? Isn't that why they took so much from him?
Adham didn't even realize more guards had come into the room. All of them with their tranquilizer guns pointing at him. He received a warning, but he did not hear it. He didn't care. The guard was screaming, asking for them to save him even as the child's nails slit open his stomach and the innards spilled out.
He was shot with three more darts as a result. The world spun and the fight quickly drained out of him. The next thing he knew the ground was rushing towards his head. He couldn't move, but he could still hear.
"Get one of the rifles. We'll take care of him." Fear clutched at the child's chest. He struggled to stay awake and reclaim the anger and power he had held a moment ago.
"That is unnecessary. Adham-chan was just defending himself." A shiver went up Adham's spine. He recognized that voice. It was one of the doctors who took twisted joy in poking and prodding him with those weird instruments, the ones that brought pain. "The guard struck him unnecessarily. He awoke the beast by doing so. As he had been under the influence of one of my drugs still, he was more volatile than usual. Wasn't that right, Adham-chan?"
"You call this defense?" A guard waved his hand toward the dying guard on the floor, but no one moved to give him assistance. He was too far gone to be saved and would be dead any moment now. "That was mauling! Only a monster would rip a man to shreds! He needs to be put down."
"I am your employer, Chono-san, and you will escort this child to my lab, so I may collect some data from this incident." The doctor's cold dark eyes turned to him. "It would be beneficial to reformulate those darts."
Adham still couldn't move as he felt his hands get cuffed and was picked roughly up. He wanted to scream, wanted to beg not to be taken back to that the lab, but he was unable to. Unconsciousness claimed him as dreams of what was to come took over.
Adham stared at the ceiling. He hadn't had that luxury over the past several days. After he was released from the, lab he was put into the isolation room. There was no light, no sound, only four walls that he couldn't see and his own thoughts. He liked being alone, but not like that. The dark scared him now. He never wanted to go back.
He pulled his legs closer, resting his head on his knees. This was his life. He had accepted it. One day he would be a grown up and do the same thing right? That's how it all worked wasn't it? The adults did what they want, and kids were locked up. One day he'd be free from the pain. Trust no one, accept your place, and you'll make it out alive.
That was the plan anyway. It all went to hell the day when the door outside his cell and down the hall opened to reveal a bright blue eyed, blonde hair child.