Author's Note: Hello, beautiful people!
Lately I have been low-key obsessed with "that moment" a character becomes a villain. What drives a normally good guy to become the bad guy? What is that turning point where he gives in to the darkness? The concept intrigues me. As a result, this flash fiction conveying such an event was born.
I have a couple more playing in my head, so if you like this then keep an eye out for them! Have a wonderful day, everyone, and happy reading!
As the light crept towards her, she tucked her feet away and pressed her knees closer to her chest. Hunched against the corner, she took a shaky breath and slowly looked up. The light meant the same visitor was back.
Standing in the doorway, silhouetted by shadows, the visitor asked, "Are you ready to prove your loyalty to me?"
She didn't answer. Digging her nails into her arms was her only response.
The visitor tsked. "Typical. Maybe another twelve hours alone in the dark will help you change your mind."
When the light went out, she sighed. Slowly, she rose to her feet and walked across the room. Picking up a single piece of chalk, she marked another tally on the wall. She was running out of room for this wall, as she had the other so long ago. Even though she marked her days underground, she didn't dare count them. She didn't want to know how long she had been kept prisoner, locked away where she could never be found.
Even if someone knew where she was, would that person try saving her?
She studied the vat beside her. Behind the glass was a mutation in process, but she thought what reflected off the glass was much scarier. Sure, she looked normal enough with her unkempt blonde hair and baby blue eyes. Maybe she even looked cute. Yet looks were meant to be deceiving.
As much as she hated being belowground, she swallowed her fear and descended the only stairs in her prison. More occupied vats lined the walls in the floor below. A table with blood filled test tubes was set near a corner. Machines that tortured her and documented her reactions and responses occupied the middle of the ground. It had been a while since the last test. Another had to be coming soon.
She hugged herself. The sleeves of her tattered dress hid the cuts and bruises. Pricks where a multitude of blood samples were taken dotted her arms.
Trembling where she stood, she looked around as she did so many times before in search of something that could be her salvation. At first, she spent much of her time dreaming of all the ways she could escape. She imagined how it would feel to go free. Yet as much as she thought and plotted, she never tried.
How far would she get before she would ultimately be recaptured?
It would not be worth the price to pay for a few short minutes of delusional freedom.
Despite it being impossible, she dreamed of being rescued one way or another. The family who abused her would suddenly find compassion. The friends who abandoned her would suddenly want to save her. Perhaps a stranger would take pity and free her from this prison.
She imagined these scenarios whenever she specifically wanted to torment herself.
Whimpering, she pressed her forehead against the cool glass of the vat, ignoring the monster within. Nobody would ever, ever come to her aid even if they knew where she was and what was happening to her. Not after who and what she became, and not after what she had done, intentional or not.
For so long her core ached with emptiness. Tears were her only real comfort. It had been so long since her days here began that she wasn't sure what freedom felt like anymore. Perhaps it was an illusion. Nobody, even the people outside, was truly free. Everyone was trapped within a room of sorts. It just so happened her walls were visible.
Yet she still desired to breech them.
Tears falling harder now, she fell to her knees in the middle of the room. Crying out, she begged whatever god was listening to lift her from this hole. She offered to make a deal in exchange for this salvation. She would pay any price. She would offer any sacrifice.
Of course, as with every other time, her pleas went unheard. She crumpled to the floor and curled into a fetal position. Sobs racked her entire body.
She was a monster.
There really wasn't anyone to call family.
There definitely wasn't anyone to call friend.
Ever since she changed, she was no longer a person to be loved, cherished, and valued.
Nobody would be coming to save her.
The thought made her feel as if a boulder was crushing her, flattening her against the tiled floor. This wasn't the first time she realized this, but somehow this particular instance was different. Possibly because for the first time since coming here, another answer became a possible solution.
She didn't have to be trapped forever.
There was a way out.
She just had to give in.
No price was too high.
She was willing to make any sacrifice.
Slamming her palm onto the ground, she pushed herself upright and wiped the tears from her eyes. She turned around and glared at the tapestry she would stand behind whenever she changed for her tests. One second it was fine, then the next it burst into flames.
As she stood, she watched the fire consumed the fabric. Even though she didn't look it, she was a monster on the outside. Now it was time for her to become a monster on the inside.
She tore down the tapestry and put out the flames. Yet she still hungered for chaos. To satisfy this new destructive craving, she flipped over the table with the test tubes.
Her blood seeped from the shattered glass and spread across the floor. She knelt down and smothered her hands with it. Standing, she walked to the wall and wrote with big letters:
She was falling into her role as a monster created for destruction, and monsters of any kind didn't have souls.
Walking back up the stairs, she stared ahead and scowled. She would leave this place. She would give them what they wanted in exchange for days no longer trapped underground.
When the visitor came again, she stood in the path of the light. She didn't blink, her eyes adjusting immediately. She saw the visitor with perfect clarity and hated what she saw.
"Are you ready to prove your loyalty to me now?" the visitor asked.
She answered by narrowing her eyes.
Lead out of the room, she found she didn't feel what she always imagined feeling the day she was finally set free. Truly, she still felt trapped. Perhaps freedom really was an illusion, and now she was trapped within a room lacking visible walls.
"You know what to do," her visitor said as she was pushed into another room. This was also a prison, but not for her. This, she concluded, was where her test was kept until she was ready to take it.
A name was whispered, the tone hugging it in a mixture of surprise, relief, and fear. It took her a moment to figure out it was a name. Her name.
She looked to see a preteen, brown-skinned girl sitting in the corner, eyes wide as she beheld her own visitor.
Nothing. That's what she felt upon seeing this girl. No desire to cry out and rush into her arms. No heartbreak over what she agreed to do to prove her loyalty to her creator. Only absolutely nothing.
Noticing these lack of feelings, she wondered why she waited so long to agree. She could have left that room a long, long time ago. She suffered all this time to keep this girl alive.
She didn't know how long until she studied the girl and realize that if she didn't know who this girl was, she wouldn't have recognized her. This girl had aged since she saw her last. They both have.
They used to be classmates.
They used to be best friends.
Then she changed, and this girl left her as everyone else had.
What, she couldn't help but think, motivated her to keep this girl alive? Was it love, compassion, empathy? The very things denied to her in her moments of need?
Whatever the reason, it no longer existed.
The girl cried out her name, a plea as she understood what was to happen next.
She marched forward, eyes locked on the girl's reddening face, her trembling form, and her overflowing tears.
Her humanity the price to pay. Her soul the sacrifice. This girl, the only person left she loved, the casualty, the receipt of the transaction.
Killing the girl was so easy.
Why was she crying now that she was finally free?