So I'm super-duper sleepy. Barely got through re-reading my chap, but I really want to post this tonight, so Ray can edit tomorrow! Yay! We're hanging out more than once this week!
Anywho, I'm just gonna post the chap and head to bed.
WARNING! This is one of the darkest bits of writing I've ever written. I don't think it's rated M, but it's definitely OT.
*NOTE: Yes, I've changed the ending some. I didn't like how it was, so I came up with something I like even more :)
Kaleb - Meridian
The black expanse that was Kaleb’s tiny cell was soothing. It seeped into him, snuffing out the pain and horrors that threatened to drown him. There, in the dark, he could pretend every inch of him didn’t ache. Forget the faces of the innocents sharing this living hell. He could, for a little while, pretend that somehow, some way, he’d survive this. That shadows and agony wouldn’t be all that was left of his life. In that caliginosity, he could pretend to have hope.
He’d been taught how to endure torture several years before, when he’d first joined the rebels. But they couldn’t train him for everything. How could they prepare him for the hot iron, or the screws, or the little boy they’d drowned before him because he’d refused to give in? How could anything encompass all that he’d endured these past however-many days in Phobos’s dungeons?
Kaleb tried not to weep as his mind replayed that little boy, beaten, starved, and then held into a barrel of water until he stopped moving. As Kaleb grasped at the here-and-now, shoved into a cell so small he couldn’t even sit up, the Guldon in charge of questioning him taunted him once more.
Too young for this. Too young to even know love . . .
His pain will end, if you give me anything about the rebel base . . .
Answer my questions and a mother gets her son back . . .
Kaleb squeezed his eyes shut, trying to force the images from his mind. He barely noticed the tears rolling off his face and onto the icy floor. When the young captain eventually pushed the boy’s screams out of his head, other horrors took its place. Over and over again, Kaleb relived what he’d endured. Over and over, the young man shoved each memory away. And over and over, another took its place. Finally, the strain became too much, and the darkness engulfed him, and pulled him into its sweet embrace.
All too soon the darkness shattered as ice-water was poured over him. Too stunned to do anything except gasp, the sixteen-year-old was hauled to his feet. Shuddering, he didn’t struggle as they dragged him to a different chamber and divested him of his clothes. When he saw the chains hanging from the ceiling, Kaleb fully woke up. By the time he was hanging by his aching hands, he was ready. Come what may, they wouldn’t get anything out of him. And they didn’t.
It could’ve been days, weeks even, or perhaps only a few minutes. He didn’t know. He couldn’t think. He couldn’t feel anything beyond the haze of pain that followed him from the waking world into sleep. Nothing except the determination that he would not, could not, tell them. He could barely remember why, but he wouldn’t do it. Never.
When his cell opened and he was dragged out once more, he didn’t react. Caring about what they did to him was too much. It could undo him. So he locked his emotions down when another bucket was brought forward. But he couldn’t stay silent when the water began to burn. They’d dumped salt water on him. His struggles were feeble, though, as they led him just down the hall to where a familiar person was waiting.
"Your form of execution has been decided," Vathek told him offhandedly.
Vathek may have been talking about what he ate for breakfast, with all the emphasis he was showing. But Kaleb knew better. He kept his eyes on the ground lest they reveal the hope that flaring inside of him. Vathek was one of the rebel spies in the palace right under Prince Phobos’s nose. The only one in a place of trust, he was the dungeon warden, answering only to the Marshall and Phobos himself. He was half Lurden—a big, blue, stupid race known for their brutality—and Guldon. While Vathek had the size and strength of a Lurden, and the brains and martial skills of a Guldon, he also had the gentleness of a Murmur, the beautiful flower spirits. Too many times, Vathek had witnessed firsthand their ruler’s cruelty. Too many innocents had suffered and died right under Phobos’s feet.
Kaleb had wondered if he’d get a visit from his blue friend. After all, the warden was known to personally oversee his prisoners’ supposed "destruction." But Vathek hadn’t come until now…Kaleb knew what that meant. It meant Vathek wouldn’t—couldn’t save him. The teenager remained defiant, showing none of the fear clawing up his insides.
"My Lord Marshall decided that something special would have to be done with you," Vathek was saying. "Something particular."
He paused for dramatic effect. The Guldons were all but drooling in anticipation.
"You are to be cast into an oubliette," Vathek went on. The words shattered Kaleb. "Alone and forgotten, you’ll starve to death in a hole, if the fall doesn’t kill you first."
Kaleb shoved his emotions deep inside of him. It didn’t matter. It couldn’t matter. Nothing mattered. The rebellion would continue without him, just as it had started without him. Phobos wouldn’t win. Vathek had done what he could. Perhaps, they’d be able to pull him out of this ugliette-thing. Maybe he’d die. But he wouldn’t give up hope.
It seemed like an eternity, and yet all too soon they were at the bottom level of the dungeons, down beneath the Meridian plains. There, in the floor, were several holes about four to six feet in diameter. They were pitch black, as if they absorbed the light instead of revealing what laid inside of them.
Vathek grabbed Kaleb by his coat and held him over the opening. Kaleb’s feet fought to grip the edge, but the stones were smooth with the damp.
"I’m sorry, Kaleb," Vathek’s eyes told him.
Then he let go, and Kaleb fell into his tomb.
Down into the darkness he fell, and then he slammed into earth. Kaleb laid there, his body screaming for air and for the pain to stop. He heard the guards laughing and cheering, and then the voices faded, and the light above blackened once more.
Kaleb was alone, and this time, he didn’t hold back the tears of hopelessness.