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No. 2282
Seriously, fuck titles.

Okay. This came into my head about two nights ago and wouldn't leave me the hell alone until I got it down. For an impromptu gift from the plot bunny and his missus, it's ended up taking more time then I would've liked and I've ended up putting some real effort into it as well.

Take it and make rabbit stew if you want. I'm gonna get back to beta'ing stuff and writing that stuff that needs to be done. Yeah.

----------------------------------

It’s been a long time since I’ve been outside. I wonder what season it is. But it probably doesn’t matter. In the desert no flowers bloom in spring, no rain falls in autumn.

The last time I was outside, I didn’t wear the collar. Thick and heavy around my neck. There’s a tag but I can’t read it. I can’t twist my head right, or roll my eyes low enough to read it.

Maybe it has my name on it. I’ve forgotten my name. Nobody’s used it in a long time. The last time was probably when I was on the battlefield. That was a long time ago.

I can hear heavy footfalls from outside the door. The doctor is here.

**

It’s always cold here. My clothes are ripped and filthy with crusted blood. Once upon a time that would’ve bothered me.

The only light comes from the fluorescent bulbs in the hallway. It’s so harsh – it highlights every yellowing bruise, every vivid scar.

I curl up the corner, away from the light. It’s a good thing there are no mirrors or I’d have to see those ugly marks all the time.

But on the other hand, I could read my tag if I had a mirror.

**

The tests are nearly over. The doctor is putting the tubes with my various samples into his box and tucking away his notes as I gather my clothes to redress.

I used to wonder why he brought me here. I asked before but he made it clear that I had no place to question him. I don’t ask anymore. There’s nothing to ask.

He snaps his fingers. I snap my head at the noise, freezing. He points at the fabric I was about to put on.
“Off.”

He turns back to his equipment. I do as I am told.

“Do not move.”

He leaves.

**

There are no windows here. No sun, no shadows, no clocks, no method of temporal measurement. Time has no relevance.

So why does it keep coming to mind?

Probably because there is nothing else to think about.

I cannot remember before I was brought here. I know there was a battlefield, gunfire all around and a rush of adrenaline fuelling my body.

But the details escape me.

**

He’s back.

He slips a leash onto my collar. It’s a formality now. I don’t struggle like I used to. He leads me out of the room into the bright light.

Everything is so clean. Nothing should be this clean.

He opens another door and leads me inside. I curl my toes. The floor is so soft. The room is so soft. Everything is padded. I’ve never known such softness.

The doctor is tying my leash to a soft pole near the ceiling. That is another formality. He usually ties my leash to something secure.

I’ve never seen his face change its stoic expression - until today. His lips curve at the edges, revealing teeth. I think I preferred the uncaring look.

He draws out a syringe. It’s full with liquid. He takes my arm and slides the needle down a vein.

He’s delicate. The needle is thin and fragile. It requires a delicate touch.

Finally it sinks beneath my skin. I don’t flinch or look away. I’m used to this. He forces the fluid into my awaiting body.

He leaves quickly, locking the door and watching me.

**

It starts slowly at first.

My breathing is quickening. I feel my heart thump harder, faster.

The room is twitching. Or is it my eyes? Are my hands twitching too?

Something’s wrong with me.

Under the alienation I feel something familiar.

Adrenaline.

Through the blur of the room I see a face. It’s watching me.

My shoulder hunch and I snarl. I lunge at the impassive face. I want to tear it off.

I choke. Something’s holding me back - the leash. I thrash violently.

**

I’ve calmed down now, back in my cold, quiet room. My hands aren’t shaking anymore. Although my neck still hurts.

Strange, isn’t it? That I would momentarily think of my last adrenaline rush before being injected with an artificial rush.

Even breaths. Steady heartbeat.

I miss that rush. I miss feeling something besides apathy.

**

I don’t often dream. Dreams belong to the dreamers, not the lifeless.

But sometimes I do dream. I dream of being outside, surrounded by sand and rock, wind and heat. I dream of running, arms spread wide like nets to capture it all on my skin. I dream of gunfire booming out, breaking the empty silence like fireworks against the night sky.

It’s all so vivid, I feel disappointed when I wake up. But on reflection, a dream is something to be valued.

**

The doctor is here again. He opens the door and puts on my leash. I follow obediently.

My sole purpose is to obey him. He doesn’t have to give orders anymore. I know what he wants by his gestures, his posture, his stride.

I’m lead into the room with the drain. There’s a man there wearing a mask. He doesn’t look good. His hands are tied above his head and both his legs look broken.

He looks broken.

The masked man stares at me. He looks like he wants to ask questions. Or beg.

There it is. The pinch at the base of my neck, the scratch as the needle slips under my flesh.

Last time there had been a long delay, as it built up within my system. Now there is barely a pause.

The blade is pressed into my hand as my blood roars. The doctor vanishes, slamming the door shut. Now the man begs.

Then screams.

**

I wish I could remember more and less. More of the battlefield, more of whatever came before that. Less of what happened after, less of what I’ve done. The screams follow me into the stillness, always ringing in my ears.

I don’t remember much. But I swear I wasn’t like this. Adrenaline didn’t make me do things like this. It was just a hormone; it just prepared my system for the fight or flight response. It didn’t gear me to do...what I’ve done.

I shudder and clasp my hands over my face, my eyes and ears. I know it’s futile. How can I block out what’s in my mind?

**

There’s a lot of noise outside. Usually it’s silent, save for the doctor when he walks by.

It sounds like a warzone. Shooting, men shouting, the thud of bodies. I’ve crept to the door and peeped out the window but I can’t see anything. I wonder if I’m going mad. At least it’s a change from screaming. This sort of madness is manageable.

A particularly loud bang caught my attention, to the right. The doctor.

He’s on the floor, trying to scramble to his feet. His hands are raised, palms open and fingers spread. Blood is all over his white coat, a trickle running down his cheek. His eyes are wide and he’s pleading on his knees to someone just out of sight.

He looks so...weak.

A gunshot. The body crumbles, as the buckshot drives all life out of the corpse.

A man steps into my line of vision. He’s wearing a yellow hardhat and black goggles and carrying a shotgun. He has a rough look to him but he doesn’t look cruel. The opposite to the neat, cold doctor.

I step back and hear him pump the firearm. His footsteps are very different too. Careful, firm and wary.

He kicks down the door, holding the gun up to shoot. I jump at the sudden action. He stares at me then lowers the weapon.

“Well I’ll be...”

**

It’s been a long time since I was locked up. It’s spring, so I sit outside with the breeze brushing past my face. Everything out here is so bright and dusty under the desert sun.

Engineer is sitting nearby. I stay by him a lot. After having so little freedom, being taught to not think, it was disturbing to be granted autonomy. Engie doesn’t mind. He checks that I’m alright and doesn’t mind my constant presence.

The other members of the team on the base are, for the most part, good men too. It was mostly my own fault when I couldn’t talk to them initially. The Spy brought back memories of the masked man. The Medic made me nervous. I would literally revert to my old mindset before the doctor, something which alarmed the team.

Not anymore though. The Spy is a rogue in every sense of the word, which makes for light-hearted company. Medic is a patient man and respectfully let me be until I was ready to face him. There are some men I simply don’t get along with. That’s fine. No-one is going to get along with everyone.

Engie taps my shoulder.
“Hey Slim.” He’s holding an opened beer, tilted towards me. I accept it with thanks.

Slim. I quite like it. It’s obviously not the name I had before. But it’s better than the number punched into the infernal tag I wore. I sip my beer, head held high. It seemed so natural now to look up and into people’s eyes, without the heavy collar on my neck. I hear Engie chuckle and turn, giving him a look.
“What’s so funny?” He grins at me warmly.
“Just how much you’ve changed.”

I smile tentatively. I have changed.

But I have good days and bad days. I still suffer from acute flashbacks and being alone in absolute silence makes me incredibly edgy. In the silence the screams start echoing in my head again.

Engie can tell what I’m thinking. He puts a hand on my shoulder.
“Hey. You’re doing fine. The doc reckons your head will be fixed up pretty soon, given how fast you’ve recovered so far. Afterall, you used to get those episodes every day of the week and nowadays they’re pretty rare.”

I nod slowly. He’s right of course. With the team here, I’ve been able to slowly let it go. They keep me busy; there are chores to do, meals to cook, perimeters to patrol and a war to win. I turn and give him a real smile.
“Yeah, you’re right.” He smiles lopsidedly back. A true Texan smile.
“Take it slow buddy. Nothing comes out of rushing.”

Engie leans back, patting my shoulder before standing to his feet. I follow. No sense in staying if I’m going to be alone. Together we head back into the base, just in time to hear the siren blear.

I can’t change the past. And I’ll probably never remember who I was or what I did before I was captured. But it’s alright, I reason, rushing into the supply room. I know who I am now and what I want to do.
Marked for deletion (old)
>> No. 2284
This is a not bad story. I mean, I'm a sucker for this whole style of story (character X's past is total shit, cue it getting better) so I am completely biased.

The flow of it is a little poor in the beginning; idk it feels rough in a way that doesn't feel right. Something about the phrasing or something. It's an inexact science of things. But the /comfort part of this mylifeisshit/comfort is nice. It feels like the prequel or the first part of something longer.

(also flowers are all over the goddamn place in deserts in spring but that's nitpicky)
>> No. 2285
I was also bothered by the lack of flowers in the desert thing. But otherwise this was enjoyable, if not... confusing. It seems like you were going for vague and disturbing, though, so I guess you succeeded. Good job.
>> No. 2287
Ah, when I wrote the part about flowers in the desert I was assuming that there was no visible foliage where-ever the character was originally based. Should've made that clearer or looked it up.

>>2
I think I understand what you mean by the way the first part is written. Well, no problem. This was a new sort of style for me so if it hasn't worked out great, then it hasn't worked out great and I know better for the future =)

Thanks for the feedback guys!
>> No. 2288
Certainly an interesting experiment. I enjoyed reading it.

Whose POV is this from, by the way? Sniper's, I'm guessing? That is, if Rebb's pet Sniper skin is any indication...
>> No. 2290
That was spooky. And I've been told that I, personally am spooky. So if I find something unnerving, it's probably damned spooky.
>> No. 2292
>>5
dawg i am p sure that's a Scout.
>> No. 2293
It's kind of confusing yet it made sense. Like a dream. I dig it.
>> No. 2304
>>5
>>7
Ah, I never did specify did I? I tried to write it so it could be nearly any class, although certain classes did come to mind while I was typing. The name 'Slim' ends up limiting who it could be - I was originally going to include a part about his diet which would explain this beyond being naturally lean, but ended up cutting it out. If I ever end up returning to this character, I'll probably end up identifying him then.

And admittedly, the pet Sniper skins did inspire me with this. Although those Snipers quite like their collars and Slim clearly does not =P

Thanks for all the comments. Looks like it had the desired effect if some of you are a bit creeped out by it!
>> No. 2315
>>9
he could be an unconventional pet Sniper. :T i honestly have trouble imagining any other character playing this role now that i've seen so much of pet Snipers in general. but yeah :D Slim the rebellious ex-pet Sniper.
>> No. 2425
This kind of struck me as a Pyro story. I can just see him as the character = ) This is a pretty good story, I like the concept.
>> No. 2426
i like that a lot. it's a rather endearing thought that although snipers are alone a lot, this one won't be.


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