Once again, he was being sent to do the task practically everyone avoided.
Not because it was dangerous.
Quite the opposite.
The task was entirely trivial, and so far unproductive.
A perfect match for his own performance score. He gave a loud, heavy sigh to the empty hallway, where nothing kept his company besides the cape fastened around his neck, flapping at his sides, and the quick, rhythmic pace of his footsteps.
He watched the numbered plaques along the wall, written in runes he’d known since he was a child, passing one by one. He stopped and turned on his heel, greeted with the appropriate plaque, labeled in basic Anglish as “4034, Cell”.
Two months of that number, and it was ingrained into his mind.
He took a deep breath, and pressed his hand against the wall.
The wall began to glow blue underneath his fingers, and flickered away to an open doorway, revealing a tiny room. The bright fluorescent lights burst on. The walls were painted a bland white. A small bed was pushed up against the far wall, the blankets still made and untouched. Beside it sat a small table, a few reading tablets stacked on top.
He stepped inside. The wall closed behind him. If he was lucky, he could say his lines twice as fast, and get out in approximately three minutes, and still call it an attempted briefing. A new personal record.
He turned his eyes to the corner, and as usual, the woman sat curled in a ball.
He sat down on the bed, and counted for thirty seconds for her to acknowledge him.
Her arms were firmly wrapped around her legs, her arms flexing a light muscled tone. Her hair was so light blonde, it appeared to be nearly white, and the ends were tinted grey. Her hair was also very long, hiding her face, scattered on the ground around her. Her entire face was hidden, only two peculiar pointed ears could be seen poking out from her locks.
Thirty seconds of nothing.
He silently groaned. Just like the last sixty times he’d been forced to do this.
Now it was his turn to speak.
He cleared his throat, and adjusted his cape, checking the watch bound to his wrist.
“Hello,” he said. She remained still. “Today would be a lovely day for you to say something. If you do, we can help you anyway in return.”
Less than formal, but he barely cared. It wasn’t like she even heard him anyway.
He began to count to thirty again for a response. “Fine,” he sighed. “How about I simplify the request? Perhaps a name?”
The woman’s head shot up.
He sprung back, hitting his head on the wall behind him. He lost count immediately, his heart ramming against his chest.
She stared straight at him, unblinking. Her eyes were startling. One a peculiar violet, and the other…a familiar grey.
He tried to speak, but he was suddenly out of breath. He straightened himself, swallowing hard. “A name?”
The woman’s eyes narrowed.
He cursed himself. What had he said wrong?
What is your name? A voice thundered in his mind.
He looked around the room, bewildered. Her lips hadn't moved. Was he going mad?
“I-I asked you that--”
What is your name, little one?
His face flamed. “Did you just call me little?” He got to his feet. “I’m the dominant one in this conversation.”
She continued to stare blankly at him. Tell me your name.
He started to open his mouth, but his mind willed the words back down his throat.
Tell me your name.
The order echoed in his skull. “S-Si…”
No! He was not a fool. What was he doing? He had to get out.
Tell me your name.
“Si-Si--” Hadn’t he gotten into enough messes? He tried to gasp for air, but it refused to come.
Tell me your name.
He couldn’t give in. He had to leave. Get out. Never come back.
Tell me your name, or I will make sure you never see her again.
He froze, his sweat going cold, his heart ceasing in his chest. The threat was shallow. He was the one in power.
But his mind fought against his reason. His vision spotted, voices echoed, tearing at his mind. His eyes burned, his ears rang. Images flashed before him, screaming tore through, tearing them to shreds.
“Silas!” he cried, falling to his knees. “My name. My name is Silas.”