Well. It took me 8 months to finish the dystopianly dark I WAS HERE trilogy – do NOT judge, things got in the way, like they tend to do when you least expect them to. So here’s the third and final installment, after Bullet for Bullet and Blood for Blood. Enjoy, Friday flashers
Body for Body
Water dripped on metal, rusting the air. Before my eyes, steel twisted intricate patterns to form my cage. Four walls, a hole in the ground. The old warehouse housing men, killers and fathers, and me.
The night started with drunken victory chants from the Amazons on their way back from another attack. The rhythmic rhymes could be heard for miles, with the thick fog hanging low and the imminent splashes of rain overhead. They didn’t care – they’d won, always did.
“Soldier or breeder?” I asked no one in particular, scared of who they brought back. I wondered if it’d be a girl, rebelling against their ways like me, choosing this instead of killing or reproducing. “Soldier or breeder?” I asked again, wanting to know if I’d make a friend or foe.
The man in the next storage unit spat on the ground, mumbling, “Shouldn’t have kept you alive for nothing.” He’s right.
“Survivors, warriors, it’s the same to us,” said the woman in charge of everything. She spoke to a stranger, like she had to me on my first night with the Amazons. “Which path will you take, is what we need to know.”
I thought of Roman, Henryk, the other men – all this time I believed them rapists, but the girls I traveled with had planned their pregnancies from the beginning.
“Here’s our group of male breeders, but we always need more. More women to fight, more men to fuck.” Her voice rang high as she threw me a smile, knocking on my cage door for hello. It rattled, like my bones.
“No more war, no more blood. Enough,” I said.
“Body for body, each life they took we give back.” Automatic, the response she gave to every question about her method. “And we will win the war, with love and compassion, trust and freedom. We’ll change the world, you’ll see.”
The girl next to her had to decide between a crumbling building where the pregnant women waited to deliver in peace and the warehouse where soldiers in training guarded the prisoners they kept.
“I want to fight, I want to make them pay.” The girl chose her fate.
Nothing like mine, where they threw me in a cage, to control me, to make me change my mind, to make me come to them. Once again, they won.
I woke up from tension sifting the air out of the basement. The wave of it woke me up before dawn, when stars diluted the sky. Rushed voices, cracks of rocks under thick soles, then a light sparkled in the dark. The smell of burning leaves mixed with rusty metal.
“Let me out,” I begged. “Set me free,” I cried. I drank my tears, salt better than the sandpaper coating my mouth. “Don’t forget me.” But the Amazons already had, weeks ago, when I said ‘no.’
A ball of fire exploded at the back of the storage units and spread its wings with red and orange flames. Smoke thickened and scratched at my eyes, the welcoming draft bringing danger closer to me. Men screamed in pain as they cooked alive, rattling their cages as they tried to escape the inevitable fire.
I waited for the chaos to pass, crawled in a hole in the dirt. Warmth boiled my back, the walls of my cage fell and protected the little that was left of me. Then, nothing but silence.
My memories of tripping over fried bodies littering the floor were more vivid than anything else. Gunshots and smoke surrounded each step between the dilapidated buildings; screams and shouts of vengeance echoed on the walls around me. But I ran, away from them.
Through the rain, under the sun, splashing through the creek and dusting the road. A quiet place to end my days, to stop my heart from beating. Because to live meant to kill, to take life away; whether by gun or giving life. Not me, never. Like an animal, I’ll die alone.