CHAPTER 3 – THE PURGE
“How long has it been?”
“Three weeks, Mr. King.”
“Impossible. You are a liar.”
It was the Light Therapy—meant to weaken an individual enough to begin the medicated brainwashing method used by the Kingdom of Salaras and their king’s manipulative society. It’s sensory torture, they break you to your template so they can re-create you in their vision.
They sit you in a pitch-black room and flash a light at you in very unsynchronized patterns. And they do it in a way that is purposely annoying. After only one hour it had me screaming at the top of my lungs. They restrained me when I tried to tear my eyeballs out, and instead they pried my eyelids open for the remainder of my sentence.
They gave me just enough food to keep me alive. It was so disorienting, it felt like months, so when he told me it was only weeks I felt another layer of hope peel away from myself.
But that was his goal in the beginning, to destroy my hope.
“I see you’ve finally arrived.”
I again remained silent. I was more concerned about what was behind him. He had brought me before my childhood home, and he had set it on fire. I watched as the building that housed me for my whole life fell apart. I watched as it was swept away into the wind of a now barren wasteland.
I watched the only thing left that mattered to me burn to rubble, and there was nothing I could do but remain silent. It is a truly profound feeling to be speechless, and it broke something inside of me.
“Collin, my boy, you are almost free of your past.”
My lip quivered as I tried to hold back the anger I had felt. Then tears began to stream down my face as I picked up a charred teddy bear under the fields of ash.
I have never, ever, wanted to kill somebody until I met Arcoh the Eminent. My hate for him consumed me as we sat in that field. His eyes glimmered as he watched it with me. He loved the sight of it. Fire is passion, fire is desire, fire is will, and fire is hatred. To him it was all beautiful.
“Why? Why have you done this to me? To us?”
“I’ve already told you. The only reason I let you live is because of what you are.”
“And just what the hell am I, asshole?”
“You are the next step in human evolution brought on by a collision with biotechnology. I just want you to know that everything I do to you, will only be to make you understand.”
“What more could you do? You have DESTROYED EVERYTHING!”
“No, you see—like you—I am also the last king in my bloodline and when I die, my nation will die with me.”
“I will never help you.”
“But what choice will you have when I destroy all that you know? You will know nothing but me.”
I continued to stare at the ground, refusing to look into his eyes. He laughed and tried to look at my face, but I avoided him at every opportunity. I could not let him see my vulnerability; it meant my survival. “You still think there is hope for your old life?”
“There is always hope, Arcoh. You will not beat me. I will not lose to you.”
“You don’t get it, boy. I have slept for over one thousand years, and traversed an ocean of stars, to give the people of Eden what they deserve!”
“What could you ever bring to humanity other than agony and death?”
“Lives free from the burden of choice, and a king that will choose for them. People who believe in the lies of freedom are the most ungrateful of all.” Then, I laughed. I needed to do something to snap back at him. I wanted him to understand that it would take much more to break me.
“You can’t take free will away from humanity, you stupid asshole! People believe in freedom! We will ALWAYS fight for what we believe in!”
Arcoh chuckled and smacked me with the back of his hand, nearly breaking my jaw. “You’re right, they will believe in me, I will make them understand. And all you can do is watch.”
“What are you talking about?”
“The Great Crusade—that begins the extermination of the rejects.”
I realized at this point that there was no reasoning with him. He was far too stubborn, possessed by an idea that died with our first motherworld long ago. So I cried as I started to think of all of the events that would follow after he slaughtered my people. I cried because my hope was dim and all I could do was pray for something to happen.
“What will it take for you to spare the people on Rayden?” I asked shattered and completely broken of hope. And when I did, he again began massaging his ring finger as he bent down and gazed into my eyes for the first time in three weeks.
“I want you to look up, beyond the smoke.”
Above us was a glorious sight: our motherworld, Rayden. It hung high, taking up nearly half the sky, and underneath the great planet, the light of the suns was sneaking through. Their light bathed my façade. I had finally understood why he brought me here.
“Please, Arcoh! I will do anything you ask!”
“Damn right you will.”
I then punched the ground and pulled my knee into my chest, attempting to stand.
“Don’t fret, my boy, they would have cast you out. They will not understand you.”
“What the fuck are you talking about?”
“Look for yourself.”
Arcoh took his sword and slit open one of the sleeves of my jumpsuit. The fabric tore away, and it revealed something that only brought me terror at first sight, and great concern.