distortion

Distortion (A Short)

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As I walked through the threshold, of my once childhood home, you could tell that it had been condemned.  It was left behind by the world to fester in its own putrid filth. Blood was still every where. Splattered among the living room walls like an art project. The foul smell of death still permeated throughout the house which caused bile to rise within my throat with every breathe I took. I could hear the rats scampering within the remnants of garbage that was spewed on the floors as I attempted to walk further in. Every little step made me want to turn and run. Every breathe made me want to die.        

When I agreed to revisit my past, I had no idea I’d be physically walking back into it. I guess after the sins committed within the walls of this home, no one would wish to live here again. Why bother removing the damage? They could have at least demolished the house to rid the world of such a disgraced scene. It would have kept me from walking through here now.

But no. Here it stood and here I walked. Reliving every vile memory each time I laid my eyes upon something of familiarity. That may have been the purpose for my visit but it didn’t mean I had to like it.

If my father wasn’t facing a fate worse than death, I would not be here now. He deserved every chance that could be provided to him to avoid his treatment. Especially since he didn’t deserve it. The justice system felt otherwise due to accumulated ‘evidence’ and therefore 15 years later, on April 26, 2042, Ronin Lescalete, was labeled a murderer. 

If they knew my father, even an ounce of him, they would have known he wasn’t capable of the kind of darkness it took to pull off such a feat. They were blind though. Blind with the fury of an unsolved case. My father disappeared that dreaded night, thought to have been disposed of. The more time that passed without finding a culprit or any evidence leading to anyone outside of the house, they began to believe the acts were committed by my father and he fled to avoid capture.

I told them otherwise. I was there. I saw everything. My father and I were cuffed together at the bottom of our stairwell, forced to watch as my sister hung from the ceiling upside down, screaming. Blood dripping off of her body with each tiny slice that monster created. Sprays of blood with each artery he slashed. My brother was next, put out of his misery with a swift jab to the carotid artery and then thrown to the side. Then my mother. Her head nearly taken off with a machete. A clean slice across her neck and then tossed like a rag-doll. My father and I were in shock and clinging onto one another for support. I was only 7 at the time, but I knew what was happening and I knew that I was next. I could tell by the look on my fathers face that he knew it too.

I watched that monster come towards us, preparing to grab his next victim. My dad whispered for me to be brave and held onto me tightly. The second the cuffs were off of me, my dad fought hard. He was still cuffed to the stairs but he did everything he could to give me the time to run. I remember hearing muffled sounds coming from my father as he was being brutally beaten. I tried to drown the world out and focus on the only task that mattered. Getting away.

I accomplished my task, but for what? To spend the rest of my days in fear? In sadness? I went for 15 years believing I was a sole survivor of a horrific event, only to find out that the man who gave his life for me, was still alive. Well, now I have purpose again.

My father emerged on the 15th anniversary of what was eventually dubbed as the “Red Wall Massacre”, bloody, bruised, and unconscious. That same day, another family had fallen victim to the same fates as mine. Obviously the law didn’t take into account coincidences. If they knew my father they would have known better. If they would have listened to me, this wouldn’t be happening. To them, I was a confused, scared, child and they couldn’t take my eyewitness account as creditable evidence.

So, Here I am, standing in the very spot that my sister lost all of her blood. Trying to remember every single little detail. Trying to trigger any little bit in my head that had once been blocked out of that monster. Anything that can help me find this bastard who took my family and my life. Anything to save my father, the man who saved me, from a fate worse than death. To remove the murderer label before time runs out. In previous days that would have gotten you a stint in the local penitentiary for a few years to life. Maybe even the death penalty. Now though, that title will procreate a different outcome. “Distortion”.The new treatment government officials hailed to be the newest miracle cure for the criminally insane. 

At first, the idea of ‘Distortion’ seemed like a breathe of fresh air. A simple injection to take away a persons dark intentions. An injection that would allow jails to be a safer place for rehabilitation instead of a place filled with chaos. It allowed people to be released on probation much quicker which led to less and less over-crowded jails.  When ‘Distortion’ became a natural implement of society, the government became greedy and lazy. Instead of just trying to protect the safety of the citizens from repeat offenders they started to use ‘Distortion’ in attempts to stop the crime before it happened. The idea was a noble one but very unstable. 

It started with lesser offenses and then progressed to simple traffic stops. If you did anything that broke the law in any way, you were subjected to some sort of dose of ‘Distortion’.It may not seem like a bad thing but the treatment did more than take away the bad intentions. It took away all intentions. Depending on the dosage, the outcome varied between feeling overly happy all of the time, to becoming a nullified zombie. It took away the crime but it also took away the purity of the human race. The true happiness, the anger, the fear, the sadness. It took away everything that made us who we were. 

The government has even been in talks about administering the treatment to family members of offenders as well. A new way of stopping the activity before it happens. Apparently criminal activity is now being linked to DNA and treated as a disease. In my opinion, the only true disease of this society is stupidity and power. 

Some how, with this asinine justice system, I needed to find the true murderer before my father fell victim to their new world advances; so that not only would he be safe from ‘Distortion’, but so would I. Maybe in proving their mislead actions of the treatments use, it would help provoke just enough steam for the right people to take action in a proper, long time coming, uprising. 

“Rosalyn!” My fathers lawyer, Cain, yelled my name to pull me away from my thoughts, it was always so easy to get lost there. 

I was surprised Cain was even here helping, but I think he just felt obligated, once being a friend of the family. It wasn’t very often nowadays that lawyers even existed. Since the treatment, the system was finding their way around trials and therefore no longer needed legal representation. With my fathers case being 15 years old, Cain made a scene declaring that since society was not as “advanced” then “Ronin Lescalete deserved the proper trial of his time but if found guilty would be administered the current punishments.” I still don’t know how Cain pulled that one off because in my opinion he was just spouting off nonsense. It’s not like “Distortion” wasn’t in the regiment 15 years ago and already phasing out the system. Some how, Cain must have had some sort of clout with the big guys in the government. I didn’t bother to ask questions.

I shook my head slightly and turned towards Cain, who was still standing at the front door. I doubt he wanted to risk getting anything on his fancy shoes. He was always one for fashion, even during the days when it was frowned upon. He practically lived in a 3 piece suit. I wasn’t one to complain though. He may have been twice my age but I couldn’t deny the appeal oozing off of him. “Yeah?”

“We really shouldn’t be here. Just look at this place. If I would have known, I wouldn’t have allowed this.”
I walked over towards Cain with ferocity gleaming in my eyes and crunching noises beneath my feet “You wouldn’t have allowed this? I hate to tell you this Cain but you have no control over me. I greatly appreciate your assistance with my father but unless you have any other better ideas, I suggest you just keep your mouth shut. I’m going to do anything I possibly can to help find this person. I really don’t care what you have to say about it or even what the government says about it. I am breaking no laws here so you all are free to go to hell.” I turned back around and started walking throughout the house. Scanning every possible inch that could possibly provoke a reaction to my thoughts.

I started to hear movement behind me and I could tell that Cain finally choked up the nerve to dirty his image a bit. “You’re right. Lets do this then.” He put his hand on the small of back and started to ease me forward slightly. He wanted to show me that I had him for support. I was just happy he didn’t keep arguing with me. “You know Ros, just because we are here, doesn’t mean something is going to happen. There is no guarantee that anything will trigger a lost memory. This could all be a waste of time”

I shivered slightly at being called “Ros” but I ignored it for it was not the time to complain of unwanted nicknames. I just looked up at Cain’s 6’1” body towering over my 5’4” and tried to find his dark blue eyes that I remembered he had. He was too focused on what was ahead of him, so I returned to the same. “Thank you Mr. Negativity. I appreciate your words of wisdom” I rolled my eyes and continued my study.

If I were to be completely honest with myself, I didn’t have a whole lot of faith in what I was trying to accomplish either. It was a long shot but it may have been my only shot.

Thirty minutes later and I had felt defeated. I was standing at the stairwell and just collapsed onto the bottom step. I didn’t even care about the filth I was putting myself in. Nothing happened and nothing was going to. It was useless. “You were right. We shouldn’t have came. This was just a waste of time.”

I looked up in the direction of where I had seen Cain standing, out of the corner of my eye, but he was gone.

I wasn’t unlocking memories but I was obviously going insane. Just a short time back in this house and I was already losing my mind. I guess it was inevitable really.

“Cain!” I tried to yell loud enough for him to hear me from any part of the house. When I received silence as my response, I figured he wasn’t actually in any part of the house. He must have gone outside. I didn’t blame him one bit.

I started to join him when I heard a creaking noise coming from up the stairs. I hadn’t thought once about going up there since my missing memories were all linked to this level of the house. Now, my curiosity was going to get the best of me and detour my thoughts into a direction that would snuff out any chance of remembering what I had lost.

I slowly crepe up the stairs and continued to listen for any other sounds. When I reached the top step I could hear something coming from my parents old bedroom. I made my way towards the room half expecting a giant rat to come running towards me. Instead of a rat, I found Cain walking out carrying a box.
“What are you doing up here?”

“Just looking around for some old memories of my own. I actually found an unopened package sitting on your fathers old desk. Here.” Cain handed me the box and I began to tear off the tape to see what was inside.

“Cufflinks. Huh. I wonder why he never opened them.” I flipped them around in my hand to view them better and then began to hand them over to Cain. “Here. You should take these. You were his friend and you also have more of a use for them then I would.” I dropped them in his hand and turned to walk back down the stairs.

“Ros, wait. Are you sure?”

There it was again. I cracked my neck and ignored it the best I could. “Yeah, of course Cain.”
I continued my trek back down the stairs, thinking it was time to head out. As I reached the bottom, I decided to wait for Cain to join me. As I waited, I glanced around my old home, one last time. I would never allow myself to walk back into these walls once I walked out of them, I knew that. I also knew that my chances of helping my father were now non existent. Another painful acknowledgment I had to continue to live with.

As Cain reached the bottom steps, I headed towards the exit with a huge sigh escaping my lips.

“Its alright Ros, at least you tried. That’s what counts.”

I stopped at the door and glanced back at his face. “Ya know, I never really liked that.”

“Liked what?”

“Ros. I don’t like being called that. Ever since…” But I couldn’t remember. There was a reason why I hated that, I knew it, but I couldn’t make it come forward. I cocked my head to the side while still looking at Cain, trying to rattle something lose. He started to narrow his eyes in my direction and then placed his hands in his pockets while tilting his head back to me. “Since, I don’t know.” I couldn’t fight the feeling that it was time to leave the house now. I turned quickly and started to take that last step away from my past.

Within seconds, instead of fresh air on my face, my back was to a wall and a knife was to my throat as he gripped me tightly so I couldn’t escape. I never saw it coming but maybe I should have. Ros, that was it. That was the trigger, and now, with his eyes staring into mine and the feel of cold steel on my throat, I saw it all.

“It was you.” I furrowed my brows and glared back into his deceiving eyes. Even with a knife to my throat and arms around my waist I still wouldn’t stop looking for answers.

“Why kill them?”

“I was bored?” He shrugged his shoulders and chuckled. “Why would I tell you anything? Why give you the satisfaction of knowing? No. I’d rather keep you wondering until the day you die.”

“In like a minute? That sounds like pure torture.”

“Such a smart mouth Rosalyn. Even at a time like this, your sarcasm seeps through. I actually have something far better than death for you my dear. Since I have lost access to my previous test subject, you will now be as so kind to take his place. With a murder under your belt, that will be easy to accomplish. All will be well once again within the Faction. Close your eyes dear it’ll be over soon.”

“You’re full of shit Cain. I’ve never killed anyone and I will not be reduced to becoming a test subject.”

“Whatever darling. You have and you will. You just don’t know it yet. I have many powers and persuasion is probably the best.”

I tried to turn my head to the side so I no longer had to look in his eyes. The second I moved though, I could feel the blade begin to slice upon my throat. I knew I had no way out. “Please just tell me what happened then.”

“So I’m supposed to give you my big confession now? Give you every ounce of ammunition that I have to be used against me? Why the hell not, right? You won’t be getting out of this anyway.” He gently cleared his throat and continued his egotistical ramblings. “Your father and I were close friends until Distortion came into the picture. When things started to really take off for it, they offered your father and I jobs in the research department for Distortion. They thought that lawyers who already had first hand experience with criminals would come in hand. We both accepted the jobs and within doing so, started the creation of the Faction. When we learned more about the advancements they had planned to make in the coming years, Ronin wanted to back out. Those a part of the Faction agreed that we obviously couldn’t have that. He knew too much of what was planned.”

“So your plan was to kill us all? The Faction? The ones who we have been told are supposed to be so against any and all crime?”
“Well no, the plan was to threaten the deaths of your family to get your father to comply. I thought he would listen to me. His long time friend, but no. So the torture began. I had intended to make it stop but it seemed like something inside of me awoke and not only couldn’t I stop it, I didn’t want to. I enjoyed every bit of it. The slicing, the screaming, and most of all, the blood dripping.

I cringed and felt my stomach gurgle. I wanted to vomit but I also wanted to keep him talking. If this was the end of the line, it would be nice to at least have some closure.

“And my father? Why not kill him like the rest?”

“That’s the fun part. I made an executive decision to keep him alive to run diagnostics on. It was brilliant really. I mean how else were we going to make advancements without test subjects? Over the past 15 years I have accomplished a lot. I have turned the Faction into a completely separate unit of the government. It has turned into something no one ever expected but everything the world needs. A new face for the world and I am in control of that. Your father almost ruined it all for me.”

“Why’d you let him go then?”

“Ronin? I didn’t. He escaped. You would have thought after so many years he would have given up on that. He was always strong willed though. I should have known really. However, the Distortion was too strong in his system to make it very far. It was the Factions responsibility to get to him first since we let him escape but for some reason, that didn’t happen.”

“The other murders then?”

“That was me. I had taken a small dose of Distortion after I killed your family so I could rid myself of those nasty little thoughts. I mean, I couldn’t very well build greatness if I was constantly thinking about taking peoples lives, now could I? Things were obviously going great but the thoughts and feelings, well, they started to return. I decided to make use of a bad situation. I figured if we were going to lose our test subject then we’d better make sure there was no doubt in anyone’s mind. He had to be put away and kept on Distortion.”

“If you knew that he was going to be locked up indefinitely then why did you even interfere with his case? Why stand up in defense of his name?”

“You started snooping. I Couldn’t take any chances. It was bad enough we had to worry about Ronin spouting off nonsense. I mean, no one would believe him but why risk everything we had been working towards? It seemed like you weren’t going to accomplish much but you surprised me. Its my fault really. How stupid of me to continually use a name I once called you whilst destroying your family. I was worried that you being here alone would have sealed my fate, but in the end, I sealed my own. Its okay. I really do need a new test subject anyway.”

He let go of my waist and in a matter of seconds I felt a pinch in my neck and then all there was, was darkness.
…..

I slowly opened up my eyes feeling as if I had been sleeping for days. I couldn’t even move because my body was strapped down to a bed. I tried to lift my head up slightly to get a glimpse of my surroundings but I was quickly pulled back down by a nest of wires connected to my head and body.

“Oh good. You are finally awake. Guards, its time to arrest her now and get her prepared for her treatment.”

“What!” I frantically tried to get up again but i was restrained by two men wearing all black uniforms.

“Please calm down Ms., you are just making this harder on yourself.” The woman was speaking from somewhere within the room but I couldn’t tell from where.

I didn’t understand what was going on. Why were these guys being told to arrest me. What had Cain done?

The men started tearing off the wires and lifting me off of the bed and carrying me across the room. I started kicking and screaming with ferocity. There was no way I was just going to give up now. “Someone tell me what the hell is going on! Why are you doing this?”

“Because of the induced simulation. We implanted memories in your head to produce possible reactions. Don’t you remember Ms. Lescalete? You did sign the papers after all. You knew this as a possible outcome.”

There was a brunette woman standing up from the desk across the room. She just stood there, staring at me. I was so confused and an explanation of an induced simulation just made everything even worse. The last thing I remembered was Cain holding me. How did that, become this. “What are you telling me?”

In that second, in walks Cain. Still in his three piece suit. “Ms. Lescalete, its so wonderful for you to have finally woken up. We thought maybe we lost you to your other reality.”

“Cain, you bastard. Get me out of here!.” I started screaming violently and glanced towards the brunette “He killed my family! Please.”

Everyone just started laughing at me. They either didn’t believe me or they were all under Cain’s thumb. I would have moved more towards the latter.

“Rosalyn dear, my name is not Cain.” I stared at him blankly not sure what he was trying to pull. “My name is Adam.”

“No.” I shook my head vigorously “You’re lying. All of this is a lie! There was no simulation. Everything that I know in my head, is real! Where is my father?”

Cain shook his head as if he were feeling sad for me “You really remember nothing, do you? Rosalyn, you don’t have a family my dear. They died during a house fire when you were a child. You were at school when it had happened. When you lost your family you were taken in by the Evangeline Church where the sisters took care of you and raised you. It saddens me to see this now. After being raised the way you were and still simulating crime. Oh Rosalyn.”

Cain looked toward the men still holding my arms. “Go ahead and take her away.”

“Wait, no, please. What is going on?” I was pleading at this point. Had I really lost my mind? Is this the truth?

Cain held his hand up for them to hold off and then walked over to the desk to pull out a piece of paper. “This is the signed form you’ve given to allow us to perform said simulation on you. The simulation was to tell rather or not you would be capable to commit a crime in the future.”

“What?”

“Its something we are beginning to implement into the society as a new standardized test. You volunteered to help test the injection based simulation.”

“I would have never of done that!”

Cain then shoved the paper he pulled from the desk, into my face. “This signature says otherwise.”

“No! There is no way.”

Cain walked away again to sit the paper back down. “You really are too far gone for explanations. The bottom line here is, because you agreed to these terms, you will now be put on our highest dose of Distortion and put in a facility.” He walked towards me once again. “You committed murder during your simulation. It shows that you are capable of such and now we are obliged to put a stop to that. Don’t you want to put a stop to that? To protect other people from yourself? I mean, isn’t that why you signed the paper in the first place?”

“No. This isn’t happening. There is no way I would have agreed to something like that.”

“Adam, what would you like us to do?” One of the guards asked while tightening his grip on my arm.

Cain,(or perhaps, really Adam) waived his hand in the air. “Take her away for good this time gentlemen”

I couldn’t help but wonder just how I was able to forget all of this. There was my signature though, right on that paper. I signed it. This is all really happening. Who was I?

As they dragged me past Adam, he smirked towards me and then tilted his head down to my ear.

“Cain really is a better fitting name though, isn’t it my dear? By the way, these Cufflinks go perfect with this suit.” He flashed his wrist in my line of sight so I could see them before he started laughing and walking away.

I was speechless. I couldn’t even scream as they continued to drag me right out of the room.

It was over. I failed. I knew Cain had pull with the government and practically built the Faction but I never expected something like this. A scheme so advanced that he nearly fooled me too. He really was a monster. He took my family. Now he has taken me. Soon with the new advances of Distortion, he will find a way to take over all of the people of the new world. Distortion was a beginning to an end.