Friday, February 11, 2011

Chapter 55 - SOLITARY CONFINEMENT

An unknown number of stun shots later, I found myself puking in a toilet in the corner of a tiny six by six cell with no window and only a small viewing grate in the door to see out of. Course, it was used by the guards to see in far more than I bothered to use it to see out of. There was also a little shelved slot for my tray of food when it came.

My magic kept me functional, but the effects of the stun shots were brutal. I had the dry heaves and the cold sweats for at least an hour after they locked the door. Should I teach them what doors were made out of? No, I had hurt someone; I would take my punishment.

The stun shots had caused me to use my magic. It was a relief, so when my lunch came I ate it gratefully. I had scarcely eaten all week. Then I slept the rest of the day. Briefly, I wondered if my lessons would continue while I was here.

I needn’t have worried. My books and assignments came and went without the teachers. Art and P.E. were temporarily canceled though I did my P.E. myself with my own twist. I did my full range of exercises and then I did my sword dance; and here’s the twist. Since they would never consider allowing me my sword, I made an insubstantial one out of water and allowed it to splash against the walls since the room was too small for anything that might resemble a full swing. Even though the water sword splashed apart when it hit something, I made the water reassemble wherever there was enough room for it.

Shortly before I was ready to finish, I noticed a face framed in the viewing grate. I made the water go away and stood back from the door. “All right, all right, I’ll stop, but I can’t just turn it off.”

The face moved away from the grate and the door opened. “Liam McTavish,” said the guard who stepped into the room. “My name is Captain Patrick Haines. I’m captain of the emperor’s personal guard. From now on any communication between you and the emperor will be done through me.”

Well, that wouldn’t be a very hard job. There hadn’t been very much communication between the emperor and me, but I didn’t say anything. I nodded and waited to hear what else he had to say.

“I’d like an explanation for what happened.”

“I’ve been thinking about it some. I guess you could say that my using magic is like my needing to breathe; there’s only so long I can hold my breath. Mr. Oliver pissed me off and I lashed out. Is he all right?”

“Yes, he is, but he claims you did some pretty unusual things to him, yet there’s no evidence of anything. What did you do?”

I backed up into a corner and sat down on the floor. “I welded his teeth together to shut him up and then I set his feet on fire. I tried to make it all right before they took him out of the room, but I was kind of groggy.”

“So, he was telling the truth. I’ve seen the videos and I watched you here. You told the emperor that you control matter. I’m curious why the stuns didn’t seem to work.”

“Drugs don’t work either. My magic sees to it. It’s an instinct thing; I can’t do anything about it. As far as drugs go, I found out that the more a drug is used on me the less effect it has; it’s like my magic learns. When the baron had me kidnapped, I was supposed to be drugged senseless for the whole trip. I know this because they kept shooting me up.”

“How is it your captors never found out?”

“I was trying to find my parents. The only thing I could find out about them was that they had boarded that flight; they were listed on the passenger list when they boarded but they were not on the list when they left the ship; the crew never missed them. My thought was that if these were the same people who took my parents, I should end up in the same place. I had to play along. If I didn’t, who knows what they might have done and I would be no wiser about my parents.”

“You didn’t use your magic for weeks then. Why can’t you do the same now?”

The two weeks in that box, though I was bored out of my skull, were easy as far as my magic was concerned. It constantly had to fight off the drugs they pumped into me and it helped me breathe some. It was the other four weeks that were hard, though I managed to find little ways to work off the tension. I spent a lot of time in the weight room.”

“How did that help? It didn’t seem to help much here.”

“I used my magic to help me lift the weights. I didn’t think of doing that here. Then I found out that the emperor didn’t want me to use any magic, so I tried. I can’t do it. Like I said before; it’s like breathing, there’s only so long I can hold my breath.”

Our conversation was interrupted by a rattling at the door. The little trap door opened and my tray slid into view. The captain rose to retrieve the tray.

“No. Please, allow me. Would you like to join me?” I asked. Without moving from my corner, I remade the tray and its contents in my lap, though I changed the contents to something I liked better.

Though amazed, he looked back at the shelf. “What’s this?” He traced his finger through a fine white powder sprinkled on the shelf like a little too much dust or perhaps flour.

I set my tray down on the bed and got up to see. I had remade my meal in order to move it and this was left behind. I touched his hand and looked at his finger closer, and then I knew. “Poison.”

He started to pull his hand away. I suppose he was going to wipe his finger off, but I held it. “Hold still. It has already begun some of its work on you.” I went into his blood and cleansed the poison from it. It took only a couple moments and then I released his hand.

I doubt he felt anything other than my grip, but he could see the white powder vanish from the end of his finger. “How did you do that?” he asked me as he examined his finger closer after I released his hand.

“Even poison is made of matter. I took the matter that was my food and its tray and remade it over there where I was sitting; the poison got left behind.” I looked at the dusted shelf. “It looks like it was in almost everything.”

He looked again at the powder on the shelf and over at my tray. You could almost see the outline of my plate, my dessert dish and my fruit cup. “If drugs don’t work on you; will poison kill you?”

“I don’t know. I suppose if it worked fast enough it might.”

Captain Haines looked back at the powder and then looked up at a corner in the ceiling. “Inform the emperor immediately and then send a specialist down here to take samples. I want to know what kind of poison this is and where it came from.” Then he turned to me. “Eat your supper and I want you to . . . remake everything you eat or drink. You are not going to die on my watch.”

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