Noche Oscura
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The dam was leaking. Inside his cell, the Inmate slumped alone against the brick-layered wall, listening to the rain and thinking of home.

The room had no windows; only the cage and a small partition where one could come and sit and talk with him. His wild beard and hateful eyes did little to entice his visitors, however, and they completed their stated goals as quickly as possible. Mostly, to attempt to torment him and wring information from his mind. His brain felt wet; a droopy, abused thing molded into various shapes and then left to dissolve in the water. He caught water droplets with his mouth; they never reached his tongue, of course.

He had tested the limits of the cell long ago. Many circles had been walked inside; he had banged his head against the wall enough to blow away the bits from his skull many times over. He had bit his tongue, which drew no blood, and healed itself on the hour. His attempts to build himself left his muscles feeling droopy and useless. He had held his breath for as long as he could, but air found its way into his lungs through some antique port they had drilled opened in his psyche. He did not feed; he did not drink. He did not perish.

Obskura, he decided, was perhaps the most anal organization in the history of America. He would die when, and as they decided. It was a time, he hoped, to come soon.

He had been in the cell for 435 days. The storm had been with him since the beginning, and it had not yet stopped.

He was left to determine the facts.

The place was not simply a construct of his mind; he knew that well. Before his incarceration, he had spent many months passing this place; it was physical and it rained often. But never had they faced such a monsoon, and he refused to believe they were still.

His beard had been with him since the start of it. He had no mirror, only his own fingers. What he could deduce was that it had grown a number of inches. His fingernails, too, had propagated themselves - long, filthy daggers - and his clothes had been worn down to a degree. Of course, he thought, they could simply be growing the facets externally, while extending his perception of time.

He counted thunderbolts. There were a fair few of them; crashes, each one almost indistinct from the other. But as his time grew, and he despaired further, and his old Commandant began to press him further for information - he began to lock down inside. And when there was nothing left to do, that was when he could hear - see - the patterns in this, tapestry of suffering they had strung together for his benefit. As time passed, he attempted to count the individual drops, soon proving it to be a fruitless effort.

The leak in the corner was a source of comfort. He believed that they intended it as a source of anger, and he did everything he could to keep up the charade - at first. Within six months he acquiesced to his evening activity of catching each one without letting it splash out of his mouth, before it promptly disappeared.

His end determination was that he was being held for perhaps a week. The single execution he'd witnessed, back in the old days, had taken a month from interrogation to the man's death by vivisection, an activity he'd used to rah-rah at in the square.

There were many things he used to rah-rah at. So much for it.

All he had left was the rain.

He tried not to think about the convoy. It came to him anyway; he couldn't sleep, but for some reason, they couldn't take away the dreams. Perhaps they choice not to. He used to cry out and scream and claw at his eyes as the nonsense overlaid with his conscious sight. He saw many things; the ride, from Montreal to New York, through the ice-swept roads of the Canadian border, the popping-sounds which changed his life, the wake-up call.

None of it mattered. He was alone. Water tapped in the corner.

He thought about dying. He knew it would come, eventually; he hadn't ever wanted it, and even for the first few months, he stuck out. But gradually - the laughter and joy he could see in his dreams, that which he'd sacrificed himself to protect, was no longer enough. He began to pray, and then curse, the only god he had ever known; finally, he was left where he had began: in solitude. Without a cause to live for. And at the last he only wanted to be relieved of the storm, and the popping-sounds, and the water which pounded at his skull.

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