Theo felt the same way she did? How was that so hard to believe? The normally cheerful boy showed no signs of having such a dark, shadowed past. What had happened to him? The girl wanted to know more than anything, but it would do nothing but harm if she asked. It was best to wait for him to tell her. The look on his face broke her heart. Seeing him in such a somber mood was almost like seeing a cake without frosting. It was so unusual, and it filled her with an unexplainable sadness. She wanted more than anything to make him smile, but was oblivious of how she could.
"You're right... We have each other now... I-I... I'm just not used to that. It's been a while since we first met, but I'm just so used to being alone by now, that I'm not used to having someone like this. Someone who cares... I just want you to know that... that..." Pain wracking through her body once more, she trailed off, a strangled grunt leaving her throat. Her thoughts had become completely scrambled, leaving her speechless. "I..." The last word was whispered almost inaudibly as her eyes began to slowly close. It felt as if all of her energy had been sucked out of her body all at once. Was it because of all the blood she had lost? Shoot... She probably should have done something about that sooner. Body suddenly going limp, she fell into a deep sleep, not to be woken any time soon.
"Hey! Shrimp! Wake up!"
Huh? What was that loud noise?
"Boss, are you sure we should have taken this one? She's the daintiest lookin' flower I've ever seen! She can't be any older than 10! Why couldn't we have caught us a bigger fish!?"
Dainty? Well, that was a bit rude. She was trying to sleep here, too! Couldn't they keep their voices down?!
Feeling a rough hand against her cheek, her eyes snapped open, revealing a dimly lit environment. W-Where was this place? She was just with Theo a second ago?! Where was he now?
Feeling fabric tied around her hands and in her mouth, her eyes only widened farther. What was going on here?! She tried to cry out, but the fabric between her lips kept her from making any noise.
"Oh look! You're finally awake! Welcome back to the world, sweetie!" The voice from before boomed again. Looking to her right, she spied a tall, beefy looking man. His hair was cut short, and his face gruff and mean. Where had she seen him before?
This wasn't real... It was a dream... It wasn't real... Was her life flashing before her eyes? Why did the memory come up at a time like this?
"So! We're goin' on a fun little field trip! Are you ready to see where we are? 'Cause we're excited to show ya!"
Another voice. Another man. He was much lankier, hair reaching down to his shoulders, and a scruffy looking beard upon his face. A bright flash of light flashed into her eyes, and the sound of a sliding door filled her ears. A van? Were they in a van this whole time? Grabbing Rin roughly by the arms, the men dragged her out of the car, dropping her not so lightly to the hard ground.
Looking up, she saw a normal looking place. Buildings scattered around the land, people walking, and even a pretty looking fountain that stood in the middle of it all. It seemed like a normal looking town. Except... Something was a bit off...
All of them were children. Well... Almost all of them. There seemed to be a couple adults sprinkled around the area, but most of the population seemed to be 12 and under. Struggling to stand to her feet, she noticed something that was even more odd.
Why was she so short?
Getting a better look at herself, she noticed that many things were off. Not only was she even shorter than she normally was, but her hair was brown. When had her hair ever been brown?
"Alright, runt! Let's get a move on! We got lots to show ya!" The lanky man hissed, shoving her forward impatiently. Obeying reluctantly, she walked forward, feeling hopeless in her current situation.
"Okay! So we're gonna give ya a little tour, okay? First of all, this is where you're gonna be livin' from now on! Pretty cozy, ain't it? Lots of kids your age to "play" with." He continued, chuckling at his own little inside joke. Getting a sharp elbow to the ribs from the larger man, he shut up, wheezing slightly. "Don't ruin the surprise for her, Lieutenant Sanders. It's more fun when they don't see any of it comin'!" The burly man grunted, shaking his head in disapproval. "I-I'm sorry, Boss! Won't happen again, I swear it!"
Rolling his eyes, the boss man continued forward, pointing to various buildings and explaining as they went. A sudden screaming caught her attention, though. It sounded like someone was in agony! Attempting to run to their rescue, the small girl took a few steps forward, but was quickly corralled again by the lieutenant. "No no no! Not so fast! Looks like this little one's interested in our little dungeon, boss. Should we give her a tour?" He snickered devilishly, looking for the boss's approval. "Hmmm... Maybe it would be a good idea to show her that, huh?" Grabbing her arms aggressively, the men dragged her towards the menacing structure.
"Please help me! Oh god! Please! Kill me!"
Screams. They came from every directions. Begging for death. Begging for rescue. Begging. All she heard was begging.
"Alright, little one! This is what we call our "pain tolerance" program! These little ones will be in here for a few more days, actually! Well... If they make it out alive. Our specialists are pretty good at keeping them awake and alive at all times, though. So not to worry!"
Why was he so calm about this? These poor children... They were being tortured... It was brutal. Cruel. Animalistic. Eyes wide in horror, all she could do was stare, legs shaking violently.
"Oh don't you worry! We won't put you in there. Not for a few more months, that is! I'd say that's enough looking for now, though. Say your goodbyes!" The skinny man said, a sick smirk across his bearded face. Turning around to leave, they began to drag her away once more.
"No! Don't leave us! Please! Come back! Noooo!"
There was nothing she could do... She was powerless... Weak. Useless. Tears forming in her brown eyes, she turned away, trying to drown out the cries. What was this place? Why was it so cruel? Why was she here.
"Now, I bet you're wondering about now why you're here. Well! That's a good thing to wonder about! How about we show ya, huh?"
No... She didn't want to see. No more... She couldn't take any more of this. The men couldn't hear her mental cries, though, and continued on their merry way, dragging her towards a large, circular shaped structure. Entering quietly, they took a seat on some nearby bleachers, forcing the young girl, of course, to sit beside them.
"This is my favorite part of the job! I'm glad that you get to watch it with us! This should be an exciting one for sure! These two are some of our best students!"
Students?! What did he mean by students!? These children were in no way here by their own accord.
"Bring them out, boys! Let's get this show started!"
Nodding and saluting to what she had assumed to be their superior, the men within the arena type space began to move forward, stepping towards what looked to be sliding doors. Raising the gates with a push of a button, the men ran in opposite directions, attempting to leave the space quickly. But why? What were they running from.
Sudden movement. Two children. They were incredibly fast, agile, and mean. There was no emotion on their faces, just a hunger. A hunger for blood. They lurched at each other, throwing fists, legs, whatever they could, at each other. "Yeah! That's right, Tango 458! Take him out! You can do it!" The lanky man cried out, rooting for one of the children below.
Why were they fighting? What were they gaining from this?
"You like it, little one? That's going to be you down there, soon! Well... If you can manage to get there. Only the elites get to fight in the arena! It's an honor!"
Elites? Elites of what? What was happening?
"You look confused! Oh, don't worry! I'll tell you everything." The boss man adjusted himself in his seat, facing towards the small Rin. "So. We call this place The Killer's Campground. The junior version anyways. Here, we're going to turn you into a pretty little weapon. When we're done with you, you won't feel anything anymore. No pain, no emotion, nothing. Your sole purpose is to be a weapon. Well. If you make it out of here alive, that is. Each class has 40 children within it. The only way to survive is to kill. To learn. To become vicious... When 40 turns to 20, you get to move on to the senior program. That's what those two down there are fighting for. Tango 458 and Delta 892 are number 20 and 21 in their class. All the rest have been killed. This is the deciding fight. They're fighting for their lives. That's what makes it so entertaining, huh?"
Kill... But... Why... Who was this man? Why were they doing this? Why did these innocent children have to die?
"I don't know why I chose you, sweetie. Everyone thinks I'm crazy, but I see a fire in those eyes. You're going to be our greatest student yet, aren't ya, Zulu 379?"
Zulu... That wasn't her name... Her name was Rin... Rin... RIN...
Hearing a sudden scream, her eyes moved frantically towards the arena. Blood... It was everywhere. The blood of an innocent child. "Well done, Delta 892! Wow! You're an animal! Look at the way that leg is twisted! It's brilliant!"
This was hell... She was sure of it... This was hell...
"C'mon, Zulu 379. Let's get out of here. Today marks the first day of your training."