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He looked at the man.
The man kept glaring at him.
His gaze dropped to the ground. He stared at the gray tile floor. He could feel the man still watching him intently. He looked up again and finally contented to meet the man’s unwavering eyes.
“No,” he said.
“You don’t have a choice,” the man responded evenly.
“You can’t force me to,” he said, a tinge of anger mixing with his voice.
“I beg to differ,” the man said calmly.
He looked at the ground again. He knew the man was right. He knew that he didn’t really have a choice, it had already been decided. It still didn’t make it any easier.
The room they were standing in was painted pale blue. There was a counter behind the man in front of him. Cabinets lined the wall above it. He knew what was in them, and the thought made him shudder.
He considered his options. He could run, but they would catch him. He could attack the man now, but that would only end badly. The man was at least two inches taller than him and he had a wide build. The man’s short blonde hair and brown eyes were the opposite of his own. He had shaggy dark hair and piercing blue eyes. He was also considerably thinner than the man. Fighting was not an option.
He was beginning to realize he might truly have to go through with it. The thought sent waves of panic sweeping to his brain. He crushed it down. I’ve done it before, I can do it again, he thought. Even if he desperately didn’t want to.
The man waited patiently. He knew from the man’s tensed shoulders that he wouldn’t wait for much longer though. He looked down at his arms. Several scars ran across his pale skin. When the man was through with him, he’d have another. Most of them were from knife fights he’d been in. One was from a wild dog that had bit him. He had grown up on the streets. He had never met his father and his mother died when he was ten.
That was five years ago. He looked around at his surroundings again and thought about how so much had happened since then. Usually the guardsmen who policed the towns of The Kingdom would leave them, the gangs and other orphaned children who lived in the alleys, alone. It had just been one fight. One stupid little fight.
He remembered it. The fight itself was a blur. It was the end that he remembered. He hadn’t been aiming at the guardsman. It was his own fault for stepping in the way of his knife. He hadn’t meant to kill him. Of course the other guardsmen didn’t see it like that.
The man in front of him coughed purposefully. He ignored him, still lost in the memory. They had dragged him to the prison, to wait for his execution. He remembered the confusing and conflicting emotions – fear, panic, hope. Then the fateful day came. He had walked to this room, this very room. They had strapped him down to the chair that was behind him now. Then they had strapped it onto his arm.
It was supposed to poison him, to kill him, quick and easy.
Instead it had sent him into a torrent of pain and hallucinations. There was only one reason it shouldn’t have killed him. He knew the reason. It scared him.
“Trevor,” the man said in a hard tone.
“No,” he repeated.
“I already told you, you don’t have a choice,” he said.
“And what if it doesn’t work again, you know what that means, what if I told him how you abused me and forced me to do it again? I could have you executed.”
The man just stared blankly at him.
He finally gave up and held out his arm. As the man began to strap the poison box onto his arm, he recalled the story. Everyone knew it. How the king had a beautiful wife who had a son. How the son had a rare blood disease. How his wife had run away with his son and hidden somewhere, never to be found again. He had people search for her. He forced thousands of woman to line the streets while he passed by, searching every face. He never found her or his son. He went on a rampage then, making ridiculous laws and policies. One of them was that in execution, guardsmen could only use a certain poison, because it was ineffective against his son. The son’s blood disease made him immune to the effects.
The man in front of him strapped it on tighter. He winced as the needle dug into his skin. Then the pain came, and with it, he knew, a kingdom.