Status: Completed on October 4th, 2013

Breaking Their Hold

Chapter Nine: Atrophine

“Now. You will tell us where she is, and you will not be injured any further. Continue to keep your silence, and I guarantee this is just the beginning of the pain you’re going to feel.” Erich Schlagger said to Zacky as he lay at the President’s feet, unable to bring himself to move.

He had been in this small room for just a little over an hour, but it felt much longer to Zack. He had been dragged out of his cell by a pair of Security men that he didn’t think worked for Haverly, and taken directly to the basement of the main building. Upon reaching the basement, he’d been thrown into the room all the inmates called “Torture Cell.” They had very good reason to call it the name that they did; everything about the room promised bodily pain and mental anguish. The walls were stark white, as was the floor. The entire ceiling was one large fluorescent light, blindingly white; the floor was cold cement painted white. There were no windows in the room; the door concealed well. Hanging on the furthest wall from the door were an assortment of torture devices; Zacky recognized none of them, but knew all of them would be painful.

“I’m not saying a word.” He spat at Schlagger’s feet, wincing when the fifty-year-old man’s boot landed deftly in his face, leaving yet another bruise upon his once-pale skin.

“I’ll break you one way or another, Mr. Baker.” Schlagger told him. “I’d prefer not to be cruel, but it is well within my rights as President of this great—“

“Great country? You’ve turned the United States into a modern Holocaust!” Zacky retorted. “You’re nothing but a sick, demented—“

“That’s quite enough, Mr. Baker.” Schlagger said coolly. “I did not come here from the Capitol to be badmouthed by some little criminal like yourself. I came to collect the vermin on my list so they may properly be executed, and you have foiled that plan.”

“Melissa isn’t fucking vermin!” Zack yelled at Schlagger, unable to contain his anger any longer. He knew he was going to die; he knew that Schlagger would kill him regardless of whatever information was given to him. He wasn’t going to bow down to the man; no, Zacky wasn’t that type of person.

He was willing to die to protect his sister, Matt, and Jimmy. As long as they were okay, his life was insignificant. He could handle whatever punishment Schlagger and his cronies had in store for him.

Schlagger laughed, and then nodded to one of the Security, who was within the room. The man pulled Zack to his feet and dragged him over to the other side of the room, strapping him into a chair that was reminiscent of the electrical chairs that his parents had told him had been a customary form of capital punishment when they’d been teenagers. Zack watched as they strapped him as tightly as the straps would go, causing circulation to nearly leave his hands and feet. He saw the Security man now preparing a needle full of a clear, green-tinted liquid.

“Do you know what the drug in the needle is, Mr. Baker?” Schlagger asked him. Zacky glared at him.

“It doesn’t matter,” He said cockily. “You can do whatever you want to me. You could rip me apart limb by limb; have gnats eat me alive. I’m not telling you what you want to hear.”

Schlagger smiled, and took the needle from the man, holding it up to the light, and then holding it in front of Zacky.

“It’s called Atrophine.” He told Zacky, studying it under his gaze. “Curious little drug, this. It’s very calming, for the first ten minutes after injection or so. And then suddenly…it will feel as though you are being eaten from the inside out. I myself have never experienced it; you must tell me how accurate that description is.”

Zacky kept his glare fixed on Schlagger as he tapped one of Zacky’s veins with his finger, jabbing the needle in painfully. Zacky never so much as winced; he’d handled much worse pain than a needle.

He expected to feel jolts of pain hit him immediately, but he did not. He felt completely at ease; as though Schlagger, Haverly, and the Government didn’t exist. He felt as though he were flying on the clouds, the long-forgotten sunlight shining down on him, warming his cold skin. The feeling was so unreal; he had never felt this weightless in his life.

And then the pleasure was replaced with an insurmountable amount of pain. Zacky had never felt such incredible pain before in his entire life; nothing he’d experienced at Haverly Hospital even came close to this. It felt as though microscopic insects were chewing on his organs and muscles from inside of him, piece by piece until he was sure there would be nothing left of his body. The pain was everywhere; in his brain, his lungs, his heart…all at once, all like a well-oiled machine that knew how to inflict pain efficiently.

“I can make the pain stop, Mr. Baker.” Schlagger said, pulling Zacky out of his little world of pain. “You may think you’re strong now; you may not scream…now. But the pain only gets worse the longer the Atrophine is in your body. And you know the most interesting part of all, Mr. Baker?”

Zacky couldn’t have replied to Schlagger’s question even if he’d have wanted to; he was incapable of opening his mouth for fear of a agonized scream passing through his lips. He refused to give Schlagger that satisfaction. The president continued speaking anyway.

“The funny thing is, Mr. Baker, that you will become addicted to the drug with each and every dosage that I put into you. And it’s quite nonlethal; no matter how much goes in, it won’t kill you. You cannot die from Atrophine. It’s similar to marijuana in the sense that you cannot overdose. I can get you addicted, Zackary. And let me tell you, it’s not easy to get off of it. Once your on, it’s for good. You’ll be in agonizing pain for the rest of your pathetic life.”

Zacky glared at the man, as if daring him to do good on his word. ”Go ahead, get me addicted,” He wanted to say. ”I’m stronger than any drug you can inject to me; any pain you can inflict upon me. I’ll show you.

“Continue dosing him every half an hour for the next twenty-four hours.” Schlagger said as he stood up. “I do not have time to waste waiting for him to break his silence. If before the twenty-four hours is done, he decides he would like to disclose their location, have Alonsa’s guard tell me.”

Zack watched as the President walked out of the room, unimaginable pain wracking every nerve ending in his body.
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The drug 'Atrophine' really does exist, though it does not affect the body the way I described. I just borrowed the name.