“Group 4C please report to receiving. Thank you for your compliance.”
She touched her numbered tattoo and left her children to their afternoon play. The sun was warm and she forced a smile as the breeze rippled through her floral print dress.
She knew the path and in time she found the ancient brick building with its pealing yellow arrows and the stained gray room.
The room, as usual, was empty when she arrived.
Her smile was gone as she regarded the rusting door and the red rimmed hole in the wall next to it. The old fear curled and her tattoo itched.
She swallowed, squared her shoulders, and shoved her arm into the hole. There was a tug and a flash of pain.
She pulled herself free as the door opened. She clutched her arm to her chest as blood stained her dress.
She stepped through the door.
The next room was long and lined with familiar alcoves.
She wasn’t alone.
Others from her group were already there, laughing, and chatting away. The loudest were already naked. She moved to her own alcove and stripped off her dress. It was dark now but it had done its job. The bleeding had stopped.
She waited in the cold and avoided the others.
She jumped when the far wall opened and the string of harnesses slid into view.
The others lined up so she joined them.
Everyone was quiet now.
Two people had walked in through the open wall and were helping the others into the harnesses. They wore white rubberized aprons and respirators that covered their faces. They did not speak.
Each member of her group was secured, lifted, and slowly carried through the open wall.
She was the last and she was shivering, though from the cold or the fear, she couldn’t tell. They reached out with strong hands and secured her shoulders, waist, and thighs. The straps reeked of disinfectant and something foul.
She was lifted and pulled along to join the others.
Through the wall there were lines of identically aproned men and women. Each of them poked her, prodded her, pierced her as they did their work. Each a fresh violation. Each silent and methodical.
She managed to stay quiet until they shaved her head. The dull shears left her scalp bloody and her shivering became a racking sob.
She felt hollowed out and empty. Everything hurt.
Some time after the harness stopped she looked up and saw a man standing behind a metal chair. Next to him was a tray holding something large hidden under a blue cloth. He was handsome and he smiled at her.
“Thank you for your compliance,” he said as he gently transferred her from the harness to the chair.
He secured her wrists, feet, and neck but she was too weak do anything about it. He was efficient and somehow her pains eased while he worked.
Something metal clanged behind her. The fear blossomed and her pains came back.
She heard the throaty growl of a motor spinning up.
“Just relax my dear it’s almost over.”
He patted her shoulder reassuringly. The motor came closer to her ear.
The blade bit into her scalp and her body shook as it chewed through her skull. Something hit the floor with a hollow clunk and the sound of the motor died.
“Ssssssthhhhhppppp,” she slurred.
She felt him reach into her head.
There was a tug and something tore.
Her world went dark around the edges.
“Thank you for your compliance,” he said as he brushed her shoulder with sticky fingers.