Dark, cold, and smelling of human waste. No one knew what year it was, but I knew how old I was. The man with the stick made sure that I did. He came around many times and held the stick close to my head to ask "Well? How old are you?" I always told him the last word he told me. The latest one was 'six'. Each of the words sounded strange to me, I hadn't been taught numbers or letters then, I just repeated sounds.
The man swung his stick back and cracked it on my head, "Seven you brat! Say it right! Seven!"
I never liked to be hit, and once I figured out how I could avoid it I followed these rules. But he did like to hit me, and when he did, he changed the word I was supposed to say. Now that didn't seem fair, how can you change the answer to the same question?
But it was never anyone's place to question the Stick Man, so I tried to remember the new word through the throbbing in my head, "Sev--v--" It was no use I couldn't remember how it was supposed to sound and I braced myself for another blow.
It came alright. Harder than the first. Then he looked at the glowing device he held in his hand. Pushing on it he growled something and then pushed my head sideways. The glowing machine made alot of noise in my ear. They did this alot too, no one really knew what it did and I was always afraid of it.
Taking it away after a few minutes he made another growling noise, "Okay, Heather. That's your name.You are seven years old! Not six! Do you know what happens when people lie to me? Do you?"
The Stick Man always spit when he was angry and I had just been given a shower. But I dare not wipe it off, if I moved I would be hit again. I couldn't help the shaking though, it was a combination of the cold and the pain but he never noticed because he shook too.
I did know I was supposed to say something. He had that look in his eyes. But I hadn't understood what he had said to me. I knew that Heather was what they called me and if I didn't aknowledge that I would be hit again, I also knew the word six, it was what I was supposed to say when they talked to me the first time, and I recognized the other new word sev--. But I hadn't caught it again. "Heather," I said hoping this would make him leave, "six."
Nope, here comes the stick again. Yup, that one hurt, he hit the same spot as the first time. "No!! You're not six you stupid retard! Seven! Seven is how old you are! Get it? Seven!!!"
More spit, I was very wet now. But I had managed to catch the sounds of the new word I was supposed to say. "Heather," I tried again, "s--seven." The word was knew and it came out funny but it did sound something like what he had said.
Hey look at that, it worked. His mouth went up on the one side which I knew meant the stick wouldn't come at me again. Satisfied that he had gotten what he wanted he left opened the door and walked out then closed it again.
I was glad that he had closed it, the light that came through hurt my eyes when it was open.
So now I had a new word to memorize. Seven. I had no idea what these words were supposed to mean, but I did know that since they kept the Stick away most of the time I would remember them.
The darkness was back. No little glowing device and no open door. It was much easier to see. I was busy rolling the new word around on my tounge and making sure that there was no gooey stuff coming out of the spot on my head when I smelled something different. And there was a hissing noise too. The new smell was thick and it hurt my nose. It became increasingly harder to breathe. I clawed at my throat trying to get fresh air but it was no use, catching a big lungful of the gas I could feel my consiousness slipping away my eyes were rolling back and I was slipping along the wall coming closer and closer to the floor and...
I woke in my bed. I was feeling shaky and scared. After a few seconds I remembered where I was, the Banshee. A Federation Ship. My throat hurt and I put my hands, like ice, to see what was wrong. I had scratched it. Severly. It was even bleeding now.
There was something about this ship that was tearing down my walls. Things were coming back to my foggy memory much clearer than I had ever wanted them to. It was becoming harder and harder to live in my little world. Dissafected, and uncaring.
This ship was more than I had bargained for.