Short Story: The Chamber
Inspired by a youtube video of kill boxes. Raw form, no editing – leave a comment if you wish to.
The smell in here is over powering. It permeates everything around me. It’s the smell of fear that coats another smell I can’t identify right away with a sweet yet sickening odour. My eyes dart back and forth and I pant uncontrollably.
I’m in a small cell, a cell not even fit for a dog in all honesty. My other cell mates howl and scream with indignation, screaming for freedom and howling their protests of innocence. No one listens, not even the man that put us here.
My family is gone, abandoning me to this hell hole. I don’t know what I did wrong for them to leave me in this sick and dank place. The only thing I’ve ever been guilty of is loving them unconditionally and thinking that love was mutual. The darkness is over whelming and the urine and feces around me attaching their stink to my body, suffocating me with the stench.
One of my cell mates cringes as a guard walks by with restraints in his hands. The guard pauses, looking at a clip board then at my cell mate. I scurry to the back of the cell unsure why I’m so afraid but knowing I should be afraid. My cell mate cries out as the guard steps closer to the door and stares down at him. As the guard opens the door he lassos my cell mate with his restraints, they are designed to restrain us by the throat so that we don’t thrash about as they drag us down the white corridors to the only other door in the room at the back.
The throat restraints cause my cell mate to choke back a cry as he thrashes against it and tries to pull away. I scream bloody murder, trying to tell the guard he’s choking him to death. I end up bashing against the cell door as it slams shut behind them and the guard drags my cell mate down the corridor to the dreaded white washed door at the end.
The voices behind the door are whispered under the mechanical drone of some unseen monster machine I’ve heard rumours about in here. They call is the bad room, the room that no one from our masses have ever returned from. I don’t quite know what or who is in that room that illicits so much fear from the old timers here but it’s a palpable fear that catches like wild fires of mass hysteria.
As the whispers fade I can smell that other smell. The one that the fear tries unsuccessfully to cover up. I know that smell, how do I know that smell, I’ve smelled it before. It has the same sweet sickly smell of rotting meat that’s been left in the hot summer sun too long. Spoiled meat with a sickening undertone of urine, vomit and feces. I strain to see into the room, to catch a glimpse of what fate belies my cell mate. He’s cowering in a corner, snapping and biting at the air between him and the guard that dragged him there. There are others there dressed in white lab coats, but the door slams shut with the sound of inevitable and impending doom before I can see anything more than that.
The screams and howls of anguish that come from behind the thick, white washed metal door on the end of the corridor never really get drowned out that well. They haunt our dreams, creating nightmares that can’t be imagined. The mechanical symphony of a generator comes screaming out from behind that door once a week, reducing most of us to cowering and sobbing slumps of our former selves in our cells. Huddling in the back of the cells to avoid the all seeing eyes of the guards, trying to make ourselves small and unseen. Most are never successful at it, very few escape from the clutches of that room, that evil, horrible room.
An acrid smell puffs up from under the small crack at the bottom of the door. It is a chemical smell that irritates our eyes and noses. The cell mates closest to the door end up sneezing and coughing from it. Getting the worse of the acrid smoke from the evil place. My nightmares are filled with it, torturing me anytime I may close my eyes. The nightmares dancing across the back of my eyelids like little trolls, sticking and jabbing my consciousness with fear and hopelessness. Startling me awake at every turn day and night.
The guard is walking back down the corridor, I beg an unseen, unhearing god that I’m not even sure really exists to spare me, spare my life and I’ll be better. Do better, I’m innocent, I swear that I am. I howl my protests with the other voices of the innocent as the guard unlocks my cell door. It seems my turn has come, my end at the hands of the evil room is here. I quake and shiver uncontrollably. Panting and cowering in the corner of my cell as the noose of the restraints land squarely on my shoulders and tighten around my neck. The first yank from the guard chokes me, cutting off my breath before I can scream and pull away.
I’m being dragged down the corridor, the sounds of the other cell mates drowning my own screams out. The white washed door slams open and I am shoved into the glaring lights of the florescent bulbs in the room. The two others with white lab coats stare at me with unfeeling round dark eyes. There is no emotion, no compassion, not even a glimmer of care in those dark, deep pools of their eyes. Nothing but weariness and disgust. I look around, eyes straining against the light trying to make sense of the room. My cell mate lays on a cold metal table on his side with the life drained from him.
That smell, that horrible sickening smell gags me as I struggle and bite at the air between the guard and myself. Then it hits me, I know what that smell is now and I am terrified. It is the smell of death, the smell of inevitable demise. It is my demise, my death I am smelling. Then I see it. The wire cage on wheels, three other cell mates scream and fight for space in that wire cage. Gnashing and gnawing and writhing against each other. Droplets of blood spatter on the floor from them struggling against each other and biting themselves to escape. There is no escape, none to be had. This is the end, the final curtain, the brutal exit from life.
The guard yanks me forward and I scream, trying to pull back but I am too weak to resist. He grabs me by the nape of the neck releasing the restraint and shoving me simultaneously into the wire cage of cell mates that have become a ball of gnawing sharp teeth and insanity. In the mass hysteria of that wire cage I lose my individuality, my being and become another gnawing set of teeth. Slashing and biting at anything that comes across the path of my mouth. Screaming and howling at the indignation and injustice, losing my mind to the insanity, becoming nothing but rage and fear boiling over from the wire cage.
The wire cage on wheels gets pushed into a box, it’s small and stinks of spoiled life. The smell of death and the acrid smoke that haunts my nightmares bubbling over my senses, driving me all that more insane with fear. My mind breaks from all sense of reality and sanity and I become a heap of howling tissue, muscle and bone. Quaking in my skin as the inevitable end is nearing. The generator kicks up and we all scream. Then the door slams shut behind us and the darkness is utterly complete with shear terror.
The acrid smoke fills the tiny box, choking us all and quelling some of us to silence. I feel like I am drowning, my insides are on fire and my lungs scream as the hot foul smoke fills them to over flowing. I gasp and twitch, still conscious though barely. The others are beneath me twitching and convulsing causing the wire cage to rock on its wheels with a torturous squeak. Is there no peace even in death, the shattering sound of those wheels in the small confines of the box shatter the last remaining pieces of my mind, leaving me with nothing but fear, hopelessness and insane terror. As my eyes roll back I beg for death, for mercy and for anything but this. I beg for remand even from my captors and tormentors that put me here. My howls fall on no ears, no one wants to hear it and the only answer is the hum of the generator and the whoosh of the foul smoke that suffocates me so mercilessly.
The darkness finally comes after what seems like an eternity. My vision fades behind my eye lids and my gasps for a futile attempt at self preservation of my life drain away sweetly. I grunt the last few breaths from my body and give in, let death take me away from here. Let death be my salvation. My last thoughts as my heart thuds against my rib cage for the last time are of my family. Where are they, why have I been forsaken by them, why did they turn their back on me, where did they go. What did I do so wrong that they would no longer love me and want me.
“Geeze, that last set of dogs slated for the gas chamber were rough” The guard grunted.
“Next week we have twice the amount to gas, we’re going to need to double stack some of the females with their babies” The man in the white lab coat said in disgust.
“Damned city needs to fund us for a bigger gas chamber” The other lab technician spat vehemently
“Like that would ever happen, damned crying shame about that last dog. He was a good looking dog” The guard whispered, “too bad the family couldn’t keep him and there’s no shelters to send him to anymore”
“Yeah, too bad, so sad”