Her lips curled into a sneer as the blood dripped from the split in her eyebrow, running in lines down her cheek. Her head faced the ground where she crouched – hands supporting her weight in the dirt in front of her – but her eyes looked through her lashes up at the man who stood over her, her blood on his hands.
“I don’t know why you insist on fighting back,” his hand waved dismissively at her, “you won’t ever win doped up like this.” His slight Brooklyn accent was highlighted by the pleasure in his voice. He looked down at her - evaluated quickly that she was not a threat to him right now – and casually leaning back on the cement wall behind them.
He didn’t look afraid. In fact, his voice and body language radiated confidence. But there was a split second where Ocean could see it in his eyes; uncertainty and fear. It was gone before he had time to take in a breath, and although she was a prisoner, she felt in control again. She used her hands to push up from the ground and stood in front of him His wary gaze flashed again in his eyes before he called her a slur and dipped out the door, locking it behind him.
The room was no bigger than an average living room, and housed a dirty mattress in the corner a broken sink and toilet by the door - her home. She staggered to the sink and splashed water on her face, her blood splattered the water droplets around the porcelain and swirled and pooled into the drain. She glanced slowly at the piece of mirror above the sink, the only shred of reminder of who she was, and she gingerly touched the gash on her eyebrow from where he had backhanded her. “Bastard” she thought.
Ocean had been living in squalor and drug-induced haziness for over a year, since her capture, confined to the concrete room where she was not allowed to leave. Oh, the experimenting and drugs happened, but they knocked her out with gas through the door so she never knew where she was being taken. She was always dumped back here to trip and sweat the drugs out of her system by herself, soaking wet from being kept in tanks of water.
For over a year her captors had been trying to recreate her ability. They tried blood transfusions, drugs, implanting wires into her brain, keeping her submerged for hours on end, and other terrifying things that she had tried in vain to forget. Multiple times they threw in helpless donors, bodies who were barely alive, into her room to wait. She stared at them in horror while they pleaded for mercy and help. One by one they would always get dragged out, and she would meet them again in the Room.
The Room was where she ended up whenever they took her for another round of experiments, in-between her daily dose of drugs. It was a kitchen-turned-lab, with medical equipment strewn haphazardly along the counters, blood-stained grout criss-crossed the ceramic tiles below. The strapped gurneys held the donors, as white coats injected various substances as the bodies screamed. Often, they died on the table, and the men would haul them off and toss them carelessly on the floor, cracks and wet sounds emanated from their broken bodies.
She mostly sat in the corner of her room facing the door, it slowly fading in and out of her line of vision, sometimes doubling. On a good day she could walk across the room to the toilet without falling- those were few and far between. The drugs were mixed into her food; powders were dissolved in the disgusting soup mixture. She had tried to stop eating it in protest but she would always find herself with nosebleeds so severe, she would pass out. The nosebleeds were the best of her side effects. She dealt with skull-crushing headaches, enough to make her writhe silently on the floor, tears mixed with blood streaming out of her eyes. Her ears would pressurize with the build up of blood, threatening to pop and make her deaf - her own pulse could be heard like a drum line in her head. Yes, the side effects to hunger were far more unpleasant than the drugs – she had determined that months ago.