He doesn't know how long he has been there for.

He doesn't know why he is there.

They say it is because he is different, because he isn't normal.

He wants to ask them, who is?

But he doesn't. He has seen what defiance earns those who resist in this place of shadows, and while he knows little else, he knows he does not want to experience that.

His own experiences are bad enough.

The people who are in charge here call this place a 'containment facility' but he knows batter. It is a concentration camp. Those who are held prisoner here are tortured, tested, twisted until they are nothing but broken shells of the people they once were.

He remembers the pictures from history class, the dark numbers glaring like bruises on his great-grandfather's arm, and thinks, numbly, of the statisticsā€¦ the millions of faceless names lost to unimaginable hatred. The world where a people could systematically try to prune the human race like one might a tree, casting off people for their race, for being born with a disability, for liking their own gender, for having beliefsā€¦ it had always seemed like a different world than the world he lived in. He'd never understood how someone could hate another person for their ethnicity, for their religion or culture. Anyone not like me isn't human and doesn't deserve to live? He'd never understood that kind of hate.

How can you hate someone for who they are?

He still doesn't understand, but he knows that hate now, because it's been etched into his skin with scalpels and drugs and wires, all of it meant to cut out the part of him that was found offensive.

But it's in his DNA, and you can't cut out DNA.

He is a mutant, or so he is told. He was born with a unique ability to manipulate the room around him. He could change the colors of the walls, the tiles of the floor. He can change the shape of the room, can change the texture of the floor. When he is upset, sometimes the floor disappears completely.

His parents kept it a secret as long as they could, they didn't want people to know their son was different. He knows they loved him, he'd seen it in their eyes whenever they looked at him, but he'd also seen their fear.

Running away had seemed like the only way to protect them, to keep them safe from the people who thought he was a freak, that he wasn't human.

But running hadn't done any good, because they'd found him just the same, and now he was going to die.

At least, he hoped he was. Death was preferable to the hell in which he has been living for the long has it been now? Weeks? Months? Years? He doesn't know. There is no way to tell in the darkness that is now his home.

He is not alone in his suffering, though he is very much alone in his cell. The dark corridor is lined with other cells, holding other prisoners, all of them mutants. Their cells had been outfitted with some kind of generator that neutralized their powers. A smart move by their captors, or else he, and many others, would have escaped by now.

Suddenly there is a light in the distance, a harsh, foul blue light that streams into the corridor, invading their darkness, He scurries into the back of his cell, hears others doing the same, hiding in the shadows, their backs pressed against the walls as if remaining out of sight will delay their anguish.

The light is from the door that opens into their cell block. It leads to the testing labs. He has been there only once, but he would rather die than go back. Thoughts of torture, of pain beyond belief, of furious bolts of white-hot agony come to mind, and he cannot help shivering as the door creaks, as footsteps echo on the cold floor.

Will they come for him today?

No, they aren't here to take anyone it seems, for the guard has a limp form draped over his shoulder. As the guard passes his cell, he peers at the battered girl, pitying her, and yet grateful that fate has befallen her instead of him.

This poor girl has been experimented on many times already, and every time she is placed back in her cell, her screams slice through the air like a dying animal. Whatever they do to her, it is horrifyingly terrible.

Her cell is at the end of the hall. The guard opens it and throws her unconscious form inside like she is nothing more than a rag doll. He knows that to their captors, they aren't even that significant.

As the guard leaves, the prisoners slowly move to the front of their cells again, peering out through the bars at the crumpled girl at the end of the hall. Dozens of pairs of eyes shine in the dark, all eyeing their unfortunate comrade curiously.

He feels sorry for her. The stares never seem to bother her, though, even when she is awake. Though he is never really sure that she is awake, for she just lays there, staring at the ceiling, most of the time.

Not that there is much else to do.

The girl moans, and he lets out a deep breath he didn't even know he was holding. She is alive. Every time they bring her back, it is harder and harder to tell if she is. In some ways, though, he wishes that she would come back dead. So she wouldn't have to endure it anymore.

But as long as she is alive, as long as their captors have her, their favorite plaything, they ignore him, and so he finds himself glad that she suffers, as cruel as it makes him feel, for as long as she suffers, he does not.

Her eyes flutter open, and for just an instant her green eyes fixate on him.

And then the screams began.