Henry looked down at the clipboard in his hands, chewing absently on the end of his pen. The bright lights of the Complex still hurt his eyes after four months.
A door swinging open and slamming against the wall drew his attention. Up the hall a woman in torn white clothes crawled out of the doorway. She made it halfway out the door before two sets of gloved hands dragged her back into the room.
Henry turned his attention back to the window in front of him. Through it he could see the unconscious man suspended in the center of the room. He wore the same white clothes only his were clean and neat.
Henry worried his lip between his teeth and sighed, pressing the little yellow button in front of him.
The man jerked and gasped. His whole body tensed as the low voltage electricity moved through his body.
“Good morning today Charles,” Henry pressed his thumb against the intercom. “How did you sleep?”
The man just stared silently at the window.
“Right well,” Henry cleared his throat and looked back at his clipboard. “We are going to try something different today. No more electricity for the day.”
Charles’ head lulled back and he sighed.
Henry’s heart raced as he rounded the console and approached the door to the room. His hands shook so hard he could barely shove the keycard into the reader to unlock it. It beeped loudly and popped open.
Henry took a deep breath and stepped into the room, careful not to shut the door all the way as it could only be opened from the outside.
Charles looked up and stared at him in surprise.
“I know I’ve never actually come in here,” Henry fidgeted in the middle of the room.
Charles watched him with wide eyes as he pulled a chair in front of the suspended man.
“Now, I’m fully aware you cannot respond,” Henry gestured at his stitched mouth, “but I have an idea.”
Henry glanced nervously at the window before he stood. His hands were still shaking as he unfastened the padded cuffs around the man’s wrists.
Charles fell to the ground and groaned, having been suspended for the past week. He massaged his shoulders weakly and sighed.
“Better, yeah?” Henry smiled. He stood from the chair and instead sat on the floor beside the man, his back to the window. “Now I need your help.”
Charles’ head shot up and he squinted at Henry.
“Hear me out,” Henry whispered. “I…I can’t keep doing this. I never wanted to be here.” Henry rubbed his face, exhausted. “My father used to work here and he used his connections to get me the job but…”
Charles studied him carefully, eyes hopeful and searching.
“I-I know you used to have a family,” Henry took a shaky breath. “Before this place.”
“Two daughters right? I…I found them,” Henry could feel the tears welling in his eyes. “They are healthy.”
The strings holding the man’s mouth shut tugged unnervingly at his lips when he smiled.
“I can’t promise that you will see the again,” Henry looked at his feet. “But what I can promise is that we can start the fall of the Complex. I’m no fool, we alone can’t destroy this Hell but remove one string, and the whole tapestry starts coming apart. Are you with me?”
“I should probably say this: neither of us will survive this,” Henry said grimly. “We are going to die doing this, but our only goal is to make a hole. A hole just big enough for the others who disagree with this place, or even for the subjects to do it alone.”
Charles focused on the floor before nodding.
“Good, I have a few things I need to take care of before we start,” Henry stood and paused in the doorway. “I promise I’ll be back.”
Charles stood on his shaky legs as the door to his room slammed shut. He sighed and squeezed his eyes shut. Henry was too good for this horrible world, he actually believed in his plan.
Charles turned the chair and faced the one-sided window. He stared at his own reflection as the door beeped open.
None of the men spoke as they filed into the room.
Charles looked over at the men in clean-room suits and face guards. He leaned back in his chair and let his head drop back. He closed his eyes and tried to ignore the sound of the saw whirring to life.
Henry frowned at the dark room when he stepped up to the console. He pressed the light button and an error flashed on his screen. Panic clenched his chest as he noticed the door was slightly ajar.
He walked over and pushed the door open. Light from the hallway revealed the room to be splattered with blood.
Footsteps behind him caught his attention and before he could turn pain shot through him. His vision blurred and he felt his legs give out as someone lifted him from the ground.
He knew it was a bad idea.