Inmate 400

The Chasm is a secret prison, one that few people know of, and one that nobody has escaped from. Where Anarchy is King and there is no Law, the Chasm is run by bandits and muderers. Convicted for a crime he didn't commit, Inmate 400 is branded as a traitor and threat to the Duke of Gariton, and thrown in the Chasm. Forced to survive in a world of madmen, he learns things that pushes him to the edge of sanity, and knows that escape is the only cure.

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4. Marcus

The days that followed that horrible night were blisfully uneventful. We left the stone-city rather reluctantly, as Cleave knew the place well, and it was as much of a home as we could hope for. We had encountered nobody for a while, but that meant nothing. In the Chasm, peace and silence were long-sought after luxuries that we did not have. It was never going to last long, but just because you know something is going to end, it doesn't mean it won't affect everything permanently.

We left the stone city and had been walking for several days. The terrain flattened out, and something Cleave called 'The Obsidian Desert' became our knew home. Once a large and prosperous quarry, the Desert was now a large plain of nothingness. I had the sinking feeling that we were running from something, but Cleave, solitary as he was, just kept walking, and I hoped I knew where he was going.

Eventually, we came upon another camp. When we first saw them, Cleave stopped dead in his tracks. After a minute or so of silent judgement, however, a thin smile broke over his lips, and he walked into the camp, not a care in the world.

"Gentlemen, what colours are the jewels of Gariton?" he asked

An old, crooked man with a beak for a nose glanced up cautiously and, seeing the hulking Cleave approach, replied "Red for the blood spilt beneath her floors, good sir", after which the two embraced in the hug of brotherly companionship.

"It is good to see you again, Cleave. I see you have friends. Welcome, welcome all." The man began exchanging greetings with us all, and, after the introductions were done, we sat down to join the man and his group. There were about seven of them, all male, and all small, weasel-like men. After a while, the man who greeted us filled us in.

"My friends, welcome to the Obsidian Desert. I am your host, Sneak, and these are my shadows." Having heard this, 317 drew in a sharp intake of breath.

"THE Sneak? The man who challenged Reaper on his own turf, and then somehow mysteriously evaporated into thin air, taking with him most of Reaper's weapons, and a lot of his men too!" Sneak nodded at this and, although I did not know much of Reaper, this was evidently a ballsy and impressive task. To such an extent, even 344 spoke, the first time in my presence.

"Sneak was invisible" he said, with a simple smile on his face, and once again set his gaze into that far off place only he could see.

"Well, you make me flush my friends. I must have you know, your Cleave was instrumental in that deception, and has long been a good friend of mine. But come, let us see. Ah, 317 and 344. Good experience then. Not as long as me and Cleave but good enough."

This made me curious. "Cleave, what is your number?" I had realised he had never shown me, and I never asked. He rolled back his sleeve. 256. It was impressive, but outdone when Sneak showed his 221.

"And you, young man?" I showed Sneak my 400, and the look on his face was one of shock.

"400? But...wait...let me see." He stalked his way over to me and lifted up my tunic, gasping as he saw the Hand on my chest. "But my boy...we have heard so very much about you. That was quite a feat you produced the other night."

My heart stopped. If Sneak knew, then obviously there were witnesses. And if Reaper was as in control as 317 said, then I was in trouble. Big trouble. The look on hers and Cleave's face mirrored my own. Sneak continued "There was a boy, said he was in one of the houses. Saw the whole thing. Went to tell Reaper's men, and one of my little birdies told me. But yes, you are in trouble boy, oh you are! But we will keep you here for as long as you wish. We look after our guests, and the Desert is one of the few places Reaper can't touch. And nobody here will touch you, boy."

After that, my desire for company diminished somewhat, and I removed myself from the group. I had been sat there for little under an hour when I heard them.

From my well traisned ears-how or where they were trained, I had no idea,- there were about 5 of them, well skilled in being silent, but their footsteps eventually gave them away. The first one was on me in a flash, kicking me in my chest, trying to pin me. I had, however, expected company, and had wriggled away just enough to get out from underneath him. I was about to shout for help when I felt a huge weight crack me in the head.

"Oh Reaper is gunna' love you, boy!" said one man, and I knew that I could not fight anymore. After my heroics in the city, to be killed so quickly almost ashamed me. Marcus would be so upset to see me---

"Marcus?" I said outloud, and this had confused them long enough for Cleave to run from behind the man, and take him down with his knife. As soon as it started, it was over. The Shadows were true to their word. They appeared out of nowhere, without being summoned and with hardly any indication that I was in trouble. Sneak bent over me "Don't go looking for trouble kid. It will find you on its own. Lets get you back to camp."

We made our way back to camp, me in a semi-unconscious daze, basically being dragged back to a very worried looking 317 and 344. As they set me down to look at my head, I could only think of one thing. Marcus was my brother. And he would be upset to see me like this. That thought was with me as i blacked out.

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