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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2. Teaming up

        The next few days went past in a haze of sleep and confusion. I dreamt of hours spent in a field, the simple pleasure of working the soil and planting my crops in the beating sun gave me hope, which was dashed away as I awoke, grasping at the dreams like a drowning man for a rope. Memories started coming back to me in fragmented shards, but nothing told me of how I came to be here. Not once did I dream of trying to kill the Duke.

Eventually, I stood and started moving. I had no more water, and hadn't eaten properly for days. My strength was waning, and I needed to find out what was going on around me. The room I was in was a small, stone room, completely bare except for a stool. I exited via the one doorway and glanced around me. Everything was cold and depressing. I could see the soft glow of a fire in the distance, and several other stone outbuildings around me. Above me, however, was pure dark. Not the semi-darkness of twilight, but the complete darkness of a tomb. I knew I was trapped, and would never leave this place.

I stumbled on towards the fire, my legs barely moving as I shuffled uncomfortably along. The journey was mercifully easy and downhill, but as I approached the fire, all my muscles were screaming out in protest of their use. As I entered the ring of light, I was met with the hostile gazes of two men and one woman, all jumping to their feet as soon as I emerged.

"Friend of Foe!" The closest man said, a big, dark skinned man with a mean looking knife in his hand.

"Friend!" I manged to croak out, my voice still hoarse from disuse.

"Relax, Cleave, he looks new" the woman said, a short, pale woman with a soothing, calming voice. "Whats your number? Do you have a name?"

I looked the them over. They seemed realtively peaceful, baring the knife in the big man's hand. The other man seemed unarmed, as did the woman, so I answered them calmly. "400. My number is 400. I have no name." after this, they visibly relaxed, obviously not seeing me as a threat.

"400? You're fresh then. Welcome to the Chasm." the woman continued. I hated the way they were already referring to me as if I was just a hunk of meat.

"Don't do anything stupid now, and Cleave wont have to use that knife on you. Do you want some water?" I nodded my head, unsure as to why they were treating me so well. I took the proferred flask and greedily gulped it down.

"You have any idea whats going on?" she asked. I shook my head at her and she continued. "Well, no doubt you have already met Keeper? The old man, 129? Well, Keeper looks after us all at one point. But no, you're on your own. Unless you meet fols like us who are willing to share their knowledge and supplies for a bit of a protection. You look like you know how to fight" Once again I was thankful for my size and build, and once more a fleeting memory teased me as to what I had been before all of this. Could I remember the smell of Iron?

"Well? What about it? Guranteed you won't find many folks around here so willing to accept you, but we haven't much choice. Cleave here is as good as any man with a knife, but Buck over there, well, he's a simpleton. Was a great poet once, mind you, till he fell into the wrong crowd. Now he's down here, useless as a baby." Sure enough, the third member of their part was looking at me with a completely blank expression, no emotions registering on his chubby face.

"I thank you for your offer. I don't have a clue whats going on here, and I welcome your help. I will cause no trouble to you or your friends." I replied.

"Friends?" Cleave replied. "There be no friends down 'ere. No friends. There be those who kill, and those who live, and if you go 'round gettin' in the way of things, I have no pause in thinking to do away with you. Watch youself, and watch your step. You help us, and we help yu. But not friends." With this, Cleave sat himself down and carried on sharpening his knife. It was only then that I realised the woman had been staring at my chest the whole time.

"The Hand? You tried to kill the Duke? I'm not sure if this is good or bad..."

"Its good. People will be scared of 'im" Cleave added, not even bothering to look up.

"Still. Reaper and his gang don't like Hands. Best we keep you away from there. Now, I know you will have a lot of questions but its going to have to wait. We've got a bit of cooked rat ovr here. Help yourself, 400."

"Your names." I said. "I know Cleave, but you two?"

"You don't get many names here", she said, almost repeating what Keeper had said. "Only if you do something that everyone deems heroic or inspirational do you get a name. Im 317, and the simpleton is 344. You, 400, need to stop asking questions now, and sleep. The next few days wont be easy, what with the memories coming back and that. Sleep whilst you can. Questions can wait."

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