Forgive Me?

Our name is Nikki, and this is our story. It's not a love story. It's not a good story. This is the story of the night we forgot how to dream, the day we learned how to die. This is the story of the man who took our life away and the boy who gave us back our freedom.

(Fans of The Fray will notice that every chapter is named after one of their songs, and begins with lines from the song. These are the things that inspire the chapter.)

Taking place in alternate realities, Nikki and Nikki Echo both suffer through the same events. The difference: their views, characteristics, and personalities. Nikki is the byproduct of genetic engineering, mutated and morphed beyond recognition, leaving her less than human. Nikki Echo lives the life her counterpart ought to have had, had fate been kinder.

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1. You Found Me

Lost and insecure

You found me, you found me

Lying on the floor

Surrounded, surrounded.

-The Fray

 

I was jolted from my already uneasy sleep by a familiar, detested hand on my shoulder, shaking me rudely into consciousness. I knew it could be worse. He could yell at me, strike me, kick me awake if he wanted to. Still, I hated the man now standing before me at the entrance to my cage, watching me with those cold, calculating eyes. As captors went, he probably wasn't the worst either - at least, not anymore. The beginning had been hard, but I knew how to behave myself now, knew what was expected of me, and knew exactly how to please my master.

Nevertheless, my body protested as I pushed myself to a kneeling position, bending at the waist to press my forehead to the stone floor beneath me in a sign of my obedience. There was a tense moment, and then his boots disappeared from my narrow field of vision, retreating back the way he'd come. As soon as he began to move away, I hurried to crawl after my master, careful not to glance up from the cracks in the floor as we traveled slowly down the basement hallway.

When we reached the stairs, my heart sped up, racing against my growing fear and apprehension. I knew, as I always did, what would come next. It was always basically the same, after all. I was only let out from my cage for one purpose, and that was to please my master.

Of course, the fact that I wore only underwear and the draft coming from the door might have had something to do with the goosebumps pebbling up along my skin as well.

My master cleared his throat and I hurried forward once more, practically stumbling up the stairs in my haste. At the top I froze.

The room, which my master had transformed into his own personal torture chamber, where he brought me and subjected me to the inhuman pains he devised in order to satiate his passions, which was always empty except for us, now held row of ten chairs, each seating one person. A small zap on my ass from a device resembling a cattle-prod that my master lifted off a rack on the wall made me yelp and jump forward, all the way into the room, and I listened with a sinking heart as the door to my prison - the only safe place for me now - slammed shut once again. At my little cry of surprise and pain the audience laughed in anticipation, awaiting the spectacle I would be to them.

They left me quivering there, barely clothed and huddled on the ground, for endless minutes as my master walked among the chairs - collecting payments, I assumed. I wished they would forget about me altogether, but knew it wouldn't happen. These men were paying good money to see a show, and that was exactly what they would get.

All too soon thick, rough hands closed on my wrists and dragged me upright, squeezing hard enough that I was sure they would leave bruises. When my feet touched the ground and my captor began to pull me toward one of his machines, I momentarily forgot myself and dug my heels in, pushing away from him with all my might, struggling to escape his iron grip.

Of course, it did nothing but earn me a hard slap and a whispered promise of recompense. I whimpered and cried and shrieked more, but nothing I did helped and, in the end, I was strapped into the contraption. It was shaped almost like a reclined chair, so that I was lying back, but there were metal stirrups to which my legs and feet were strapped, so that my legs were spread and restrained. Another set held my arms up, above my head.

The cold metal shocked my warm flesh, sending shivers through my body as the chill worked its way into my skin. My chest was heaving because of my crying, but I couldn't seem to stop. Everything happened in slow motion, as my audience came closer to admire the contraption, staring at me in fascination. I tried to ignore them and watch the ceiling, following the tiny cracks in the plaster, but I was still aware of their eyes on my body - even more so when one reached out and unhooked my bra, leaving my breasts exposed as well.

"Please no, Master. Please, please!" I begged, my tears streaming over my face and dripping onto the metal underneath me.

He only looked at me in annoyance, his eyes a silent warning, a hint of danger, and then continued his work. The press of the electrode on my exposed skin sent me into a violent spasm as I tried to shy away from it. Of course, my struggle did nothing, and in the end I had the little wires stuck into the tops and sides of my breasts, my nipples, elbows, palms, stomach, hips, and the backs of my knees. The little stings they left when they were pushed into my skin itched, but I knew worse was coming.

Next they removed the little scrap of cloth left to me, cutting away my panties and baring me to everyone's view. One of the men whistled appreciatively, and a few reached out and slapped my master's shoulder, complimenting him. Why he had anything to do with it, I never did find out.

And then, finally, my master turned on the machine. Of course, nothing happened, just as it wasn't meant to. And then he brought the metal rod into my view, waving it before me cruelly. When he pressed it to my stomach, electric currents ran through my body to each of the electrodes, and I screamed from the pain. It felt like I was burning from the inside, the pain radiating out until it became unbearable.

When he finally removed the rod, I collapsed sobbing back to the table, feeling the aftershocks flow through the metal beneath me and into my body once more. And then my master handed the rod to the man beside him. This time it came down on my right breast and the pain was even worse.

I lost track of how many times they shocked me as each agony bled into another. After touching it to my breasts a few times, they moved down, pushing the metal piece against my clit. And then, one of them got really creative and shoved it directly into my opening. I felt the shock travel through my body, but this time my mind didn't even register the pain. I was merely an observer in my body, watching with disinterest as they tormented me. I was vaguely aware that I was screaming, that the shrill sound was higher than any I'd made so far, but beyond that I was unreachable.

It only took a few more shocks for the darkness to close in, for my mind to fade into the peaceful oblivion of sleep.

I woke once again in my cage, but this time I was still naked and covered in bruises. And, unlike the last time, it wasn't my master's rough hand shaking me awake, but a younger boy, probably only a few years older than I was. I knew, without a doubt, that I had never seen this boy before. Only one thought registered in my mind. I was being saved.

"You found me?" I practically screamed, throwing myself at this newcomer in my slightly-delirious eagerness.

The boy pushed my naked body back, wrinkling his nose in disgust, and then threw something at me before turning away and locking the cage once more.

When I looked down, I saw a sliver of rancid, raw meat, going blue with age, just like the ones I was also fed.

I couldn't stop the tears that sprang into my eyes then, when I realized that I wasn't going to be saved after all.

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