Your Songs Remind Me Of Swimming

Your songs remind me of swimming/But somehow I forgot/I tried to remember the chorus/I can't remember the verse/'cos the song that sent me swimming/Is now the life jacket that hurts

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1. The Capture

Sunlight filtered through the canopy of leaves above her, settling in dappled patches on the ground. Lush green leaves lay in a blanket on the forest floor, some now becoming crisp and brown with age and decay. Life blossomed everywhere - birds were whistling a happy tune, foxes were out seeking food for their young. Flowers were blooming in colourful bunches, golden light surrounding everything in a halo of sorts.

In a word, it was peaceful.

Quiet.

A soft crunch of light feet against the ground disturbed the silence some, although not enough to be truly disruptive. Bare toes sank into the cool muck beneath, digging their purchase there as a lithe female lowered herself down slowly into a crouch. Pointed ears were shielded from any cold by a sheet of long, blonde hair, piercing blue eyes surveying her surroundings. Pale skin glowed almost golden in the face of the sun, rose-red lips curved upwards in the vague ghost of a smile. Long, slender fingers were wrapped around the base of a bow, the other hand settled at the quiver residing on her back. She was the perfect hunter - silent, deadly, utterly calm.

Gaze flickering towards a rustling bush, she withdrew her arrow slowly, carefully. Settling it against the arrow rest, fastening it into the nock point with practised ease, she took aim as a deer emerged from the shrubbery. Graceful and as silent as the hunter, the deer picked about the ground briefly, - nosing, merely taking a measure of it's surroundings. 

Inhale.

She pulled back the string of her bow, making sure to keep her aim steady. Both eyes settled firmly on the deer, she pulled back so that the string was resting against the high arch of her cheekbone, waiting for the perfect time. The perfect place.

Exhale.

Just as the deer looked up, the arrow whistled towards it, striking it directly through the eye. It was a clean kill - her clan would be proud of her, as much was certain. Before she had a chance to bask in her delight however, she sensed a disturbance behind her - there was the harsh sound of heavy boots against hardened leaves, more crude and brutish than any of her own kind. Head turning to face her attackers, she didn't have a chance to see them as a bag of human make was thrown over her head, the stitching scratching against her skin, the smell nauseating.

She didn't have a chance to scream, to struggle, as ropes were bound about her chest and arms, forcing her to pull in tightly to herself. The bow was lying forgotten on the ground, her arrows spilling out beside it as the quiver was tilted back along with her body. Finally able to kick out some, she managed a brief shriek - this shriek was cut off by a new rope tying about her neck, looping into the knot at her wrists and ensuring that should she struggle, the rope about her neck would tighten. She wasn't a big fan of asphyxiation, and her first tug gave her the impression that that would be her fate should she struggle any further.

Relaxing as best she could, she squeezed her eyes shut as she was dragged away from the forest that was her home, shaking some from a combination of fear and anger alike. She was undeserving of this fate, entirely so, and she was about to tell the humans just that when there was a knock to the back of her head.

Even the darkness swam before her, crashing over her in harsh waves - while she was a fine swimmer, she couldn't win against this tide. Her last thoughts were simple, plain, before everything was quiet once more.

I hope they don't go hungry.

 

--

 

It was hours later when she awoke, groggy and disorientated from the blow to the back of her head. Her arms were now free of their restrictions, bag taken from her head. She could see clearly now, her hand moving to the wound she sported as she waited for her vision to clear. Even despite her less than clear focus, the crimson that coated her fingers once she pulled her hand back was unmistakable.

Sighing out her frustration, she tipped her head back, allowing it to rest against the back of the chair as she waited. It took a few more moments, a few more uncertain blinks, before she could make out anything at all.

Fluorescent lights were nestled in the ceiling above her, covering the room in a sickly white glow. The ceiling was made of spotted tile, - duck egg blue and grotesque yellow spots freckled the area, hideous to look at. As her gaze wandered to the walls, she frowned as she detected a material she couldn't place - a rubber of sorts? It coated the walls and the floors, ensuring the area was soft yet impenetrable. The only furniture in the room was the chair she was residing on, uncomfortable and a weak sort of plastic - utterly ineffective as a weapon, which was a clever move on their part.

As she became accustomed to her surroundings she heard the gentle creak of a rusty hinge, her head snapping around to find the source of the sound despite the protest of her aching neck. Eyes narrowing as she spotted a man entering the room, the elf was up near immediately, scrambling to the opposite corner of the room and flattening herself against the wall, not nearly far enough as she would have liked.

"Now, now, that's no way to greet your guest. Please, sit."

His voice was calm, serene, - it was the type of voice that begged to be liked, sweet as honey and filled with false comfort. She wasn't falling for it, not for one second, and her glare only intensified as the man shrugged and took the chair for himself.

"Suit yourself." He muttered, focusing on a clipboard he had in his hand rather than the wary elf. He'd get his way regardless of her cooperation, - her ease around him was irrelevant. "Now, we'd like to run a few tests on you, Miss..." He seemed to be expecting a response, eyebrow arching as he received none. The elf remained ever-silent, her eyes telling him all he needed to know. That she wouldn't cooperate, that she wouldn't approach, and above all she wouldn't speak.

"Right. Miss Patient Number Fourteen, in that case. Now, these tests won't be pleasant, I assure you. You will feel discomfort that ranges from mild to intolerable throughout them, and there will not be an escape. Any attempt at leaving the testing center and you shall be thoroughly punished. Three attempts is your maximum. After that, we start removing fingers and toes. Understood?" The man received no sign that his words were acknowledged, but he continued on regardless - shaking his head disapprovingly as he done so.

"You will be remaining in this facility for the foreseeable future. You will be fed and watered when necessary, bathed once a month and clothed when we deem it fit. You shan't be interacting with any of our other patients, and there will be no interacting with any of our doctors outside of the testing. Are we clear?" Again, there was silence. There was nothing to suggest she understood, - not a nod nor a whisper nor a bat of her eyelids. 

Irritation evident on the face of her 'doctor', the man stood up, packing the chair with him as he done so. It wasn't necessary to say anything else to her.

"Glad we're understood. Testing begins tomorrow, bright and early. I suggest sleeping, if you elves even do so." He grumbled, leaving the room and closing the door behind him. The moment that door shut, the elf was racing towards it - she tried desperately to pull it open, but to no avail. Human locks clearly warded the exit, and she was powerless against them. Frustration rising in her, the elf snapped, pounding against the walls and kicking everything she could, screaming as loud as possible to try and get someone to let her out, to send her home.

It was hours later, when her throat was raw and her eyes red from weeping, that she finally slept and dreamed of home.

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