by Justin Chu
Art by Phoebe Wang
Issue: Metanoia (Winter 2017)
Clink. Clink. Clack. The sounds of the chains rang all around the dungeon that the inhabitants called Society. It was never quiet here. Always there were the sounds of chains rattling, voices talking, and the occasional moan of pleasure.
Cling. A door opened, and Rachel was shoved into one of the cells. The guard grabbed her roughly and pushed her to one of the walls, but another guard stepped in.
“Stop, she’s to remain unchained,” he said.
“On whose orders?” the other guard barked.
“Lord Messiah,” the man started to walk out. “I wouldn’t want to anger him today, just saying.”
“Damn Michael thinks he can do what he wants,” the other guard grumbled. He released Rachel and walked outside.
Clang. The guard locked the door. She was left in the room, unchained, allowed to roam freely and do as she wished.
However, the other people in the cell weren’t this way. Men were chained ro one wall, with women chained to the opposite wall. Most chains were just long enough to reach only one person of the opposite gender. The women socialized with the other women that they could reach, and had intimate relationships with the men opposite of them.
None of this affected Rachel. She was free to roam, and free to socialize with all. She had intimacies on both sides, and made friends on both sides.
However, whether it was the wall for men, or the wall for women, there were people whose chains were shorter than the others, and people who had chains longer than the others. Those who had shorter chains hated Rachel. Hated her freedom, hated the way she was.
Whenever Rachel went near these people, they’d growl at her, and attack. There were far more people who liked Rachel, but the people who didn’t were much louder than those who did. These people would curse at her, calling her “twosex”. They would speak ill of how she was, how the way she lived wasn’t right. She should’ve been like them, chained to the walls.
There were many shorter chains strewn about on the ground, and it was these that they would use to attack Rachel. Whipping her, throwing them at her. For a very long time, she was tortured by these people.
“Whazza matter twosex?” Jack sneered, brandishing his whip. “Can’t handle any more?” He laughed, madness on the edge of his voice.
“Stop,” Rachel muttered.
“Hmmm?” Jack cupped his ear. “I couldn’t hear you.” He sang, mocking her.
“Stop,” Rachel said, louder.
“What?” Jack mocked.
Rachel snapped. All those weeks of suppressed anger released at once.
“STOP!” She screamed. She pounced on him. Biting, clawing, kicking, and punching.
“Get off me! Get off me!” Jack screamed in pain. He managed to push her off, and they fought. Rachel was like a cat, darting in and out, clawing at Jack’s face and eyes. Jack couldn’t even hit her with a single punch. Without his whip, he was nothing. The guards found Jack later that day when they were bringing in food, bloody and unconscious.
Soon after, she began making her own chain, made from chain links and tied together with strips of cloth. Soon, she had made her own chain that was less brittle, and stronger than the chains used by those who hated her. She made this for security, to make sure no one would ever whip her again.
Things went on like this for months, until more people were locked in.
Clang. The cell door was opened, and all turned to face the opening. Two people were shoved inside. One was chained to the wall for the men, the other was left on the ground. Cling. The door was closed and locked once more.
The people with the short chains howled in protest. All the rage that they’d been holding in for months was released in this one instant. They shouted insults, flinging chains at her. All the others sat there for maybe a minute, but for Rachel, it was one minute too long.
Rachel whipped these people with her chain, silencing them. She walked over to the person sitting on the floor. She was a girl like her.
“What’s your name?” She smiled as brightly as she could. This one girl was the only person she’d ever felt true empathy for in a long time. The first person who she could truly relate to. Someone else who was unchained.
“Kimberly,” the girl mumbled. Her dirt stricken face was close to tears at the assault she received upon entering.
“Well hello then. My name’s Rachel.” She reached her hand out. Kimberly stared at it for several seconds, and timidly took it. The short chained people started to protest once more, but were once again silenced with a whip from Rachel.
“I’m scared,” Kimberly cried. She then burst out crying. Rachel sat down, and put the girl in her lap. Stroking her hair, whispering soothing words into her ear, she managed to calm the girl down.
“It’s okay Kimberly,” Rachel smiled. “I’ll show you how to survive this dump.”
She showed Kimberly which people to talk to, who not to talk to, and who to outright avoid. After several days, Rachel showed her how to make her own chain.
The two were like sisters, always with each other. Eating, sleeping, and socializing together. Soon, there were more of those like Kimberly that came, though none were assaulted like Kimberly was.
“Can’t catch me!” Daniel ran laughing.
“Just wait!” Ana grinned. She sprinted after him, and soon had him on the floor.
“Hey get off me!” Daniel protested.
“No way,” Ana laughed. She proceeded to tickle him.
“No, no, no, stop!” Daniel giggled uncontrollably as he tried to get away from her.
“You kids,” Rachel shook her head. She smiled at the two wrestling on the ground. She soon joined them, and had them both on the floor.
“Gotcha,” Rachel smiled. She tickled them both until they were left wheezing for breath after laughing so hard. Kimberly soon joined in.
Years went by like this, until Rachel had grown old, and she was near death. Kimberly and the rest of the people who were left unchained wept as the woman who acted as their mother passed on. They all fasted for one day to commemorate her. The first one to not be chained, and the mentor of the rest. Her legacy would be passed down for generations, in this group, that now called themselves, the Unchained.