Another day living in the concentration camp...
|Dawn of Reality|
Life of a prisoner
DING!! DING!! DING!! DING!! DING!! DING!! DING!! DING!! DING!!
“Wake up! Quickly now! You have ten minutes!! If you’re late, you can expect a poneing in your future!!” yelled the harsh, impunitive growl of a hominid prison guard.
What? Morning already? Urrrgghhhhh…
Giljaras Drejeanier’s cloudy mind still rang from vibration of the alarm bell, hating it, just as he hated the guard who rang it, just as he hated his own miserable life. He tossed his coarse, cold body back and forth along the dusty mattress of the dingy bunk. Cold, he tossed sideways toward the very edge of the stingy mattress and creaked open his rebellious green eyes.
He really wished he hadn’t. Arrayed before him was the dim-lit, dormitory where he and the workers of the Silvera mines slept.
Giljaras sighed, the wretched state of the clammy barracks never failed to embitter him. He wondered whether those walls, permanently stained with dirt, grease and other unmentionable bodily excrement had ever been pure white. Miners slithered out like slimy vermin from endless rows of stacked, filthy bunks.
All these miners, they had all been soldiers once, soldiers of the United Weyrs of Draconia. For longer than Gil had been alive, in fact, longer than most people were alive, the CCEM and the UWD had been locked in a perpetual struggle that spanned the globe. Gil, with the limited education that he had been provided, didn't really know how the war started, but he did know that relations between the two had been bad from the start and that sooner or later war had been inevitable.
One would think that it would have been better for these two nations to simply live in peace, but Gil didn't want peace with the Malthinae, not after what they'd done five years ago. The Kingdom of Twilight had been a neutral nation for most of its existence, but it had the ill fortune of having a border with the CCEM. Yet fearing their sovereignty threatened, it had no choice but to turn to Draconia, seeing it as the lesser of two evils, which meant turning it into a semi-colony of the UWD. It had precisely the opposite effect, as the CCEM launched an invasion of Twilight, occupying much of its territory and placing them under its thumb. The rest of it was turned into a churnned up hell; the latest battlefield of the perpetual war between the two superpowers. His hometown of Rowheigh was one of many cities that fell to the invasion before UWD reinforcements. Like many of its inhabitants, he’d been snatched from his home and trashed into the subterranean hell that was the Silvera Concentration camp.
Thus, while he didn't particularly care for Draconia, he absolutely loathed the Malthinae.
“Because they hate us…” Giljaras mumbled to himself, clenching his fists in anger.
Needless to say, these past five years of incarceration had ravaged Gil just as badly as the CCEM’s mechanized armies had ravaged Peopilonia. True, he had grown stronger and tougher from the constant physical labor, yet two bars of Takker’s a day was far from sufficient to meet the needs of a growing young man like he. His once-soft, sandy hair had become so coarse; anyone could have mistaken that unruly mess for a bramble of copper wires. A constant nervous twitch under his right eye, which had afflicted him upon seeing dead bodies for the first time, had skewed whatever symmetry his soot-covered face might have held had he not been imprisoned. Oh, the guards did escort the prisoners to de-louse every once in a while, but Gil, like any other competent miner, would have rather retain their fecal stench then risk the chance of being gassed to death along with the lice.
Though in truth Gil’s fears might have been exaggerated, in this dingy hell where hateful prison guards looked for any excuse or circumstance to frag a couple wheepols (or a couple hundred), he couldn’t take anything for granted.
Gil believed this hatred the hominids held toward humans stemmed from the CCEM’s long bitter struggle with the dragon riding warriors of Draconia. Known more commonly as the dragoner’s, like anyone with half a brain knew, they had been founded who knows how many hundreds of years ago by man who had possessed the name Giljaras Dragoner. He had led them into battle for upwards of a hundred years, only on the same day Gil was born. Though it had been a common practice for years for parents to name their children after famous dragoners, why’d his parents have to name him after Giljaras?
Both his parents had been ambassadors who favored Draconia, in fact they'd been the ones who convinced the Twilight Council that Draconia could help them maintain their independance. Of course, the Malthinae knew this also, and his parents had paid for that via the electric chair. In addition, they decided to whisk away an ordinary eleven year old boy into lifetime incarceration. Not only that, had the soldiers who captured him known anything more than fragmented Draconian, they’d have known Drejeanier was not the Mylandian translation of Dragoner. Unless his language professor had been secretly a Malthinae agent(which definitely could not have been the case since he was a wheepol), ‘Dragoner’ was a universal name which knew no translation.
So today, on the fifth anniversary of his incarceration, this horrible set of misfortunes bothered Gil more than usual, as if reemphasizing a desire that somehow, his fate would not be languishing down here. Oftentimes, he fancied that he actually was Giljaras Dragoner, the eternal scourge of the Malthinae. Why, just last night he had dreamt that had flown upon the old minerdragon, Flamer1, vanquishing the evil mechanized CCEM legions in glorious battle!!
Gil shifted his weary gaze toward the ceiling, snickering; he found it ironic that it was always the old minerdrag Flamer1 that he flew on. Why the hell not though? The only difference would be that Flamer1 would have the deep green scales with sexy, rippling muscles that the aging beast claimed to have had during his military service in the spiritual realm of the now-extinct elves, Vinothemec, more than half a century ago.
Gil uttered a hollow laugh, it was quite difficult to picture the gray, wrinkled semi-senile minerdrag swooping effortlessly through the air, flaming Mylandians, yet once he formed that image it was quite comforting. Contrasting the majestic dragon Flamer1 said he had been to the wretched state he’d become after years of whipping and prodding was quite a traumatizing contrast.
He clenched his fists and uttered a long string of curses.
At that moment, a passing guard with a crooked nose and decayed teeth strode up to his bunk, boring his horizontally slit eyes into Gil. Like the rest of his wretched kind, the guard towered over any human at seven and a half feet tall, and possessed a body of stone.
“7406!! Are you causing trouble again!!” the guard scowled.
Gil shifted lazily on his seat and snorted with contempt. Besides, it wasn’t as if the guard could do anything with his long, deadly .45 caliber MIR12 rifle to stop his arrogance.
The guard’s thin eyebrows met, and a second later, an impact bludgeoned Gil on the ribcage, sending him sprawling toward the sticky concrete. Except maybe plug me with his rifle stock.
“Get moving you worthless wheepol!!” spat the guard, whose footsteps promptly clunked away. Stupid bitch.
Gil stared at the cold floor for a moment, before deciding to lift himself to his feet. It was nearly impossible to describe just how much he hated the Malthinae.
Everything about them drove him to nausea, whether it was their beady eyes, their gaunt, oval-shaped faces or their juiced up, artificially muscular builds that reminded Gil of sports players who injected their asses with excessive amounts of Jukos. He supposed that was the reason why the Mylandians always strutted around like tetanus-infected retards instead of walking like normal civilized beings.
He stared down the hall, where he watched some poor wretch being beaten down from the top bunk by a gang of gray-clad guards. Sometimes, he even felt sorry for the hominids having been cursed so damn badly by the creator. Maybe it had been one of his sick-minded jokes, Gil supposed.
And to the creator, for spawning the hominids that sprawled me into Silvera
I say fuck you son of a bitch.
He didn’t care if that blasphemy toward god had just earned him a ticket straight to hell; and after being trapped in Silvera; the fires of hell might as well be an improvement. The devil did not possess rifles, gas chambers or torture cells.
“Move faster wheepols!! Tardiness will result in severe punishment!!” bellowed a prison guard from under the doorway. Gil rolled his eyes dismissively, Oh my golly gosh!! Not severe punishment!!
Nevertheless, the guards piercing shrill shocked Gil into action. Whatever sense of self-worth he might have felt from defying the Malthinae wasn’t worth it, on account he’d be too dead to enjoy it.
Blood pulsated rapidly throughout his body as he layered on his wrinkled, shit-colored mining tunic. Once the tattered outfit was wrapped somewhat securely to his body, he slapped on his cracked, sweat-stained helmet and stepped into his scratchy, yet faithfully durable work-boots.
Changed, he darted through the maze of bunk beds, occasionally bumping into still-changing miners, and exited the drippy dorms through the hominid-sized doorway. He slogged down the wet, slippery stairs two by two, and arrived at the brackish, deliberately untidy mess hall and squeezed his way into line.
“Hurry up wheepols!! Get in line quickly or else you get no rations!! Not that you deserve any rations period!!” the fat prison cook standing behind the distended plastic cafeteria counter blubbered.
His corpulent face gnashed with disdain as he jerked out rations to their unfeeling recipients. Randomly, the fat piece of lard would slap a miner across the face with his spatula instead of giving him the food they so desperately needed.
“No rations for you wheepol!! Now lasso your sorry butt out of here!!” he snorted. The miner shuffled on, muttering to himself.
Despite having seen this many times before, indeed it had happened many times to himself, fury surged through Gil’s blood. He supposed that the piece of lard felt orgasmic joy sopping in his phony power; standing there with his stained, infected apron and waving his spatula around similar to the way the Mylandian Corporate Chairman Kauserman tossed his hands during a speech.
How dramatic it would be, Gil imagined, if someone would assassinate the bastard during one of his tirades, especially if it happened during a huge political rally at the Krajina Coliseum. He’d be standing from his overhanging balcony, haranguing his message of hatred into his microphone… Our struggle for survival will not stop until Tribitua is set in order by the master race, but until the wheepol terrorists are exter-
Then all of the sudden…
Kauserman would topple backwards, gurgling, clutching his throat with his left hand while blood sputtered from his mouth. Then, from Kauserman’s podium, nobody other than he, Giljaras Drejeanier of Rowheigh, would step forward, holding a pistol, in full view of the 100,000 at Geok Tepe Stadium and the cameras which broadcasted his feat all throughout Tribitua. He’d then fire a few shots into the air; utter a few words about the freedom of humankind, curse the Corporate Conglomerate Emirates of Malthinae though the microphone before the Black Robe mafia riddled him into a martyr for humanity. That’d be the way to go…
A slight push suddenly interrupted Gil’s train of thought.
“Hey!! Move it 7406!! Can’t you see the line’s moved?” moaned the miner in line behind him.
Gil shrugged irritably, “Yeah whatever, sorry,” he replied none too sincerely. After blinking once, Gil caught up in line and picked up a tray from the counter.
When it was his turn to receive rations, the fat prison cook disdainfully tossed him his morning packet of grayish, Takker “energy bars,” catching it deftly onto his tray. After poking its squishy texture for a while, as if anticipating it would squirm, he let out a bemused snort. He always held a suspicion that rations whose title needed quotation marks around it were surely poisonous.
Yet despite its fecal appearance, he bear-hugged his rations with his tray, gazing the surrounding mess hall with trained, suspicious eyes for any suspected crooks. He was constantly amazed at how stealthily miners could snatch rations unnoticed from between even the slightest openings of the arm. Remaining vigilant, he trudged over and sat down on one of the many creaky tables.
Without pausing to dwell on what type of impurity might have found itself trashed inside the rations this time, he quickly gorged down the paste in four quick bites. Once finished, he got up and stacked the tray on the counter (where they would presumably be washed of course). It was not long after that the sergeant commissar strode up to the head of the mess hall, demanding attention so the count-off could quickly commence.
“1892!!” yelled the first miner from the opposite side of the room.
“1920!!” called the next miner.
“2019!! 2102…” Gil waited silently as the 2000’s, then the 3000’s, then the 4000’s, the 5000’s, the 6000’s, called out their numbers. Even after having gotten used to the boring cycle, Gil still grew restless and distracted from the uninspired droning.
When the count-off neared the 7000’s, Gil erected his back with an unnatural stiffness; to give the guards no excuse to shoot him. He understood full well that if there was one thing that guards were good at doing, it was finding excuses to shoot wheepols. Gil never ceased to be amazed at the vigilante the Mylandians displayed when dealing with miners.
Last week, the guards had ‘fragged’ poor earnest 5839 for accusations of ‘un-Mylandian activities,’ all because of the fact that he ‘looked and sounded like someone who’d scheme a ‘miners coalition’. Gil had found the thin, intelligent man quite considerate and friendly, so congenial, that the Mylandians got suspicious and killed him. It’s freaking crazy, and sad at the same time, Gil thought.
“Who is after 7369!!” boomed the sergeant commissar’s scratchy voice. Gil jerked to his feet, forcing himself to blend in with the others. “Answer now or I’ll shoot!!” the same voice continued. Having not received an immediate response, the sergeant commissar stomped down the mess hall and approached Gil. The miners stared with demanding eyes; they didn’t want their entire day ruined by flame-tongued 7406 again.
“7406” announced Gil in an almost casual fashion. The sergeant paused in mid-step, grappling his pistol, and bore his vacuum-like gaze into Gil.
With a horrendous slowness, the sergeant released his gaze and marched back toward the doorway. The miners let out a collective sigh of relief. It was not uncommon that the mistake of one often became the collective guilt of all.
“Wheepols, continue counting off!!” the sergeant commissar barked, hands folded behind his waist. “7593!! 7683!! 7729…”
Once the miners had called out their numbers, they were lined up single file at the mouth of the rock-constituted doorway.
“You shall now go to your stations!! Anyone caught slacking off, or performing ‘destabilizing activities’ shall be severely punished!” shouted the sergeant, pausing ever so briefly so the full intimidating effect could sink in. Heh, that’s such an old trick, not even a scared private would quaver at it anymore.
“Now move out!!”
When the sergeant gave the signal, Gil followed the miners out of the cafeteria, through the dense tunnel, and into the spacious main hall. Already visible through the rough archway were endless swaths of helmeted miners and the rifle-toting soldiers escorting them. They scurried through as if lost in a subway station, filing across the rocky floor toward the gates that would lead them to their proper stations.
Crossing through the main hall comprised the only time during the whole day when Gil came into contact with miners of the eight other sectors. If one had not known any better, Lassoing Platform 10-A could have been mistaken for a temple, a testament to its high, domed ceiling and unnaturally smooth walls. In fact, Flamer1 had told him that during the days when Silvera was a thriving underground dwarven city, 10-A was one of many centers of worship in which the dwarves would pray to their deceased kings to watch over them. Guess their prayers went unanswered.
Yet on the ledges where the proud bronze statues kings had once stood, carcasses of miners killed from previous days, or even weeks, wretched themselves on long wooden pikes like creatures from the underworld. The hominids were smart enough, or rather sadistic enough to realize that the strategic location would produce the maximum amount of fear and worthlessness. Gil had never forgotten the first time he had seen those shriveled faces; the memory still gave him goosebumps to this day.
He took the time to stare at one of the contorted bodies. He merely shrugged. They were no longer human bodies; only grotesque decorations.
“Wheepol!! Get back in line!!” a guard bellowed, poking with his rifle stock. Gil groaned, but filed back into his proper spot without a word. Before he knew it, his group had entered the rocky archways that led to North Station. He rambled down the stairs two at a time, weaved his way through the long, rush-hour-packed hallway, sliced the corner and stumbled into the North station platform. Once there, he took a spot in line, leaning alongside one the metallic zigzagging aisles that dominated the station.
North Station was where the miners loaded into the passing carts that would ‘lasso’ them to Lowsector. A pair of double-tracks that ran perpendicular to the platform split further ahead, where the designated carts would go to other sectors. Yet no matter what path one took, there would be no avoiding the dimly lit toxic gas lamps which hung precariously above the tracks, giving the station an ethereal glow.
Every minute or so, the stationmaster sitting inside his boxed booth would signal a mine cart to come forward. Usually, a miner would wait around a quarter hour before getting in. One ride I’ve taken far too many times.
Yet during that time, one could not acclimate to the foulness of North Station’s un-circulated air.
With the putrid combination of body odor, gas emissions, and the lingering pall of rotting bodies, the trio gave North Station its usual “special” stench. There had literally been cases of miners choking themselves to death from the stink. Don’t think the guards would issue us gasmasks if it got really noxious, cause they won’t. In fact, maybe that’s what they’re planning on doing; stinking us to death.
Maybe he was being a bit too paranoid, but he never knew; freakier things had happened before at Silvera.
He pondered endlessly of the grim possibilities until the guards signaled him and seven others into a mine cart. In typical Silvera style, the five-by-ten cart had originally been structured to transport five. But of course, Gil figured, the hominids loved to see them suffer by squashing more in than what was necessary.
“Get in wheepol, I know how much you wheepols love feeling yourselves!!” yelled a sentry, his expression wild. Gil seethed as the guard prodded him into the cabin, but thought better of it. He was in no mood to receive that final Mylandian ration of nine grams of lead stuffed down his throat.
Well, that guy can receive a broomstick up the ass, not that he’d already been fantasizing that in his mind.
Yet before he could squeeze his ragged frame fully into the cramped metal compartment, the sentry slammed the rusty, medal door onto his hip, bruising it. He shirked away and gasped as his hipbone stung with paralyzing numbness.
“Wait till I get in before you close it damn you!!” roared Gil, shaking his fist. The guard frowned, threw his head forward, and spat on his face. The next thing Gil saw after wiping the goop of his face was the muzzle of an IR12. Despite being fully aware that a forty –five caliber round could explode his head into an unrecognizable mass (a common Mylandian execution method was to place prisoners in a line and see how many of them one round could penetrate through), he remained stiff and defiant. Most of the time, it would make the guard less likely to pull the trigger.
To Gil’s relief, he had guessed right. A vein bulged from the guard’s neck as he lowered the rifle, “7406!! If you dare jimmer through your ugly, worthless mouth again, I swear I will frag you and take pleasure in shitting on your corpse!!” Before Gil could do anything else, he felt a pair of arms wrap around his waist and pull him down into the metal bench.
Even so, Gil was still able to jerk his arm up into the air and flash the guard a rude finger gesture. Before Gil knew what was happening, the guard’s eyebrows met and angled the rifle downwards toward Gil, who threw his head downward into the seat.
He felt the rifle round breeze over his head and impact the wall. He gritted his teeth as he angled his head back up, resisting the impulse to shiver. For a minute, all activity in North Station ceased. Damn, the guy actually had the guts to fire his weapon.
“This is your last warning 7406!! One more word and you’ll never speak again!!” the guard shouted.
Gil merely stared with wide eyes. This had been the first time anyone had really fired a shot in his direction, and reckoned he didn’t like the feeling. the guard reared back and kicked the mine cart with the base of his hell. The miners yelped as the force rattled the flimsy metal frame. Gil however, remained seated, feeling calmer than he thought he should be feeling after being shot at. He tilted his head to the side and gave a sneering smile.
“If you hate me that much, why not frag me right now? I’d resort to anything to get out of this awful place” he spat. The guard continued giving him a stony glare yet his indecision was clear. Not even a Mylandian was dumb enough to turn anyone named Giljaras into a martyr. Fortunately, the mine cart buckled under him and began clanking down the track, yet Gil’s eyes never left that guard. He’d find out the guys name someday, and he’d get what’s coming to him.
Before long, North Station faded from sight. Shifting his head from side to side, Gil soon noticed that all the miners were fixing their faces sourly on him. A tiny unbiased part of Gil’s mind knew the other men had every right to be mad after having been shot at because of an unstable teenager’s mood swing. With the guards out of sight, one of the miners snatched Gil by the collar. It was 2968, a former UWD infantryman.
“Look kid, you think you're the only one who hates the fucking Malthinae? You think you're the only one who think life is shit?” growled 2968. He shook and threw Gil back down on the seat, sending a sharp pain rippling up his spinal cord. The other six miners growled in ferocious agreement, slamming their boots on the metallic frame like rioters. Gil sighed and shook his head. Man, not this shit again.
Gil raised his head and gave 2968 a quizzical look, as if he didn’t know what 2968 was talking about. Casually, he crossed his legs and leaned back against the side of the mine cart. His lips formed that smug smile the miners knew, and despised so well, “Better to die here than mine the lead the CCEM uses to shoot us and your countrymen with” he snapped.
None of the miners’ identical cold, helmeted expressions budged. To them, he might have spoken in elvish, or some form of dwarven maybe. Another commando-turned-miner; 3172, swiveled his neck in Gil’s direction and sneered, “7406, unlike that fantasy world you live in, a real soldier does not become a martyr after stopping a 45 caliber round with his face. Trust me, I have seen it happen to many boys not unlike you 7406; and no one gives a shit for them when they die.” Gil wrenched his face into a hideous frown; Flamer1 was his only friend in the entire mines. Just how could he claim that he wouldn’t?
Grinding his teeth, Gil forced himself to sink back into the seat. “So don’t you lecture us about ‘honor’ and ‘duty’ 7406, but if you’re willing listen to Flamer1’s meandering then by all means be our guest” said 2968. The miners folded their arms and chuckled once more.
Gil clenched his fists and seethed, wishing some malady to befall the miners. Nobody insulted his friend Flamer1 in front of him; how dare they?
The thought caused Gil to rise to his feet in a sudden fury, “Screw you bastards, someday we’ll get out of this dump, all of us. And even if we don’t, why not shoot up as many of those damn corpies while we still can!! You all used to be soldiers at one time, and Flamer1 had once been a battle dragon so I reckon we can raise plenty of hell” he reiterated, throwing his arms around like a demagogue. 3172 and 2968 began snickering again, their bodies bobbing up and down in their seats.
“And what do you claim in your deluded imagination to have been before now? A mighty dragoner?” snorted 3172 in his most bullying tone. Gil could only snarl. The fact was that before being sent to Silvera, Gil had only been a schoolboy who’d been notorious for throwing rocks at the school bus.
“Sure” he retorted, for lack of a better response. The miners cackled with glee. “Oh, so you mean you wish you were one of those winged cowards that abandoned us when we needed them most? All those dragoners are good for nowadays is swinging their sword and getting themselves and everyone else shot,” 2968 replied acidly. Gil shook at the insult.
During earlier, more civilized times before the rise of Macrocorp, a person would have been honored when they were compared to a dragoner. But ever since they had flown their great beasts back to their ancestral homeland of Draconia after losing in Vinothemec, their stock had plummeted considerably. Hence, the dragoners were now known for their isolation rather than their former virtues of honor or bravery.
Angry, Gil tensed his posture and began shaking his head slowly. “I would be different from those mongers!!” he shouted back, stomping the undercarriage with such a force as to startle the miners. Even though it may have silenced them briefly, they began chuckling again. 3172 stormed forward out of his seat to confront Gil. The twisted half-smile the creature had on his dust-ridden face was one of pure malice.
He forwarded his frenzied gaze to only inches of Gil’s before scowling, “Why sure 7406, you could indeed live out your childish fantasy as a ‘dragoner’. But even if you were, what might you do anyhow? One shot from a tank and it won’t matter how much prowess you possess in battle but realistically I’d envision you being blown to smithereens like all the other children” Gil couldn’t help cringing to the man’s venom despite being taller than 3172. There was a strange, yet horrific glint in the man’s eyes that signified he really had seen children being blown to smithereens.
Nodding wide-eyed with a half smile that bordered on hysteria, 3172 rambled on, “In fact, there is one dragoner I’d compare to you to 7406,” Goddamn, not the Giljaras Dragoner joke again,
“Hmm, whom might that be?” a miner from the corner bench howled, exaggerating his curiosity.
3172 screwed his features, before answering “It would definitely have to be that crazy fellow who stayed behind to have his bloody remains hauled throughout the streets of Geok Tepe.” Gil gritted his teeth and twisted his head away from 3172 in painful disillusionment. He knew all too well of the squalid direction this conversation was going. No way would he sucker himself into to that sort of trash again.
Yet 3172 wouldn’t have enough. He grabbed Gil’s chin to force his stare into his pit eyes, “I’m not done with you yet.” Gil rolled his eyes and groaned, “Fine, go ahead and enlighten us with your bogus tale again.” The miners eagerly leaned their heads forward to listen in. No doubt, Gil assumed hotly, so they could relieve the long trip’s boredom by listening to stories that knocked the whining flamertongue down a peg.
3172 let out an evil cackle and bent to his knees as if he were telling a ghost story during a campout, “Now we all know why this crazy ended up screwing the world over. If ya’ didn’t know, that arrogant zealot claimed himself a prophet who ‘had seen the future,’ warning the dragoners of the danger of Mylandia.” Gil steamed, he could never understand why this man was so ridiculed for correctly predicting the rise of Macrocorp. Those misguided people were just resentful finger-pointers that’s all...
“But the irony is…” 3172’s cheeks twitched once before shouting, “It was all his goddamned fault that Mylandia got as powerful as it is!! Because of him!! The hominids hate us humans and invaded Peopilonia!! He ruined us!!”
3172 finished with a loud stomp that made the miners pump their arms wildly in uproarious agreement. Gil felt himself rage as they launched insults at a man dead for nearly 17 years. “You’re all just cock-sucking sissies that’s what!!” Gil found himself replying vehemently, pointing fingers at them.
“7406, you amuse me, I’m sure you’d like to die just the same way that boogeyman did, getting ingloriously fragged and the Mylandians proclaiming a holiday for your death afterwards. Considering what he did to us, even I want to chant ‘kill Gil’ every fall solstice, and if I ever learned your name, I’d chant the death keel for you too.”
The miners began chanting ‘kill-Gil!! Kill-Gil!!’ while Giljaras stood watching with horror. The irony never failed to rankle deep to where it hurt Gil most. The fact remained that every year he celebrated his birthday while the Mylandians and derisive miners chanted ‘kill Gil’ until their voice boxes cracked. Heck if the miners had known he was named after that arm-twisting demagogue; he’d figured that he wouldn’t have made it past the first day. It was for this reason why he found the coincidence both a blessing and a curse.
Gil pierced his green eyes, leaning forward toward 3172. “Fuck…you…” He surged to his feet and grabbed 3172 in the neck. “How dare you make fun of a noble warrior who had been the only one to see, before anyone else had, the menace that Mylandia was!! If none of you can see that, then you’re all cowards you know that!!
Without warning, 3172 tensed his jaw and threw a jab at his neck. Reacting, Gil stopped the jab with his forearms, and with a sudden motion, bracketed him on the face with a head butt. The former commando staggered back into the mass of miners as he clutched his bruised nose.
Attempting to avenge his injured comrade, 2968 sprang to a crouch and attempted to rush forward to bash Gil into the wall. Quickly, he tilted out of the way, while 2968 rammed his stomach painfully against door edge, buckling. Taking advantage of his delay, Gil lifted his elbow up and slammed it down onto 2968 back until he felt the backbone quaver. 2968 let out a thick croak as he doubled over to the floor, spitting out blood.
Gasping, Gil stared down at both 2968 and 3172 lying limply along the wall as they clutched their wounded body parts. He let out a snort, as if preparing to breathe fire into them. The rest of the miners stared goggle eyed and frozen in their seats. For a while, all that was audible were the clanking of the wheels and the whir of the moving cart.
“Who else wants some!!” he yelled at the miners out of the blue. The miners backed themselves toward the opposite side of the cart like scared adolescents, one of them letting out a weak whimper.
He growled once more; being the mine’s flamertongue meant that one had to earn his respect. Usually, that would come from fighting doubters like 2968 and 3172. Yet not even Gil wouldn’t have gotten into so many fights had he not been so damn good at beating people up. Indeed, many had snapped on Gil before.
There was this one incident two years ago, when a huge miner named 3849, who was fed up with Gil’s so-called ‘special treatment’, vowed to ‘punch his short arrogant ass back into its proper place’. When Gil refused to cooperate, big 3849 charged at him…and paid dearly with a dislocated nose. Plotting revenge, he showed up the following day with three goons, all of who were over six feet tall. He remembered being slammed against a corner, but then went into a tantrum that left all the thugs sprawled on the floor unconscious, and Gil happily relieved them of their rations. For a while, not even the Mylandians dared to speak a word to him.
He never understood why he had such skill in fighting. He figured it was a side effect of being able to speak with dragons. Gil remembered from his schooling, and from Flamer1, how the dragoners had had this exact same ‘affliction’ befall them. If you had given a dragoner a sword, they’d learn probably fifty moves that day, Gil remembered from one of his dead father’s jokes.
Give me a gun and who knows what would happen?
Finally, one of the miners, 4117 spoke up, “Y-you’re a freak you know that 7406? And worse you don’t realize how much of a freak you are. Beating up 2968 and 3172 like they’re nothing? J-just leave us alone or the rest of us will knock you dead!!” The miners glared in agreement with 4117, clenching their fists as to make sure he got the picture.
For a while, Gil felt like taking them all on anyways, but reconsidered. In times like these, not even he was crazy enough to fight with 5 other goddamn miners willing to back up the two cowards. Incidents of miners who had somehow ‘lost their way’ being transported to their workstations happened at a much too frequent rate. Shaking with disgust at the overwhelming cowardice of these former Peopilonians, Gil gave them one last defiant snort and slumped down into his seat.