An intellectually gifted youth and others like him must survive a highstakes game of chess
"Checkmate," Pawn said to his opponent. He had just trapped the king in the bottom left corner of his opponent's half of the chess board.
The less than intelligent mental instituion patient looked at the board in disbelief. "Hey! You cheated!" Pawn just sighed,"No, you just made a stupid move. You castled your rook and king into a corner almost completely surrounded by pawns. The part you left open I just used to place my bishop to take your king, making it a checkmate because you trapped yourself in the corner and with the pawns, giving your king no where to run."
The mental patient made fists in anger.He stood up from his chair and knocked the board and chess pieces off the table. Then he grabbed Pawn by the collar. Institution guards noticed the comotion and ran to them. The patient prepared to punch Pawn. "I'll break your nerdy skull," he told Pawn. "Yeah. Right after you get out of solitary confinement," Pawn answered calmly. The guards broke the patient's grip on Pawn and wrestled him down to the ground. Another guard walked up to Pawn as the patient was subdued. "I think you should return to your room," the guard said. "Yeah. Chess here was getting boring anyways," he told the guard.
Pawn was taken to his room in the mental institution. He didn't belong there. His parents left him in the DeMori Mental Institution back before he could even remember. He had no official last name or first name when he arrived. Pawn got his name at the institution for his uncanny ability to beat everyone at chess or complex mind games, even at an early age. He was believed to be born with a mental disability and destined to die soon after birth but neither of which happened. However, that didn't stop his parents from abandoning him there to die with all the crazy and just plain stupid people.
I'm too smart for this place, Pawn thought. Everyone here is stupid. Since he was registered as having a mental problem, Pawn was placed in a portion of the mental hospital with people the doctors and therapists considered to be "retarded." He barely had any idea of what happened on the outside world. What Pawn pieced together from newspaper fragments he found and from conversations, the government had shut down a few years back so the major city corporations took control of the main goverments and ran the country like a business. Some cities prospered, but most were controlled like a dictatorship.
Instead of states, counties, or cities, the country was divided into zones under the control of various businesses. One zone, the one Pawn lived in, was controlled through the mind. A wealthy man known as Mr. King controlled that zone and dubbed it Zone 32. Rumors say he controlled the population through his own personal mind manipulation machine. Those who were not controlled by the machine were sent to the Enforcers for "processing." Mr. King and his corporation Kingdom Inc., ran Zone 32 like a utopian society, though Pawn considered it a dystopian society.
The Chief Enforcer hired by Mr. King was an intimidating man known as Mr. Bishop. He is known to have processed more than 700 people; all of them never heard from again. Everyone lived equally under the rule of the mind manipulation machine. There were only a handful of people not under its control. Three of them were Mr. Bishop, Mr. King, and his daughter, whom he called Regina. The rest were the patients at the DeMori Mental Institution. For some strange reason, there unique, mentally ill minds seemed to have a natural resistance to Mr. King's machine.
Some people, such as Pawn, didn't even deserve to be at the mental hospital. About a fourth of the patients there were what Pawn considered the garbage of society. There was everyone from illegal immigrants to homeless people to theives, rapists, and murderers.
He, however, has been spending the past few years at the Instituion for the whole sixteen years he's been alive. The hospital was losing funds and many of the patients have either been released to randomly roam the streets or to be processed by Enforcers. Recently, the patients got word that the hospital was going to close soon and that they were going to be permanently evicted from there homes, not that they knew what that meant.
Pawn looked out his rainy bulletproof glass window. He saw the skyline of Zone 32, dismal yet architectually advanced. Towards the center of the city that was Zone 32, was where the Kingdom Inc. buildings were. Towering above those was the home of Mr. King and his daughter Regina. It was shaped like a modern castle, with slick stark white walls and spires so pointy it could impale a man. It had 16 spires on its sauucer shaped penthouse, with black ballistics glass windows covering the sides of the castle. Then Pawn looked down at the gritty, filthy streets of Zone 32 compared to the perfectly clean roads of where Kingdom Inc. did its business. Some leader you are, Mr. King, he thought. You can take care of your business but not the people whom you call your "customers." I bet that despite your mind control, everyone hates you wishes you to die a slow, painful death by dying in your own manipulation machine,Pawn added. He however, considred himself an unoptimistic misanthropist and considered his thought wishful thinking.
Pawn sat back down on his bed, bored. Then he did what he's been doing for as long as he can remember. He brought out his chess set and began to play against himself.
Meanwhile outside, Mr. Bishop arrived in a black Cadillac XTS. Behind him were seven Cadillac Escalade SUVs that were carrying dozens of Enforcers. They dismounted from their cars and entered the mental institution. The Enforcers donned their black ominous gas masks, a sharp contrast to their perfectly white business suits, with the exception of a black tie. Attached to their ties were their Kingdom Inc. I.D. cards. In the back of the SUV, the Enforcers brought out some silver suit cases with locks with digital locks. They typed in the codes and opened it.
As the Enforcers were preparing themselves, Mr. Bishop exited his vehicle and entered the building. Different from the Enforcers, he wore a black suit with a red tie and had long black hair. Behind Mr. Bishop was a small squad of Enforcers who moved throughout the the mental hospital, taking patients from their rooms and rounding them up outside. In about five minutes, they cleared the whole bottom level. As Mr. Bishop was observing the patients being taken from their rooms, a doctor ran up and confronted him. "What are you doing?" the doctor asked. "Taking them for processing," he answered coldly as he began to walk off down the hall.
"Why? We haven't done anything wrong. All our work is in order and we have followed standards set out by Kingdom Inc. ever since the company took over eight years ago..." the doctor trailed off as Mr. Bishop walked faster to get away from him. He walked downstairs to the dark and secluded boiler room. The doctor walked back up to his speed. "Mr. Bishop, please-" "Please turn around," he interrupted. "But-" "That's an order. Unless of course, you wish to join your patients and be processed," Mr. Bishop ordered. The doctor turned around without a word. Mr. Bishop reached into his suit jacket. "Mr. Bishop, if you would please tell me the purpose of -" before the doctor could finish his sentence, he dropped dead with barely a sound. Mr. Bishop blew the smoke from his suppressed USP45 pistol and placed it back in his suit jacket. "Thank you for your cooperation doctor," he said as he walked back to the lobby to oversee final gatherings of patients, avoiding the pool of blood gathering up as he stepped.
Back uptstairs, Pawn stopped playing chess with himself and looked out the window. Against the wall of the facility were all the patients lined up. All of them were placed in five single file lines. Pacing around the lines were the Enforcers, who were armed with HK G36C assault rifles and UMP45 submachine guns. More Enforcers were exiting the building, holding patients at gun point. They forced each of them into one of the five lines.
Mr. Bishop soon exited the building as well. Behind him were a group of Enforcers escorting captured doctors bound with zip ties. Mr. Bishop and the Enforcers told the patients and the doctors to turn around and face the wall. "Now, ladies and gentlemen," Bishop began, " by the orders given to me by Kingdom Incorporated..."
The Enforcerrs began to pull the charging handles of their weapons back and put the selector switch to fully automatic.
Pawn was still looking out of his window with interest. "...you will be processed," stated Mr. Bishop. The Enforcers then fired upon the helpless doctors and patients. They were brutally shot to pieces as they were mowed down by bullets. Mr. Bishop watched on with a sadistic smirk on his face as he put on his black shades. Soon, the shooting stopped. From his window, Pawn watched the carnage from beginning to end. That's funny, Pawn thought. That's exactly what I thought would happen.
Down in the courtyard, the air smelled of burnt gun powder, blood, and an odor of death. The ground was littered with pieces of flesh mixed with spent bullet shells. Pools of blood surrounded the bodies of the murdered doctors and patients. The wall they were told to face was riddled with a thousand bullet holes. The Enforcers began to place what was left of the bodies in white body bags.
"Incinerate the evidence when we get back to headquarters. Sweep up the spent cartridges and mop up the blood. I don't want any of the scum we call citizens of this Zone to get any ideas," ordered Mr. Bishop as he began to head towards the mental hospital again. "You two, come with me," he said as he picked to Enforcers from the group to escort him.
The two Enforcers put in fresh magazines in their submachine guns and followed him. One of them brought a suitcase of supplies with them. They followed Mr. Bishop to the basement where the body of the doctor he murdered earlier still was. They reached an appliance that was the center of the ventillation system. One of the Enforcers than removed the grid covering the ventillation shaft. Mr. Bishop held out his hand. The Enforcer with the suitcase typed in the code to unlock it and opened it to reveal a brown burlap sack and five canisters within it.
Bishop was handed a canister by the Enforcer. He pulled the pin and dropped the CS gas grenade drop down the vent shaft. The other Enforcers dropped the rest down with it. Mr. Bishop donned his own gas mask and brought out his suppressed pistol as he waited for the gas to spread.
Within minutes, the CS gas reached the second floor to Pawn's room. He started coughing and his eyes began to tear up. Pawn was forced to take off his plain white, short sleeved shirt and put it to his mouth to act as a filter from the irritating air. However, it did little to protect him from it. His eyes and lungs still had a burning sensation.
Mr. Bishop and his Enforcer escorts boarded the elevator and made their way to the second floor. Pawn was still gagging from the gas. They've come to kill me, he thought. Oh well. Better dead than spend the rest of my life alone trapped inside an abandoned mental hospital. Soon, they reached Pawn's room.
Using a pass card stolen from a dead hospital employee, Mr. Bishop unlocked the door to Pawn's room. They found him on his knees using his desk to support himself. "Take him," ordered Bishop. An Enforcer knocked Pawn off the desk and onto the ground, knocking his chess set with all the pieces with him. Pawn fell to the chess piece littered ground. Another Enforcer put a burlap sack on his head as the first one tied Pawn's wrists together with zip ties.
"We have the boy," Mr. Bishop said in his wrist communicator. One of the Enforcers knocked Pawn to the ground again with the stock of his submachine gun as he attempted to get back up. "Let's go," one Enforcer said as Mr. Bishop left the room.
They heaved Pawn to his feet and nearly dragged him to the elevator. They rode it and stepped outside where most of the doctors' and patients' corpses were all placed in body bags.
Pawn was still disoriented as they reached the Cadillac XTS sedan Mr. Bishop arrived in. An Enforcer opened one of the rear doors. "Where are you taking me?" Pawn asked, still disoriented. An Enforcer slammed the stock of his UMP45 submachine gun once again in Pawn's face as a reply, but this time, it knocked him out. Pawn then slumped sideways onto the fine leather seats. The last thing he saw was Mr. Bishop removing his ominous looking gas mask. Then everything went black.
Suddenly, Pawn awoke from his unconsciousness. He couldn't see anything and had barely any idea how much time had passed. The burlap sack blocked his view. He licked his lips. Pawn tasted blood after getting smacked in the face from the gun stock. He was breathing heavily for his lungs still hurt from breathing in too much CS gas.
An invisible hand seemed to lift the burlap sack off his head. Pawn closed his eyes. A bright white light was directly above him. When his eyes adjusted to the light, he opened them and looked around the room, though there was not much to look at. Other than the light, the room was completely dark. So dark, Pawn couldn't make any difinitive features of the room. He couldn't see where the walls ended and the wall and ceiling began. All he could see was black. He was alone in an all black "room".
The only form of furniture in the room was the plain black, rectangular chair he was sitting on. Other than moving his neck and head, Pawn felt completely restrained on the chair, yet there were no visible bounds on the armrests his wrists were on or around where his ankles are. He could not move anything bellow his neck. Pawn then tried in vain to stand up, but no matter how much he tried, he couldn't get to his feet. Eventually Pawn gave up and just sat there.
Another light flashed on infront of Pawn. This light revealed a black 42 inch Panasonic plasma screen telvision on a televison stand. Connected to it was a Cisco Umi television communications device. The television flickered to life as if someone turned it on with a remote control.
While looking at the screen, Pawn noticed he had a black eye from getting hit and sighed disatisfied. The screen then showed a man in his mid 50s in a slick business suit. Based on Zone 32 newspaper fragments, Pawn recognized him as Mr. King.