THE RAPTURING – Part 3
With the last eleven of us together, the Grunts had us assemble in the social area. Administrator explained that we would be visited by eleven of the Politic to help us in our transition. We will be given privacy rights to interact with the adult and given opportunity to ask questions and otherwise be oriented to adult life. After Rapturing, we will be taken into the Politic and assigned tasks, I’m assuming based on our Designation. After assembly we were taken through Administrator’s quarters to a new area. It was a narrow hallway with doors every ten feets on each side, twenty in all. The hallway opened to a living area with a couch that stretched across the entire back wall.
The Grunts told us that we should sit while they investigated the rooms. When they returned, they were confused and laughing. They explained to us that each of the rooms had a slab big enough for three people and were soft like a cushion. They had thick cloth draped over them and seemed to resemble a thermal. The rooms were painted in different colors, yellow, red, blue, green and gray. Each of us were interested in exploring the rooms when a short klaxxon rang out.
At the sound, we each sat at attention on the long couch. A door suddenly appeared within the forward wall and slid open. Eleven adults walked through the door wearing stiff robes that dragged the ground. The robes were colored like the Grunts described the rooms and the hoods covered their faces.
Starting at the closest to the hallway, a red-robed figure removed her hood. “I am for Grunt-Zeta-One,” said the woman. Her eyes were yellow and her hair white. Her skin was darker than ours. Grunt Z1 stood and walked to meet her.
“Follow me,” she said calmly then she began walking deliberately down the hallway.
“Grunt-Zeta-Two,” said the man in the red robe, “I am for you.” Grunt Z2 rose. She looked apprehensive, but then followed him down the hallway as well.
One by one, this scene repeated until I was left with the last figure in a green robe. She pulled down her hood and said, “I am for you.” The woman had auburn hair and green eyes with a visible scar running from just above one eye across her face into the opposite cheek. I could not move. I could not speak. After these few anums here stood Hope waiting for me. My emotions almost got the better of me, so I calmed myself, stood and followed her down the hallway.
Once inside the room, I quickly looked around to know my surroundings. Just like the Grunts said, a large oversized slab with cloth thermals and this room was colored the same as Hope’s robe. As Hope closed the door, I excitedly called her name, “Hope, it’s me Adm-85546.”
She looked at me as if she were looking at a stranger. “I am Designation Hope. I am here to help you with your Rapturing. Please, lie on the bed,” she said pointing to the slab.
Fearing I might be acting childish, I complied. The softness of the “bed” was a comfort my body was not used to. As I lay there trying to find an acceptable condition, Hope removed her robe revealing that she was only wearing her undergarments. Shocked, I protested, “Hope, what are you doing?”
“I am for you,” she said with an unemotional look on her face. She sat on the side of the bed and began trying to remove my clothes.
I scrambled to get out of the bed. “Hope! This isn’t you. Stop immediately.”
She walked around the bed toward me and continued with her unemotional tone, “This is your Rapturing. Return to the bed.”
“Then I will rapture you where you stand.” She walked swiftly toward me, but I dove across the bed to the other side of the room.
“No. Hope snap out of this!” I backed toward the door, but it was sealed. This situation would require quick thinking and finesse. I grabbed a cloth thermal and started ripping it as she stood on the bed watching me and matching my position in the room. After getting several strips of cloth I relented. “Forgive me, I’m sorry. Please rapture me.”
She stepped down from the bed and walked toward me. She slowly ran her fingers from my hips upward until she began removing my shirt. When it was nearly removed, I quickly reversed it and put the shirt over her face. Grabbing one arm, I wrapped a strip around her wrist then quickly bound her other wrist until her arms were secured behind her back. While she struggled with her wrists I did the same with her ankles and put her on the bed. I straddled her hips and removed my shirt from her head. I leaned in close and whispered, “Never let down your guard.”
In her eyes, I saw a flicker of panic. “Adm?”
“Hope? Do you recognize me?”
“Adm! Adm!” and she began to cry.
I immediately got off of her and untied her bonds. She wrapped her arms around me and cried on my shoulder. I held her gently but firmly. She felt soft as I rubbed her back.
“Hope, what is going on?”
She wiped her tears and stood up. “I was sent in here to kill you.”
I was shocked, “I…I don’t understand.”
“After I was taken to the Meds, they discovered my scar could not be removed. I was sent to repurposing. They programmed me to…” her voice trailed.
“To do what, Hope?”
“I’m still confused. What do you mean?”
“The Politic only wants perfection or as close to perfection as they can get. When a pod turns of age, the Raptors are sent in. I have been a Raptor for annums now. Completely controlled by the Politic. Almost all of the Raptors are repurposed. My task is to have sex with the podling, then just after I am to kill him. If he’s worthy, he’ll kill me instead.”
“The Rapturing is about sex?”
“No, the Rapturing is about not being swayed by pleasure. It’s about surviving and joining the Politic. I have survived forty-three Rapturings in three annums.”
“So, do you remember much about pod life?”
“I remember everything. But the repurposing works like another person controlling you. You cry, but no tears fall. You scream, but no sound is formed. They made me have sex with forty-three people only to kill them afterward. You would have been forty-four, Adm.”
“I’m called Spear now.”
“You’re Spear?” she exclaimed. “You? You’re Spear?” She collapsed on the bed and began sobbing, “They didn’t tell me. They just said wait and take the last one. How could I have been so blind?”
I put my arms around her to comfort her and she only wept more bitterly.
“They didn’t send me to kill you. They sent me to die.”
“What do you mean?”
“Adm, um, Spear, I’m dead, sure to be reclaimed. They expected you would kill me because you are what they hoped this pod would be. Intelligent, logical, emotionally disconnected and able to do multiple tasks, to lead, to kill when it is logical to do so. They have been talking about you for annums.”
The gravity of her words began to weigh heavily on my conscience. I have been observed my entire life for a purpose within the Politic. I have mastered my own studies and stolen other studies and mastered them. They watched me. They monitored me. A thought came across my mind like lightning.
“Hope, if they’ve watched me and monitored me then they sent you to me on purpose. They must have read in my rapturing journal about my emotions for you. They exploited our workout encounter to see if I would be able to kill you like Adm-85542. You would not have stopped your assault and logically that means killing you. Hope, they wanted me to be the one to erase my connection with you, to prove that I can do what must be done without respect for life.”
“You wrote about me in your rapturing journal?”
She held my face in her hands and kissed me deeply. She continued kissing me softly. Then she looked at me with tears in her eyes. “I can’t kill you. I have emotions for you. I have thought about you every day since that single kiss in the combat room. Every time I was forced to rapture, I pretended they were you kissing me and touching me.”
“Stop. This isn’t the time. Now how do we get out of here?”
“Those doors won’t open until this room monitors only one heartbeat.”
It didn’t take but a centitick to realize that only one person is supposed to leave this room. Either one of us kills the other, or we starve to death together. They wanted me to be reunited with Hope only to lose her again. My mind went into hyper mode.
“Since I am to die,” she began, “then let my last moments with you be intimate and loving.” She ran her fingers through my hair and began kissing me again. I gently stepped away from her.
She expressed a look of concern and sadness. “No?”
“There has to be another way.”
“There isn’t. The moment the other podlings died, the door opened. I choked one with the bedsheets and I thought he was dead but his heart kept beating. It wasn’t until I stopped his heart that the door opened.”
“Then that’s our solution.” Examining the rooms contents I asked, “What happens when you leave?”
“The survivors line up and wait for the others to finish. When there are exactly eleven left, the main door will appear and open.”
“Exactly eleven…. You said that there are some Raptors that are not repurposed? Who’s giving the orders?”
“Phile. He’s the only one of us with reddish eyes. He’s not repurposed. He enjoys rapturing.”
Hope showed me a small wardrobe with a change of clothes. These all were a shade of green that matched the room. We both changed clothes and I had Hope put her robe back on to hide her shorts and t-shirt.
I flipped the mattress off the bed to reveal a polyvinylchoride bed frame. A tough, durable, lightweight material that can serve many purposes. We broke the bed frame into two long and two short pieces with jagged ends. I placed the pieces next to the door. When I felt like all was prepared, I asked her to kiss me. She stepped close and leaned in closing her eyes. I immediately put my arm around her neck and shoved her backwards to the floor. Applying pressure to her neck, I squeezed, cutting off her blood flow and breathing. I kept the pressure on until I choked her to death.