Serenity could hear the resounding echoes of her footsteps as she walked down the empty hallway, fighting a flinch as the sound of each footfall bounced back to her. For some reason the sound seemed harsher than she had ever remembered. Perhaps it was because she had grown used to the overwhelming silence that accompanied her stay in the asylum. Asylums were meant to be a refuge for those that needed it though they were more like prisons. A mental and physical prison for those that wanted most to escape. Freedom was no longer considered to be an unalienable right. The wealthy could buy their freedoms while everyone else stuck to the strict regime that the government set forth, enforced by the seers. Through a touch, all of your thoughts were on display. Any ideas that didn't comply with the status quo could land you in an asylum where they would attempt to correct your thoughts, bending you into the robots that filled the bustling cities.
The asylum was completely empty now, as though it had been abandoned and forgotten. Serenity's first step out of the building seemed monumental. As a child, a seer had seen her free spirit and recommended that she should be locked away before her mind ran rampant. The thought that had given the young girl away was a bird in flight, spreading its wings and soaring on a gust of wind. This single image was symbolic of everything the government tried to suppress in its citizens.
The city had less color than she remembered. The sky was more gray than blue, and the grass long since covered in concrete. The trend reached out to the people as well. Their skin had adopted a lifeless gray tone, their eyes stared forward unseeingly. Continuing to look around, Serenity caught sight of her haggard appearance in the reflection of the shop window. She noted that she seemed older than she should be. It had seemed a short amount of time that she had been locked away but the body she saw was not the one she remembered. She had expected the short, round, and bright child of her memories. Instead, the vision that met her was a woman, hollowed out and spent. An overwhelming fear overtook her when she moved and saw the reflection twitch in response.
"Excuse me, what is the date?" she frantically asked the person nearest her. The man didn't act as though he had heard her at all, continuing on with his gaze forward. Serenity continued frantically trying to get the attentions of those around her to no result. Finally, she reached out to grab a woman who was passing quickly. The woman's gaze quickly snapped to the frantic girl and Serenity instantly let go, regretting her actions. The woman's eyes were dead; no emotion or thought could be seen. They locked gazes and stood for a moment before the woman let out an ear piercing scream. Serenity stumbled back, covering her ears as she fell to her knees with her eyes fixated on the strange scars surrounding the woman's open mouth. The marks were so unsettling that she closed her eyes in an attempt to block out both the image and the sound emanating from it. When the woman finally stopped shrieking and Serenity was able to effectively think again, she looked up only to find that she was surrounded by men. Before she had time to process what was happening, a needle was pressed into her neck and she felt consciousness slip away as the ground grew nearer.
Upon awakening, it became obvious that she was not lying in the street. The smell of antiseptic was overwhelming as she opened her eyes and peered around the bright room. It seemed as though she was bound to a table that was being held at an angle so that it was slightly reclined from being vertical. Looking down, her eyes were immediately drawn to the leather straps across her body. Tearing her eyes from the fastenings, she caught the glint of silver in her peripheral vision. Looking for the source, her eyes fell on a metal tray with several medical instruments spread across the surface. However, it was hard for her to focus on anything other than the bloody scalpel. Adrenaline coursed through her veins and she started to open her mouth to scream only to encounter resistance. Frantic, she tried to break free from the bands but had no luck. She continued to fight until she heard a door opening somewhere behind her.
"Ah, I see that you're awake. It's a shame that I forgot to put the mirror up before I left so you could admire my work. We couldn't have you getting loud while the process is going on, makes it take longer," said a man from right behind her. She was unable to see him until he moved a mirror around so that it was beside her. However, the man was the furthest thing from her mind when she peered into the mirror. Her mouth had been sewn shut, blood still covering the surrounding area. Dread filled her as she stared, unable to form a response.
"Like it so much that you’re speechless, hm? Just wait until you see the rest of you. True work of art this time around. It's really too bad that you won't be able to enjoy it," he said with a little laugh as he grabbed her head and straightened it so she was facing forward, stretching another leather band over her forehead to keep it in place. A screen flickered to life before her and the room was filled with a sudden noise that she couldn't place. Instinctively, she closed her eyes, still fighting against her restraints.
"Now, now, watch like a good girl. I'd hate to have to open those pretty eyes of yours the hard way. Those scars would be out of place even here," the soft voice of the man whispered into her ear. Knowing that his would be the last voice she'd hear regardless of what choice she made, she opened her eyes and gazed into the screen. They widened as they took in the flickering images, her struggles slowed until she lay limp against the bands, gaze still fixed.