Okay, so here's Chapter 1 of RUBBERMAN'S CAGE (copyright me, blah blah blah..)
Chapter 1 Out With The Young
Slim felt the familiar little pinch on his wrist from the bulky cuff that kept him tethered near his bed. “We're getting pricked tonight,” he warned his three brothers who hadn't yet put on their own restraints.
The elder brother Joints grunted as he sat on his own bed on the other end of the seven metre wide room. “Goodie.” He put on his own cuff, which clicked locked for the night. His own jab soon followed.
Blue settled in as well, facing his cuff and getting his little jab over with.
Lenth wandered over to Slim with a gentle smile, and Slim began to return it, but something was going wrong.
Slim's eyes widened, and he groaned with pain. Collapsing back on his bed, he gripped the sides, and bucked back.
“What's wrong?” Lenth gasped. He wanted to help his favourite brother, but had no idea what was going on. Slim made terrifying soft groans that seemed to take a lot of effort. His body thrashed to the side, his eyes wide in terror.
“Lenth! What's going on with him?” Joints yelled.
“I.. I don't know!”
Slim gagged, vomited on himself, and across the floor. He began to slip off his bed, but Lenth helped his stay on, fighting another of Slim's convulsions.
Overhead, upon the brothers' iron grate ceiling, the faceless Rubberman stomped above Lenth's bed, calling attention to the green light that had turned on behind the head of Lenth's bed.
“But I have to help Slim!” Lenth hollered up to the dark figure. Rurbberman stomped again, harder.
Lenth looked at Slim, and over to his own bed. “Now? I can't leave him! Something's really wrong!” Lenth looked up at Rubberman, and back to the convulsing Slim.
Rubberman stomped on the grating once more, and the room shocked all the brothers with a 'harmless' surge of electricity.
Disobedience warrants punishment.
Realizing his actions were harming his brothers as well as himself, Lenth scurried over to bed and secured his cuff around his wrist.
Rubberman ran out of view as Slim's convulsions began to calm a little.
Slim alone was shocked again. He had a sudden, violent convulsion that may have been only from the shock..
“What are you doing to him?” Blue yelled up to Rubberman's level. No reply, not that any was expected. Rubberman never spoke.
Again Slim was shocked.
And then it was quiet. Slim had stopped convulsing. He wasn't making any sounds at all now.
“Slim?” Lenth said. He sat up on his bed, but being tethered with his cuff, he couldn't go check on slim up close. The cuff doesn't open until Rubberman makes it so. “Slim, you okay now?”
Joints leaned forward in bed to peer over at Slim carefully. “He ain't breathing.”
“What?” Blue said, puzzled. “Slim, what are you doing?”
Joints sighed. “I've seen this before, I think. Before you three came here. If it's the same thing, Slim won't be here tomorrow.” Joints lowered his head.
“I... what?” Blue was starting to get alarmed. “I don't understand! Why not? If he's not breathing, why does he have to go away? He'll start again, right? Where's he going to go?”
Lenth stood up and walked as far towards Slim at the tether would let him, which was about two metres from his own bed, still about four away from Slim's. He stood silently, looking at his dead 'brother' not knowing what death was. “Slim... wake up, moron.” Lenth said quietly. “I don't want you to go away, that's stupid.” He turned to Joints. “Hey, away where? Where would he go? Up with Rubberman? Or the place Rubberman goes when he isn't here? What...”
Joints' face wrinkled inward with consideration. “How am I supposed to know? It's not as if I can fathom the ways of Rubberman any more than you, brother.”
None of them were actually brothers, but they had always call each other that.
There existed the brothers, and there existed the Rubberman. And that was it.
As far as they could tell, anyway. Joints had told them before that his old brothers had gone away, and that then, his new brothers came. There was no explanation of 'where from', or 'where to'.
These were things for Rubberman to know, and Rubberman never talked.
That much was understandable, since he didn't have a mouth. Even calling him a man was a point of question. A man, or an 'it'?
The brothers all wore simple body suits, from just above the knee, to the neck, and half way down the arms. This left a fair amount of skin showing. This was not the case with Rubberman.
Rubberman was all black rubber.. or something similar, even over his head. Where eyes would be, sat only a pair of large dark circles that reflected light at just the right angle. Where a mouth or nose might be, instead there was a metal circle, about as wide as hie eye. It did not seem as shiny as the eyes, and had many little holes.
But Rubberman had gone away now.
Lenth still stood there, pondering what had happened. What might be about to happen. Slim was their brother all, but Lenth felt the fear of losing Slim the most keenly.
The green lights behind the beds lit up again. The lights were built into the white, but rusty walls, and sealed in with a layer of a clear plastic.
It was bed time. The day was officially over.
The brothers all tried to get as comfortable as they could on their beds. A three centimetre thick pad was the greatest comfort there was to them. It was bonded to the metal frame, and indestructible to any force the brothers had ever been able to summon.
“Slim doesn't look very comfortable.” Blue said quietly. Indeed, Slim's position suggested that he would wake up sore in the morning if he didn't move.
Lenth stared at Slim and the lights dimmed. Breathe, you idiot. Just breathe again.
A soft hiss came from above.
“Sleepy smell.” Joints observed. Sometimes, sleepy smell would come when a change was going to happen.
“So... so it's true.” Lenth said quietly. “G... goodbye, Slim.”