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My Neighbor Likes to Cross-Stitch

My neighbor likes to cross stitch


Estimated reading time — 7 minutes

Across the street, there is a petite little blue house. White trim, picket fence. It’s the cliché fairy tale home you read in the storybooks. I can see it through the bars of my window. The little old lady who lives there likes to sit in an old rocking chair and do various projects. I’ve watched her Knit and crochet. Sew patches onto clothing. There’s this one old jacket she seems to be constantly fixing. It’s a blue hoodie, but you wouldn’t know by looking at it. There are so many patches and fixes that it’s a collage of different colors and patterns. I’ve watched it change over the years as I studied her from the window of my room over the years. The little old lady- I never learned her name before she died. Seemed quite lonely.

As I went through my daily routine. Walking through the lab, past test subjects in cages. Reaching their arms through the bars to grasp at my shirt. I did my best to ignore them, Not speaking a word. Talking had gotten harder the longer I had stayed there. As more and more parts were replaced, I seemed to lose myself. I sat on the operating table as the doctor picked up a scalpel. “Miss Mercy. Are you ready for today’s session?” He spoke, his voice like ice shards in my skin. He didn’t wait for an answer, simply clicking the cold metal cuffs on my arms and legs. The strap that went around my waist and torso was next. The doctor says it’s, so I can’t be hurt, but I think it’s, so I can’t hurt them. I steadied my breathing as he scanned my limbs, settling on my leg, he grasped my ankle and began to cut. I could feel every layer of flesh and muscle as they were precisely sliced through. I bit my tongue as the echoes of a scream built in my throat. No matter how many times they disconnected my limbs, removed and replaced them, the pain was difficult to get used to. It seemed he was simply disconnecting the joint this time as I felt the tendon break. I don’t know why though; he’s done this before. After he was done, I was stitched back up with purple thread. The doctor liked to sew up my wounds with purple, I don’t understand why, he just does it. As the blood is cleaned and the straps removed. I’m placed in a wheelchair and unceremoniously rolled back into my cell. Wheels bumping against the wall. I crawled out of the chair as it was taken away and onto the stone slab that was my bed. I could hear the sound of a drill and a scream, loud and shrill down the hall. It sounded like M-9 was on the table after me. I suppose my broken tendon would be replaced with his. As the minutes ticked by the screams died down with quiet whimpers in its place. M-9 was the newest addition, so new he didn’t have a nickname yet. He was picked up after f-8 died of blood loss. Our nicknames often relate to our number assigned. F-8 was frequently called Fate. I’ve lived here the longest out of everyone. The doctor adds a mark next to our nameplate for every year we’ve been here. Mine has 18 notches, and I was brought here when I was two. My code is M-3 or Mercy, I hate that name. It’s something I’ve never been shown, it is foreign to us here at the “sanctuary” as the doctor calls it. The door opened, and I was unceremoniously pulled into the chair and wheeled to the table. A similar process to earlier procedures. Skin and muscles slicing and the gush of blood down my feet, the smell of iron filling the air so thick you could taste it on your tongue. As the doctor re-connected my tendon. I’m aware one of these days he will fail and then i’ll become trash. He’s pushed my body the furthest with his experiments. The way he phrases it I’m his golden ticket to a Nobel Prize, whatever that means. The stitches were replaced, and I was back laying in my cell in a matter of minutes. Same routine every day.

Hours ticked by as screams and cries from the operating room came and went, I stared out the window. There was no doubt the old frail lady in the rocking chair couldn’t hear the screams of my fellow prisoners. But there she sat. Sewing a new patch on that stupid hoodie, I felt something I hadn’t in a long time. Rage. I had long since given up on feeling things, but this was different, the feeling burned in my chest. I hated the woman across the street for doing nothing to help the children locked in this godforsaken Sanctuary I hated the so-called doctor for what he did to me and everyone else in here. Furthermore, I looked at the door and for the first time in a long time wondered what it would be like to get out and see the world. Logic however told me that wasn’t possible, but I couldn’t help but imagine just how nice it would feel to have the doctor begging for the pain to stop on his operating table. My ears began to ring with what I could only imagine his screams might sound like. Oh, how I wanted to know, to hear him beg, scream the name he assigned me only to have it denied. I wanted so badly to dissect him and remove limbs and tendons. As my thoughts filled with mental images of blood and screams, I didn’t notice the silence of the complex, no drills or screams filled the halls as the lights began to flicker, and a buzzing filled my ears.

The bulb outside my room exploded and the buzzing stopped. However, I was now shrouded in darkness, barely able to see four feet in front of me. I attempted to stand, finding no pain in my ankle. Odd shouldn’t be able to stand on it. I pressed onward to my door, finding the door unlocked. I couldn’t help but smile, maybe luck had shone on me for the very first time. I push the door open and step out into the hallway, the buzzing noise returned but that only spurred me onward, like an encouraging voice. Walking down the hallway to the operating room, I looked over all the tools available and picked up the scalpel, not my first choice, but I’m not a picky fella. The doctor was nowhere to be seen so far as I began my search of the building. The high-pitched whine in my ears faded and rose with an unknown tempo. I eventually found him in what looked to be a kitchen, I had never been in this particular room. He was sitting at a table reading a thick book That he placed down and looked up at me with a start. “M-3 what are you doing out of your room?” I gave no response and simply walked towards him, picking up the book he had just set down I slammed it into the side of his head with all the force I could muster. I hit his temple and dazed him long enough to hit him again. Over and over until he fell unconscious. Dragging him to the operating room and up onto the table with newfound strength, strapping him down securely. As I did this the other subjects decided to test the waters and open their doors, some ran to find an exit, and others stood in the doors of their cell in pure disbelief. About five joined me in the operating room. Eyes ablaze with rage and joy at seeing our torturer at our mercy.

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As we surrounded the table his eyes flickered open. Confused at first then realization dawned on him. He was trapped. H-1 began to laugh, a haunting sound when said person is missing their tongue. She picked up the drill and powered it on. Their hands were shaky but determined as she dug the drill bit into his kneecap. The sound it made when the bone broke echoed throughout the room. The doctor writhes trying to get away from the pain but is unable to. I held up the scalpel in my hand to his left eye. He blinded mine after a failed attempt. So now it was his turn. An eye for an eye as they say. I dug the scalpel into the socket, doing my best to avoid breaking the part of the eye, opting to pop it out and sever it from the optic nerve. He continued to scream as my cellmates went about their revenge. H-1 handed Y-7 the drill and picked up a knife at a nearby table. Grabbing his jaw and holding it open, slicing his cheeks up his jaw. Creating a crooked smile. She wasn’t done; however, she dug the knife deeper. The sound of metal on the bone as she tried to pry the joint away from his face was music to our ears. After a few moments, there was a loud crack and a guttural scream as the joint on the left side of his jaw disconnected. While she was doing this, I successfully removed the eye from the socket. It hung down the side of his face uselessly just before I sliced through the nerve. It fell down and onto the floor, I looked at it and picked it up, slicing it and letting the inside ooze out into what was left of his mouth, his eye that was left rolled back as the pain became too much, puke bubbling up his throat out of his broken jaw. It seemed our fun was about to come to an unfortunately quick end. How boring. The light faded from his eyes, and I backed away from the table, the others continued to mutilate his body. By the time they would be done he would be unrecognizable. But I chose to wander away from the body, looking instead for a way out. Ragged clothes stained from blood. I eventually found it and pushed the heavy door open.

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The light of twilight coats the world in a soft orange hue. I looked across the street at the blue house, the patched hoodie was hung on the picket fence. It seemed almost like an offering as I walked toward the house. Picking up the jacket. It was huge compared to my thin body. As I pulled it over my head relishing in the thick fabric. I walked up the path and stepped to the door to push it open. I wanted to ask the lady why she never helped us, but the scene before me was enough to take the already few words I had. The frail old lady whom I had watched over the years from my window was dead, hanging from the rafters, nails bloody as it seemed she tried to escape the rope that encased her neck. a black plastic mask was delicately placed on the table next to her hanging body, one large red eye and a blocky half-smile decorated one half of the mask, the other side looked almost like a replicate of a stained-glass window. different colors painted on. I realized there was no way to see through the stained-glass side. but that was fine. I told myself that at least as I picked it up, pulled it over my face, and turned out of the house. I glanced at the mailbox as I passed. a single name was placed on it. it had to be the lady’s last name. “Hackett” what a nice last name to have. it has a nice ring “Mercy Hackett”

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Credit: Echothepuff

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