Elisabeth Bort works for an undercover group called Faceless, trying to win the war.
It was sudden, in fact if I wasn't paying attention, I might not have realized immediately. The abyss-like thing swallowed up my brain, and I was unable to talk, to move, to think. I supposed I thought moderately. Panic filled me up, along with fear. I was unable to swallow, although I felt as though I would have another seizure.
"Ahh, look here." said a voice, and then the hotel door opened, revealing Drew. He didn't look as I remembered, his eyes were sunken and the boyish grin had vanished from his face. "Poor, poor-" he stopped, unable to my name. Panic vanished, replaced with hatred and unknown pity.
"You know," Drew began, an unknown emotion dawning on his face, "You could evade it. We wouldn't have to do this. Just one little sentence, one tiny betrayal, and you're free."
My brain unfroze, but was sluggish, and I knew from experience it would take several moments to be able to get a response from my body, but I could sense my ability to speak, returning.
"You-" I had to pause momentarily. "You think I would tell you where Naomi was, just so you could hunt her down and kill me anyway? You think, even if you would let me live, I would let her down. She trusts me. Just like I trusted you." Drew frowned. "I told you my secrets. Told you how to control me, told you my fears, my needs, my everything." The time on the balcony with him flashed across my brain, which was almost all the way on. "Did you even mean what you said, in the moonlight. Did you mean it when you kissed me? Did you?" I almost shout the last bit. Drew looks down.
"You don't have to." I say. "We can protect you. We can keep you safe."
"Don't you see?" He yells, sobbing. "I have to. I have to kill you! Or else I'll be killed."
"Drew," I start, trying to console him. "You told me once you weren't afraid of death. Prove it."
He looks at me, the light from the dim overhead lamp flashing across the tracks of tears on his face.
"Where is she?" he whispers. "Where are they all?"
I spit on him.
He lets out a scream of disgust. I jump up, strength restored, ready to punch him in the nose-
I was frozen again. Drew raised his hand, controlling me. With a flick of his wrist, I was back on the creaking bed, mind almost entirely blank, like a chalkboard in a classroom at the end of the school day.
"Oh, Lisabeth." he croons, faking confidence. "No friends, no family."
"I do have friends. I do have a family."
"Really?" his eyebrows went up. "And who would that be?"
"People I care about. People that love me. People that don't betray me, like you."
Drew has grown tired of talking. I can tell. He doesn't want a memory of me; he wants me to be another faceless who he's killed. Taking thick rope from somewhere I couldn't see, outside the hotel room. Working quickly, he moved the mattress off the bed frame and tied me down to the wood.
He moved in front of me, and released his grip on my mind. I enjoyed one moment of freedom, my last one.
And then Drew raised his hand again, and my mind disappeared forever.
Naomi Jones sat on the floor next to the bed, and held the girl's hand. "It's over." she whispered into the girl's ear. "The war is over. We won. Because of you. Because you didn't give in."
6 months ago, a girl named Elisabeth Bort was discovered in a motel in Wisconsin, tied down to a bed frame. She was the sixteenth to have her mind wiped, eternally turned into a vegetable, unable to respond.
Just days later, a boy who went by Drew Jacksons was discovered on the side of a road in Minnesota. He was unable to stand up. The secret group Elisabeth was part of, Faceless, took him back to one of their underground headquarters and announced, just hours later, that part of his brain had shut itself down, crippling him.
5 months after Drew was discovered, Faceless underwent extreme experiments and ended the war. Permanently.
"Come on, Lisabeth." Naomi urgered. "Just squeeze my hand, reach out and squeeze it. It doesn't take much, I know you can do it. Just take my hand, Lissie, and we'll fly away like birds, like ravens. You like ravens, don't you, Lisabeth-"
Sound wakes me up from hibernation. Not completely, I am still asleep under the snow. But I listen to the voice. It speaks to me, but I don't understand what it is saying. I can tell it's talking to me though. Waking me up. It's nice under the snow. My cover keeps me warm. But not forever. No, certainly not forever. I know what is happening.
I am thawing.