The Prison

Blood cell Kira lives in an amazing, wondrous world that is under the constant protection of the White Guard. But when a new and deadly threat invades - an immunodeficiency virus named Vastosis - their once peaceful world is suddenly thrown into chaotic strife. The fate of all lies on the shoulders of the Domicyte, a savior of myth and legend, as the White Guard races to stop their greatest enemy.

Out in the open vastness of an alien landscape, a troop of soldiers trudged onward, towing their haplessly bound prisoner along with them. The soldiers were clad in armor from head to toe - molded keratin fibers of the highest quality - while their prisoner's attire was reduced to rags. But the soldiers and the prisoner held one trait in common - the whiteness of their skin, which was as bright as a pearl, though it also bore a slight translucency. This was of course, more obvious on the prisoner, his silvery-seashell hair now ragged and ruffled, and his celadon eyes despairing and downcast. But on the guards themselves, it peeked only through the neckline under their keratinous helmets.

This world was no far-away planet, nor were these soldiers and their prisoner its alien race. This was an inner-world of microcosmos, far smaller than any of us might dare to imagine, but all the more real and alive. The men in question were properly known as Leukocytes - or White-Bloods, though such a term is regarded as slang.

The soldiers took him to the farthest reaches. To the Immunodium - the Great Prison, where invaders and criminals are held until death, their only purpose being to serve the White Guard in their rigorous immunity training.

His name was Rex, but he was no invader. The Immunodium housed all manner of undesirables - Bacterium, Viruses, and unicellular beasts, but Rex was neither of these. He was born into this world, born of the Marrow. He was one of their own - an elite member of the White Guard. Or at least, he used to be. Now they called him a deserter. A traitor. A defect. A disease. And it was all because of his peculiar interests - his unique skill - in training beasts. The vicious, unicellular kind that were considered foreign invaders, and thus were to be hunted and killed on sight.

It was in years past that Rex thought to try something a little different. Why not raise the beasts up from young pups, and train them for exclusive use in the White Guard? He believed such a thought to be genius. His Euglena was a success, though his monster of a Paramecium only mildly so. Rex was well aware that such a feat was strictly illegal, and punishable to the highest degree, but yet he persisted, hoping to one day present his ideals to the Headmaster and receive his glowing praise.

But such a dream was folly. He saw that now, his wrists bound tightly behind him, surrounded by White Guard on all sides as if he were the Influenza Virus himself.

The environs around the party were pitch-black. Whether it was daylight or nightfall was anyone's guess, for no such time existed here. Photon-lighting was necessary in most populated cities, but they were now far from these. This was the middle of nowhere.

But then, out in the distance, a faint glow became ever so visible, and it grew brighter and brighter. It was the prison, and the party drew nearer.

Both Rex and the guards alike became illuminated, their translucent, pearl-white skin seeming almost aglow. Rex's celadon eyes remained fixed on the lit prison towers, their brightness almost hypnotizing, but the guards pulled him along with brutish force. They ushered him past the gates and within the prison's walls like an animal headed for slaughter. He was screened, processed and tagged - and such a tag in the arm insured they would know his whereabouts at all times. After that, he was thrown into the prison's open yard along with the rest of its undesirables, the White Guard working swiftly to vacate a cage of a stall. Normally, Leukocytes are well-equipped to defend themselves, but Rex no longer had such defenses, all of what he had having been stripped away. Here, he was hardly different from a naked and exposed Erythrocyte, and he was terrified. The prison's towers were bright, but not bright enough to light the prison yard, and Rex could barely even see his own hands, let alone anything else. But he could hear things. Terrible, frightening things in the dark that would give anything to rip apart a cell such as himself.

He would not survive the night.

In a moment of desperation, he put his fingers to his lips and emmitted a faint whistle. If his intuition was correct, he should have been followed. It was the only chance he had now. But through the murk and shadow was another sound in return, a sharp chirping and clicking that answered back. Rex's eyes widened in surprise.

With a flash of vivid green, something streamlined flew past at lightning speed, then raced around to meet him. Rex shot a glance to his side to find his Euglena, hand-reared and raised from an infant, and now a surprsingly hardy, gracile mount. Its narrow head craned towards Rex, peering at him with a gleaming ruby-red eye. Its long, whiplike flagellum lolled out like a probing tongue, and Rex quickly reached out and grabbed it, using it as a rein to haul himself over and on top of the creature. Then with a prompt pat to its neck, the beast shot straight ahead into the darkness.

But not a moment too soon did a beacon of light fall from the prison towers and onto them both, illuminating them in an almost blinding brightness. Rex ignored them. He had to. Together, they raced blindly and desperately across the stretch of the yard, Rex hoping with all his being that he would not be grabbed, eaten or killed. His Euglena was a capable enough creature, blessed with an equine-like grace and finesse. If they could just make it to the wall, the beast could soar over it just as easily as it had arrived. The pair brushed past unseen things lurking in the gloom. An object shot past Rex's head. Then another, nearly grazing his face. Keratin arrows. Quills sharp as a lance, with terrible, barbed ends that anchored them into their targets. Rex urged his beast to fly faster. Then with a sudden jerk, the beast made an abrupt, verticle turn upwards, scaling the prison wall. At that moment, something wickedly sharp and jagged penetrated his side, barely missing the mount. Rex cried loudly in pain, but clenched his teeth and grasped the beast ever tighter. The Euglena's speed escalated. They'd made it over the wall. It was then that Rex pressed his head down against the neck of the creature, and tightly clamped shut his eyes in pain, as the pair raced fervently ahead through the dark.

~

More coming soon to Protagonize!

The End

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