"197835." the woman said to whoever else stood in the room, her voice full of awe and respect. Regan was trembling violently. He could hear her quick but heavy footsteps as she left the room, ascending rickety metal stairs that rattled underfoot, and opening the door at the top. The blindfold was ripped from Regan's pale blue eyes. The man standing before him made him recoil with fear.
A tall muscular body, at least six foot five, most of the face hidden. The mouth was concealed by a white but blood-spotted surgical mask, and a wide strip of black leather with holes punched in for his eyes, so brown that they were almost black, to see through. It covered his forehead, around his eyes, and shoved his tangle of waist-length and matted black hair back from his face. Though his mouth was covered by the surgeon's mask, his voice was not muffled, just low and hoarse, the voice that Regan had heard from outside of the room he'd slept in.
"Your number is 197835." the man growled. He was wearing long black leather gloves covered in sharp silver spikes.
"If you understand obedience, and the art of discipline, then you and I will get on just fine." he spoke in the same intimidating growl that made Regan think of Rottweiler dogs. The room they were standing in was lit by a few smouldering, melting candles in red glass lanterns. A number of knives were laid out on a table, glinting threateningly.
"It's time for you to be branded. Then you will be taken down to courtyard to meet with the others." he added. Regan did not like the sound of that, "branded." He hoped in vain that it would not involve the sharp knives, but the minute the thought entered his mind, the man lifted him by the neck and dropped him onto a table that was slick with liquid that looked shiny and black in the low lights. He held his hand near one of the red lanterns, but the glow from it made it impossible to tell whether the liquid was crimson or not.
Before he even knew what was happening, Regan felt his straitjacket being roughly torn from his body by the enormous, muscle-bound, mask-wearing man. A jagged knife was ripped through the skin of his back, then the nape of his neck, then the back of his hand. 197835 stood out against the impossibly pale skin in dripping, stinging numbers.