Their strained breaths crystallized in the air, turning into nothing but small clouds of smoke before diffusing across the room. Their skin was red and worn around their ankles and their wrists. Cut, bloody, and raw. They held onto the person beside them by their finger tips, their eyes shutting from the pain, from the suffering, as they tried to hold on the best they could.
The colour of their skin was varied; Caucasian, African-American, Asian, Hispanic, Latino, East-Indian. The colour didn’t differentiate them from one another, they were united. They were together, for this moment. They needed to be strong.
A light, blazing hot, shone down upon them. Droplets of sweat began to form, cascading down their face, hitting the stone below. In front of them, in the darkness that still remained in the other half of the room, they could see them. Eight masks of pure white, the dark forming their eyes and lips, and bodies. They stared down at the chained beings in front of them, bleeding and sweating while the light blazed on.
The masked beings in front of them, the eight turned to look at a large window that broke its place into the cold stone wall. Behind it, a group of people sat. Every day, normal people. Some of them had rings upon their fingers, tight like the choices they made. Some bore crucifixes around their necks, pressing lightly against their skin. Some of them held neither of the two. They, like the people they saw below them - bleeding and damaged - came in various colours, and ages.
In front of each of them - the people behind the glass - were two buttons. They both were emblazoned with an ‘x’, but the scripture written below each button was opposite of the other. The Eight looked at the people behind the glass, their cold stares running into each and every one of them, demanding a choice to be made - a button to be pressed.
The chained beings, they look at the glass pleadingly. Their eyes sunken behind black-and-blue skin, they ask for something - for help, for support - anything to relieve the pain. Upon this look, this look of desperation bleeding out of the chained beings and crawling pleadingly in front of the glass, one of their faces contorts into disgust, and pressed down hard on the right button.
One of the Eight turned to the chained prisoners, and, upon stepping closer to the light, a knife was seen in its hand. The masked being crooked its head, looking at one of the weak below it with a cold face. It stepped closer and closer, the knife angled in front of it. The chained being whimpered as one of the Eight pressed the knife against the other’s skin, running the blade from their neck to their navel. Blood escaped from the cut like roses, blossoming as it seeped from its confinement.
The masked being had chosen the one on the end of the chain, watching as it coughed and shook as the blood continued to fall and drip, staining the stone beneath them. Pretty soon, the prisoner would join those like it; their corpses lining the stone walls around them. It was just a matter of time.
Behind the glass, a choice-maker held their hand to their eyes, shielding themselves from the acts below. But, even as they tried to hide themselves from the reality of what their decision would do, they pressed the right button anyways; their hand snapping back to thumb the crucifix at their neck.
One of the Eight nodded slightly, and proceeded in making its way to the next prisoner in line. They bent down to the damaged, their white mask reflecting the all-too-real image back at them. Black gloves opened the mouth of the broken hope, grabbing its tongue in one hand. The masked being raised its knife, the serrated edges glistening in the light above, and slowly sawed off the prisoner’s tongue. They tossed the tongue aside, it making a sickening thud as they watched the prisoner begin to cough blood.
One by one the prisoners began to slowly die off, as the right button continued to be pressed. The choice-makers; the decision-handlers; the people behind the glass held no real mercy for those below them - the ones suffering and dying ever still. Some of them believed they were above them, that they were more important; that those on the other side of the glass were worthless. Some of them, believed differently, but still didn’t want to see them as true equal.
It wasn’t until the prisoners’ blood had spread across the floor, showing the truth of each of their deaths, did The Eight turn to look at the people behind the glass once more. They nodded slightly, and, as if talking in unison, finally spoke.
“You made the right choice, welcome to your utopia.”