Concubine by Oki

DayCare

~O~

DayCare

I quickly learned this is the place where they taught you how to act the way they want you to in their new society.

It feels like more of a detention center, rather than an institution for learning. They forcibly brainwash each one of us day after day and punish anyone who can't keep up with the material to their liking.

After the first night, we were all forced to file through to a poorly lit corridor where we were processed with a new label; a series of identifying numbers, then put in a room.

The purpose of this center is to slowly break the spirit and boil down any thoughts of rebellion or reform in our minds. The demons holding us happily lap away the juices of what is left of our empty shells.

I have to get out.

They assigned me a roommate, however, we're prohibited to speak to one another. If caught, we will be punished.

I have no problem with not socializing, my roommate is an aloof woman who seems about the same age as me. She scowls at me most of the time and turns her back on me at night. I wasn't the most eager for companionship but I do feel more like an enemy to her than an ally. A part of me wants to reiterate to her that I'm suffering in this system too, but I stay quiet instead and accept her cold shoulder.

During the day we go through lessons, emphasizing how to treat our superior species by one of our own superiors- Hanyous Teachers.

Punishments for not breaking "old habits" are never shown, but always implied. Those matters are better quietly dealt with. In the beginning, outbursts were common as many women fought against the Hanyous who govern us, but just as quickly as these moments of liberation would begin, they were shut down when those women never returned to class for lessons.

I know they killed those outliers, it doesn't take much of the Hanyous plucking them out like weeds from a garden for the remainder of us to take the hint of our impending mortality if we follow in their steps.

We're seldom allowed out of the Center (which most of the women secretly began to call Daycare) except for our midday walks in an attempt to keep us from getting too out of shape and undesirable before we're delivered to our superiors.

We are to walk in twos with our roommate around the building. Daycare is encased around a wired fence lined with curly barbed wire with a booth perched at the top of each corner like a prison. Bird and celestial demons are the watchmen for any runners.

Even within this physical prison, the last thing you want to do is daydream, lest the watchers deem you too suspicious from looking around your cage.

A month into Daycare, a woman was shot dead with a lightning bolt in my roommate's line for looking around and staring at one of the booths for too long. The guards get nervous too, apparently.

Hanyou Teachers are positioned at both ends of the lines. They are to "guide us", but it's moreso to keep us in check, lest we also want to be shot down for straying out of line.

I took the time to look for Kikyou during our walks. Despite all the heads in front of me, I look for her specific hair, skin, ears, nose, lips, and eyes. Any features that belong to her. I fear she may not have been captured. The idea makes me happy and disappointed at the same time.

I don't exactly even know how much time has passed since I've been here. We aren't allowed to watch the news, read, or even so much as breathe anything about the world and the war raging outside our borders.

I have no clue what's happening right now in the streets of Japan or the condition of my home since I've been forced to abandon it. I don't know where my phone is anymore, or my purse, or my clothes. It's all gone.

Our line turns a corner and we try to ignore the sounds of voices in the distance. More and more, new additions are brought here by the busloads every day since I've arrived. We hear them, their cries, their pleas. We hear their hearts break all the way from the back of the center.

At mealtime I find myself looking for Kikyou there too. I shift my eyes from time to time, scanning the worn-out faces of each woman at my table. They look tired, depressed, angry, and withdrawn. Some have even succumbed to accepting their new life and have a happier disposition than those who can not catch on to this new lifestyle.

A guard is usually stationed at each table and at the doors in case we have a runner. As mentioned. we had quite a few in the beginning and they were dealt with as promised.

I overhear a woman muttering to another lady at our table one morning about the climate that Daycare has forced the women into spying on one another. She recalls listening to one woman before bedtime, telling the Teachers everything her roommate said bad about the new world, and before she knew it, in the morning, her roommate had disappeared and been replaced with a new one. The tale brought shivers down all who overheard's spines.

A siren woke me early one morning before the sun was even able to climb above the horizon. My roommate and I jumped and ran out from the comfort of our bed as others pour into the hallways. I couldn't contain my fear of the unknown.

Was Kikyou captured?

My stomach twists painfully in knots as I nudge past a preteen. A woman stands shaking, crying hysterically while a body bag is wheeled out of her room. I inwardly panic, hoping the person in the bag isn't Kikyou.

"What happened?" I ask one of the onlookers. She's an older lady that has hair beginning to gray.

"She committed suicide last night. Choked herself with her own hands, it seemed." She responds. We watch as the Hanyou Teachers hurry to disperse the crowd and command us to get ready for lessons. As we're being ushered off, I turn one last time to look at that bodybag and pray again that it isn't my sister lying on that stretcher.

~O~

Thanks for reading!

 

INUYASHA © Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan • Yomiuri TV • Sunrise 2000
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