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My Pain Is Your Pain
by Gray Brangwin


Pain.

I feel pain. Can you feel pain? I hope so. Pain pain pain.. I feel pain, pain, and nothing but pain, pain in my head, pain in my limbs, pain in my chest, pain pain pain.

Pa-a-i-n. Such a lovely word. But I don't like pain. Ohhh no. Pain is baad. Someone told me once that pain is how you know you're alive, but he's dead. No more pain for him. But I'm alive, ohh yes, I'm alive.

Or at least I used not to like pain. But everyone's wrong, really. Pain can be nice if you get to know it. But people don't know that. Only I do. And now you do, too.

Dark here. No light, no air, only pain. I don't need air. I don't need light, either. Wish there was some, though.

Dungeon? Dungeon. Same place. Always, before, after, always the same place. New pain, though. Everyday, new pain. But always pain.

Not really a real dungeon, though. Door's always open. But I can't get to it. So it is a dungeon. Got the damp, got the dark, got the musty smell. Clean, though. 'Cept for where I am, but that's my fault. Or maybe it's the pain's fault. Ah well, it's someone's fault.

Time? Days. Months. Years. One of those. Can't recall. Don't really care. All there is now is pa-a-i-n.

Where, I don't care, I can't go anywhere. Dull pain everywhere, and my limbs don't respond. Maybe it's just the pain that makes them numb. Or maybe it's because they're not my limbs. I can see them, and they don't look like my limbs. But who cares. Maybe it's just that my eyes aren't my eyes, and I'm not really seeing.

I don't remember what eating was. Haven't eaten since I can remember. Don't feel hungry, though. Wonder why. Or is it just more pain, because then of course I can't feel it. It probably got lost in the crowd. Heh heh heh. But then it means I haven't met it yet. Wonder why.

Am I a prisoner? I don't remember. I don't think so. But I'm in a dungeon anyway. Wonder why?

The jailor looks like the same as the guard, and the next guard, and the next guard, in this place. Only the robed guy looks different. Always looks the same, though. Don't think he ever changes his clothes. But I never get to really look because then there's pain, pain, and nothing but pain.

Shall I describe pain? It's not dark at all, pain. Pain is like warmth from fire, only ten times hotter, ten times fiercer, travelling in waves up all parts of your body until the waves all coalesce and crescendo and whatever in your brain, then it's like water and it spreads out again and flows into every tiny crevice of your body, and then it's like air 'cause it starts sweeping through you again and again and again and you can never get a hold of it and it's like fire and ice and you in between being seared and frozen all at once, and after a while it actually feels kind of good and then it changes again and it starts feeling bad all over again. That's pain.

Is life pain? Think I remember someone saying that, too... maybe that's why I always feel pain. Because I'm in the middle of life.

I wonder, sometimes, why there are so many kinds of pain. There's the pain that spits you and throws you over an open fire, there's the pain that locks you in ice and lets itself permeate through you slowly, there's the pain that stabs in, then goes out, then stabs in again, over and over, there's the pain that comes in without being invited and makes itself at home in you, always taking from you and always there. That isn't it, either. And there's sooooo many kinds of pain that I wonder why no one's discovered them all yet. Wouldn't that be a worthwhile study.

Do you feel all the kinds of pain? You should. You're missing out.

You know, you're the first thing I've talked to other than my pain. My pain isn't much of a conversationalist, you know. It's just there, it listens, but it really isn't interested. Can't blame it, it's probably busy enough as it is. Pain always has stuff to do, you know. Has to be on it's toes.

Am I raving? It seems like I am. If I am, then it really is good of you to be listening to me like this. I'm grateful. Only my pain's been willing to listen to me before this. The jailors just keep away now. That's sad. But at least I could talk to my pain. And now to you.

Do you understand me? I think you do. I'm grateful for that, too.

I hope you understand why I do what I do, then. It's just that I have so much pain and I have to give some to you, or else I won't be able to take it. Don't worry. Pain's actually rather friendly, once you get used to it.

Oh.. please don't mewl like that. It might wake one of the jailors, and I don't think I could stand having to lose one of my confidants. Would you like me to give you some pain to talk to instead? I've heard cats like being given things.

Ah. Thank you.

*     *     *     *     *

I think another day's passed.

I can't be sure, seeing as how my perception of time is incredibly skewed.. but every time I go to sleep and wake up it seems to be another day, so it should be another day.

I'm glad that you're still with me. That's really nice of you, staying with me. It makes me feel warm in a place where I haven't felt warmth in a very long time.

Have you been making friends with your pain yet? Don't worry, pain tends to be very shy at first. It doesn't know it's own strength when it lashes back. Pain's like us in that way, eh?

The guards came by earlier, to inject something in my arm. I tried to give them some pain, too, but they ran off before I could do anything... pity. They looked so scared, I thought they might like some pain to take their minds off it. Ah well.

Hm? What they injected? I'm not sure, but I think that's nutrient solution, or something like that... I overheard that once. Not really sure what that's supposed to do, though. I'm not really sure what most of what they do to me is supposed to do.

Nothing much has happened today.. but I found another type of pain. This pain, you see, is the type that starts inside your body, as if it's been there all along, and then diffuses outwards from your centre to envelop your torso and your limbs and then your head, and it's this terrible numbness that builds up and builds up until it becomes unbearable, and then it subsides before it begins all over again. What an interesting kind of pain, don't you think?

But I think it's time to sleep again. Go to sleep, kitty.

*     *     *     *     *

...the robed guy came today. But he didn't take me and do things again, he only talked to the jailors. I was kind of disappointed, really. Whenever he does something I usually discover another kind of pain. But he didn't.

I overheard the jailors talking, later. Unfortunately, my mind's so fuzzy nowadays that I couldn't really understand what they were saying.. I wish I did.

Do you know, perhaps? What does "terminate" mean again? I can't remember, my head seems so heavy all of a sudden...

Ah well. Shall I tell you about the new prisoner? They put him in another cell, but I caught a glimpse of him. Blue hair with just a faint purplish hint to it, and he was certainly fighting the guards tooth and nail. He looked liked he would have discovered a lot about pain as well. I wish I could talk to him and try out his pain.

He yelled at the robed guy, too. Kept screaming about, "corrupted" and "can't be the real Lassic" for ages, and the robed guy just stood there and didn't say anything. He finally left when the prisoner collapsed, coughing up blood. I'd like to talk to him, too. Something I saw in his eyes made me think that he might have quite a bit of pain himself.

The jailors have been in a bit of a fluster today. They've been running around the place like chickens with their heads cut off. It's kind of a comical sight. I can almost hear my pain laughing. The pain in my right leg can't see, though, so it's moping. The pain in my right arm's trying to cheer it up.

I just realized that I don't really know who I am. There was something called a "name" once... everyone apparently has them, but I'm not very sure what they are. If you were to ask me about who I am, all I could tell you about would be the pain in my abdomen, and my head, and my left shoulder, and any number of places, and that would be me. But others seem to have these "names", and I'm fairly sure I did once. What was it, I wonder?

I know one "name". The prisoner's name is "Nero". Sounds funny, doesn't it? And I think the robed guy's "name" is "Lashiec", but they pronounced it funny, something like "Lassic". These "names" are so confusing, I'm not really sure what they are.

We don't need names, do we, kitty? And neither does pain. Pain just is. And so are we.

You know, kitty, your fur's starting to fall out. You're starting to smell, too. I appreciate you staying with me, but it seems like you've been giving up baths.. I wish I had some water so I could help you...

....

I think I just remembered what "terminate" meant, kitty.

That would be a bad thing. I hope that isn't what they meant...

But if they did...

*     *     *     *     *

...I think I'll have to leave, kitty.

Oh, don't worry. I'll take you with me. Here, I'll hold you.

I'll have to give the guards and jailors some pain to get out. But don't worry, there'll be more than enough for us, and I think they need some anyway.

I found this nice little thing in my chest. Well, actually it was there long ago, but I just learned how to use it. I think it's a laser... see how it cuts through the jailor? Yes, I think it's a laser.

Oh. I didn't mean to give him quite that much pain. But now another one... oh. Gave him too much pain as well. Ah well, that's too bad, I guess...

There are more guards than I'd remembered, kitty. They're firing guns at me.. that's a new kind of pain, one that tears in and stays there and turns into a dull, throbbing ache. But now they're gone, kitty.

Oh no... there are more guards. It's a good thing they're giving me pain as well, or else I wouldn't have enough to give them.

A lot of them... I have to hit them as well, now. They all seem scared... could it be of me? I wonder if fear causes pain.. too bad I don't feel fear. But they're giving me long lines of pain and deep, stabbing pain, and that's rather interesting in itself.

....

...that tickles...

...oh, more guards..

....

....

There we go. No more guards, and I've burned through the wall. There doesn't seem to be ground here, though... how odd. But the sensation of wind ripping past me is kind of fun as well. New pain, too.

Oh, look, there the ground is...

...my, that was an interesting kind of pain. I think I was "falling"... I wonder if I could get that pain again if I "fell" again? Do you think so, kitty?...

Kitty?...

Oh no... I think I've lost you.. that's so bad of me. My pain's reproaching me, too. I'm really sorry, kitty.

Just wait. I'll look for you.

*     *     *     *     *

...I'm sorry, kitty. I still can't find you.

It suddenly occurs to me that you might not be here. You might be lost somewhere, out there. So I think I'll go someplace else and look for you. Don't worry, kitty. You're one of my only friends. I'll find you. My pain'll help, too.

But how will I recognize you? I like that you understand me and you listen to me, but it's sad that I can't understand you...

...I know.

I'll find you, kitty. I'll keep taking cats and giving them pain and look into their shining eyes until I find you, because only you could understand when I gave you pain, kitty. Only you could talk to your pain. Don't worry about me, kitty. I have more than enough pain to give them. I'll find you.

I will. Really.

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