Akio was tied to a chair. The rope around his wrists burned as they cut into his flesh with every struggle. The room he was trapped in was small, no bigger than a walk in freezer and the walls appeared to be made of stainless steel, or at least had been before the years of dirt and other foul substances had built up on them. Opposite Akio was another man, this man appeared to be late twenties in age, same as Akio but did not share his Japanese parentage. Akio tried, but was unable to place this man’s race, possibly Brazilian mixed with Caribbean. The man was dressed in a suit, clean and recently pressed and sat in a rickety old chair with one leg kicked over the other, one hand nestled on a hip mounted pistol, the other stroking a neatly trimmed van-dyke beard.
“Jinn, Jinn” the man signed Akio’s other name like it was almost painful to say. “Why you gotta do this to me? You know the boss doesn't like excuses, and here you are giving them to me!”
The man leaned in towards Akio and quietly whispered.
“You wanna hear a secret?”
Akio nodded slowly, in doing so the man opposite quickly swung in with a large fist punching Akio straight in the nose. Akio heard a loud crack and felt the warm sensation of blood as it instantly began to poor from his nostrils. The man feigned a spit on the floor.
“There!” The man shouted in Akio’s face, his spittle splattering against Akio “there’s your fucking secret!”
The man grabbed Akio by his arm and pulled at his tight fitting t-shirt, tearing off in a single tug one sleave. Akio braced as he knew what was coming next, and as predicted the man followed through exactly.
First came the needle with it’s bright green liquid, after this came the vein tap and the drip. The bag that was placed above Akio’s head filled with something luminous and yellow. It was memory enhancer. There was something in Akio’s past that interested this man, or more likely, this man’s employer and Akio was scared. Not of what was going to happen to him, no, there was nothing they could do that hadn’t already happened. Akio was scared of the memories he would be forced to endure. Thoughts that had been forcibly repressed behind well crafted and expensive firewalls and Jack-Gates. Already he could feel the goo from the bag entering his blood and it was burning his veins. Then came the first question.
“Who are you?”
The question seemed to come from a disembodied voice. Akio knew it belonged to the man sat opposite him, but he could no longer see him. He could no longer see the steel room or in fact anything at all. His vision was a blur of fog and neon and the man’s voice sounded different. It was commanding and all knowing. Like God’s voice if it had travelled from the heavens to ask him such a trivial question.
“Jinn” came Akio’s reply. His anti-hack wetware automatically kicking in, putting up barriers and coding. “I am… Jinn, motherfucker!”
Another burning, this one more intense as the dose of yellow drip fluid was increased.
“Again! Who are you?”
Akio’s vision began to clear, he saw his father in the mist of colour before him, remembered how disappointed he was when Akio told him that he didn't want to go to University at NB-U. Then he saw his old girlfriend and the look on her face the first time she asked him to go to bed with her. Somewhere outside of all of this came the voice again. It commanded his very soul to release it’s secrets and tell it everything Akio knew.
“What is your name?”
Now Akio saw his sister, the look of fear on her face as she saw Akio being hit over and over again by her boyfriend.
“Your name!” The voice commanded again.
Akio’s wetware was trying everything it could to keep his thoughts from going where the man wanted. Emotional response after emotional response tore through his psyche until the burning in his veins stopped and Akio’s vision cleared. Before him was his old bedroom mirror but the image with it was not him as he was, but instead a twelve year old boy. The same twelve year old he remembered that had intervened when his older sister had been beaten by her boyfriend and received an even more savage beating as a result. This boy stood before his mirror topless, a series of large very purple, very painful bruises marking his chest and face.
Away from the memory, back inside that steel room the physical shell of Akio lifted it’s head and with hollow words began to respond to the man.
“Akio Sampson. Son of Charles Sampson, founder of Sampson Industries”.
The man opposite rested back in his chair and stroked his beard once again, smiling. Couldn't be done he thought to himself. Couldn't be done! No one can break the great Jinn’s wetware! But here he was, the great Ghost Jinn ready and willing to spill every bit of personal info he could have ever dreamed of.
The man stood and walked behind the stiffly animated shell of Akio Sampson arriving at a table with all manner of electronic devices. Picking one up he pressed a physical button and began talking into it’s discreet microphone.
“Jinn Interrogation stage one complete. This subject is pliable and prepared. By my estimations we’ll have our data before the close of the day”.
The man put the device and turned back to Akio and shook his head in disappointment.
“Akio was is?” The man asked. Akio’s neck twisted with a snapping motion as his body responded almost mechanically to the sound of it’s new master’s voice. Akio’s eyes were now pure white and his jaw hung limply.
“Akio, you know your problem?” The man asked. The shell that was Akio shook it’s head violently. “Your problem is that you rely on technology too much. You prefer your wetware and ‘Mantic-Space too much” the man strokes the top of his own closely shaven head with his hand “me? I prefer to go eau naturel none of this cyber crap. Just me and my spirit”.
The man leaned in towards Akio’s face once more. “That's the problem with you fucking Ghosts! You’ve forgotten the strength of the Human spirit!”
Akio’s eyes stared back at the man as vacant forms of nothing. Any sign of Akio’s personality or previous identity, gone. Back inside the mists of memory however Akio’s spirit was very much alive.
Akio stared in horror at his own hands covered in blood. He was still his twelve year old self and his living memory had played out exactly as it had when it originally happened. Akio had been furious, a dirvish of pain, angst and righteous vengeance. He had seen his body in his mirror, the bruises from the beating, and had remembered the similar received by his sister. Yes her boyfriend was much older than him, and even more in height but that hadn’t held him back. Even now he could recall in stark detail how he had left his bedroom, walked quietly downstairs to the kitchen and picked up one of his mothers ginsu knives.
Quietly he had approached his sister’s bedroom where he could hear the continued shouting of her boyfriend and the quiet sobbing of his sister and ever so slightly he had pushed open her door. His sister and her boyfriend had both looked at him in unison, but neither noticed the knife he clutched behind his back. He remembered vividly how the older boy had laughed at him and told him to go back to his room. That was when he did it. When he had launched himself across his sisters room screaming over and over which stabbing the older boy repeatedly with his tightly held weapon. If anyone was to ask him now he couldn't say why he had did it, all he knew at the time was it was the right thing to do.
That time had passed, the knife still stuck in the older boy’s chest had joined the boy as they simultaneously fell to the floor with a clatter and his sister had begun screaming. Akio didn't know what to do. He was literally standing in a crime scene red handed. So he did the only thing he could think of. He ran.
- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley