60 The Doctor that could not be trusted*
There was no real way to tell how long it had been since Rassa had been imprisoned, but Rassa knew exactly how long it was. Six hours.
Six hours alone in the dark surrounded by Anthrite. It was clear that if there was no one venturing down a tunnel, they would neglect to re-light the torches once they were extinguished. This obviously didn't bother Rassa with his night vision, but he was still terrified. Not of the darkness, but of what the darkness implied.
That they did not care for his wellbeing whatsoever.
During these six hours, Rassa had had plenty of time to search his cell. His eyes roamed over every inch, from top to bottom, side to side. There was not one part of that cell he had not committed to memory, and it all told him one screaming fact. There was no way out.
When this conclusion became all too obvious, Rassa instead turned to keeping himself occupied. In turn, with his thoughts to himself, he came to another conclusion. He'd seen the orange leaves outside but had been too preoccupied to care. Autumn had come, and with it, Rassa had turned 13.
He remembered how superstitious folks used to say that 13 was an unlucky number. Rassa didn't like seeing that literally play out within his own life.
After four hours, the torches had gone out, and Rassa was plunged into full darkness. It made his vision better, but he still wished for somebody to come along and light the torches again.
After almost an hour of sitting on his cot with his thoughts to himself, Rassa rose to find something better to do. It was hard, but eventually he managed to find a white rock in the corner, no doubt left over from when they carved out this place. He took up the rock, only about half the size of his hand, then turned to one of the walls and began to draw.
At first, he had no idea what he was trying to do. He knew instinctively that he shouldn't draw anything that would give anything away. The last thing he wanted was to have his captors gain more leverage against him. Instead, he drew the memories.
He did not draw them in detail. He drew obscure images that one could mistake for imagination, or indeed his own memories. A long hall of empty seats. Falling stars. A man with pointed ears and intimidating dark eyes. They were the images that came to mind as he drew. It seemed to flow out of him, and Rassa felt nothing but relief as it did. As if he was unburdening himself.
As he stood back to survey his work, he realised they weren't exactly good in terms of artwork. But he understood them, and that was all that mattered to him. It was in this moment that he heard the unmistakeable echo of footsteps approaching from down the tunnel. Rassa moved to the wall beside the cage, dropping the white rock he'd used to draw with into the corner.
The cell gradually grew lighter as the torches approached. Rassa was focused on the sound of the footsteps though.
Six sets of footsteps. He waited until they paused outside of his cell, then he heard one of the Guards speak.
"Did he get out?"
"Don't be ridiculous".
It was the Doctor, the one who had met him at the entrance.
"Rassa?" the Doctor called, "It is Rassa, yes? My name is Doctor Sagen Zaroth. I am your caretaker here".
Rassa turned to look through the bars, leaning against the rock beside them as he stared out. There were four guards in total, two of which were holding torches, one was standing beside the Doctor, and the last was holding a young woman. She was shabbily dressed and appeared weak and terrified. A slave no doubt.
"Ah, Rassa, I trust you have settled in?" asked the Doctor, he had a cruel smile on his face. Rassa assumed the Doctor did not care in the slightest about his comfort. So, in reply, and because he couldn't talk due to the mask, Rassa simply glared back.
"Now, now, Rassa. No need to be so hostile towards me," the Doctor stated, "I'm here to help you. The more I learn, the more I can help you with your situation".
Rassa had nothing to stay to that. He simply turned his back to the Doctor and retreated to his cot, lying down and placing an arm over his eyes.
"Come, boy, that's no way to treat your host. I even brought you dinner," the Doctor pulled the girl forward. She squeaked in fear as a key was placed into her hand and she was then shoved through the cell door. Rassa turned his head slightly to look at her, then back at the Doctor. Was he serious?
"I'll make you a deal boy," the Doctor said, "Co-operate, and I continue to feed you. Don't, and we'll have some supply issues. I've been told you're smart, so you should know what I mean. When you are fed, your meal will be thrown in with the key to your mask, but that meal will not be allowed to leave your cell until your mask is back on. Unless of course you wish to kill them, though something tells me innocent lives are not what you want".
He expected Rassa to feed from her? From humans?
It wasn't like he hadn't done it before, but he also knew that if this was a diet he got used to...it would get increasingly harder for him to turn back. Just like a merchant who had earned a fortune and given himself the life style to go along with it, he would find it very difficult to survive once he went bankrupt.
"What do you say, Rassa?" asked the Doctor, "Do we have a deal?"
Rassa looked from the doctor to the girl, who was so terrified she was shaking. He closed his eyes and released a deep breath.
Whatever. It was food.
Rassa sat up and walked over to the girl with purpose. She backed towards the wall of the cage, her eyes wide with fear. Rassa stopped about a metre from her, then held out his hand.
The girl looked at it, then looked back up at him.
The Doctor and the Guards said nothing as they observed the exchange. Then Rassa lifted his other hand and tapped the mask with a fingertip. When the girl shook her head, Rassa held up both his hands and backed away, then he turned to the Doctor. His look was clear.
'I cannot feed if they will not cooperate.'
The Doctor looked less than impressed.
"Unlock the mask or I leave you in there to rot," the Doctor threatened the girl.
Rassa could see it as her eyes welled with tears, and he glared at the Doctor. Not exactly what he had in mind to convince her, but Rassa should have known better really.
The girl shakily held out her fist with the key in it, then threw it at Rassa. It was a clumsy throw, one that was no doubt meant to miss, but Rassa caught it easily even in the low light.
He reached behind his head and unlocked the mask letting it drop to the floor with a clang.
The girl turned away, shaking.
Rassa sighed, then stepped forward towards her, lowering himself to her level.
"You won't die. Not if you remain still and cooperate," Rassa said softly, "I can even make it so that you won't feel any pain if you want me to".
The woman looked to Rassa hesitantly, "What...what are you?"
"Not human, if that's what you're asking," Rassa replied, he held out a hand to her. She looked at it for a long moment, then reached out and took it slowly, "What's your name?"
"Close your eyes, Lyssa," Rassa ordered. He waited until she complied before he leaned forward, letting his fangs extend and sink into her wrist.
She flinched, but as Rassa worked to lesson her pain with every draw, her expression relaxed until she was smiling. After a moment, Rassa withdrew his fangs and licked over her wound. He turned and looked at the Anthrite Mask behind him as he dropped her wrist. He actually felt full for the first time in months. As soon as that mask went back on, the feeling would disappear.
"If you want her out of your cell, I suggest you put it back on," the Doctor stated.
Rassa turned to look back at the Doctor.
"I am not a plaything nor a tool," Rassa stated. He used his speed to appear before the Doctor in an instant, just short of the bars. The Guards all recoiled in shock, but the Doctor stood with a grin on his face, "I may be stuck in this cell, but I am no circus monkey. The first opportunity you give me, I will be leaving. And even before you've truly done anything to me, I know. That's the same day you'll die".
The Doctor only laughed.