"Strip." He doesn't have a voice of a man, the metallic echo of a robot or appliance emanates from underneath the hood covering his massive skull.
Shedding the crusty hospital gown to the floor, I shiver with cold while my brain presents a disjointed array of images of the myriad ways I'm about to die.
The monster grabs my upper arm and drags me out of my hole before thrusting me forward into the line of naked humanity forming in the hallway. I keep my head down and follow the herd of men, which trudges and sways with exhaustion and fear, the endless sirens ripping at sanity.
The faceless monsters force the line into a dark doorway, no light to reveal our collective fate, but screams echo along the walls and ceilings. Some resist and try to push the door closed, but the faceless men eliminate the rebellion with a cattle-prod type weapon, pressing it against the naked flesh of any fighting to administer an electric shock. Once shocked the men fall like the dead and the rest continue into the dark open door without a fight.
I'm at the front of the line, hands propel me forward into the darkness. Screams attack my ears and more hands pull me through another doorway. Suddenly, I'm bathed in light so intense it burns my skin. I'm in an auditorium of sorts, rows of seats surrounding a small stage.
Scattered throughout the auditorium are televisions enclosed in cages blaring the same address from the fearless leader of our land. He screams and gesticulates, the sound seeping into my pours. After each break in the speech a round of screams echos as if in response. Leader speaks, the citizens scream in agony.
The herd pushes me toward the stage, where a woman in a dress that was once white, but now mostly red with the blood of those screaming response at fearless leader holds court with a sword in her hands.
I'm third in line. Individual 438. My death approaches. The first man steps on the stage and knees before the woman. As fearless leader speaks and rages on the television screen, the man makes the sign of the cross. A bell rings and the woman raises the sword high in the air.
"He told another lie, I sentence you to death."
Swinging the sword, the blonde woman severs the man's head and kicks it from the stage as the body spurts blood. The man in front of me screams and attempts to run from the line. Nobody stops him.
The televisions go dark and fearless leader screams no more. The woman on the stage wipes blood from the sword and approaches me.
"You got lucky. He told 437 lies."
She smiles and taps at my naked parts with the sword. A monster appears by her side, this one with a face of scars and burnt features for all to see.
"What shall I do with the one that ran?"
"Feed him to the dogs," the blonde woman answers, wiping blood off her face with the back of her hand.
"And this one, the lucky one?" The monster asks, nodding in my direction.
"Give Mr. Lucky a new number. Individual number one. You've been promoted."