Martin’s life had turned into a nightmare.
He didn’t know why they had taken him. He hadn’t done anything to make them angry, just flown a plane. Landed in London. Walked into the wrong hangar. Caught someone threatening someone else. With a gun.
He’d promised he wouldn’t tell anyone, but they’d taken him anyway. And now…
Martin was… different.
He didn’t know exactly what they’d done, he’d been unconscious for weeks. Weeks. He’d never slept more than ten hours and he’d been under for weeks as they… changed him.
The mirror reflected a stranger. Someone with high cheekbones and black hair. No freckles, no boyish chin. How could they have done it?
How could they have…
They told him what he had to do. He refused. They whipped him and cut him and rephrased the question. He refused. They whipped him and cut him some more and rephrased the question.
He couldn’t do it. He should die instead; he knew it in his gut. He couldn’t, he couldn’t. They were asking him to torture children. That’s the sort of thing you’re supposed to die rather than do.
But after a while, he thought… if he didn’t do it, they were just going to use someone else. Why would that be a bad thing? It would still happen, only he would keep getting tortured while someone else did it. If he did it, the pain would stop, and it would happen anyway. But the children. It’s not torture. It’s… it’s just candy. You’re giving them sweets, is that so bad? It’s not a warehouse, it’s a… candy… it’s a chocolate factory, you’ll be Willy Wonka, that’s what the man with the crazy eyes keeps saying, and what if it’s true…
And then they whipped him and cut him again, and Martin couldn’t refuse. The man with the crazy eyes laughed and called him Willy Wonka again.
Then he actually had to do it.
The children were very young. Primary school at the oldest. He couldn’t tell ages, and he didn’t know if he wanted to. They looked sad. They’re not supposed to be sad, they’re supposed to be happy, it’s a chocolate factory and you’re Willy Wonka and what child doesn’t love Willy Wonka? They’d given him an outfit, a coat and a scarf and expensive shoes, and it all added up to the wonderfully wonky chocolatier he was supposed to be, so why didn’t he feel wonderful at all? But the more he thought about it the more he began to realize what he was actually doing. So he stopped thinking about it.
He gave the children chocolate, and they cried as they ate it.
He wondered if he’d rather be tortured again.