He called you a recruit!
I don’ think he’s about to slap a salute and call me ma’am.
Spyder, think about it for a moment.
…wait, you mean-
Yeah. There’s a good possibility. Just shut up and let me listen to everything he says.
Stef let two of the Solstice drag her across the floor without a fight. Fighting was useless, it would only result in another broken finger, or a gun pushed to her head and trigger pulled – forgo the torture to kill her. Torture or death. Torture or death. No. Torture AND death.
Why can’t it be cake or death? Or coffee or death?
And there was a dead fairy in her mouth. In her mouth. Well, half of it anyway. It tasted terrible, unimaginably horrible. More of the preservation liquid slid down her throat, well, she hoped it was the formaldehyde, and not blood from the corpse, or-
She closed her eyes and threw up. It hit the fairy’s corpse and the duct tape and began to slide back down her throat. She retched again, struggling to get the tape free of her mouth. Some of the chunks of half-digested food found holes in the gag, and slid down her chin, dripping to the floor as she was dragged across the room.
Without much effort, she was thrown into a cell, and she hit the ground hard, but she didn’t move. Not moving was good. Less of a target. Hopefully less of a target.
‘Don’t go anywhere,’ she heard Curt say, as a hand ran along her back, making her shudder. ‘We’ve got a lot of fun to have, recruit.’
Recruit. He’d called her recruit again. Thoughts sparked and questions flared but she stayed still as the cell was closed, and the sounds of the four men retreated.
She stayed unmoving on the floor until there was nothing but the sound of her own struggling breaths. With one slow, deliberate movement, she tore the tape away from her mouth. The puke in her mouth, and the fairy’s corpse fell to the ground, and then did the remaining contents of her stomach. The fairy, the bile coating her throat, the stress, the fear…it all left her stomach as empty as the day she’d woken up in Jones’ lab. She moved back from the pool of puke, snatching the fairy body, and moving it out of the half-digested food – corpse or not, it deserved a little bit of dignity.
The cell was empty, other than a solid concrete slab with a flat piece of foam on top – a bed of sorts. A heavily stained bed, covered in blood, and other dried fluids that she couldn’t identify, but it was better than the floor, and she moved to it.
She was the only prisoner in her cell, but there was more than one cell, and her neighbour raised his head to greet her. ‘He’s alive,’ Grigori said. Unlike her, he was chained the the wall. Thick lengths of chain circled his arms, his neck, his chest, and his legs. He wasn’t going anywhere in a hurry – especially not with the gunshots to his limbs.
Hatred. It was a good, pure feeling. It was a good focusing feeling. It was one easy to communicate through a look. She concentrated her hate, and looked up at Grigori.
‘He’s alive,’ the Russian said again. ‘Dmitri, Stef, he’s alive. He’s right there. He’s five feet away.’
She tried to focus the hatred into a fireball. Just a little one. Enough to singe his eyebrows, and burn off his hair. It didn’t work.
‘Aren’t you even going to ask,’ she said, hating the taste of her mouth, ‘if I’m ok?’
‘I can see you, sitting right there, you look fine.’
She raised her cuffed hands to her still-bleeding head, and spat again. ‘Uh huh. Grigori, exactly how hard did they hit you on the head?
‘How old are you?’
‘I’ve lost children younger than you, and I’ve spent far longer than that thinking that this man was dead. We have a forty, sorry, four percent chance of making it out of here, but I found him.’
‘It’s your fault we’re here!’ She spat again. ‘Don’t you realise that if you’d…thought about this any other way, that we’d all be home right now?’
‘Including the traitor.’
‘I know what he is.’
I so hope that you’re right.
Right now, it’s our best hope for anything. Even if that anything is a nice, swift death.
She rubbed her bloody fingers together. ‘You didn’t even hear him try to crack my skull open, if you hadn’t been so distracted, we might have gotten out of here.’
‘I’m going to get out of here,’ she said with a bravado that she didn’t feel. ‘And I am going to leave you behind.’
‘You violated me-’
‘I thought proxy bitches liked it rough.’ She spun around to see Curt, followed by who was probably the boss Solstice, if she’d followed the conversation, unlocking her cell. He laughed, a slow, mocking laugh. ‘You took the tape off,’ he said, stepping into her cell, slamming it behind him. ‘I thought I told you not to do that.’
She stared at him, unable to say anything.
‘And you made such a mess,’ he said, ‘you’re going to pay for that. But that isn’t the worst mistake you’ve made. Care to guess what that is?’
She stared at him.
He took two steps, then stepped up onto the bed, towering over her. ‘I said guess!’ he screamed.
‘Calling you a son of a bitch, you son of a bitch?’
This earned her a boot to the head, and she fell backward. He pulled a baton from his belt and swung it twice. One swing making a rib make a rather unusual cracking noise, the other smashing against her hip. He grinned down at her, then dropped suddenly, straddling her. ‘Your other mistake,’ he said, jamming the baton under her chin. ‘Was getting onto the bed.’ His spare hand worked at the buttons on her vest, pulling it open as much as the cuffs was allowed, then starting on her shirt. ‘There is one reason, and one reason only we have beds in the cells,’ he said, letting go of the baton. ‘And that’s for our comfort while we fuck you.’
‘No,’ she whispered.
He laughed, and flicked a knife open, splitting the seams of her bra, leaving her exposed. The knife was hidden away again, and he started to touch her.
Fuck this. Stop this. Nothappeningnothappeningnothappeningnothappenignotnotnotnot-
Spyder, get a grip, I need you to stay with me.
She felt herself begin to cry as he grabbed her left breast, his fingers digging in deep enough to bruise.
‘Get off me!’
‘Oh, really now, Stef,’ he said, slapping her again. ‘Is this really any worse than fucking a proxy?’ He shifted his weight a little, one hand pressed between her breasts as the other worked on her belt. ‘Won’t it be good to fuck a human for once?’
He pressed down on her chest harder – the place where a breastbone should have been, the area over her heart.
‘Or should we just get down to business, get to the heart of the matter?’
The heart of the matter. The message she’d given him.
He knows, doesn’t he?
He’s smarter than he looks.
What do I do?
‘Yes,’ she said, rolling her head to the side.
He sat up, and turned to the Solstice. ‘Let’s move right to the main entertainment. Help me drag this little bitch out.’
‘You couldn’t get it up, Aussie?’
‘My dick shrivels,’ Curt said as he dragged her to her feet. ‘At the idea of fucking her. For the amount of times she’s fucked her proxy, she probably still has ash up her cunt. You want her, take her, but I’ve got better ways to torture her than to give her a good ride.’
The Solstice moved forward, staring down at her like a piece of meat, then shook his head. ‘No,’ he said, ‘she looks too much like a boy, and I have a beautiful wife at home, I rarely take the arse of an unnatural, I usually leave that to the others.’
All right, that’s your job. I’ll keep an eye on your sanity, you keep an eye on your sense of humour.
‘Move!’ Curt screamed in her ear, and she allowed herself to be marched from the cell, away from Grigori, away from Dmitri, and towards torture.
He called you a recruit!