Stef bit back another scream as the brass knuckle pounded into her bare flesh again. Curt stepped back, wound his arm like he was pitching a baseball, and hit her for what felt like the seventieth time. Realistically, it was probably only the twentieth, or thirtieth.
A lot of those blows had been spent visiting her broken rib, a rib that was probably nothing but powder by now.
Great…now the giants will want me for their bread…
Though, out of all the things he could do, it was far from the worse. It hurt a lot worse than testing out her knowing-kung-fu-ness with Ryan, but at least she had a point of reference for what was going on.
He stepped back again, but this time, slipped the brass knuckles and laid them to rest on the tray. The tray filled with gleaming, sharp instruments of causing massive amounts of pain. Some of them were obviously surgical implements, some were cooking utensils, others she couldn’t identify.
Worse than the pain, worse than the bruises, worse than the powdered rib was the fact that her nose itched. She twitched her nose, but it gave no relief, and there was no point struggling against the restraints. Again. For a tenth time.
The restraints held her in the dentist’s chair from hell – a body-length chair, with all of the cushioning and any remains of softness or comfort removed, and restraints at every sensible point, or joint. Her feet, her legs, thick straps around her wrists, and one around her neck. There had been straps to go around her chest and waist, but Curt had waived them, instead crowing about leaving her exposed to the world.
It had also made punching her a lot easier, giving him a lot more targets, rather than having to chance his blows being softened by the leather.
He picked up a short knife, much like the one Grigori had used to punch through her chest, and start this mess – given that they would have stripped Grigori of everything on him, probably was the same knife, and a plastic cup.
‘I’m only doing this to follow protocol,’ he said, speaking to her for the first time in over ten minutes. ‘Any idea what we’re going to do now, recruit?’
‘You’re gonna take a piss?’
His sick smirk twisted his face again. ‘Oh, so now you’re interested in my dick.’ He took a step forward and backhanded her, which hurt, but it fixed the itching in her nose. He then grabbed her chin, holding her head still, took the knife and drew a deep groove down her face, letting the blood spill into the cup.
‘We have to make sure you aren’t a proxy,’ he said, ‘ineffective as they are, they have tricked lesser men on occasion.’ He took the cup of blood, walked a few feet, and poured it over a white sheet hanging over a table. ‘Though with the number of times you’ve been in bed with yours, half your blood might be ash anyway.’ He tossed the cup over his shoulder. ‘We’ll know for sure in two hours anyway.’
She stared at the bloodstained sheet. Her countdown. Her death sentence.
Agent blood might take two hours to flake away as ash, but it showed all the signs well before that. Slowly turning black, becoming thicker, then slowly losing substance, becoming ash, then nothing at all.
He could call her recruit all he wanted, he could keep up the act, but her blood would betray her, if not them both.
And there was no way to tell him.
This. Is. Insane. We now have less than two hours, and that’s if he isn’t fucking with me just to give me false hope.
Two hours is better than two minutes.
And your bright idea for getting us out of here is?
We’re a genius, aren’t we? The answer is simple: we think our way out of this.
You’ve got no idea, do you?
To be fair, you don’t either.
But you’re supposed to be the competent half!
Yes, Spyder, because insulting me is a really good idea right now. Let me think. You’re going to have to be strong. You can’t be…you.
But that’s why I have you!
We are tied to a chair, getting the shit beat out of us. I can hold you together, but I need you to be strong anyway, this is going to get a whole hell of a lot worse before it’s over. If you want a chance to get out of here, you might have to grow up, just a little. Not much, just a little. Brave face, ok?
How brave?
As brave as you were when you were adventuring with the Captain. Just remember back to when you were an invincible little pirate. Can you do that for me? Who’s my brave little pirate?
Me?
I don’t believe you!
ME!
Better. We might just make it out of here.
Curt dropped the knife on the tray, and held up another few sharp objects in turn, weighing their merits, or maybe just picking out his favourite. He picked up a pair of pliers and smiled.
‘Now,’ he said, ‘I’ve got some questions for you.’