‘Do you think,’ Curt asked again, ‘that today is a good day to die?’
Stef stared up at him, hoping that he was saying what she thought he was saying. ‘I-’
‘REPENT!’ he screamed at her again.
The knife dug into her cheek.
‘Do you think,’ he asked for a third time, ‘today is a good day to die?’
Her cheek scraping against the edges of the blade, she nodded.
‘Are you ready to die?’
Good gods, Spyder, I hope-
Yeah, I hope you’re right too. I forgive you if you weren’t.
She nodded again.
The knife plunged into her chest. She felt it slide in between two ribs and bury itself into her lung. Under his grip, she squirmed, spitting blood onto his face – which only earned her another slap.
You weren’t right! You weren’t right! I hate you!
He brought his face close to hers. ‘Told you,’ he whispered. There was breath against her ear, then more words…or probably words, each one of which slammed into her head, hurting her as much as the knife was.
She slumped, her eyes closing, her breath caught in her throat without the energy to finish exhaling. Paralysed, and numb – though she could still feel the blood leaking down her side.
‘I need a fucking drink,’ Curt said, his weight disappearing from her. ‘Then I’ll get to work on the agent.’
‘What about the body?’
‘I’ll wait till rigor sets in, then I’ll cut it up and courier it back to her Agency.’
‘Fine.’
There was the sound of a door slamming, and then she was alone.
Is this…death?
Still kinda feels like life, Spyder.
I can’t move, I can’t see, and I’m not breathing.
You’re still bleeding.
What the hell did he do?
I think he used magic on you.
He could have done it earlier, yanno, before he cut my fucking eye out.
Her right big toe twitched.
See? Not dead.
Her eye opened a little, and her HUD reappeared, a countdown taking up most of her vision.
Well, not yet anyway.
She stared at the countdown, 4:57, 4:56, 4:55, blue digital numbers ticking away the seconds she had left to live.
This is…kind of familiar.
Her big toe twitched again, then went still.
Think I can get a cute recruit to pack me in ice?
You’re lying on a frozen floor, there’s snow coming in through the roof, I think you’re as packed in ice as you’re going to get.
She tried to move her hand, but it stayed immobile, useless.
4:41, 4:40, 4:39.
Ok, I’m paralysed, and I need to cut into my chest and wish myself well before the countdown runs out.
Spyder, you’re dying of blood loss, you have to cut into it before it hits zero. You’re losing blood, and you need to be conscious enough to do this.
I feel fine so far. Well, considering.
Try to move.
She managed to open her eye a little more, but nothing else moved.
4:27, 4:26, 4:25…
What if they come back? To…not having those thoughts, but to do anything, like move me somewhere?
Well, then we’re all dead. They’ll slit out throat, they’ll execute Curt for tricking them, and Grigori’s doomed.
…and if they don’t come back?
We’ll have that talk after you get better. I’m not going to stress you out whilst you’re bleeding to death.
Two of the toes on her left foot twitched, then retained feeling – one retained the feeling of being broken with a hammer, but it was feeling all the same.
3:59, 3:58, 3:57…
I’ve got part of a foot, can I perform surgery with part of a foot?
Maybe if you’d kept up with ballet, but even then, I don’t think Madame Cousteau would have taught us to wield knives with out feet. Would have messed up the shoes, don’t you think?
Probably.
Come on Spyder, we’ve got nearly four minutes, we’ve been through worse.
What you mean is, I died alone once, stop being a pussy and take it like a man?
I think it’s better than the alternatives. This is at least a chance.
3:20, 3:19, 3:18…
She could feel her right knee, more precisely, she could feel the deep cut there, and the open wounds from the burns, but it was feeling.
Three minutes, and I can be home, and in my warm bed, right?
No.
What?
I’m not going to tell you until we’ve cheated death again.
I don’t want to cheat her…she’s a nice lady…
Hey, don’t you go getting woozy on me.
I’m not…promise…
2:45, 2:44, 2:43…
Is it what you expected?
What?
First week of being an agent.
Dunno, dunno if I expected anything. I…
Damn you, stay awake!
I…
Spyder!
I’m not going to sleep, I’m not going to sleep, I’m just…
Pain exploded in her gut.
OUCH!
There you are.
1:57, 1:56, 1:55…
Those numbers keep getting smaller.
She tried to move her hands again, and this time, there was faint feeling in her fingers.
Work with it, Spyder, work with it!
She concentrated on moving her right index finger, and slowly felt it respond. She tapped it, but none of the other fingers moved yet.
1:28, 1:27, 1:26…
Her right hand flexed, and froze, before relinquishing control to her. Her arm still dead, she turned her hand and grasped for her pants leg, pulling her dead arm along with it.
Huh, maybe watching Evil Dead was a valuable use of your time.
By the time she had pulled her hand up to her chest, feeling was beginning to return to her arm.
Shop smart, shop Stef-mart!
1:03, 1:02, 1:01…
She let her hand slide a little, and reached for the knife handle.
No time to be clean or pretty about this.
0:57, 0:56, 0:55…
She yanked the knife out, and felt her breath exhale as a scream.
She gripped the wet handle and pushed it through the place where her breastbone should have been, scrapped it against her heart, and pulled it back out. She pressed her fingers against the tiny pieces of mirror on the end of the knife.
Heal me, please.