Ancient prophecies tell the tales of darkness consuming the world, gobbling up the world and all we value in the gluttonous abyss, and when the world is that close to the end, the light shining brighter and hotter than any star shall burn. And that light would be hope. And as a token of symbolism, all’s consumed by the darkness…
All, but one single spot in the center…Or what’s assumed to be center of a room, which looked like the depths of the void at this point. A single light bulb. Nothing too fancy, nor too bright, shining from above to cast that light and keep the darkness from creeping any further. Creating a ring of white and keeping the shadows at bay. And within this little circle of ‘hope’, Memarie Laene would find herself strapped to the world’s most uncomfortable wooden chair with her hands and feet.
But this wasn’t any ordinary room. As much as generic the scenario looked, there was something else that lay heavy in the air. Putting pressure onto the room more than the darkness could ever do. A strong infernal presence in the air. Something that would even some demons might find bit sickening. This…aura was draining, tiring. Something to put press heavily onto her angelic nature, weaken it to the point where she wouldn’t have enough strength nor will left to crack her lightning.
She isn’t completely alone in there, however. Two silhouettes at the edge of the darkness are keeping her company, standing side to side. One of them looks rather large compared to the other. One might even assume it was a Minotaur without horns. There’s only one way to describe this large individual: gigantic. And standing next to the brute was another shadow that looked oh so lanky compared to the hulking companion. The smoke of a high quality cigar seeped out from the eternal blackness as the first figure made the movement and have enough courtesy to show their face.
His face wasn’t something one could hate, but at the same time, with the cockiness he carried on his pale features erased any want of him being admirable. Lifeless eyes, once might have been blue carrying the same smugness as did the surface of his dead and pale visage. The cigar was held firmly between the curled lips, doing a great job at flashing those ivory fangs. It was none other than Paluie Novara, known for his brutality in rather shady circles, and for his daring assault on Consequence. Not too long after the cigar smoking vampire, the brutish friend of his emerged as well. Awful screech of the wheels following as he pushed the forth a rolling table.
“Rise an’ shine, sleepin’ beauty…” A hand smacked onto the angelic host’s cheek. Far from gentle in nature. “You’ll have all the time you need to sleep once you’re dead.”
She’s awash in a curtain of illumination, casting down in a bare dimness that threatens to burn out with the wrong bat of a lash… If she wasn’t strapped tight to a chair, perhaps one might mistake her posture for devotion, her lowered head for reverence unto a God that was hardly there. But ah, she’s no nun on her knees with her eyes soaring high for the Lord and her hands clasped in devout prayer.
No, no, she’s a bitch tied to a chair in a dark room with the skulking shapes of her demise lurking in the fringes like phantoms swirling through the fog of a graveyard. Everything about her mind, body, soul, hurts, agonizes in a way she’s never fully felt before though this pain is hardly a stranger; more of a long ago friend about to become thoroughly intimate with her. She’s sick to her stomach and it feels as though she were drowning in a miasma of poison, noxious fumes boiling down into her lungs, scathing through the forest network of her veins until it had infused her like a plague.
Memarie is vaguely awake, like the precipice of dreams and awareness, where things have a special sort of clarity and yet a dullness to them that tempers the strike of the cold palm crashing into her face. Her head snaps to the side with the hit and she lingers there a moment before canting her head upwards to greet the dastardly blues of the vampire with her scathing greens and a smarmy grin.
“Quaint… But you need to work on your bedside manners,” rasps out the words lowly, as her eyes drop to the fangs needling past his lips.
Oh it must be fucking Christmas.
“I kind of wonder if you still crack that beautiful smile of yours if I were to dig my fingers through your lovely throat and pulled out the tongue. But as much as I’d love to do it right away…Not only it’ll merely kill my fun. But it might as well fuck with a little plan or two, y’know?” Words roll out between his lips with the smoke so casually. Wasn’t he a special little snowflake? No, he wasn’t. Just another fucker sowing his share of malice. “Before you start wondering, why the fuck it’s you? What did go wrong? Or what kind of debt you owe to someone…Lets cut it clear. It’s neither, okay?” Stretching a charming smile across the face. “First things first: you look very expensive…Which is nice. Because I like expensive things. Usually…”
Keyword: Usually. It’s like he’s hinting for something. Dangerously close, the vampire Don leaned in to brush the exhaled smoke onto her features. Dead blues staring into those greens of hers. “..The thing is, when this would be just a random ransom operation, this time, I’m going for something big…And let’s hope you have friends and family who really, really love you. Or else it would be such a shame to just toss you away for couple’a coins like another common hooker…” With that said, he’s pulling back, jabbing the cigar in his maw and gesturing towards her for the towering man.
Expensive? She looked expensive? “You flatter me sweetie…” it comes out a lovely croon, the wayward lullaby of a jazz singer’s voice charming a full house. Usually? She doesn’t think about it. Thinking about it would merely make things worse for herself. She’d prefer to not dwell over what damage was going to be inflicted upon her.
His words had drawn a bark of laughter, hoarse and cold sounding though she doesn’t bother to mince any further. Might as well get to the fun part of things, right? Anything would be better than to have him close to her, those fangs of his growing nearer makes her blanch in the dull light radiating down.
Memarie continues to smile as though she doesn’t have a care in the god damn world — it isn’t the first time she’s been tortured, likely wouldn’t be the last. That is her optimism, her shining ray of hope — that she’ll survive only to be caught up another time to be broken and battered. But hope was hope, wasn’t it?
“Alfonso…Do the honors…” With that said, he’s backing away a little more. But not too far either. Getting a view from the best seats on the house. The horrible, ugly fuck reached for the table. A thick set of golden knuckle dusters slipped onto already meaty fingers, and without even thinking twice, a powerful hook launched to her jaw. To break it, snap it open and leave it hanging slacked.
Her fingers furl into her palms, nails digging down into the softness in bracing for the impact of the golden metal that scorches into her jaw and crackles bone in sickening splinters. Agony blossoms in her mouth like a bomb before it simply goes… numb in a way that tingles and vibrates, though the pain was crawling up for her eye socket in short bursts that made her eyes water. A slurred hiss dribbles from the fountain of blood that tangs her tongue all of a sudden.
But no scream, no cry.
Just blood that oozes past her lips to stain the collar of her shirt.
He thought he was prepared for this. When doing a job like this, you should expect blood spill…Creatures like him who loved blood for more than just one reason, even the smallest drop was enough to drive them into frenzy. Like those great sharks of the oceans. He could smell it from miles. Being this close to the source? Yeah…it was definitely something that’d set off both him and his associate…But Alfonso seemed rather professional about it. It was Paulie who was getting all, taking unnecessary breaths nervously and clearing his mind, even if he stared at the blood oozing down from her jaw.
The massive fist slams into her jaw from the opposite side now for the sake of the satisfying jawbone cracking symphony.
Was she prepared for this?
Did that question honestly matter?
What was she going to do if she wasn’t? Leave?
Breathing is a thing that demands concentration and she gives into that, a lifeline that threads her from pain to consciousness, keeps the flame flickering. The next slam into her jaw breaks and batters, bruises already seeping across the surface of her skin like a macabre Rorschach test. If she didn’t know any better, she’d be worried that her teeth were being shattered too.
“C’mon darlin’! Why aren’t you smiling like you did before? How isn’t this fun anymore? Do I fail to entertain you?” The words spewed with a sneer in the voice. A hand was raised to halt Alfonso from delivering another blow as he neared back to her. A single finger traced up her neck, up to her chin to dip the tips of his fingers in the pouring red, tugging at the broken jaw down, like he needed more opening. The cigar he was so enjoying was jabbed into the opening, just to stub the burning amber against the back of the throat and leave it there. Bobbing his head, and Alfonso’s large hands reaching already to force her mouth shut.
The thing about Memarie…The more pain she’s in, the more stubborn she is. What doesn’t kill her, makes her stronger. The cold finger drags her throat and to her broken chin, tilting her head upwards and when he vomits words at her… well… a grin is dredged up for him, all sweet and sugar in the midst of the blood that seeps through her teeth, stains them pink and drools out though she doesn’t seem to care.
‘Is that all you got?’ is what those eyes of hers seem to say, distant and frozen, and yet burning with a homicidal heat — a meteor come to dole out divine justice.
With her smile torn apart by callous hands to stuff a burning cigar down the back of her throat, she can’t help but cough at the simmering burn that scorches her from the inside out, choking on it when she can’t spit it back out as her mouth is shut.
Over the blood smeared fingers, his tongue flicks over the tips greedily, smudging the remains of the stains on his lips with a delighted smile adorning the fucker. Her blood while sweet, rather delicious, like achieving nirvana within hell… it also burned. Scorched. Mustered a wildfire in the smooth lap that sheds his fingertips of the crimson — drinking an angel’s blood is never really a good idea, despite the way it thralls and addicts.
An unnecessary sigh slipped past his lips as he turned for the table to pick a tool of his choice. The licked fingers curled around a handle of a knife. Rusty blade it was, slightly curved backwards. Used on many before her. The knife was held up, to the light, as if he’s examining it. As though trying to find a flaw, before the words laced with Italian accent interrupt the silence once more.
“My father, was an interesting man. He always found things fascinating. Like, something oh so casual, such as plants. He found them fascinating…And out of those casual things, he found ants the most fascinating things he has ever encountered…” With that said, the tip of the blade’s brought to the left forearm, digging it down slowly, slicing it to the side like he’s about to skin her alive.
It isn’t the first time a blade has been drawn against her and this one she takes without batting a lash, the sting erupting through her arm as the rusted knife caresses her muscles to draw a line of red upon her tatted flesh.
“His reasoning? These tiny creatures, went on for days, weeks and even throughout the whole season… Working… working… Working…despite the harshness of the environment. While others would just…collapse and die. These fuckers worked till the very end of their days. That…was fascinating..” He’s slowly pulling the knife away, putting the bloodied instrument back in its place. Turning around and sweeping his glance over the vast assortment he could choose from “Now…that was crazy. Don’t ya think?” With that said, he’s turning around with a small jar in his hands. The jar was filled with hundreds, maybe even thousands of small, black and brown critters, all piled onto on another. Constantly shuffling. The wide smile never left his features. It seemed like it was permanently frozen onto his. The jar’s brought close…Too close for her to see the contained ants. “And just so conveniently…Guess what I happened to have?” The urge not to laugh is just too strong. Ever so slowly, he’s twisting off the lid of that jar. Like he’s got all the time in the world.
Memarie just stares at him heavily, an unwavering look — until the insects. If she wasn’t sick before, she would be now. Queasiness pools in the pit of her stomach, squirms through her like a nest of adders, makes her frozen fingers tremble in their roped state. She’d give anything to tumble away into the sludge of fear that threatened to drown her, to suffocate her…
But here, there’s no one to step up in her falter, to save her. If she goes down, that’s it.
Now, Paulie’s prime objective was to break that defiance in her glare. And he’d blessed if he didn’t.
And boy, didn’t he hit the jackpot.
They say animals have a knack for sensing fear, and this man was obviously anything but a person. That look, that urge to run, to stay the heck away from those miniature spawns of Satan. It’s like an early Christmas for a rich kid who just got more than what he wanted, and he wasn’t complaining. No.
“…At first, I thought my father wasn’t quite right in the head, y’know? I mean… What’s so fascinating about these guys, am I right?” The sealing was removed, tilting it just a bit to pour some ants onto the open palm. Carefully, like every single one of them were his valued lovers, or children he cherished the most, to avoid them from the plagues of real world. He secured them in his fist as he put the jar away. “But to be fair… Who’s actually quite ‘right in the head’ in these parts anyways, no? I mean, look at us! Bunch of gods and monsters, in the land of immortals strut around with death wish. If you asked ‘normal’ person about us, they’d say we’re crazy because of this and that…Anyways…”
A single digit digs into the fresh wound onto her forearm, tugging at it to peel open what the knife has failed. “…I thought my dad wasn’t quite right in the head…But then I realized his fascination for these little critters. They work and work hard like my ol’ man said. But there’s something else…It’s kind of hard to just describe it with the words. So, lemme demonstrate.” As the wound was widened more, the hand which was trapping those hands were brought to the bloody gate, inviting the ants inside of her flesh.
The bugs. The insects that cascade and drown her. The raspy scuttle of critters that flutter along her skin, nip away at her eyeballs, flood her mouth, nose, ears, until she could feel them inside of her. The nightmares that plagued her.
And oh god, they really were. The defiant stare had shattered, but it still skulks in her bones, refuses to allow her the respite of screaming… of crying. The pain of his filthy fingers burrowing through the open wound on her arm is just background noise to the main event, the ants that wander across his palm… Had he known? Or had he just been lucky in guessing?
Memarie starts up a storm of squirming, writhing against her bindings, doing anything and everything she could to disrupt Paulie’s flow, make him drop the ants, make the ants fall away, make her fall away. Anything at all to prevent them from touching her, from creeping inside of her. Bloody hisses streak through her teeth — sure, the ants wouldn’t live all that long, really. No oxygen and they’d be crushed by trying to slip through.. the heat of her body would crisp them soon enough as well. But that hardly mattered.
They were inside of her, INSIDE OF HER, CRAWLING THROUGH HER BODY.
Oh god, oh god, they were in her, the nightmares and she can’t stop moving, struggling, twisting in ways she shouldn’t bend; she’d do anything to clamp her teeth around Paulie’s arm, tear into his flesh like a wild animal.
Memarie? There’s no Memarie… just a feral beast hell bent on destroying each and every single thing that surrounded her.
((Co-written with the help of Paulie Novara))