I've touched dead bodies before, but I'll never get used to how fucking cold they are.
I look down at the body on the floor. He's a short, fat old man. Plain and simple. He probably won't be missed. He's definitely not the type to be married. I take the scalpel in my hand and I prepare for my first cut. I've dissected frogs and shit like that in biology class, but never a human. My hands are shaking like crazy and my breathing is ragged.
I pierce the skin, making the blood instantly pour out. I make the cut from the bottom of the ribcage to just past the belly button. I can hear Carlos screaming. "Stay focused; if you worry about him you'll just waste your own time, which will kill him." I say to myself. I reach a hand in and I start pulling out all the guts, which is hard as hell because the blood makes it slippery. I take the liver out, but it slips and plops onto the ground spraying me with blood. I arrange all of the organs and I start cutting into each of them, emptying all of the contents inside. This guy didn't miss a crumb of food. I find nothing in the guts. "God damn it! Where is the fucking thing?" I shout.
"Would you like a hint?" The Game Master asks. I look over and I notice for the first time a clock above the glass wall. I have six minutes left. Already? I look through the glass between me and my friend. The man is pouring something onto his chest. He catches me looking. "Iron, it hurts like a motherfucker, but any metal would do really. Now, how about that hint?" He puts the pot full of melted iron down and he picks up a bucket that clings whenever he moves it.
"Alright, please tell me the hint." I ask, not wasting any time, for time is not on my side.
"Knowing is half the battle while the other half is fighting it." He dumps the small bucket over Carlos and shard of glass latch onto the iron liquid. He kicks the table over and Carlos lands on his stomach. He roars in agony. My heart lurches. "You might want to stop gawking. Time is ticking down." He walks around the table and stands on Carlos' back.
I switch my attention back to the body. "Knowing is half the battle, while the other half is fight it…Knowing is half the battle…The brain!" I shout aloud. I stand up and walk to the top of the body. I stomp on the head until it caves in.
"Four minutes left, better hurry up." I look back and he's laying Carlos back on the table and he's hooking his jaw up to some clamps.
I take the brain out, but I don't see a note in there, so I mash the brain in my hands. Still nothing. "Fuck! Where the fuck is it?" I swear again.
"One minute left Xander." He says.
I'm defeated. I looked everywhere. I checked the lungs, liver, spleen, everything. I can't do anything except watch my friend die. Waiting for the same end.
"Five." He puts a funnel into Carlos's mouth. "Four." He picks up the pot of melted iron. "Three." Carlos is yelling at the top of his lungs. "Two." I'm sorry Carlos. "One." The man pours the iron in to the funnel. Carlos is trying to scream, but he breaths in the melted metal and he starts coughing and choking. He's fighting the restraints, but he won't break free.
A few moments later he stops moving. The metal is running down the side of his mouth. He's gone.
"Well, you didn't make it very far. I'm kind of disappointed. I mean, you look miserable so that's great, but I want more." The jackass walks to the glass wall. "Stand up and come over here." I do as asked. "You're covered in blood and you look depressed as hell. I can even smell you from the other side of this barrier." He turns away from me, and he walks briskly to the door he came through. "Stay here. I must give your teammate a challenge and depending on how he does I will decide what happens." With that he leaves me to look at the man I cut up and a friend I killed.
I'm getting pissed. I've been waiting for what feels like half an hour. "When is my challenge gonna start you asshole?" I shout, even though I'm sure he can't hear me. I've been passing around this room way too many times. I've looked everywhere around the room, but I didn't find anything except that one of the walls is made of glass, which I spend five minutes banging on. "Hey jackass, let's get this over with!" I roar. I walk to the glass wall and I bang on it. On the other side of the glass wall a light turns on. There's a table in the center of the room with wires and gears all around it.
I hear a door open and a man appears from behind the table. "Hello Tristan, sorry to keep you waiting, but I had to prepare our friend here for the transfer. He just wouldn't stop resisting." He says. He disappears back behind the metal machine and then reappears a moment later dragging a motionless body. "I knew you were looking forward to rescuing Emma right away, so I picked someone else instead. I believe its Damen, but I can't tell. He kind of doesn't have a face anymore." He lays the body out in front of me and toys with the machine.
I can't stand looking at the body before me, but I can't look away either. There are a few holes in his calves, his face has been removed of flesh, his lips are sewn shut, and his hair was ripped from his head. "Wha…How did he get the holes in his calves?" I ask, being as curious as a cat sucks.
"Ah yes, that was the best idea I ever had. I hooked him up to a machine that pulled at his calves and his hair, and you just watch to see what gives out first. For him it was his hair." He says enthusiastically. He's running wire in and out of some holes.
"You're fucking sick! That's just wrong! How can you just watch with pleasure as a man is being torn apart?" I yell my question at him. I know my words mean nothing to him, but I can't stand here and not say anything. I'm not like that.
"I do what I do for one simple reason. I take joy out of it." He turns his head to me and he slowly walks up to the glass wall. "Hearing their screams and watching them squirm." He quivers with excitement. "To know that I am the cause of their agony. There's no better feeling." He says, his face just inches from the glass. "People beg me for their lives. It's a reason many people like me do this. Because we feel powerful and in control." He mutters. "Now," He bends over and picks Damen up by the arms. "Let's begin the challenge shall we? First, the rules." He pushes a button and the machine levels out. He lays Damen on the machine and starts tying him down with the wire. "Alright, this will be a simple game of hangman. Guess the letters until you get the word. Every time you guess wrong I will push a button, that button will activate the machine and it'll…I'll just let you see. You have ten tries. It's an nine letter word." He finishes, leaning against the machine. "Whenever you're ready?"
Alright, there're eight letters and I have ten tries. It's gotta be a horror themed word. Let's start with the obvious word. Torture. "U?"
He looks at me and then at Damen. Then he pushes the button. "Swing and a miss." The gears behind the machine kick into life and they start grinding. "Look closely at the fingers." I focus on his fingers and I see the wire tightening around them. Damen stirs. His fingers are beginning to bend at a bad angle. The pinky finger suddenly falls off with a crack. Damen's moaning.
"Stop! Stop the fucking machine!" I shout, kicking the glass. His ring and index finger are the next to break off. Damen begins to scream. He's struggling against the wires. The man in the mask is laughing hysterically. The wire breaks through the last two fingers and Damen is now breathing raggedly. I'm sure that if he could he'd be crying right now. I understand that.
"Guess another letter Mr. Shan." The man mutters. I can feel him staring at me eagerly, waiting for me to guess wrong, so he can feel that happiness again.
My hands are shaking from anger. Don't let your anger control you Tristan. You must stay calm. I take a few deep breaths and I make another guess. "A?" The man's hand is hovering over the button, but thankfully his hand retreats back to his side.
"That's one." He says with a sigh.
I try hard not to smile in triumph. I need to stay focused. "Y?" The man's hand wastes no time slapping the button. I watch again as my friends fingers slowly fall to the ground. I look down at my feet, no longer able to look at my friend as he's being tortured. "F?" I ask, choking back a sob. I wait for Damen's scream to continue, but after a few moments I hear nothing. I must have gotten it right. "S?" I still hear nothing, but the man's foot tapping angrily against the concrete ground. So I have A. S. "K?" I look up. I can feel the man giving me a scornful look. I can't hold back the smile anymore. Stay calm; you still have five more letters. Just let them pop into your head. "C?" I ask, anticipating another yes. The man stops tapping his foot. Shit!
"You were doing so well too." He hits the button. I feel my stomach fall out of my ass. I'm looking at the wires around his arms, but they aren't moving, so I look down and I see his left foot at a disgusting angle. I almost vomit again. I can hear every crack that his bone's making. Damen's shrieking from the pain. Eventually, after what feels like ten minutes, his foot is severed and it falls to the ground with the rest of the body parts. "You have seven tries left and only five letters remaining. This is getting good." He says, rubbing his hand together.
Think Tristan, you have S.A.F.K. Think about the words this can make. I need another vowel. "O?" I close my eyes as I say this, because I don't want to witness another limb falling off. I wait a few moments for the dreadful machine to kick in, but it doesn't, so I make another guess. "L?" Again I wait and again I don't hear anything. I don't hear the gears grinding, Damen's screams, the man's laughter or the dull thud of another body part hitting the ground. Just silence. So I have S.A.F.K.L.O. I need three more. "N?" I ask, another letter just popping into my head. I wait for what feels like forever. I open my eyes and I look at Damen. He hasn't lost any other body parts. I look at the man and his head's down. So S.A.F.K.L.N.O. I should just take a guess. "Snowflake!" I shout without thinking, the word popping into my head like the letters did before.
The man's head snaps up and looks at me. "What did you say?"
"Snowflake. That's the word." I say hesitantly. If I'm wrong then that's another limb severed.
The silence that ensues from my outburst is almost killing me. "Let me start off by saying nice job. You took a risk and it paid off. I'm a little disappointed that I didn't get to see another foot or an arm fall off, but it was still enjoyable. You may move on to the next challenge." He says, untying Damen from the restraints. His body falls to the ground. "Now, excuse me as I clean up here. This will give you some time to reflect on your first challenge. The next will be hard and bloody." I hear a click and the door across from the one that I came in through unlocks. I waste no time. I hurry to the door and when I'm through I slam it shut. Then I go into a corner and I throw up for a while.
A/N: Thank you all for reading (All one of you). Thanks to MyWeirdWorld for BETAing.