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The world I was adrift in was a hazy plain of the unfamiliar where all that existed besides me were echoes.  Incoherent voices encircled me.  My confusion reached such a peak it forced me into lucidity and I realized I was dreaming.  Then I was annoyed.  This slapped me out of the induced unconsciousness…

I awaken from an empty, useless dream and I am lying upon a bed or a table, like a gurney.  I’m tied down.  I’m in a bright, vacant room and I feel cold.  There is nothing in the room for me to speculate, though I see I am still clothed.  This is a nice turn of events to have a brandy, lose consciousness, wake up bound, and not be naked upon awakening.

The man comes in and stands over me.  He tells me my blood is special and warns me never to drink brandy again.  In my blood, it works like a drug.  One jigger for me is a heavy sedative, I should have figured that out by now, he says.  He then explains that I am very difficult to kill since I am able to regenerate and I have healing abilities.  The easiest way to kill me apparently is with bullets filled with mercury.  The gunshot wound to my thigh involved a mercury bullet.  There were no rats but rescuers digging and tearing desperately to remove every trace of mercury.  He asked me why I thought they were rats.  I am still not speaking; I think it’s safer that way.  He does not need to know how little I understand.  It’s best he thinks I could possibly know more than I do.  Especially since his job is to kill me.  He asks me questions, I say nothing, then he answers them.  The pattern is too simple and I think this man has nothing to lose.  He doesn’t care if I know more than I should.  The information could lead him to choose to kill me, since he hasn’t made the decision yet whether or not he wants to fulfill that duty.  He may ply me with information, then decide I know too much.

He asks why I saw them as rats, I say nothing, and he tells me that’s because that was their form but I would figure that out later anyway.  Then I recognize him.  I say “Janus” not to call him by name or image, rather it is an involuntary slip of the tongue as the cognizance of his identity takes me by surprise.  He was the patriarch, I presumed at the time, in my captivity and torture.  It frustrates me that every truth I grasp does nothing but cause more confusion, uncertainty, and fear.

He laughs at me and I want to maul him.

“You think I like to cause you pain, don’t you?”

I say nothing.

“You need to be awake or your body defends itself.”

It’s really beginning to piss me off that he assumes I know more than I do, or that he fucks with me thinking I know nothing.  I don’t know what games he’s playing with information, if he’s playing any at all.

He wheels over a table which presumably contains surgical implements, though I am unable to see them from the angle of my vision.  He approaches, grabs a hold of my nose and when I gasp to breathe, he forces a ball of what feels and tastes like gauze into my mouth.  Using duct tape, he seals the gauze within by wrapping the tape around not just my head but the table itself.  I can’t speak or move my head.

“I’m not as sadistic as you think.  The only reason to gag you is to keep you from screaming.  But there’s no one around who could hear you.  I’m just not so sadistic. I don’t want to listen to that.”

I like him even less as he attempts to redeem himself.

He begins to undo my pants and looks at me while he does so.  There is a smirk on his face that attempts to conceal itself beneath his moustache.  After he slides down my pants and underwear to my ankles, he says, “I like you Doan.  You’ll realize that.  No matter what I do, I like you.”  The smirk decides to expose itself and after a pause, he adds, “Well maybe I am a little sadistic, but don’t take it personally, it has nothing to do with you.”

Within the privacy of my own mind, I don’t want to admit that I am afraid.  I want to be brave and strong and confident.  I want to be a man.  But inside of myself I am a crumbling child, desperate and scared, wanting my mommy, even though she was bad to me.

Janus says, “This will hurt,” as he shows me a scalpel then peers down at my genitals.  He bends over and disappears from my sight but I feel him lifting up my scrotum, running his finger beneath it.  “Damnit.”  He emerges suddenly.  “Your legs aren’t spread wide enough for me to perform the surgery.”

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