“You know it’s not over.” I ignored the words, applying every bit of will I had to suppress the pain coursing through me. I was barely a shadow of my former self, remnants of the day before. Now, I was a sad reminder of former glory, an unceremonious pile. My wet inhalations must have been interpreted as listening, because my fellow prisoner continued. “They’ll never leave you here. They’re not done. That door is going to open and that, that’s when you’re finished. But not before they make you wait. Wait in here and think about what they’ve done to you, and every moment of pain. The giggles, casual conversation, the jokes floating over you while, bit by bit, they worked away at you, passing you around, tasting you.” I heard him, but the words seemed tinny and inconsequential in the frost. It was remarkably cold, but instead of numbing my wounds, it seemed to race through them to my veins.
They were a sick bunch. A family in name, but in behavior, a hierarchy of demons. A tableau that might have been desperately scratched out by a Norman Rockwell in the darkest leg of a DMT trip gone wrong. They’d bonded over my torture, for fuck’s sake. They’d offered me to each other, dividing me between them, for each to then slowly and cruelly begin their individual torture. Picking off bits of me, eating them, eating them, while I lay on the table between their smiles, watching bits of myself caught between their teeth. Afterwards, without a word, they picked up the sad caricature I’d become, and shoved me into the cold. A cold that permeated in seconds, but never faded or fluctuated. That was, by any guess of mine, about a day ago.
The old-timer sat against the far wall. He was very small, and the filth that had started to accumulate over his body betrayed the length of his stay. Others lay scattered about, each showing signs of varying torture, tattoos of repeated abuse. “This is the only hope you have,” the old-timer rattled, “Back here, where they might not see you. They can’t help themselves. Soon, boy! They’ll be hungry again soon.” There was no point. I could no more have moved than I could rewind time to before this godforsaken place, before my master brought me to their door, and sold me away, their filthy money in his grubby hands, walking back to his car without a second glance. A small squeak ricocheted off the walls with a small yank at the door. A silence filled the space, and it seemed the temperature dropped even more excruciatingly.
The refrigerator door swung open, and the twisted fuck was standing there, eyeing our spent figures. “Hey, Mom?” he crowed. “What is it, honey?” she replied, with a honey-sweetness in her voice that was in cruel contrast to the horror she could exact on any one of us at any time. “Can I finish the rest of the chinese food from last night?” My number was up. I was the pitiful waste chosen for execution. “Sure,” the bitch called from the other room, sentencing me to my end with all the tenderness one might take in brushing dog shit off their boot-bottoms. He grabbed me roughly, and I heard the sighs of the other foods, knowing they were granted a brief respite from their ultimate end. Suddenly he peered back in, his tar-black eyes locking with the teary globes of the old-timer. “Ew, Mom, there’s still that pizza in here from like a week ago!” “Throw it out then!” The boy reached in and picked him up between two gingerly pinched fingers. He set me on the kitchen table, where I watched the wet mass of the man who’d tried to save me drop into the garbage. Suddenly, I felt the sharp, staggered punctures of fork tongs. I felt the cold pressure of tooth enamel. Then, darkness.