You could hear the faint sound of each drop of blood landing in the puddle below it, falling off the tips of his fingers. Granted, you could only hear it when he stopped screaming but if you got past the sobbing, there it was. That's what I listened for. The every steady drop, splashing down in time with a metronome. It kept my head on straight whenever I started to get worked up, kept me going whenever I got bored.
There was a lone light bulb hanging over our heads, swinging in sync with the drip. The legs of the chairs cast tiny shadows, little lines continuously dancing around on the cracked concrete floor. I watched them twirl for a few seconds, before looking back at the man in the chair. His flesh was torn, wounds gaping and half closed. Clotted blood was smeared all over him, for every time the blood flow slowed, I wrenched the wound open again. I gave a little smile and reached for the alligator clips. His head started to buck back preemptively, weary of the constant torture he's been exposed to.
You always knew when you were electrocuting them right because there was an instant feedback to show you. Whenever a current was established, that lone light flickered. Whenever it did you could see almost see a faint glow from the eyes of whatever poor bastard was in the chair. This time was no exception. I let it go for a few seconds before pulling back, placing the clips back on the table.
“Again. What was her name?” No response. I had been asking this question for hours, but he had been surprisingly resilient. Much more so than I had expected from someone like him. He was protecting a villain, or so I was told. I didn't care for the reasons. They were usually just political wording so someone could justify to themselves what they were doing. I didn't need a justification.
I picked up the clips again, and his moaning intensified. It was clear he was afraid of the pain, but it wasn't enough. “You shouldn't protect her. She is causing you this grief, and it will keep happening until you give me the answer I'm looking for. No one needs to know it was you, no one needs to find out that you told me, but you cannot keep this up. There isn't much left of you, and if you keep holding back then your heart is going to blow. There are only 3 things in this room, sir. Your life, that light, and the lie. One of those is going to give out before today is over, and I replaced that light bulb yesterday.”
He picked his head up, his chin barely able to lift up off of his chest. With all the sweat, blood, tears and snot that he had excreted, his face was glazed over, but his stare was defiant. He never said a word, just looked at me and then up at the light. I understood the message. He planned on seeing it through to the end. There was no need for me to waste my time any longer. I pushed his head back, pulling his tongue from his mouth and placing it in one of the clips. His moans turned into shrieks, legs kicking against the leather straps. I could feel his panic in me, feeding my pleasure, and I started to smile. As I connected the other clip, and turned the switch for the current, his shrieks turned to squeals. I stood there for what felt like forever, my finger on the switch and counting the drips. They were hard to hear, but I could make them out. I've gotten a lot of practice, and you can block out all of the foreground noise with enough time. As I snapped back to reality, I looked into his eyes. He was pleading for me to not do it, knowing that he only had seconds left. “You chose wrong.” I flicked the switch, and his screaming intensified for a brief few moments, then stopped. His eyes, however, did light up this time.
I turned the switch off, and went to check on him. His pulse was gone, as well as a good chunk of his tongue. His teeth had shattered, slamming into the alligator clips at full speed. I pulled it out of his mouth, wiped the blood and saliva on the mans boxers, and banged the door. The deadbolt retreated, and the door rolled back. I nodded to the guard, as he smiled at the mess left by the last guy. He walked in, unstrapping the corpse, and dragged him out by the foot down to the incinerator. I stuck my head out into the hallway and yelled. “NEXT!”
The sidewalk glowed in the rain, reflecting the light back from the buildings above it. Streetlights were dim, in a more run down part of the city, and the air smelt of ash and stale urine. I could feel my feet slowly crunching against the concrete beneath me, hear the sighs as people exhaled, no longer needing to keep their chest puffed up as they passed a stranger on the street. I had been walking since the sun started setting, wound up. Been having a hard time lately, and I needed to go out again. “It'll only be one more time” I promise myself, knowing that it'd be broken in a couple of weeks anyway.
The air started to become more still, the city slowing its pulse as it fell into a slumber. The sun had long since fell away, and now the lights above me were clicking off one by one. The rain was still falling, each drop falling with a soft pat on my shoulder, like the world was urging me on. As I took a deep breath in, I caught the scent. Drifting towards me from behind, a deep and heavy cologne, followed with slow steps that clacked onto the sidewalk.
I slowed down, moving off to the side and allowing him to pass me. He didn't just walk, but sauntered past. His hair was short, brown, and stuck purposefully into place. The earbuds in his ears shouted his music, and his bag bounced off his back with each step. The hoodie he was wearing was carefully chosen, accentuating his back and arms, hugging tightly to expose the definition. I only briefly glimpsed his face, but it was a confident and cocky smirk. Perfect for me in every way.
The music he was blasting helped cover my footsteps perfectly, as I ran up behind him. We were closing in on an alley way, and as we reached the edge I grabbed the handle on his backpack. He skidded in place, and I swung him into a trashbin. He crashed against it, and yelled at me, swearing. One of his earbuds had fallen out, the music even louder, but all it did was show how silent it was when he saw my knife. The second he saw my knife, he knew who I was, and what was coming.
I swung down with my fist, keeping the blade away from him but driving my knuckles into his jaw. He collapsed against the dumpster again, his head making an audible crack. Even with the tiny bit of light that managed to shine into the alley, I could see the blood on his forehead. A smile was erupting across my face as I bought up my fist again, breaking into a grin as I swung down, and a bellyful of laughter as I hit him again. His head bounced off of the trashbin again, making another hollow thud.
I found the young man, sitting low below the small bulb of the street lamp. He was homeless, his clothes disheveled, his eyes bloodshot, and his hair and beard caught and twisted in knots. I had seen him a couple of times before then, though never in such a state. He was...sadder than usual. I went up to him, and asked if there was something bothering him, more than the usual I mean. I made sure that I made that clear. He looked at me, his jaw slack, and his cheeks sunken.
“What...What time is it?”
I looked down at my phone and told him it was eight at night.
Upon hearing this, he put his head in his hands and began to sob.
I stood there, upset at myself for coming over to talk to him. What had I been thinking? What did I expect was going to happen? He stopped suddenly, his cries silenced, his breathing shallow. What he said next distresses me to this very day.