The clank-pang of the rickety metal staircase bothered me only slightly as much as the gun pointed at my back. One wobbly descent later and I was at the entrance of hell, all mater of demonic being poked their heads out of cardboard homes and trash bag tents. The scattered light played off their eyes like sunshine over a swamp. I was lead though this, like a frightened float on tanks giving, like a man walking to the gallows.

The fear rising in my chest warped the foul silhouettes, enabling them to tower over me. Their skeletal hands touched my face, they asked me for salvation, and they wanted my blood in a silver challis for St. Benedict. Hours passed, could have been seconds, and we were final at the end of the hall. It opened to a large boiler room, the walls were lined with chains and shackles and the floor was covered in blood and sharp and pointy tools of horror.

“On the wall, we have a special pair just for you Solace.” Marvin’s voice echoes around the piping.

“Why are you doing this?” that’s all I have the chance to say before one of his bruits grabs a hand full of hair and slams me into the wall.

I struggle, to no avail, they chain me facing the wall. The horrid sounds of Byron screaming, being broken, choked and chained send me into a spasm of terror. I can’t hear myself screaming but the tearing in my throat is a good indicator that I am. Something heavy lands on my neck and I feel no more.

When I come to I find myself facing the room. I can see Jacob hanging limply from his wrists. No its Byron, the concussion and the coagulated blood over my face is ruining my vision. I can also see one of the bums lying dead on the floor with bloody eyes bulging.

Marvin’s voice comes from the hall. “I want half a million for each.” There is a pause, “I’m not a greedy man, bitch. But if you push it more I’ll go up to an even Mill if you don’t cooperate. I know how much one of them means to you, I’ll call back in a few hours to see if you changed your mind.”

He walks back into the boiler room, snapping the cellphone in half as he walks closer to me. He breathes heavily on my neck and smells my wound. I try and push him away, but this angers him, he snaps my head back and plunges his lips onto mine. I am still to groggy to fight, even when I hear him zip down.

After rubbing against my leg, he stands tall and walks over to Byron. He grunts something inaudible to his henchmen, a second later and for a second time, my head is snapped back painfully. The man pries my eyes open and makes me watch as Marvin undresses Byron from the waist down. He makes me watch while he caresses his thighs, he makes me watch as he prepares him, he makes me watch as my friend wakes and screams in agony.

Byron is tossed aside and Marvin stands to face me. “Don’t worry, if I want all my money, I need to send you back the way I found you.”

He walks slowly over to me, swinging side to side. He embraces me like he did before, this time digging his tongue into my throat. I might be able to bite through it, but I may not have the strength. For now I’ll bide my time.

“You know, I could just lower the price and have a little fun with you.” He whispers damply into my ear, “I’ve never paid that much for a boy before.”

“What do you want?”

“Money you fool, that’s why I was just talking to your Mommy.”

“Leave her out of this.”

“I know the rich mommy is dead, but this little artsy bitch still has some dough.” He flicks his tongue over my skin with every other word.

“I will burn you, you fucking shit.” I growl, wasting away my strength.

“Big words for a little piggy wrapped up and ready for market.”

He slides his hand gently down the front of my pants, cupping me in his cold dead hand. The look of disappointment across his face when a phone rings. It is whipped away when another henchmen whispers the callers identity. He pulls away from me and walks back into the hall way.

There is silence and then, “SAY THAT TO ME AGAIN!” there is a pause and he speaks again, his voice a devils whisper. “Do you know what this means, one of them has to suffer.”

There is another long silence before the phone is ripped violently from the wall and flung into one of boilers. Marvin storms in and swipes at one of the hanging lights, it explodes and showers us with sparks and glass. Now only the light is the one hanging behind the boiler. I’m thrown into darkness and Byron gets a spot light. I can still hear Marvin Breathing heavily, I can hear him shuffling his feet as if trying to decide who to vent his anger on.

“You!” I close my eyes and wait for his attack. Nothing happens, all I can hear is the rhythmic tapping of flesh. I don’t open my eyes, even when Byron is roused into consciousness and into another rape.

The screams tear at my brain, I smack the back of my head on the concrete hoping it will knock me out. When the howls reach hideous octaves I can’t help but look. Marvin has taken a blade and is running it across Byron’s back and neck.  He drops the knife and grabs something from his henchman’s hand. The familiar buzz of the tattoo machine sends waves of dread down my spine. I watch him dab on the ink, I watch him steady my friend, and I watch him drill into flesh. His sadistic laughter rattles out every ounce of feeling until I am left a husk. I watch it all.


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