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Donovan looked over his tools a final time, taking little mental photographs of everything contained inside his big leather bag. He frankly wasn’t sure what all of them did, not in their original situations anyway, but he did test them for what he intended to use them for. Yes, this one’s sharp, yes that one’s blunt… Perfect.
The constant sound of screams and shouts permeated the small room he stood in as he examined his utensils and let out a last sigh to himself. He was not nervous about what he was about to do, only that he may do it wrong.
Donovan opened the door behind him and stepped into the main room of the dimly lit warehouse, his big bag of tools in hand. In the center of the room sat a woman, bound to a chair tightly bolted into the ground. She was wearing a business suit and modest skirt, dark brown hair reaching the bottom of her neck and a blindfold covering her eyes.
This woman did not know how she got there, what had intercepted her on her way home from work, where she even was. She just kept screaming, hoping against hope for a response.
“You can calm down now,” Donovan said softly, as he set his collection of tools on the chair.
“What… Who—Who are you?!” she cried. “Are… are you with the police?”
“No,” Donovan said. “I am not.”
“Are… are you the one that somehow brought me here?!” she demanded.
“No,” he said. “I am just here to do what I am supposed to do.”
“Lo- Look,” she said, trying to catch her breath. “I- I don’t know what it is you people want but… But I’m a lawyer and so is my husband! We’ve got a lot of money… I don’t know why you just picked me but if this is a ransom case he’ll pay it! I swear he’ll pay it!”
“A fair guess… but that’s not quite it either.”
Donovan slowly untied the blindfold and pulled it from the woman’s face. Her breaths were still heavy and she remained horrified.
“Who… who are you?”
“My name is Donovan,” he said simply.
“If… if it isn’t money what is it you want with me?!” she cried, now more desperate than ever.
“It’s not even so much what I want,” Donovan said. “As what I must do.” He gave a long look into her eyes, a gesture which only left her more confused than ever.
“What the fuck are you even talking about?” she demanded. “Look I- I have to get home to my kids! My husband is out of town and I- Look I said I’d pay you didn’t I?! Untie me and no one has to even know! I swear it!”
“Money won’t mean anything to me,” Donovan said simply. “Frankly, it doesn’t mean anything to you either… You may not realize this ma’am, but today is the most important day of your life.”
“I… what is any of that supposed to mean?!”
“Where do you think you are right now?”
“I… some old warehouse! I don’t even know how I got here! I was driving home from work and-”
"I guess a warehouse is one answer,” Donovan said, still emotionless.
“Then you tell me! Where the hell are we?!”
Donovan smiled a little. “We’re in the opening pages.”
“The… the what?!”
“The opening pages ma’am. The beginning of the story.”
“What… what the fuck are you talking about? What story? What does any of that mean?!”
Donovan got down on his knees and started looking through his bag for what he would begin with. “Just one of thousands of short stories on some two-bit website, mostly composed of whiny teenagers and questionable moderators.”
“Just what kind of insane philosophy is that supposed to-”
“It isn’t philosophy ma’am, it’s fact,” Donovan said sternly. “Whatever you may think, you didn’t exist yesterday. And neither did I. You and me? We’re just two little characters that popped out of the mind of some psycho with a keyboard handy. He didn’t even bother giving you a name.”
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?! My name is-”
“It is irrelevant,” Donovan said. “It’s all irrelevant. How you got here, what you did before… It’s all irrelevant because it doesn’t exist. I came into being when I happened to be checking my tools, and you did when I thought to myself that you were screaming.”
“Please… Please,” the woman begged, tears starting to well up in her eyes. “I… I don’t know what any of that is supposed to mean! Please just untie me! I’ll get you whatever you want! Money isn’t your thing? Fine! What else could you want?!”
“To make a statement,” Donovan said, finally selecting a set of sheers out of his bag. “I told you ma’am, today is the most important day of your life.”
With his captive still bound Donovan began to cut at the exposed pieces of her coat and blouse, stripping it away cut by cut. The woman began to scream louder and louder, demanding more and more what he thought he was doing as he slowly cut all of her clothes from her leaving her tied to the chair screaming and naked, only bits of the fabric remaining here and there.
“Stop screaming ‘rape’,” Donovan muttered. “That would just be exploitation. We’re trying to make art.”
“Make- Make what?!”
“I told you before ma’am, where we are. Just two people in a piece of horror fiction on some website… And like I told you, today is the most important day of your life.” His hand began to move along her body, goose bumps rising at every movement even as she tried to shake him off. “In a website overrun with bad lost episodes of nostalgic TV shows and hyper-realistic video game shit, we’re going to make something beautiful, something artistic.” A finger slipped between her lips and lifted her upper one as he looked over it the way one would a dog’s mouth. In a desperate act at retaliation, the woman threw open her mouth and bit him. Donovan pulled back his hand swiftly in pain. “Well, that’ll be where we start then.”
With that Donovan pulled a hammer out of his bag and held it up for the woman to see. She only continued to stare in confusion as he grabbed ahold of her brown hand and pulled her head back so she faced the ceiling. She only could scream and scream as Donovan proceeded to line himself up, raise the hammer over his head and take a brutal smash at her teeth. Instantly bits of her front two chipped away and fell down her throat, the beaten woman ceasing her screams as they were swallowed unwillingly. Again and again he smashed the hammer into her mouth, breaking tooth after tooth, reaching in and fishing the bigger ones out when they threatened to fall down her throat and choke her to death.
He didn’t manage to get ahold of one that fell and immediately the woman started to gag and choke. Donovan held her still for a moment and promptly beat the end of the hammer into the back of her head, and act which threw her forward so fast she spat the thing up, along with a heavy stream of blood and vomit, much of which soaked her upper legs in a horrible red and yellow before it pooled to the ground with a few white amongst the rest. The fluids all dripped out her mouth as she could now only let out a horrible, pained gargling sound. Donovan slipped his hand again into her mouth and lightly touched the now horridly tender gums, only leading the woman to scream more and more.
“I know it hurts,” he said gently. “But it isn’t as if you’re real to begin with… You’re just here so everyone else can imagine what that feels like.” He paused for a moment on her bloody tongue, caressing it with a sort of strange satisfaction now knowing she could do nothing to respond to him. Her remaining, broken teeth all sat in the back of her mouth, Donovan unquestionable safe from them.
He looked up and down her body then, wondering if he wasn’t working too quickly. She already seemed so soiled, so ruined, but he knew he was far from finished. He looked through his bag, which itself was now wet with blood, and produced a length of rope.
“You know, there are some sick people out there,” Donovan said, knowing full and well she could no longer respond. “Sure, the teeth bit wasn’t too attractive… But we’re still straddling that other genre aren’t we? Even the mess you made can’t kill what I know a lot of people must be waiting for… I better fix that.”
With that began to wrap the rope around her left breast, making circle after circle and pulling tight after each ones. The screams began to become more guttural as the orb went from a pale color to a brighter pink and soon to a horrible, bruised purple color. It now stood straight outward, seemingly only tiny inches of skin still connecting it to her body.
“It’s just to keep you from bleeding out,” Donovan said. “This needs to last.”
With that he returned to his bag and pulled out a small knife. The screams only became stronger and stronger as he slowly worked against the flesh. Blood and puss started to drip from the horrible swollen thing as he cut downwards before finally removing her nipple altogether. Hole just small enough to get two fingers and a thumb into, Donovan reached with and began to work all the fat and tissue within, lazily dropping them to the floor in an increasingly large pool of viscera. Screams were abound at that point as he stood up and grabbed ahold with both hands and squeezed as hard has he could, forcing more and more of the woman’s insides out. He reached into his bag and produced a stapler and swiftly sealed the mess shut, keeping too much more blood from escaping.
It was too much, and the woman threw her head forward and vomited again, struggling to make any sound any more on some faint hope someone could hear her, someone could stop this mad man!
When he went to his bag he found a set of nails and considered whether it was their time yet. He looked her over carefully, trying to be sure his work would be unmistakable. After enough examination, he deemed he could move on.
With that he carefully began to line the nails up with her feet, one by one and grabbed ahold of his hammer again. Pushing her feet down into the ground, he proceeded to smash the first nail through her big toe. She screamed and wrenched about again, causing him to lose his place.
“Hey!” Donovan yelled, “Hey! Settle down! You’re making this harder than it needs to be!” But she could not settle down, it was all too overwhelming. Donovan sighed and shook his head and again looked through his bag before pulling her legs apart, suddenly glad he hadn’t missed the opportunity.
Out from his bag he produced a contained of rock salt and began pushing the grains of sodium against her vagina. The screams only became more intense as the burning took place and she jerked to and fro, at least as she could tied down as she was. Donovan again grabbed her foot as she was in the midst of the jerking and threw down a very strong hammer strike again, driving the nail through and into the wooden ground beneath them. Blood was everywhere as he went down the line and entirely secured her foot in place before proceeding to the other one, smashing again and again in determination before her feet were entirely bolted to the floor.
“Don’t worry about your hands,” he said blankly. “I had something else in mind. Excuse me a moment.
He was only gone a minute or two before he returned, pulling on a set of welding gloves and mask and carrying in a blowtorch. Though she surely did not know what was coming, she just kept struggling, no matter how impossible any escape now was.
Donovan reached into his bag and produced a bar of aluminum, then pressed it to her right arm. Completing pulling on his equipment, he began to inflame the thing. The metal began to melt atop the woman’s skin, smothering and merging with it, leaving the lower part of her arm attached to the chair as he pulled the flame away and allowed it to all merge together.
Though she could scream no longer she threw up yet again as he began the process with her other arm, partially putting out the flame. Annoyed, Donovan looked up at her and decided he could take it no longer.
He set aside his blowtorching equipment and again grabbed his stapler. After some struggle he managed to grab ahold of both of the woman’s lips and pull them out from inside her mouth and made a line of three bloody, brutal stables through them. It was only a temporary arrangement however, he knew because however weak she was, she could possibly get them loose, and returned to his bag for his needle and thread.
He began the meticulous process of sewing the woman’s lips together through the staples. The last remnants of screams were now muffled as he cycled through both lips again and again, keeping the line of string with very little room between pierces. When the job was done, he pulled the bloody needle from her mouth and slowly worked the staples out. Once they were upon the ground, he pulled her lips up and down and smiled to himself, knowing they would not open. For a final time the sobbing woman threw her head forward and vomited, though only the thinnest of the juices ran through the tiny holes within the weaving. Donovan commanded, “Swallow it!” And she had no choice.
Donovan resumed his work on her other hand and soon it was permanently fixed to the chair. Again he smiled, knowing his work was almost done. To the utterly devastated woman’s surprise, the next thing he produced was an electric razor.
“One last step,” he said, seemingly promising it.
The shaving directly on top of her head would have been a horrifying humiliation on any other day, but on this one it was the only moment Donovan was not actively trying to bring about pain and suffering.
That took another moment.
Donovan then revealed a scalpel and began cutting into the bald spot. There could hardly be heard a noise or movement be seen this late in his terrifying procedure. Into her head he cut and cut, fresh blood wetting the dried on his hands, before he was satisfied with how deep he had managed to make it. He then produced a long, sinister hook, and forced it into the hole in her head before pulling upwards on it, scrapping against her skull in the action.
Two more hooks, even longer than the first were then revealed as he dug deeper and deeper until they cracked through her skull. With the utmost care, both were maneuvered until suddenly they were visible in the indents of her eyelids. Both pulled upwards again, forcing the eyes open, the horrific metal fully visible against the white of her eyes.
Donovan left for another moment before returning with three lines of thin but exceedingly strong thread and tied it to the end of each of the hooks. The woman could not have imagined the threads were rigged to the ceiling and moved into the back of the room, where a large crank sat, yards and yards of the stuff wrapped around it.
Donovan proceeded to rotate the crank again and again until the woman was forced to sit straight up with eyes wide opened and locked the thing in place, finally taking a long look at his work.
Blood and other fluids formed a shallow, circular pool around what was now once a woman. Her feet nailed to the ground, hands melted into the chair, the destroyed, tied remains of a breast sagging against lips sewn shut and head and eyes forced upwards and outwards, all a mess of blood and sick.
“Well, I think we’re done here,” Donovan said, an act which warranted one final muzzled scream from his captive. “My life, my tiny little life is complete, and so is yours. I’m sure you’re wondering why I didn’t kill you… It’s just so much more tragic, you know? If I had any choice, maybe neither of us would be here,” he sounded almost sad as he said this. “But I was put here by the author, and you’ve been placed here to be all on your own. Open endings really are the most horrid of things I think, but then, it’s not all that open. At least I don’t think so.”
“Good bye then ma’am, and I hope you can just be happy for what we have made here today! And if you must be sad, do not hate me. Hate the people who will come to read this tale, hate the joy so many will find in it… You’re not real, I’m not real… This little piece can’t hurt a soul.”
He smiled and made his way out before letting out the final remark of, “Oh, and if you’re going to hate those sick bastards, better hate the author too.”