Seeing as how I have nothing better to do this evening since I am... recuperating, as it were, I've decided I might as well explain what became of my old friend, Jerome.
First though, I would just like to say that I would love to personally thank whoever invented the taser. I think... using a rat would only be appropriate to fully convey my feelings in the matter. To strap a small cage which would contain the rodent around the little genius' stomach. Intense heat could then be placed above both specimens. Allowing the skin of one to burn and blister... as well as kicking in the survival instant for the little rat. Causing it to burrow into the abdomen in attempt to escape the heat...
I wonder how long I could draw that out for...? Would be interesting to see.
Ah, well, at least the officer Requiem had been worried about has been dealt with accordingly. Got a little rough around the edges this time, but... that would be part of what keeps things interesting, wouldn't it? It's not as though I haven't had worse. Or that I truly care for what level our targets stoop to... but I was delivered not one, but two jolts of the irritating bastard of a device today. I think I'm allowed to complain a touch, yes?
Quite honestly, I only think of the assault as an inconvenience I could have done without. To make me this tired, that is. I'd rather be on the road again. I've been in company for too long... and I do prefer my solitude oh so very much...
But here I am yet again - getting off topic. You'll have to excuse me for that for now. In any case, I'm sure you're not interested in hearing of that little incident. The most important thing to know at the moment is that I will be back on the move soon. Just taking an evening to regain some stolen energy.
Now, to get back to the point of this post...
December 9th, 2011... to January 6th, 2012.
That would be how long Jerome White, also known as Tripwire, remained in my loving care for.
Twenty-one of those days he spent compressed into that little torture device I mentioned earlier. Unable to move. Not even so much to scratch an itch. The pain throughout his body would have been constant. Upon entering week three, he'd already begun to mumble to himself. Got a little bit on the twitchy side. Moved his head around a little oddly as though he couldn't quite focus... or perhaps he was focusing on things that were not there. That is a possibility. Being in solitude with no way to tell the passing of time for weeks on end does not bold well for one's mind. However, it is not as though I left him alone the entire time. Of course not. That would be far from hospitable. And, yes, I did provide him with plenty of water and basic nutrition. I would think that would go without saying for this length of time... but I suppose the obvious is better stated to begin with than having to answer later.
A few of you gave such wonderful suggestions on how to end his miserable existence. Some of your ideas, I used. Others, I did not. For instance... )*SERVE*(, if I wanted to "give him a taste of his own medicine" I would drop him off at Morgan's headquarters wrapped in a bow. Or Ferus, for that matter. However, since I happen to be a Proxy that holds itself to some degree of standards... well, we played different games. But I'm certain you will approve all the same.
Rest assured, everyone, I took all your thoughts into consideration.
When I last posted, I told you how I took Requiem down to where we had Jerome stashed away for a rainy day. Let me see... if I can put into words what sight he had upon opening that door.
As I said, the man was cowering in the corner of his room. Trembling from head to toe. Curled into himself in some vain attempt at comfort and warmth. He wore no clothes to hide the measure of work I'd already put into him. The first of many wounds being a pound of flesh which I took from the muscles in his legs.
Conveniently made escape for him near impossible.
And gave Kali and Loki enough to peck on for a few days. Of course I gave them the chance to dine right from the source as well, but that would never be for too long.
I had then begun removing pieces of him. Starting with his nails and, joint by joint, taking his fingers away. Letting him keep one and two-thirds of a finger on his left hand to make the loss of his other arm up to his elbow that much more reflective. Literally SEEING how much was taken is so much worse than trying to remember what was once there.
I then used that arm by tossing it into the backyard of a Spook assignment.
Crystal would find her Jack Russel chewing on it later that evening.
It had taken me three hours of driving to get there and another three to get back. At least, the expression on her face made it worth the time. Did a few other things to mess with her mind while I was there, but nothing of extreme interest.
She wasn't the only Runner I insisted on involving either. There was a boy named Ivan Knox. Had just turned eighteen a week prior, if I recall correctly. I was assigned to him as a Spook as well, but I allowed myself to be a bit more... drastic. I picked the sweetheart up and brought him to my little home away from home. Tossing him to the cold, concrete floor upon our entry into the basement without a trace of ceremony. With wrists bound his back, he scrambled only to sit up. To put his back against the wall as I went to attend to Jerome in the same manner I always did. Ivan watched. Never uttering a word as the other male alternated between whimpering and screaming. I kept an eye on our audience as I worked. Impressed, to say the least, at the strong front he put out. Ivan was only small. Not weedy, exactly, but small for his age. And yet his expression barely betrayed him. The only part that screamed of his own fear... was his eyes. Greenest of green. Like a forest canopy in the summer. Eventually, I couldn't help but shift my attention completely onto the Spook. Ivan stared back. Obviously scared, but strong. Unfaltering. He had a spine. Unlike Jerome.
As a crouched in front of Ivan with blood-coated gloves, I asked if he had preferences which piece of him I removed first. I expected him to shrink... but instead his lips only pressed tighter together. Not giving me the pleasure of conversation. It would have been rude if I wasn't so amused. He was so young. I used to teach kids his age. And yet... unflinching. Brave beyond his years. Or, perhaps, merely stupid.
That would be when a thought occurred to me. One which you helped with, Brooklyn. My dearest Gargoyle. You're invading my thoughts during working hours. Shame on you. But I really need to thank you, seeing as how it worked in my favor so well.
You see... I remembered your comment. The end part, anyway. I truly did want to use your suggestion from the start and, in that moment... I couldn't possibly think of anyone better for the job than Ivan himself.
I gently caressed the boy's face as I gave him the proposition. Feeling his jaw tighten as I left smears of hot blood where I touched. I told him I would bring him home without a scratch... but, first, he had to gain some 'get out of jail free' tokens. Jerome's teeth. Not all of them. Just a few. And then Ivan could leave. Simple. But the little statue that was Ivan refused. The single word coming out strongly... but his eyes told a different story entirely. A desperate story. One that was looking for an excuse. So I started talking. Like I tend to do. I spoke of Jerome. Who he was. What he had done as Tripwire. I questioned the fairness that a morally correct person like Ivan... condemn himself to torture and death for the sake of someone like that. I mentioned Ivan's own family. Questioning leaving his little brother on his own to face our Father... when Ivan could so easily be there for him...
Within twenty minutes, I had Ivan untied. Positioned in front of a whimpering Jerome. Pliers in hand. I kept one arm around Ivan's shoulders for support. My other hand holding Jerome by the hair - cranking his neck back. He begged the boy not to. Begged for mercy. Pleaded and cried...
I could see the boy hesitating, so I simply leaned in to whisper in Ivan's ear. Asking if he thought Tammara... had begged Jerome to stop as well.
Ivan ripped out his tokens for freedom one at a time.
Screams and choked wails tearing from Jerome.
Tears streaming down Ivan's pale face.
I could tell he was drawing near to breaking down, and since we had a nice little pile going... I didn't ask for him to take them all. I let him stop. The poor dear was shaking so badly he could barely stand so I could take him home. I literally had to help him walk as he rung his blood-splattered hands together again and again. The screams forever echoing in his head. The sensations forever crawling up his arms. I could tell then I'd... no... that WE - Gargoyle and I - had just given him a nightmare that would haunt him until the day he dies at Father's will.
Multipurpose is always best.
As for Jerome himself, well... I always made certain to burn his wounds of the bits and pieces I removed to stop the blood from flowing and claiming his life that way. He'd scream, beg, whimper... and I would talk to him so sweetly during every session. Brushing my fingers through his hair. Across his cheek. Making certain I had his attention. He would shiver so much that, at times, it made it difficult to be accurate with what I wanted done.
At one point, he had begged me for a blanket. That he was so cold.
So... I happily warmed things up for him.
I stuck a match. Kissed his temple. Then lit his clothing on fire. His pleads and screams fell on deaf ears as I stood back to watch the flame build in strength as it consumed his clothing and hair. The scorching heat ever-rising. Caressing the flesh beneath until it was charred black and his screams began to choke in his throat. Only then did I put him out. Fire extinguisher. Followed by a bucket of ice water over his sizzling flesh.
He didn't complain about being cold again.
He also couldn't recognize himself in a mirror again if he tried.
That would be the sight that Requiem opened the door to. A man who had become as mutated on the outside as he was within. And yet he still begged for his life. I'd only ever heard him ask for death ONCE. All the other times... it was for mercy. For life. To be spared. If only to be taken into the embrace of His Family again. If only to Serve.
A fear of what awaits after death is terrifying to some people. Jerome just happens to be one of them.
Requiem found the begging to be too much to listen to, however, and decided to remove Jerome's tongue before we did anything else. I was rather grateful for that. And so when we took him from that little room and brought him into the lower chamber in the basement of the church's basement... the sounds he was making only slurred together more when he saw what fate would claim him.
My new toy.
To bring a new meaning to His Embrace.
It stands nine feet tall. Positioned against the far wall of a room that is only lit by the presence of a thin trench of flames which burns along the border of the chamber itself, leaving the room a bit darker than others. The light of the fire shimmers off the black surface that IS the majority of the instrument. Unlike the conventional style that this particular item has held itself in throughout history, the body is curved in. Having a more 'slender' figure, if you will. In fact... it is crafted in nearly His exact image. A pale head nearly at the ceiling itself. Carved so the light reflects where the features should be, but is left faceless to stare down those who approach it. But it is more than just His image, you see...
Because, with one half of the body swung open as it was as when Jerome first saw it... the light of the flames also glimmered among the long, thin spikes which decorated the inside of the device.
It was perfect. Exactly as I had imagined. And Requiem had outdone himself with the atmosphere of the room itself. Faint carvings decorated the walls and ceiling in the images of trees and a canopy overhead... and across the floor stretched the same operator symbol that Requiem had hanging around his neck. I felt the need to remind him later on that he would NOT be claiming credit for this idea.
Jerome's final struggles to free himself of our holds were lost as we took him across the floor. His time with me had left him weak, and even when he refused to stand or walk to his demise... well, we simply dragged him. Forced him inside the device and strapped him in. Once his wrists, ankles, and neck were bound in place, I took a last moment to reassure him... that all of the needles were strategically placed to miss major organs. And the spikes themselves would slow blood loss by remaining inside him after penetration. So his death would be exactly as he deserved it: Slow and painful. His hysterical shrieks and jerks to free himself were only silenced as Requiem and I each took one of the two doors and pushed them closed. Heavy bloody things. But as the doors shut, Jerome would be forced further back into even more needles behind him. Gasps of the pain and choked breath were soon all that came from the inside as the doors were latched together and he was in the full embrace of our Father's image. Pinned into place from all sides. Alone with his agony in the dark as he would slowly bleed out.
I couldn't help but smile when I glanced upon the look in Requiem's eyes. They were beautiful. Nearly shimmering. All the pent up anger that had been in his system seemingly washed away as he took steps back. Taking in the full glory of the scene as the first drops of blood trickled from the small holes in the bottom of the device to be gathered in decorative jars placed around its base. Fit to be used in an assortment of many rituals I know my kin practice... or as a prop for missions, for that matter.
It was just as I had specified.
Requiem knelt on the floor and prayed. I stood and listened.
Listened to my friend.
Listened to the muffled whimper of a true "monster."
This had been on the third of the month.
Jerome died on the sixth.
Requiem has been doing much better since then. Still obsessed to get his hands on the Runner that dared to attack his subordinate and church... but better. Even enough so to return to his old obsession which involves the hundreds upon hundreds of photos of religious figures from all over the world stuck up on the walls of his office. News articles. Statistics. It's so good to see him go back to his old mindset.
Sister Fuchsia is still recovering, but is now back at the church. I made certain to visit her each day in her quarters. She never once placed blame on my head for her injuries. A true sweetheart. I hope all my kin pray for a quick recovery for her.
Come dawn, I will only be in the company of my closest friends of Chaos and Destruction.
It'll be a good day.