2007-08-22: DF: End of the Line



Summary: Where do you bury a man that you never want to see again?

Dark Future Date: August 22, 2009

End of the Line


It's hard to say how long the ride was, from the tiny, drab cell Jack Derex has been contained in to wherever it is, exactly, that he's being taken. Jack is being pushed down a dark hallway lit by dim fluorescence above, strapped to a hospital bed with restraints befitting the most intensive mental institution one could dream up. As if he's going to get very far, right? So far, it's not so different than the cell he left. It's chilly here. Perhaps it's below ground. The ride is jerky, the wheels screeching and clanging every few seconds; the man directing the bed has a strange walk, a twitch to his movements. He's tall, pale, lanky, and altogether nightmarish.

Now the sedative should start wearing off. The place becomes as clear as it needs to be: it's the end of the line.


Jack awakens in stages. His eyes open, but it takes several seconds before anything comes into focus, and several more before he begins to understand that he's in motion. He gasps in a deep breath, then winces at the pressure it puts on his burned skin. Still uncomprehending, he stares at the man moving the bed. He tugs at his restraints. They are far more thorough than the simple handcuffs that kept him in place while he was recovering in his cell. He blinks several times, then snakes he tongue out to wet dry, cracked lips. "Wheeere… ?" His voice is a bare, painful, croaking whisper.

"Why would I tell you," the snake-like man rumbles, as if Jack's confusion is funny. He rolls a sinewy shoulder back and forth as the captive is rolled along. Always moving. Scrape, clang, scrape.

"You're in a place where no one has to worry about you any more, Mr. Derex," comes an entirely different voice, a plain and professional man's voice, from somewhere behind the twitchy freak manning the hospital bed. "You're weak now, but you'll get your strength back in time… not all of it, mind you, you're never getting your leg back, but when you do heal— well, let's just say, no one has to worry about Jack Derex. Your Saints, your… violent ways, those dangerous magic tricks of yours. You're a threat to society, Jack. No one is ever going to find you here."

They halt. Darkness seems to be the only thing that lies at the end of the corridor. Until—


Jack's captor squirms his way over to a certain point on the wall and flips a switch. A room becomes unsteadily illuminated behind a thick glass pane — what looks to be glass, at least. Safe bet: it's nigh unbreakable. Inside is nothing but a toilet, sink, and a slab. Or… is that a bed? A counter? A sacrificial altar? The man opens a side-door, winds around to Jack's head and pushes him inside, a disturbed smile on his sickly pale face all the while. "Welcome— " Twitch. "Home— " Squirm. "Jack."

The light is painfully bright to Jack after being so thoroughly unconscious for much of the last few days. He blinks again obtusely, then slumps back against the mattress with a groaning sigh. He squints his eyes tightly closed, walling out the onslaught of unfamiliar sights. He can't block out the sounds, though. The screeeeeching of the wheels is like a file against his nerves and his throbbing head. The voices are an ominous, menacing intrusion that can't be willed away. When he speaks again he's slightly more intelligible, but his own voice is still thick with pain. "E-e-eat me."

The oddly reptilian man only smiles in a way that's wholly discomforting. There's nothing comforting about any of this. The room Jack is pushed into is the complete antithesis of comfort; it's even less accommodating than his prior cell. After the door shuts, the bed is halted once more — underneath the glaring, fluorescent light — and the captor starts pulling Jack's restraints off. He's not gentle about it, despite Jack's sundry injuries; he just hauls them off, jostling the man about in the process, a low … growl thrumming under his breath all the while. Finally, Jack is free. For a minute.

Jack's eyes are still closed when the man's hands first contact him. He recoils as much as his abused body is able, both in surprise and in horror. His eyes snap open and fix unblinkingly on his handler. When the shifting and shoving that's a part of removing his restraints commences, he grits his teeth and commits himself to the indignity and the agony of it. He has experienced worse. He can take it.

When the stump of his leg pushes against the mattress, Jack screams. He has one hand free. He instinctively uses it to try and push away his tormentor, but the gesture is weak. Ineffectual.

Screaming must be a common sound around these parts. Jack's captor twitches, squirming his head to one side, this way and that; but it's not truly in response to Jack's distress. It's just his strange mannerisms. As the Irishman struggles inadequately, the white-skinned man looms closer and closer until he's… hugging Jack! Heartwarming. Or it might be, if he didn't have a grip like a vice, and his intent wasn't to pick up the broken man and port him onto the slab of a table in the center of the cell. He drops Jack without care. From a back pocket, he procures more restraints, which are to hold Jack down across the chest, arms and legs. Overkill? Maybe. But people do crazy things when they're pushed to their limits. Jack's captors are taking no chances. Besides, by the way this man goes about his business? It must be protocol.

Jack's breath comes in puffing, wheezing gasps. He has no hope of defending himself. He is too weak and his tormenter is far too strong. He continues to press and shove hopelessly until he's hauled up by the grip around his torso. The bandages around his ribs grate and grind against flesh and muscle that was cooked during the unorthodox resuscitation process.

Jack's scream fades to a whispered prayer as he passes out.

Relief doesn't last long. He reawakens as the restraints are being tightened across his chest, sending new spikes and pulses of pain through his body. He wants to lash out. He wants to grab this man with his hands and tear the skin from his bones. He doesn't. He can't.

"Pl…please? Please. Stop," he begs.

The man hesitates, considering the restraints with a bold eye. He slackens the band across Jack's chest. It's not out of sympathy, that much is obvious. Wouldn't want him to stop breathing and die without orders, now, would he. "Keep breathing. Lights out." He jostles the restraint at Jack's remaining ankle once to make sure it's secure before moving with a dragging gait out of the cell.

The sound of the door shutting with a resounding noise and locking into place is forboding; the metallic grate and slam of the lights being turned off on the heels of the door is final.

Jack's captor worms his way out of sight. Out of a corner shadow, the back of his reflection shining in the cell's viewing pane, the other man, wearing a suit, takes up a slow stroll in the dark. He, too, leaves. As he passes moves along corridor leading to and from Jack's cell, a painted marker on the wall comes into view. All it says is:


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