Warning: Non-graphic descriptions of torture and death
Word Count: 1,484
Summary: Alan was 13 the first time he tortured someone
Disclaimer: I do not own The Demon's Lexicon Series or its characters. This is a work of fiction.
Spoilers: None really other than a few sentences form the Demon's Lexicon.
Notes: This is my first time writing in this 'verse though I've had ideas rolling around for ages. Let me know what you think!
Willing to Pay
Alan was 13 the first he tortured someone.
She was young, just that side of adulthood, with hazel eyes and curly brown hair. Alan put her at 18 or 19 and against his will he realized that she could be going to University. She could be working a crummy job barely making enough to pay her bills. She could just be scraping by from the looks of her.
But she wasn’t, Alan told himself firmly. Instead she fed people to demons. She chose to do this. To kill, to rip families apart. It was her own fault she was here.
He checked her earrings. They were tiny silver doves. “Pretty,” Alan told her. “But not right to save you.” To his surprise she let out a tiny, tinkling, laugh.
“So you do know what you’re doing. A little at least. You have to know what a mistake this is then.”
“What’s your name?” He asked ignoring her last comment. Alan pulled her sleeve up around her bonds to look at the inside of her wrist. One circle put their insignia on the wrist, another behind the ear. When both of those turned up only clear skin he opened the top two buttons of his shirt trying to ignore the voice in his head telling him this was the closest he’s ever gotten to a girl’s chest.
“Katherine.” She answered just as Alan found the Obsidian Circle’s mark tattooed above her heart in the same place Olivia’s was. He wasn’t surprised. Of all the Circles it was the Obsidian one that came after them most often. Black Arthur, that came after them.
“Well, Katherine,” Said Alan trying not to stutter. “You are going to die today. How fast you die is completely up to you.”
Katherine laughed again and Alan let her. Let her think he was joking, think that he wouldn’t go through with it. She clearly had no idea how important Nick was to Alan. He’d seen Dad do this a few times though Daniel had never known he was watching. They had underestimated Dad the same way Katherine was underestimating him. And she would be just as wrong.
He picked up a hammer asking “Where –” When he heard Nick’s voice.
Nick was standing at the bottom of the stairs looking sour as usual in his school uniform. “Nick,” Alan said smiling despite the fact he was about to torture someone. “How was school?”
“Who is she?” Nick demanded his dark eyes fastened on Katherine who was tied to the chair using spare pieces of rope and Alan’s old bike lock.
“No one to worry about.” Aland told him just as she said “I’m Katherine.”
“So this is it, huh?” She mused aloud her eyes fixed on Nick. Alan shot her a warning look that she pointedly ignored.
“Nick,” Alan said with all the authority he could muster. “Go upstairs, fix a snack, and start your homework. I’ll be up in a few hours and we can practice your knife throwing.”
Those dark eyes moved to him and Alan wished for the millionth time, hating himself even as he wished it, that there would be some sort of open affection on his brother’s face. Instead he saw the same steady blankness, unreadable as ever. After a moment Nick nodded and turned up the stairs without a word.
As the basement door clicked shut Katherine looked at him with a gleam in her eye. “I wonder,” She began in a tone that displayed just how much she was enjoying this, “Can it think? Can it feel? I’m amazed the thing can manage to talk –”
Her words turned into a scream as Alan brought the hammer down on her wrist shattering the fragile bones.
“One more word about my brother,” He promised viciously pulling his gun from his shoulder holster. “And I’ll shoot you in the kneecap. If he comes down again and you so much as look at him, I’ll shoot you in the stomach and let you bleed to death. After all, I can always find another magician. Understood?”
“Sure thing.” Katherine said trying to sound cool even as her whole body was tensed in pain. “Didn’t know it’d be such a sore spot.”
Two hours later Alan was pretty sure she was done talking.
As she trembled in both fear and pain held upright only by her bonds he told himself it had gone well.
Breaking her other elbow and dislocating her shoulder had gotten him the Circle’s current location. After that it had only been a matter of snapping a few fingers and her good wrist to find out how many people they had. He was convinced, after shooting her once in the thigh, that she had no idea where the true Obsidian Circle was buried. Black Arthur was smart enough not to trust that information to just anyone it seemed.
In a way what came next was the easiest part he reflected limping so that he was right in front of her.
“I want you to know,” Alan told her softly. “How sorry I am for the last two hours of your life. Please believe me; this isn’t what I wanted.” He pulled his gun from its holster and the click of the safety coming back off was just audible over her cries.
“I’m going to kill you now.” He told her soothingly trying not to tremble as he wiped her tears away. “It will be quick and painless. I’ll stay right here until the very end.” Alan promised running his hand through her hair and feeling so much older than 13.
Alan was telling the truth. He had never wanted this. But he had no choice, not if Nick was ever going to be safe.
“It’ll all be over soon, Katherine. I swear.” Alan untied her in a fit of sentimental feelings watching her body slump into the chair and trying to reassure her. “We’ll put your body in running water. You’ll never be used for a demon’s host.”
And his voice did tremble now because his hand could not as he put the gun to her forehead, said “Good bye, Katherine”, and pulled the trigger.
Just as he had promised it was fast and painless. She was dead before he put the gun, safety back on, into its holster.
Alan managed two seconds calculated thought about how to be more efficient and make the suffering shorter before he threw up next to her body.
It hurt too much to kneel so he lay on the floor alternatively sobbing and throwing up, begging forgiveness from he didn’t know who.
Nearly another hour passed before he heard footsteps on the basement stairs. Alan pushed himself up brushing away tears and unsure of how to deal with Olivia and her fits right now.
He was a thousand times more horrified when he saw Nick standing on his tip toes to grab a piece of canvas off a shelf. Silently Nick bundled Katherine’s body and put it at the bottom on the stair so they could dump it that night.
Alan was grateful they lived so close to a river this time. The only way he could think of to get rid of the body was to put it in their wagon, tie it to Nick’s bicycle, and have Alan sit on top. That way anyone watching would only see Nick taking his crippled brother somewhere at night. They were new enough that Alan could claim they had gotten lost on their way home from the nearby park.
It was, Alan knew, a final indignity to suffer. Being sat on as your body was carted off in a children’s wagon to be thrown into the river like garbage. However he was sure it was an easier indignity to bear than your body being given to demons by your one-time comrades.
Nick came to stand in front of him and did not protest when Alan clasped his wrist tightly. “Next,” Nick’s mouth worked silently for a moment. He had been talking for nearly five years now but it could still be difficult for him at times. Alan suspected Nick was at his closest to human emotions and struggling to understand, let alone share, them at times like this.
“Next time,” he tried again looking at the bundled body nearby. “Let me hurt them. I’ll be okay.”
Nick looked down at him seeming almost hopeful he had said the right thing and Alan tried not to look horrified at the offer. Instead he said “I’m fine, really. Don’t worry about it Nick”, and only somewhat forced a smile as his brother offered a hand to pull him up with.
Alan knew, beyond a measure of a doubt, that his own personal piece of mind was a price he was more than willing to pay for Nick’s safety.