Author: Orion159
Word Count: 1312
Warning: This does get a bit graphic torture-wise, so heads up for that if those kinds of things really bother you.

The pit's smell was always worse than Mick remembered; a stomach-churning mixture of cow shit and rancid meat that the winds of a gathering Fall storm had elected to blow in his face. Other, weaker men might have covered their noses or turned away, but not this man. He inhaled deeply through his nose, and held the stench in his mind. This was the true nature of Grody's beef, a roiling cesspool of cow-flesh and disease that those who bought from him did their best to not think about.
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But not Mick. Because every time he had to look at Columbus. Every second he had to watch those people shuffle and strut around like they knew where they were going, his mind flashed back to this place, and he would grin his sickeningly vicious grin. Nobody else saw that picture. Nobody else saw things quite like Mick did, because they were all cowflesh that didn't know any better. He eyed the gathering storm clouds and rubbed the grimy bandages covering his arm. Sometimes a cow tries to be something more, but it's always reminded of how pathetic it really is.

Pulling his gaze from the sky, Mick turned and strode over to where his men had a particularly interesting lump of flesh trussed up and lying on the ground. A patch of crusted blood lay spread across the man's skull where a two by four had knocked him out. Mick had done that. Usually he made those beneath him go out and get his victims, but this was a special case. This was Sam Cracker.

While out on another job, Mick had found him one night in Dugal's, drunk off his ass. Crowded around his stool, five other people were laughing uproariously at his antics. His interested piqued, Mick came back the next night, and found Sam in one of the side booths. Again drunk, but this time talking in hushed tones with a young girl. He had been holding her hand, but in a fatherly sort of way. And before she left, the girl went around to his side and gave him a small peck on the cheek. Sam had smiled warmly, and ruffled her hair before sending her on her way. Night after night, Mick visited the bar, and the more he saw of Sam, the wider that harsh smile of his grew.

Here was a man that others looked up to. A man who people could come to with their problems, and leave with a smile. He had no family, at least that's what his men told him, instead Sam had taken the whole of the town as his family, which made him the perfect target for Mick.

So early that morning, he had followed Sam to a bakery, where the owner gave the man two free pastries with a smile, and then into a back alley, where Mick smashed a piece of lumber against the back of the fool's head. As always, taking great pleasure in watching the body crumple to the ground. Now that body lay, once again, at his feet, unmoving. Looking over at one of his underlings, he motioned for him to begin. The man held a bundle of damp cloth in his hands, which he unwrapped to reveal a boil scooper, the edges still glistening from recent usage.

Keeping his eyes downcast, the man handed his boss the scoop and rolled up the unconscious Sam's pant leg, exposing the calf. Bending down so that his head was close to the other's ear, Mick whispered, “Time to wake-up, shithead” and brought the sharpened points of the scoop piercing down into flesh.

Sam woke up screaming. A sound that brought the familiar rushing of blood and adrenaline coursing through Mick. This is what he lived for. Allowing the excitement to go to his head, he dug the scoop around for a while, seeing how loud he could get his victim to howl, before finally standing back up. After such intense pain, the man would next go into shock. Mick knew the pattern well. He shouted back to the others, who had gone off a ways for a smoke, and they began the next part of the plan.

Two sturdy ropes were tied to Sam's bindings, one for the arms, and another for the legs. Then, without even the slightest hesitation, he was thrown into the pit.

***

The bony back of a cow broke Sam's fall, and knocked the air from his lungs. But before his body had a chance to slump off, the rope attached to his arms was pulled taut, and he was swung, face first, into the dirt wall; his legs trailing in the mud. A gunshot went off.

It was as though a thousand sledgehammers pounded into Sam's lower half. It was a pain even greater than what he had woken up to. It thundered in his mind, wiping out every other possible sensation. After a few seconds, he mercifully blacked out.

When he came to again, he was out of the pit, and in the rumbling bed of a pickup truck. He tried to move, but received a massive surge of agony for his efforts. So he lay there, gritting his teeth when the truck jostled. Through the pain, Sam felt the pitter patter of raindrops against his skin, and heard the crack of thunder over the engine's hum. Almost out of instinct, he stuck his tongue out to catch a few drops of the pure rainwater.

“So you're finally awake”, a voice shouted over the din. “Was wondering how long it'd take you.” A dimly lit form crouched over him in the truck bed. It leaned down, until its eyes were level with his, and what eyes they were! Like two drops of mercury, unsettlingly wild, yet cold and sterile. The man moved closer still, until his mouth was inches from Sam's ear.

“You've got no clue why this is happening, do you?” The voice asked. Sam tried to shake his head, but found he didn't have the energy for even that. He heard a sickening chuckle, then felt blast after blast of pain course through him as the man roughly patted his back.

“It's because you're a nerve-ending, kid” Mick growled, “a person that a whole lotta others based their own happiness on. They see you, they think, 'you know, there's still some good in this world', and they forget all about the shit in their own lives.” The man jostled him some more. Thunder rolled across the sky overhead.

The voice was laughing now “So then I take you, I break you, and then I leave you some place where everyone'll see. Suddenly, that joy becomes pain. Their happiness'll turn to grief, pity, disgust. There ain't no pain like that kid! It's the kind that makes you wanna...”

Nothing matches the terrible, crashing fury of lighting. Everything went white.

Several hours later, Sam once again woke up, but not in a truck bed. Though he still had trouble moving his neck he scanned the scenery in front of him, but all he could make out was vegetation. A warm, red grow seemed to be emanating from overhead, but it was too dim to be sunlight. He blacked out again.

Coming to roughly an hour later, Sam could just make out the sounds of muted chattering off to his right. Desperate for help, he tried to call out, but only managed a low moan. It was then that he began to question his sanity, because, upon hearing his voice, a group of small, oblong vegetables cautiously crept from the overgrowth, and approached his head. The one in front, apparently the leader, jabbered to the three behind, then came closer and laid the top of its... head(?) against his own, and began to chant.

For the final time that night, Sam blacked out.