The world roared with silence and despair, so loud that his laugh disappeared, like a pebble dropped into a pit that never stops falling. He cracked his knuckles, and she flinched at the pop of the joints. If she could have spoken, she would have screamed, but it wouldn't have mattered. No one would have heard her, either.
"I would apologize, but I know you'd prefer my honesty." He had a feral smile that would have been more at home on a wolf's face than a man's. "And the truth is, after what your husband did to me, this is really only fair. An eye for an eye, so to speak. He took my head, so I'll drive you out of yours."
She wrapped her arms around her knees and pressed herself harder against the wall, cold and unforgiving stone. It was always stone. Why was it always stone?
"Do you know," he went on, "I didn't expect it to be so easy. It kind of takes some of the fun out of it, now." He inhaled deeply through his nose, and exhaled with a sigh. "But I do love the smell of fear and agony. All these women who walk in beaten and walk out emptied of their entire reason for being. What is a woman, in this day and age, without the means to bear children?"
Tears streamed down her cheeks, but she couldn't even sob aloud. He had taken that from her, just as he had taken the wombs from the others. She would heal, of course, and in a week she'd be able to speak again, but for now, while he worked, the only noises she could make were the whisper of cloth against skin and the sweep of her bare heels against the tile floor.
He crouched before her, holding the white nodes in his fingers, strung with thin wires that she had not yet managed to snap quickly enough to stop the pain they caused. His eyes swept over her and then he smiled again and set them down on the countertop above her.
"You're not going to be good for me today, are you?"
She bared her teeth, her fingers curling into claws. He was too fast for her to hurt too badly. Somehow his hands always found her wrists before she could make him bleed.
He tsked and pulled a handkerchief from his pocket, opening it up, white and clean. He didn't meet her eyes as he began to refold it on the diagonal. "Then I guess I'll have to do something about it."
She lurched away, but the stone wall and the cabinets served him now instead of her. What had been the safety of shelter now became a cage, and he dragged her out, laughing while she struggled, and bent her over the cold metal counter, her arms behind her back. Her wrists were trapped by his long fingers and he tied the handkerchief around them so tight her blood stopped flowing. The nodes rested just beyond the tip of her nose.
He released her once she was bound, and she straightened, backing away. He paced after her, slow and easy. They both knew what came next. They both knew that he'd win, in the end.
"If you behave, maybe I'll tell you what happened to your child," he said, the wolf's grin stretching across his features when she froze. "You want to know, don't you? Why they made sure it wouldn't live?"
She pulled at the binding on her wrists, her nails digging into her palms, but there was no give. Cold sweat trickled down her spine. Kill him. She wanted to kill him. If he knew, he had been part of it; she understood that much by now.
"Oh, no," he said, picking up the nodes and stepping toward her. She didn't step back. "No, it wasn't me who ordered it, though I would have taken great delight in doing so if I had known what kind of trouble you'd be to me. I didn't even know you existed, then." He nodded to the chair, straight-backed and maned with wiring. "Sit down, and I'll tell you everything."
"That's it," he murmured, when she stepped forward.
The silence roared in her ears, an ocean pounding against a cliff face. She trembled at the sound, and the emptiness that would swallow her whole. He was near enough to touch her, to press the white nodes to her temples, her forehead. His fingers trailed along her jaw as he finished, then traced the shape of her lips.
She snapped at him, her teeth finding flesh and bone. He laughed, forcing his finger harder against her teeth.
"Go ahead," he said. "If you have it in you, after all I've done, I'll call it a success."
They stared at one another. The taste of copper and venom filled her mouth.
She spit out his finger and turned her face away.
He chuckled low and threw her into the chair. "Maybe you'll feel more cooperative tomorrow."
Tears blurred her vision and she closed her eyes. He tightened the straps of the chair around her ankles, and across her chest, still laughing to himself. She let the silence wash over her, the roaring ocean and the desperate agony.
Then fire ran through her, hot and fierce, and even without her voice, she still screamed.
If you prefer a more traditional badish boy, there's always Jean, though. Under the cut, so don't feel obligated unless you want something to wash the taste of evil out of your eye sockets!
So uhm, I hope that covers my bases?