“Ah- see? The lady you paid for is joining us at present, mon ami,” The Muffin Man said with the same silken tone that must have once tempted Eve.
“Whadabou’ Grant?” FitzClarence slurred. The speech showed that he was still inebriated, but the question eluded that the fog in his head may have been lifting.
“We are going to play a little game with Monsieur Grant.” With those words spoken, as if they were themselves a command, I found myself hoisted upwards by my bound wrists and ankles.
I once read a book about various corporal punishments when I was at The Academy. One of the instructors thought it was imperative for officers to know how best to inflict pain on soldiers. An old and outdated notion in the modern times, but old ideas have a near-immortal life of their own and generations of adherents to fight for them.
The book mentioned something called reverse hanging, and went on to describe in detail what rigors it put the body through. Explaining that such a punishment was not lethal until it was. How the recipient would be in excruciating pain for hours, perhaps even days, until their lungs collapsed under the weight of their own muscles. It was compared to crucifixion in its severity and recommended over it for obvious cultural reasons.
The vivid description of the pain evaded my memory’s command of recollection as the reality of the pain overwhelmed my senses. I was suspended in midair as The Muffin Man turned me to face out of the cell. A woman was suspended by her wrists from the ceiling, her ankles were tied together and fixed to a weight of stone. Her feet being flat on the floor, it was clear that any torture that would befall her would not be from gravity. She was nude aside from the manacles, rope and a gag fashioned of swaddled linen. The face was not quite recognizable as it showed age and abuse beyond her years, but I did recognize the dark nipples and darker bush on the light brown curves of her body. Too much had befallen The Queen of Tarts for my actions.
Oscar guided FitzClarence behind her and handed him a stiff strip of oiled leather as another one of the minions laid a small, wilted tree branch with 5 leaves on it on the floor between myself and the other victim. The Artifact.
“I will ask a question, and if I don’t like Monsieur Grant’s answer, then you may hit her. Understand, mon ami?”