Getting hit in the face with a dirty crowbar is not the best way to wake up.
There are worse ways to wake up, believe me I know, but nothing quite packs the punch of 7lbs of high-carbon steel to the kisser. It combines the optimum mix of speed with pain, all in one skull popping package.
I think I might have yelped, I probably did, it fucking hurt. As the white stars faded from my vision I saw the leering face of Hank Malloy come into focus. Again, while probably not the worst thing to see first thing when you wake, his motor oil stained beer gut was not particularly high on my Christmas wish list.
"Ah the little shit's awake." He muttered to the room at large, before calling to someone I couldn't see. "Ted! Ted, get in here!"
I didn't know who Ted was, that couldn't be good. My arms were making urgent signals to my brain. They hurt, they told me, and were quite keen to stop this state of affairs. I tried to move, but only swung. A few more bits of urgent information leaked into my battered head-meat and I realised why.
They'd strung me up.
My arms were stretched above my head and were being held there by some thick - I guessed motorcycle - chain, presumably attached to the ceiling somewhere. My feet barely touched the ground. I tried to say something but it only came out as a half-formed grunt.
The crowbar was one of those double-tipped jobs. The kind you see advertised on the shopping channel - "Most destructive power! Double claw performs where other crowbars can't fit!" - usually made with some fancy steel alloy that I can't pronounce. I had the chance to observe all this as it impacted my ribs. I thought I heard a crack. I yelped.
"Shut up." Hank spat at me, smelling of cheap cigars and the gut-rot he drank to give himself the courage to look in the mirror each morning. "You'll get to sing soon enough."
I didn't like the sound of that. Not one bit.
Trying to move again, my arms burning with a cold fire, however long I had been hanging there had taken its toll. A dull, yet shooting, pain in my chest told me Hank had broken at least a rib with that last blow. I was going no-where.
Ted walked into the room, and Hank visibly shrank into the opposite corner. I marked this off on my now growing list of things that boded badly. Ted was something of a surprise; a clean cut guy probably a few years younger than me. He looked like a German aristocrat in jeans and a t-shirt, and he moved like lizard. The corner of his mouth twitched when he looked at me; in amusement or disgust I couldn't tell. In his left hand he carried a patent leather bag, it was very clean, like he polished it. It creaked when he flicked off the brass clasp and opened it. Flicking his blonde hair out of his eyes he flashed a smile at me. Like a wild dog might before it bites you.
I wish I could say he brought out some kind of exquisite collection of chromium-steel that glittered in the greasy sunlight and scared me with its many spikes and curved razor edges. What he actually brought out was a set of rusted pliers, a dented thermos, some chicken wire, and a length of tarnished copper wire. That fucking terrified me. He approached me, the corner of his mouth still twitching slightly.
I think I passed out when he tore off my nipple.
I died that evening, spread out cold on the concrete with a hole the size of a large rotten fruit in my chest. Face pressed into a pool of someone’s bodily fluid, probably mine. I died alone.
And then my troubles really started.
< ...to be continued... >
[meta: dream fiction]